Best Xbox FPS and Shooter Games Windows Central 2021
Xbox has been long-considered the home of shooters, first shaped by its pioneering Xbox Live network atop the Halo franchise. This legacy persists today, with most major entries to the genre thriving on Microsoft's flagship console. Grab your gun, find some ammo, and take aim; these are the best Xbox One shooter titles in 2020.
- Best Overall: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
- Best Battle Royale: Call of Duty: Warzone
- Best Value: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Best Shooter RPG: Tom Clancy's The Division 2
- Best Free-to-Play: Fortnite
- Best Multiplayer: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Best Story: Prey
- Best Single-player: DOOM Eternal
Best Overall: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege serves up unmatched tactical first-person combat, still pulling millions in 2020. It's a breathtaking shooter sandbox throughout, fusing intricate systems that reward strategy and forethought in every battle. At the heart of Rainbow Six Siege is its roster of hero-style Operators, with dozens of counter-terrorist specialists possessing unique abilities. Layered with precise gunplay and fully-destructible settings, few shooters rival its scale.
With innumerable systems in play, Rainbow Six Siege's competitive backbone can take a few hours to grasp. However, its complex mechanics remain consistently rewarding and intense, even after hundreds of hours. Backed by regular free updates over four years and counting, recently receiving its Operation Void Edge expansion, don't overlook this multiplayer titan.
- Precise, smooth gunplay
- Varied Operators and gadgets
- Competitive multiplayer maps
- Free updates all year round
- Sharp learning curve for new players
Best Battle Royale: Call of Duty: Warzone
This isn't Call of Duty's first foray into battle royale, yet the arrival of Warzone marks a shakeup for the genre. From the initial drop to the final kill, Activision translates foundations of Modern Warfare into a free-to-play package, as players battle within a shrinking gas circle. Backed by smooth gunplay and other franchise signatures, it's the hottest battle royale on the block.
Warzone's map of Verdansk takes inspiration from countless locations in the past Call of Duty games, strung between urban cityscapes, towering mountains, and dense forests. While the familiar tiered loot sees players scramble for weapons and armor, it also factors in killstreaks and gadgets from the game universe. Coupled with innovative systems like the Gulag, where dead players can claim a second chance through one-versus-one gunfights, Warzone is a last-man-standing standout worth your time. And you don't even need Modern Warfare, available to download for free via the Xbox digital store.
- Large, diverse map
- Smooth, responsive gunplay
- New mechanics like the Gulag shake up the formula
- Fails to hugely differentiate itself from rivals
Best Value: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Attributed to Microsoft's early Xbox successes and kickstarting Xbox Live, Halo is a well-established pioneer of the Xbox platform. The in-house first-person shooter has secured legendary status on the console, from its interstellar campaigns to multiplayer carnage. Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundles the full package on Xbox One, spanning nearly two decades of Halo history.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a five-piece compilation, reviving the story modes and multiplayer under one banner. Overcoming its rocky launch with updates, all games now hit 4K resolution with 60 frames-per-second (FPS) gameplay on Xbox One X. Halo: Reach hits the collection next, with progress transferring to its upcoming PC release too.
- Amazing value for money
- Dozens of hours of content
- Best way to experience the series
- Strips back minor features of past Halo titles
Best Shooter RPG: Tom Clancy's The Division 2
Tom Clancy's The Division first explored a world struck by bioterrorism, throwing society into peril with a dangerous virus sweeping the globe. The snowy jungle of New York set a bleak backdrop for a disease-swept nation, host to ruthless conflicting factions scrambling for supremacy. Landing strong with its second entry, the weathered Washington D.C. streets deliver a gratifying loop of third-person shooter gameplay.
As a Division agent, players will craft their character throughout a dedicated campaign, completing story missions and leveling up. Deep-rooted role-playing systems provide the opportunity to craft identity with your playstyle, grinding your way to that next drop of color-coded loot. An expanded end-game lineup adds long-term rewards too, from the ruthless player-versus-player Dark Zone and first eight-player raid. The Division 2 is among the few games where investment is rewarded, primed for hours of action. That was recently accompanied by the "Warlords of New York" expansion, bringing a secondary map based on New York City.
