The first-person shooter genre, one of the most popular genres on Xbox consoles, has seen both massive success and epic failures (definitely not looking at you, Battlefront II). In recent years, we’ve gotten a good dose of memorable games as well as the universally dreaded over-monetization of in-game items (still definitely not looking at Battlefront II). Barring the controversial and already well-covered topic of monetization in video games, let’s take a look at some of the best Xbox FPS games in 2021.
We’d be out of line if we didn’t begin with Halo Infinite, 343i’s recently released entry in the beloved Halo franchise. To call Halo Infinite one of the best Xbox FPS games would be an understatement; 343 seems to have taken most of the feedback they received over Halo 5 and drastically changed their direction in both the campaign and multiplayer.
Halo has always pushed the boundaries for first-person shooter games in general and raised standards for the industry. The franchise has also always tried to be some of the best on Xbox. Halo Infinite is no different and has added new life into the series.
Halo Infinite features a beautifully crafted open-world environment on Zeta Halo. Players once again take the reins as Master Chief, dispatching their enemies with a new AI companion called “The Weapon” as they seek out Cortana (again) and a new enemy, a brute named Escharum, who is the leader of “The Banished”, a group that broke off from the Covenant.
The campaign follows Master Chief, the Weapon, and a pilot referred to as “Echo 216” as they set out to defeat the banished. The story missions can be completed in a linear fashion, or players can opt to reclaim FOBs (forward operating bases), eliminate high-value targets, or save squads of marines in between the story missions. There’s also a plethora of “loot” to find on Zeta Halo, such as armor cores, armor lockers, and audio logs which provide more context behind the overall story of the game.
Multiplayer in Halo Infinite is as chaotic as ever, sporting classic modes like Slayer, Oddball, and Capture the Flag. Adding to the chaos are the new Banished weapons and returning Covenant/UNSC weapons featured in the sandbox. Players can choose from quick play, a 4-versus-4 team playlist, Big Team Battle which sports two teams of 12, and Ranked (also 4-versus-4). Unfortunately, 343i didn’t launch the game with the ability for players to filter by game type, forcing players to play modes they didn’t want to play. Thankfully, 343 patched in this feature, giving players more of a choice when they play. Part of this patch included the addition of new modes such as Fiesta and SWAT.
343i is, much to the relief of the Halo community, taking a hard look at their progression system and battle pass/in-game shop after receiving much widespread criticism regarding these features. While the prices in the shop and battle pass progression were most certainly poor practice by 343, they don’t impact gameplay. The biggest of these changes is that halo now has a wide-open map to travel around and explore. This change has spiraled off into various extra changes and features that have improved the gameplay to an immense degree.
The game is an improvement in all categories, from zipping around using a grappling hook for gameplay to the sheer beauty of the maps. With the campaign and multiplayer and future in-game events, Halo Infinite is sure to keep players coming back for a long time to come and earns a spot on our best FPS Xbox games list.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Okay, we know what you’re thinking by now: “This is clearly all about Halo. I thought this was a list of the best Xbox FPS games?” Well, first of all, you’re right; Halo is arguably the most iconic video game franchise of all time and is the Xbox’s flagship title, and it is among the best FPS Xbox games. Halo has dominated the FPS genre for two decades and with Halo Infinite’s release, many gamers are returning to the franchise. But we digress; this is a list of the best Xbox FPS games, and the Halo franchise belongs here.
The Master Chief Collection was a hefty undertaking; the game features every major Halo title, with the exception of Halo Wars. You can pay to add Halo Reach and Halo 3: ODST as well. On top of having each of the games’ campaigns, you can also play each games’ multiplayer.
Although the Master Chief Collection had a rough launch, 343i worked diligently to improve the state of the game. The game features cross-campaign playlists, custom lobbies, and the ability to filter your multiplayer experience by title and game mode (i.e., slayer only on Halo 2, objective game modes on Halo 3, etc.). Fan favorites such as Infected were also included.
