Publisher: Humble Games / Developer: Bounding Box Software
Release Date: 24th Jun 2021 (UK/EU)
"The first-person shooter of old, reimagined using modern rendering techniques." That's how Prodeus developer Bounding Box Software has described its Kickstarter-funded indie FPS and, boy oh boy, has this studio managed to absolutely nail what they've set out to achieve with this one.
Prodeus delivers the tight FPS action of 1990s classics such as DOOM and Quake, mixed with the magic of fancy modern graphical techniques; dynamic lighting, particle effects, an amazingly violent gore/dismemberment system and a dynamic soundtrack, all of which comes together to create a visual and audio feast for the senses. If you've got even the slightest interest in retro shooters, or just shooting stuff in general, do yourself a massive solid (as the kids say) and get this absolute gem downloaded ASAP.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks / Developer: Arkane Studios
Release Date: 20th Sep 2022 (USA)
/ 20th Sep 2022 (UK/EU)
Those folk over at Arkane are a bit clever, innit. Not only has the French studio served us up the incomparable Dishonored franchise, but they're also absoluter masters of the FPS genre to boot.
2021's Deathloop is Arkane firing on all cylinders to bring us a fast and flashy time loop spectacular that sees you slowly unravel a clever mystery in the kind of narratively rich setting we've come to expect from this studio over the years. The real joy here, though, is that they've managed to meld their awesome world-building and satisfyingly stealthy gameplay with all-out shooter action that feels like a proper alternative this time around. If you save-scummed your way through Corvo's adventures and are expecting to have to take the same sort of methodical approach here, fear not; Colt goes loud, goes hard, and it feels awesome.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks / Developer: id Software
Release Date: 20th Mar 2020 (USA)
DOOM Eternal takes the gloriously brutal, breakneck bullet ballet of 2016's excellent series reboot and layers in more of everything. It adds more systems, more upgrades, more guns, more enemies, bigger, more varied arenas and then it cranks the speed and carnage to the max. Within the first ten minutes of this game you've already got your hands on a combat shotgun, a heavy cannon and a chainsaw, there really is no time to waste during an interdimensional invasion of earth.
Yes, we know there's been a bit of push and pull amongst fans over the platforming elements that have been added here and there, and yeah we get it, that stuff doesn't feel very DOOM, but we loved it nonetheless, and even if you're not too hot on these aspects there's still more than enough blood-soaked battles here to make it one of the truly great FPS experiences of the past decade. Rip and tear indeed.
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios / Developer: 343 Industries
Release Date: 8th Dec 2021 (USA)
/ 8th Dec 2021 (UK/EU)
Halo Infinite earned a whopping great big 9/10 from us upon its release back in 2021 and, despite some ongoing grumbles with the multiplayer aspect of the game, it's a score we absolutely stand by.
Master Chief's latest outing marries the tight FPS combat the series is known for, here looking and feeling better than ever, with an open world setting that hugely impressed us from beginning to end. Zeta Halo feels like an almost endless playground of possibilities, a huge expanse on which to zoom around, blasting Covenant forces - and lots of new baddies besides - as you get to grips with the game's franchise-best blasting action. With a cracking campaign story, lots of surprises along the way, and some of the funniest enemies you'll ever headshot in oblivion, this is easily one of the very best shooters currently available on your Xbox console. Hail to the chief!
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Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release Date: 28th Oct 2016 (USA)
/ 28th Oct 2016 (UK/EU)
Conversations and debates around the very best FPS campaigns of all time regularly feature Respawn's 2016 spectacular, and it's really not too hard to see why.
Titanfall 2 is a phenomenal shooter, an action-packed effort that offers up top-class gunplay, slick parkour, incredible world-building and, of course, great big bloody robots to blow chunks out your enemies with. The first game laid a solid foundation, for sure, but this sequel really maximises on that potential, serving up a game that's as beautiful as it is brutal, surprisingly emotional and full of wonderfully thrilling set-pieces. It doesn't outstay its welcome either, a rarity these days, serving up a tight package that kicks off at a high-tempo and never lets up over its roughly 8 hour long campaign.
There's incredible multiplayer here too, although we can't speak for how busy the servers are these days. Regardless, if you've yet to sample the delights of this one, you owe it to yourself to get stuck into the Frontier War at the earliest opportunity. Oh, and it still looks and sounds incredible. Seriously, how is this game seven years old, already?!
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Release Date: 21st Oct 2016 (USA)
/ 21st Oct 2016 (UK/EU)
Of all the Battlefield games currently available to play on Xbox Game Pass (and there's a whole bunch of 'em, including last year's Battlefield 2042), we reckon it's Battlefield 1 that's most worthy of your time as things stand right now. It's definitely a close call between this one and Battlefield V, make no mistake, but we reckon the incredible atmosphere created here wins out in the end.