- Rewarding shootin' and lootin'
- Expanded role-playing traits
- Regular free content
- Flawed systems for hardcore players
Best Free-to-Play: Fortnite
Fortnite has redefined modern gaming, with skyrocketing success propelling the last-man-standing shooter across the globe. This free-to-play battle royale is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon, with influence across all corners of gaming. It was among the first to capitalize on the genre's growth, and continued support has only amplified its reach.
Dropping 100 players into an arena primed for conflict, Fortnite is littered with tiered weapons and gadgets to annihilate the competition. Weekly updates shake up gameplay on the regular, from new items to limited-time rewards. It's also leading the charge for cross-play, with Xbox One players bridging with PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and many more.
- Still a unique spin on battle royale
- Regular free updates and events
- Unmatched cross-play offerings
- Can be hard to grasp some mechanics
Best Multiplayer: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty has remained at the forefront of shooters for over a decade, with Activision's latest reimagining of Modern Warfare no exception. Exploring the events of the 2007 classic through a modern lens, its single-player campaign touches on the horrors of current conflicts, with a "ripped from the headlines" approach, according to the developer.
That coupled with a rich multiplayer experience packing all the latest modes and a cooperative Spec Ops package to enjoy with friends. Wrapped with the inclusion of a free battle royale mode dubbed Warzone, Call of Duty remains on top for all-round multiplayer value. The varied offering is ultimately unmatched, suitable for any shooter fan, with free content dropping on the regular.
- Close-quarters and large-scale warfare
- Fluid, responsive combat
- Content for all shooter fans
- May lack variety for some
Best Story: Prey
Prey is an incredible story-driven shooter from Arkane Studios, set aboard the Talos I space station. Set in an alternative world timeline, Prey follows the discovery of a mysterious alien species, and humanity's experiments on the creature's physics-bending abilities. As you might expect, things go south pretty quickly, and you find yourself as one of the station's remaining survivors.
With an emphasis on puzzle-solving, passive world-building narrative, and exploration, Prey is an underrated gem that fans of games like Dead Space and Bioshock must not miss.
- Huge areas to explore
- Tons of playstyle customization
- Subversive story
- Satisfying combat mechanics
- Frequent loading screens, particularly towards the end
Best Single-player: DOOM Eternal
Send demons back to hell with this fast-paced return of the classic arcade shooter. Leveraging tight shooting, gore-filled takedowns, and crazy firepower, the sequel to the 2016 DOOM reboot shares the same values of its predecessor. This single-player gem goes back to the glory days of gaming of raw action, cranked up to 100.
DOOM Eternal's weaponry takes front and center, stacking snappy shootouts upon buttery-smooth movement to satisfy that arcade itch. The game also further explores platforming, adding new challenges, although somewhat displaced from the broader experience. Topped with hellish visuals and consistent 60 FPS encounters, it's a rollercoaster of unfiltered butchery.
- Feel-good, responsive shooting
- Brutal, impactful encounters
- Lengthy campaign
- Platforming isn't for all
Home to more shooters than ever, Xbox One stows some unmissable action-packed gems. Shooters, whether first-person or third, run the gamut of genres and play types, ensuring that there's something for everyone. If you find yourself getting bored by a shooter style, there's probably a different game that'll rekindle your love for that kind of gameplay.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege now hits our top spot, cooking up a refined tactical sandbox you won't find elsewhere. It boasts dozens of playable heroes, locales, and corresponding synergies to discover, serving as a gateway to fulfilling ultra-competitive gameplay. Even four years post-launch, it's an experience you don't want to miss.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Matt Brown is a staff writer at Mobile Nations for Windows Central. Following years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he's focused on the world of Xbox and Windows PCs. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.