343 perhaps bit off more than they could (initially) chew, but the Master Chief Collection turned out to be an incredible collection and in all fairness, shoving all those games into one is no easy task. The Master Chief Collection was a major trip down memory lane, and all those games combined make for one of the best FPS Xbox games.
Left 4 Dead
When we talk about the best Xbox FPS games, we’re sure there’s almost no gamer alive that wouldn’t include Left 4 Dead. Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, Left 4 Dead tickled that itch for players to take on hordes of zombies in a fun yet terrifying way. Each level was quite simple; players would begin in a safe room, and would have to make their way to another safe room, signifying the end of the level. Getting to that next safe room meant fighting off hordes, eliminating “special infected” zombies which had special abilities to incapacitate players or down them, and sometimes completing tasks.
Left 4 Dead used an interesting method to keep the game from becoming stale and predictable; while the core of the gameplay and levels remained the same, the game featured “The Director”, and AI which could make changes to zombie spawns and the amount of zombies players had to kill based on factors such as their skill, location, and more. Thanks to The Director, each level could generally be an ever-evolving challenge of getting to that next safe room.
For many, Left 4 Dead is considered one of the best Xbox FPS games as well as one of the best games to play with friends. The game placed a considerable emphasis on teamwork and could be a bit of a drag if you didn’t have at least one or two other people to play with (if you didn’t have anyone to play with, the game placed three AI players at your side). From a decent cast and character dialogue, to gameplay which was fun and chaotic enough for players to keep coming back for more, Left 4 Dead went down in history as one of the best Xbox FPS games ever!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
Say and think what you will about the Call of Duty franchise, but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may have been the best entry since Modern Warfare 2 from 2009 (*gasp* we know, the horror!). As controversial as that statement may have been, stick with us as we attempt to explain why the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot belongs on a list of the best Xbox FPS games.
Releasing at a time when the gaming community’s opinion of the Call of Duty franchise was declining, Infinity Ward decided to release a sort of reboot to the Modern Warfare series. The 2019 release of Modern Warfare sported a somewhat darker, gloves-off (if you know, you know) approach to the story. While the game still features blockbuster-like action sequences and over the top set pieces, the story itself felt more raw than past Call of Duty entries in an effort to showcase the evolving environment of modern warfare. Although there have been few gaming moments that topped the infamous “No Russian” mission from Modern Warfare 2 (2009), the Modern Warfare reboot delivers a few shocking scenes of its own, forcing the player to make tough decisions like whether to kill a terrorist’s family in front of him or not.
We realize many players buy Call of Duty primarily for the multiplayer, and while Modern Warfare’s multiplayer wasn’t the best received in the franchise, it does set itself apart from other entries. Some of the most notable design changes are the weapon handling, sound design, and player movement. Weapons feel light or heavy to the player, depending on which weapon they’re using. For example, if a player is using a heavier weapon, movement is slower, and the time it takes to aim their weapon is longer, and vice versa for the lighter weapons. Sound is a major factor in the gameplay, from the sound of your footsteps, handling your weapon, and the sound bullets make as they’re whizzing by you.
Call of Duty has always been known as an “arcade shooter”, as in the pace of play is quick and rewarding. Modern Warfare sought to slow the pace of play down by changing the way the game plays. Maps are now much different than previous Call of Duty games; there are tons of windows and doorways for players to peek through and take out enemies as they move out in the open, forcing players to slow down and think about their movement rather than “running and gunning”, as was the norm in pretty much every other Call of Duty game. This kind of map design was and still is widely regarded as a controversial move, though most gamers still playing Call of Duty have adjusted to the new style of play.
It’s easy to simply say that Modern Warfare took the Call of Duty franchise in the wrong direction, but you have to admit that Infinity Ward took a big risk in making these changes and these changes arguably paid off for them. Modern Warfare is still alive and well after two years since release, and with the new direction the developers took the game in, we think it’s safe to say that Modern Warfare is one the best FPS Xbox games.
Back 4 Blood
The new game from Turtle Rock Studios is a four-player co-op zombie survival game. It is designed around its co-op gameplay as you fight wave after wave of zombie-like opponents. The game’s highlight is the card system, which allows you to customize your character in various ways. This customization means that you and your teammates can get into specific roles for your team and continue to experiment with those roles.
