First-person shooters are among the most popular games ever made. If you don’t want to drop sixty dollars on the newest games out there, though, you can wade through a sea of free shooters. Below are five of the best free-to-play first-person shooters out there, representing a unique selection of incredible shooter games.
Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 is still the king of free first-person shooters, an impressive feat for a game that’s over a decade old. This is the game that absolutely set the standard for what a modern class-based shooter is supposed to be like. With its easy-to-understand mechanics, quick play and impressively memorable classes, it’s the game by which all other free shooters really ought to be judged.
It’s also important to note that TF2 is a rare free play game that’s actually playable without ever spending a dime. The game’s cosmetic upgrades really are just that, even if the game has something of a reputation for being a hat-trading simulator. Sure, you can pick up a few new weapons and looks if you’re willing to part with cash but all of the shooting fun really comes from the game itself. Team Fortress 2 may not be quite as dominant as it was in the old days, but it’s still a fantastic game for shooter fans.
Download here: Team fortress 2
Paladins has something of a reputation for being a free Overwatch clone. To be entirely fair, that’s a very apt comparison. The game is, in many ways, playing with the same basic designs and tropes with which the paid game has become well-known. Looking at that as a negative is, however, the wrong way to look at things. Paladins take everything players love about a well-known game and allows them to play even when their budgets won’t allow.
There’s a lot to love about Paladins. The art design is fantastic and the gameplay its self is frantic enough to be fun. Matches never go so long as to be annoying but aren’t so short as to feel cheap. There’s a significant learning curve in the game but it’s definitely one that is worth navigating.
Dirty Bomb is a pure shooter. There’s nothing fancy or particularly nice here. It doesn’t so much encourage players as it taunts them, making them either improve or quit the game in frustration. It is definitely a step back into an older, more aggressive type of shooter design that eschews anything that could help out either a casual or console player. That’s not for everyone, but it’s a wonderful refuge for those who are tired of modern games.
Outside of the difficulty setting, the game still has quite a bit to offer. It has a great cast of mercenaries from whom to choose, many of which offer great gameplay options. The game also has aggressively pursues skill over gear, making it one of the very few free-to-play shooters that doesn’t put the best gear in the hands of those who have the biggest bank accounts.
PlanetSide 2 has the distinction of being one of the longer-running free first-person shooters on the market. While it probably doesn’t have quite as much cultural cache as Team Fortress 2, you can definitely feel the age of the community in the best of ways. This is a game largely played by people who know what they are doing and who can teach you how to become better. It might be intimidating to jump into, but it’s worth the fun.
Planetside 2 definitely scores some points for its setting as well. Most of the games on this list are fairly standard shooters, but PlanetSide 2’s sci-fi spin differentiates it from the pack. While the setting of most sci-fi games is definitely something of an afterthought, it feels vital here. If you are looking for a game that plays and feels differently, this is the game for you.
Double Action: Boogaloo
Double Action: Boogaloo is a game about being awesome. It’s not the kind of shooter that you slowly learn to excel at by watching strategies and thinking tactically. It’s the kind of game you get better at because you thought of something cool and were amazed that you could actually pull it off. It’s distilled cool overlayed on a solid shooter foundation.
Double Action is one of the best free first-person shooters because it doesn’t try to be like anything else. Instead, it tries to allow players to have the most fun possible. There’s something particularly nice about that in today’s market.
Unique, Fun, and Free
The five games above all bring something special to the table. They have unique settings, mechanics, and histories. They push the boundaries of shooters without breaking the bank. Most of all, though, the games are fun – and that’s what makes them great.
View more free FPS games in our First Person Shooters subcategory.