The sounds of gunfire ring out, bullets pelting concrete walls around you. You have your enemies in your sight, a full clip stowed in your rifle, a rocket launcher strapped to your back, three grenades on your belt, a handgun holstered at your side, and pockets full of extra rounds of ammunition. It’s just another day as a gruff hero battling evil in one of these best shooters on Xbox Game Pass.
Video game shooters have a knack for being wildly entertaining, so compiling this list was no easy feat. However, from their rich and engaging stories to their bad guy-slaying combat, these ten shooters on Game Pass across Xbox One and Xbox Series X & S proved to stand out above the rest.
The Best Shooters On Game Pass
10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft
When Ubisoft started development on Rainbow Six Siege, there’s no way it knew just how much it would change the course of the franchise. Typically reserved for the occasional release that took players through the casinos of Las Vegas to an amusement center in Spain. Tactical combat was always a focus of the series, forcing players to consider weapon loadout, map layout, team assignment, and mission orders. Siege took the series in a completely different direction with an online reboot that blends the tactical firefights of the original series with the saltiness of a competitive multiplayer hero shooter.
Players take their place on one of two teams, manning a unique Operator who brings their own skill, composure, and abilities to the table. Where one may be quick and equipped with throwing knives, another may take the defense and sense nearby electronics. Despite being a rough experience at launch, Siege grew in popularity and thrived on seasonal events and its competitive modes.
Players no longer need to man an entire team and partake in meticulous planning, but one wrong move could still give the opposition a leg up — and get you some backlash from your human teammates.
9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Developer: DICE Publisher: Electronic Arts
After spending about five years using the Refractor engine to develop well-received large-scale multiplayer battles solely for the PC, Electronic Arts decided to shift focus to a multi-platform release built on the new Frostbite engine and followed a full single-player campaign. Bad Company was so popular that, another five years later, DICE used the updated Frostbite 1.5 engine to bring back the titular Bad Company.
Bad Company 2 jumps the timeline a bit after a quick stint in 1944, picking up in the near future like its predecessor to follow a war between the United States and Russia. Storytelling is at the forefront of this shooting, though its destructive combat never suffers under the DICE team.
Like its predecessor, Bad Company 2 features a competitive multiplayer with five different game modes to choose from. Though the multiplayer was a success, the Bad Company series is well-known for its storytelling and may remain the franchise’s best attempt at unraveling a rich, engaging narrative through deep and thorough gameplay.
8. Gears of War 2
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Microsoft Game Studio
After the perils of the first Gears of War, it seemed unlikely that Epic would be able to surpass the dark and grim themes that were driving the series. However, Gears of War 2 absolutely excels above its predecessor, delivering on a story that’s not just better and deeper, but also far more impactful and upsetting.
Gears of War 2 utilized the same basic combat functions introduced in the first entry, throwing in a few minor changes such as heart-pounding chainsaw duels and the use of Locusts as meat shields. It also improved upon the series’ storytelling by building upon the world Marcus Fenix and company exist in while still keeping some very personal elements. And it’s those elements that wind up driving the game’s overall impact, making it one of the best shooters on Xbox Game Pass.
Gears of War 2 is not just a thrilling shooter, it’s the peak of the entire series and, for its time, the height of the Xbox 360’s library. Whether you immersed yourself in the depressing campaign or took to the claustrophobic arenas of its competitive multiplayer, you were treated to a top-rated experience.
Released on the tail of id Software’s critically acclaimed Doom series, Quake took the proven first-person shooter formula and expanded upon it with more frantic combat, more detailed 3D models and rendering, and more advanced multiplayer.
Quake leaves the space setting of Doom behind for a dark fantasy setting inspired by H. P. Lovecraft. The enemy design may seem to borrow details from id Software’s demon-laced shooter, but the real-time 3D rendering allowed the developer to create foes that were arguably a step above the imps and zombies of Doom.
It’s interesting that Doom tends to take the mantle of best 1990s first-person shooter when Quake had so much more going for it. Better level and enemy models aside, its score was composed by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. The game also offers more verticality with jumping, which lends to more frantic and movement-based firefights similar to those that drove DOOM (2016) and DOOM Eternal.
Alas, controversy within id Software marred the initial release a bit, but Quake still went on to create a legacy of its own and spawned future entries. Nightdive Studio’s remaster, which is the version available on Game Pass, includes all expansions, including the newer Dimension of the Machine.
6. Sniper Elite 4
Developer: Rebellion Publisher: Rebellion
If you’re someone that’s patient and doesn’t mind waiting for the opportune moment to strike, Sniper Elite 4 may be for you. If you’re someone that enjoys the run ‘n gun of games like Wolfenstein, you could make some headway in Sniper Elite 4, but expect the road ahead to be difficult.
The point is, Rebellion crafted a multifaceted World War II shooter that can be enjoyed by most, despite the game’s focus on long-range sniping. If you put your trust in Karl Fairburne’s sniping skills, then you’ll be treated to surprisingly deep gameplay featuring noise coverage, gravity, wind, and Karl’s own heart rate. Each of these elements can completely change your progression, allowing you to either remain hidden or force you to take the Nazi power head-on.