Think of things like customizing your character to be the ultimate long-range fighter or the best medic that always saves your team. These cards can affect various things, like your ammo count to your melee combat. Just be aware that the enemy can also use cards, so no two experiences are the same.
Clone of Left 4 Dead? On the outset, yes, because of the fact that the same studio that made Left 4 Dead also made Back 4 Blood, along with its post-apocalyptic theme involving zombies, but no, because of the character development system it entails.
Now, if you want a game for a more creative play session, then one that is hard to pass up is Deathloop. We don’t want to spoil too much because you want to play this yourself, but there are a few things to get excited about. The simple concept is that the game consists of eliminating eight people on an island that time loops on the same day.
This concept allows the player to get immensely creative in gameplay and strategy. This mechanic turns the entire game into a strategy game and a puzzle for you to solve to achieve the best outcome.
Critical thinking like this doesn’t just apply to the loop, as you can learn how to use the environment and other characters as part of your plans. Throw in the fact that you can gain the ability to bring your weapons and gear back in time with you then you have an even greater challenge!
Call of Duty: Vanguard
If you want a good fps game for any console generation, then the Call of Duty has another entry, and the series x is no different! This time, it is Call Of Duty: Vanguard, set in world war two. The game follows an early group of special forces and their fights throughout the war. In addition to the campaign, two other modes have gamers excited. The first is the new multiplayer mode that has a varying difficulty system. This changes the number of players on a map but not the size of the map itself. The second is the new zombie’s mode that expands on both lore and gameplay.
The next entry on this list is a bit controversial because some people love it, and some hate the changes it made to the core formula. Battlefield 2042 is on this list because of the immense amount of creativity that its multiplayer allows its players to have.
There is a lot like about this game, from maps that are huge to classes that aren’t locked to certain gear. The most impressive feature is the game customization features for multiplayer that let you make any kind of game you want. Even better is that you can use assets from any of the previous five games to do so.
There is no better pick than Doom when it comes to pure adrenaline in gaming! Ever since the first was released in the nineties, it has been one of the premier games for action and gore. Now, Doom Eternal gives all that with modern graphics and fantastic gameplay.
The series was kicked into high gear with its 2016 reboot, and Doom Eternal strives to take it even further. The game includes new weapons that feature a glory kill system. This makes it look even better when you kill a demon! The game also changes the formula by adding more story components that build on Doom’s reestablished lore.
Call Of Duty: Cold War
Our third Call of Duty game on this list and one that we have to mention because it is a very popular game. Black Ops have always had a darker tone than the main series, and while that is saying a lot, it is true. But this darker tone helps to give the games a gritty feeling that you can’t find in a lot of other FPS titles.
The game is also beloved for its fast-paced addition to the multiplayer, increasing players’ adrenaline in the mode. This has always been a bright spot for the Black Ops series and continues with this installment.
The last game on our list is Borderlands 3, a game coming from a franchise that has always favored the crazy and creative ways to entertain players. The looting and shooting franchise came back with this entry, and it has hit a popular spot with players ever since!
There is a long list of reasons for this, ranging from the upgraded loot recovery system to the highly encouraged multiplayer feature. Don’t worry, though, because the basics of the games have remained unchanged. Take down enemies and get awesome loot in return! The fact that you get to do this with a set of awesome characters and a fantastically designed world is just awesome!
Ever-Changing Face of FPS
The video game industry is an ever-changing machine which attempts to (obviously) please the player and the companies involved in developing and publishing games. When discussing the best FPS Xbox games, we want to consider not only the games which are popular, but those that introduced new concepts and gameplay.
The best FPS Xbox games aren’t always the ones that play it safe; sometimes developers take on the risk of creating something entirely new or changing the direction of their franchise to keep things fresh. And remember, it’s okay to disagree and have your own opinion. There are plenty of games out there for us to play, and many that are deserving of being called the best Xbox FPS games.
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