Competing is part of the human nature and this quality translates surprisingly well to video games. Arguably, one of the best genres where you can compete with friends or complete strangers is shooters, but there are dozens (if not hundreds) of options. Below, you’ll find some of the best competitive first-person and third-person shooters available to make the process of choosing games a little easier.
10. Tribes: Ascend
It’s hard to argue with free, especially when the content you get for free is so good. Tribes: Ascend is an exciting, fast-paced and intense FPS that captures some of the best qualities of classic games in the genre. But this isn’t an entirely familiar experience, you can ski, use jetpacks, unlock classes, pilot tanks and other vehicles and spectate matches. Apart from the free-to-play option, Steam also offers the Game of the Year Edition that comes with extra content.
9. Planetside 2
Unlike most competitive shooters, Planetside 2 encourages you to conquer continents. To do so, you can run, walk, use a vehicles and so on. On top of that, Planetside 2 features some of the most convincing large-scale battles to ever grace a game.
8. Left 4 Dead 2
To a certain extent, Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the most unconventional competitive shooters available. But the four-player cooperative options are terrific, especially because a team of humans can compete against a team of zombies and vice versa. The fundamentals introduced in the original Left 4 Dead are still here, but a few updates (new weapons, playable infected, settings and so on) make this sequel the definitive Left 4 Dead experience.
7. Halo 4
The Halo series is well-known for its strong multiplayer aspects and Halo 4 is no exception to the rule. More importantly, Halo 4 added new mechanics that changed the way in which people played multiplayer Halo: the possibility of sprinting, rewards, new weapons and custom loadouts, all of which revitalized the franchise.
6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
When it comes to Call of Duty, players are so passionate about the multiplayer portion of the game that most of them disagree when it comes to choosing the best. Still, no one can deny that Modern Warfare 3 is solid in that regard. The reward system was updated, there are more ways of increasing your pointstreak and new game modes were added, including Kill Confirmed and Team Defender.
Some people prefer the original Unreal Tournament and some others prefer the 2004 version. Finally, I decided to go with the original, but it you prefer UT 2004, you’ll still have a great time. UT is an old-school first-person shooter and in this case, that’s one of the best compliments I can give to the game. You can play online or LAN modes and even after so many years of the game’s release, there are hundreds of people in its servers.
4. Battlefield 3
Without a doubt, a lot of people prefer Battlefield 4 over Battlefield 3. But taking into account that the latter is still plagued with technical inconsistencies that the developer has to constantly fix via patches, I had to go with the former. If you want to play with up to 63 other people (on the PC, the console versions only support 32,) Battlefield 3 is your best option.
3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the definitive version of Counter-Strike and that’s an achievement in itself. The updated visuals, variety of modes and thousands of players that populate the servers everyday make GO one of the best options available when it comes to first-person shooters.
Quake Live is a terrific update, but nothing can replace Quake 3. Usually regarded as one of the most intense (and fastest) competitive shooters ever made, Quake 3 has aged remarkably well. Maybe because you never have a second to appreciate the graphics, since you’ll be jumping, running and collecting weapons as fast as your fingers allow it.
1. Team Fortress 2
Why is Team Fortress 2 one of the best competitive shooters available? Valve constantly updates it, there are thousands of people to play with and you can play Team Fortress 2 as long as you want and never pay a cent. Of course, you can always collect hats if you want, but you can have fun with this game without them. On top of that, the class-based gameplay is extremely satisfying.
Honorable Mentions: Shootmania, Quake Live, Painkiller and Insurgency.