Sniper Elite 4 is a customizable World War II shooter, allowing players to tackle each mission to their liking. Equip Karl with period-specific weaponry and gadgets and improve his skills to turn him into a formidable sniper, a close-quarters killer, or a well-rounded soldier of the United States. So long as you can take down the Nazi threat, how you approach the game is completely up to you.
Wolfenstein has always thrived as an alternate-history gaming experience, and The New Order continues that trend. Set in the 1960s, players take control of legendary U.S. special forces operative Captain William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as he returns to do what he does best – slay Nazis.
With Bethesda behind the production, it was inevitable that The New Order would have a rich story, and though the primary focus is to take down as many Nazis as possible while guiding Blazkowicz on his latest journey, there are touches of Bethesda’s telltale storytelling peppered throughout. The world The New Order is set in is very much so alive, and you can feel the weight of Nazi Germany and its effect on the United States.
The New Order features a branching narrative that changes who you’ll interact with throughout the game. Though it doesn’t massively change the outcome, the changes are different enough that you may be enticed to boot The New Order up for a second go, especially as it’s on Xbox Game Pass.
4. Aliens: Fireteam Elite
Developer: Cold Iron Studios Publisher: Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios did what so many developers failed to do in the past – develop an effective and immersive experience inspired by Aliens. Now, don’t mistake that for Alien, as the two movies are thematically and tonally different. And where Isolation captured the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s first movie in the series, Fireteam Elite does a decent job of capturing the chaos and peril of the action-focused sequel while also being one of the best shooters on Xbox Game Pass.
As the titular fireteam, players explore new locations on planet LV-895 and navigate a story that does a fantastic job of building upon Scott’s lore. Fireteam Elite helps bridge some gaps between Prometheus and Alien and bravely explores new lore to further expand the Alien universe.
Amidst all this are the frequent swarms of xenomorphs, exchanges of fire between Colonial Marines and synthetics, and frantic battles against deadly creations. Players customize their Fireteam members with new and familiar weapons and choose between different classes that provide individual perks like a shoulder-mounted cannon or stat boost. A well-coordinated team can plow through the game’s story while just one weak link amidst the trio of soldiers can lead to inevitable defeat.
3. Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Entertainment Publisher: Electronic Arts
If ever there were a series that deserved to be restarted, it’s Titanfall. While both the original and sequel received heavy acclaim from critics and players, Titanfall 2 just delivers on the Titan-based gameplay to deliver a more well-rounded experience.
Titanfall 2 may have been best known for its multiplayer, but the single-player component allows players to get a taste of the heavy-hitting combat without being forced into online matches. The campaign may not be a driving force of the experience, but it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the real stars of the game – the Titans.
You’ll inevitably spend a bit of time as just an unarmoured soldier, so it was important for Respawn to perfect all aspects of gameplay and not just the Titans. For the most part, the developer succeeded, ensuring players could enjoy the core experience even if they were without their favorite Titan.
Once manning the oversized mechs, though, Titanfall 2 really shines as one of the best shooters on Xbox Game Pass. Different Titans bring different abilities and firepower to the battlefield. There’s a lot to enjoy about Titanfall 2. In fact, the only real complaint we have is that it has, so far, been the end of the series.
2. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Developer: 343 Industries Publisher: Xbox Game Studio
If you own an Xbox and are subscribed to Game Pass, there should be only one reason not to have downloaded the Master Chief Collection by now – not enough hard drive space. And even then, we’d recommend unloading some of those other games until you’ve had a chance to play through Master Chief’s entire journey thus far.
Halo is pinnacle Xbox entertainment, even when the series isn’t at its best. And, to be honest, later entries do largely pale in comparison to the stellar experiences of the first three titles. Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 3 are must-play shooters for Xbox owners. It’s wild how well they’ve held up over the years and still deliver on smooth, fast-paced, entertaining combat.
Local co-op across the board only further supports the fact that every Xbox should have the Master Chief Collection installed on them at least once in their lifespan. In fact, because the games – the initial trilogy, in particular – are so quick and easy to jump in and out of, why not just expand your hard drive so you never have to delete the sizable collection?
1. DOOM Eternal
Developer: id Software Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
In 1994, id Software took the battle between the ticked-off space marine-turned-demon hunter and the forces of hell to Earth with DOOM II. It was inevitable that, when id Software and Bethesda joined forces to restart the series, it would eventually bring the fight to Earth once again, which it did with DOOM Eternal.
However, Eternal is more than just your average sequel. Though it shares similarities with its predecessor, it’s an evolution of what was conceptualized in 2016’s reboot.
DOOM Eternal marries a few different genres while remaining true to the frantic firefights. There is some platforming, a little role-playing, and a little creation of id Software called “push-forward” combat. Stand still, and you’ll inevitably succumb to the swarms of demons that relentlessly spawn in.
The Doom Slayer has plenty at his disposal to litter the ground with demon body parts, such as a shoulder cannon that launches grenades and an arm blade. These additions really changed up the gameplay, lending to Eternal’s focus on gameplay that’s somehow more chaotic and demon-filled than the 2016 reboot.
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