Xbox One Shooters
Xbox has been long-considered the home of shooters, first shaped by its pioneering Xbox Live network atop the Halo franchise. This 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
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege serves up unmatched tactical first-person combat, still pulling millions in 2019. 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; dozens of counter-terrorist specialists donning 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, 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
Addictive, challenging shooter action.
Ubisoft’s hit shooter is hotter than ever, touting tense tactical gameplay, and regular free updates, showing it’s not slowing down in 2019.
Best Battle Royale: Apex Legends
Source: Electronic Arts
Kicking off 2019 with its surprise release, Electronic Arts and Respawn enter the battle royale genre with this free-to-play shooter. From the initial drop to final kill, Apex Legends delivers perfected last-man-standing action crafted by the Titanfall team. Backed by flowing locomotion and smooth gunplay, it’s the hottest battle royale on the block.
Apex Legends’ hero-based core elevates it beyond competition, casting a roster of 10 playable characters, all with unique abilities. It also retains a level playing field, shunning aggressive monetization, and other common shortcomings of free titles. Respawn Entertainment has struck a winning formula, and it won’t cost you a dime unless you want it to. The Battle Pass feature provides daily and weekly challenges to complete along with the chance for fun cosmetics for just $10 per season.
- Fluid combat and movement
- Diverse hero lineup
- Balanced microtransactions
- Underwhelming post-launch content (so far)
Best Battle Royale
A new challenger hits Xbox One.
Intense underlying combat and movement shape a shooter than feels simply great to play – backed by robust free-to-play value.
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
Master Chief returns better than ever.
The Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with the campaign and multiplayer onboard, is the essential package for any Halo fan.
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.
- Rewarding shootin’ and lootin’
- Expanded role-playing traits
- Regular free content
- Flawed systems for hardcore players
Best Shooter RPG
Take back Washington.
Civil war has fallen upon the nation after the pandemic, throwing Washington D.C. into chaos. Gear up with friends or alone and reclaim the nation.
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
Atmospheric sci-fi shooting.
Prey is an incredible (and underrated) atmospheric shooter that combines the best of Dead Space tension and Bioshock-like evocative world-building.
Best Single-player: DOOM
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 DOOM reboot shares the same values of its predecessor. This single-player gem goes back to the glory days of gaming of raw action.
DOOM’s weaponry takes front and center, stacking snappy shootouts upon buttery-smooth movement to satisfy that arcade itch. Topped with hellish 4K visuals and consistent 60 FPS encounters, it’s a rollercoaster of unfiltered butchery.
- Feel-good, responsive shooting
- Brutal, impactful encounters
- Lengthy campaign
- Locations can lack variety
Prepare for hell.
DOOM’s 2016 reboot is a crazy and unhinged campaign of demon massacre. It’s a whole load of guns, punches, and gore — just how it should be.
Best Free-to-Play: Fortnite
Source: Epic Games
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
Free to play and easily accessible for all ages.
Fortnite is dominating the globe with its take on battle royale and shows no signs of slowing down.
Best Value: Battlefield V
Source: Electronic Arts
Diving into the perilous horrors of the Second World War, Battlefield V nails immersive, large-scale conflicts like no other. Amplifying the series’ defining traits, it packs 64-player warfare for a blend of infantry bloodshed and vehicular mayhem. This latest installment tops the immersion, limiting munitions and support, alongside increased combat fluidity.
Battlefield V offers harrowing conflict for period-shooter fans, across competitive multiplayer and compilation of single-player stories. The recent addition of “Firestorm” also throws battle royale into the mix, dropping players onto a blazing arena with Battlefield twist. It’s an authentic, action-filled FPS with content pitched to all.
- Huge, large-scale warfare
- Strong blend of infantry and vehicles
- Unpredictable, emergent gameplay
- Limited content for long-term play
Get ready for all-out warfare.
Battlefield V’s multiplayer combat remains as grand as ever, with stunning visuals and explosive gameplay.
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.
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