The best single-player FPS games
We recommend the following games for anyone who wants to sit alone and blast monsters or other deserving bad guys. They may include multiplayer modes, but there are better multiplayer shooters—we chose these games and put them in this section because we think they offer the best single-player campaigns around.
Release date: 2018
Developer: David Szymanski
One of our highest-rated shooters of last year, Dusk is a riff on classic FPS games, with clear influences from Quake, Doom and Half-Life. If you worried first-person shooters had gotten too slow since the '90s ended, this is probably the game for you. Set across three campaigns, you'll play with a fun and often ludicrous armoury—the Riveter, for example, which launches exploding rivets at your foes. It's more than just a throwback, though, filled with memorable, varied levels and a genuinely good little horror-themed story.
Release Date: 2016
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Somehow Titanfall 2's campaign ended up being the star of the show for us, despite a host of high-value multiplayer options as well. Development of the game's single-player was treated like a game jam of sorts, where different members of the team would pitch their ideas for what a singleplayer Titanfall 2 idea level look like. The end result brings a really curious mix of thrilling platforming challenges, one-off level-changing tools and even puzzle elements, alongside BT, a charming mech pal who's like having a giant talking metal dog.
Release date: 2011
Developer: People Can Fly, Epic Games
Bulletstorm is an incredibly well-made score attack shooter that’s a little different than everything else on the list. The energy leash, the ability to kick enemies and the fast player movement give you plenty of scope to put together cool, flashy combos and to use your armory creatively. The sweary, deliberately immature script, put together by comic book writer Rick Remender, matches the over-the-top action perfectly. It's now available in an upgraded Full Clip Edition on Steam, complete with optional embarrassing Duke Nukem appendage, though the price tag of £30/$50 is eyebrow-raising for a six year-old game, considering the old version would still be perfectly fine had the GfWL stuff been patched out of it.
No One Lives Forever
Release date: 2000
Where many classics play better in our memories than on our modern PCs, No One Lives Forever holds up brilliantly today thanks to the garish ‘60s art direction, a fine arsenal (from a petite .38 Airweight with dum dum rounds to lipstick grenades and a briefcase missile launcher), as well as remarkably sophisticated AI. Monolith wraps it all up in endlessly inventive level design and writing so consistently hilarious that it created its own genre—the comedy FPS—and hasn’t been outdone since. If only there was an easy way to download it on digital platforms today.
Release date: 2010
Developer: 4A Games
In the Metro series, mankind survives in the tunnels beneath Moscow, having abandoned the nuclear-irradiated overworld which is now infested with mutated creatures. With the idea is that ammo is finite and each stash is precious, Metro walks an interesting line between survival horror and first-person shooter. The guns feel great, but it’s the fiction around them, the commitment to such a bleak tone, and the gorgeous environments with just a few signs of human life that you’ll remember Metro for. Now in a Redux version, it looks even more fantastic than before.
Release Date: 2007
Developer: Irrational Games
BioShock's greatest asset is its setting, and what Rapture provides from its ruined eden are enemies that are hysterical, tragic figures. One encounter with a Splicer or a Big Daddy can arc from curiosity, to sympathy, and then swing into full-on fear and violent panic. One of the best things Irrational does is imbue its monsters with terrifying sound design: the psychotic speech of Splicers, the fog horn drone and steel steps of the Big Daddies. The claustrophobia and anxiety Rapture throws at you gives you permission to fight recklessly, tooth-and-nail with powerful plasmids and upgraded shotguns as a way of getting revenge on the horrors that haunt you.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Release date: 2010
Developer: GSC Game World
What’s most refreshing about Pripyat is how much trust it puts in you to figure out its brutal setting yourself. In The Zone, standing next to the wrong pond might be all it takes to kill you—it’s the genre’s capital city of death, populated with zombies that carry guns, invisible humanoid Cthulhus, and horrifying walls of energy that have emanate “nope” in a mile-wide radius. It’s a game blissfully low of exposition and hand-holding, making each time you escape alive feel earned. GSC’s compromises between realism and playability are smart, and excellent ballistics modeling and tracer effects bullet make for gritty firefights. It only improves with mods.
On the next page, more of the best single-player FPS games...