Yes, 2016's shooter epic saw the series' trademark action shift to the battlefields of World War One, in a game that's both action-packed whilst also managing to present the most horrifying aspects of its setting in an incredibly sombre and fitting way. DICE absolutely nails the atmosphere and the historical accuracy here, making for a game that looks and sounds like nothing else they've attempted before as you get down to the business of battling it out across its enormous, intricately designed maps.
There's a surprisingly engaging campaign here that does much to educate players on various aspects of WW1, tons of multiplayers modes to get stuck into and servers that are still plenty busy with players who haven't gelled in quite the same way, perhaps, with the franchise's most recent futuristic outing. Battlefield 1 is one of the all-time great FPS experiences.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks / Developer: MachineGames
Release Date: 20th May 2014 (USA)
/ 23rd May 2014 (UK/EU)
MachineGames brought B.J Blazkowicz blasting back to life in 2014 with this incredibly brutal revenge fantasy that pits you against legions of Nazis, robot Nazis and...eh...great big cyberdogs as you go toe-to-toe with a world-dominating Third Reich in an alt-reality 1960s Europe.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is not for the faint-hearted or the squeamish, let's be clear, this is a gore-fest packed full of references to eugenics, concentration camps and other historical atrocities committed by the Nazis. However, if you can stomach this stuff in the context of a fantastical video game, there's a superb bit of FPS action to be had here, with big meaty guns, satisfyingly bloody deaths and more Nazis to batter to a pulp than you could ever wish for - something that feels even better than usual given the current rise in popularity of some of their idiotic ways of thinking.
Yes, smashing Nazis is always a very good thing, and here you get to have you fill as you soak up a surprisingly entertaining narrative that doesn't outstay its welcome - it's about a 9hr shift all in - and gives you plenty of new difficulty modes and collectibles to return for. If you're looking for a big, brutal and bloody FPS adventure to get stuck into, well, death is at the gates again, my friend, and it's howling your name.
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing / Developer: Ghost Ship Games
Release Date: 13th May 2020 (UK/EU)
We've spoken about our love for Ghost Ship Games' amazing Deep Rock Galactic before, and it's a love that's continued to grow, as this is one of the most unique and rewarding FPS experiences currently available on Xbox consoles.
What you've got here is basically Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead, with you playing as one of four dwarf classes, heading out on mining expeditions fraught with danger and delights in equal measure. Of course, the mines and caves that you head into here are home to all manner of nasties that will attack you and your party at a moment's notice, and so you'll need to be on your guard and utilise lots of tricks, traps and weapons in order to survive.
The gameplay loop here is super addictive stuff, a wonderfully well balanced mix of risk and reward that challenges you, tempts you to push on further and deeper into mines in search of more treasure at the risk of death and the subsequent loss of your rewards. There's a ton of personality and style on show and it's a game that's been well supported by DLC should you get as addicted as we have over the past year or so. Give this one a try, and we reckon you'll be well and truly hooked.
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 1st Dec 2015 (USA)
/ 1st Dec 2015 (UK/EU)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege has been doing the rounds since way back in 2015 and, if you thought it was good when it first arrived on the scene some eight years ago, dear reader, in 2023 it's infinitely better.
This is top-notch team-based tactical action that's grown and grown over the years, adding maps, expanding its roster of operatives and giving players an endless playground of close quarters counter-terrorist activity to engage with. We had actually taken a long break from Siege after having found ourselves pretty addicted in year one, and going back it's quite startling just how fresh it all still looks and feels. There really isn't anything else quite so explosively tactical out there and, if you've yet to try it, well, you are in for a treat and half because this really is as good as this genre of shooters gets. There's a reason why players have been on this one for eight years and it's still going strong.
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive / Developer: New World Interactive
Release Date: 29th Sep 2021 (USA)
New World Interactive's Insurgency: Sandstorm initially released back in September of 2021 and, if you like your first-person shooters a little more on the realistic side of things, this might just be the hottest ticket in Game Pass town right now.
Insurgency: Sandstorm doesn't have a traditional campaign mode, instead training its sights exclusively on intense Co-op and PvP modes that deliver a much more hardcore style of action, here wrapped up in a package that's actually more welcoming to new players than many examples of its genre. Yes, you'll still need to get to grips with realistic handling and slowly find your groove, but it's not as terrifying as the likes of the Arma series when it comes to getting a handle on things. There are some excellent game modes to dig into here, paired with top-notch map design, lots of authentic-handling gear and weapons and some excellent audio work. As our 9/10 review put it;
"Insurgency: Sandstorm carves out its own niche by offering authentic gunplay across a wide array of game modes, including plenty of co-op action for those who prefer some PvE gameplay. Its unforgiving shooting mechanics won't be for everyone, but Insurgency: Sandstorm rewards those who really learn how to play it, resulting in one of the most satisfying first-person shooters on Xbox today"
It's not so easy to put together a properly definitive list of the very best of any genre on Xbox Game Pass, and there are plenty of FPS efforts that just missed out on making our cut this time around. Again in no particular order, may we recommend you check out the following;