2022 was a good year for shooter fans. While the launch of a new shooter title (FPS or otherwise) is pretty common every year, the variety we received in 2022 was fantastic. From massive, online battle royales to smaller, quirky indie shooters and everything in between, this year really did have a little something something for every kind of shooter fan across nearly every platform out there. I said last year we were in a golden age of shooters, and 2022 proves that golden age continues on.
Here’s our list of the 10 best shooters from 2022. Some of these are brand-spankin’ new games, and others have been around for a bit but are still as fun as ever thanks to constant updates, events, and battle passes. To help organize everything, we split them up into the new stuff and the old stuff!
Wow, there were a lot of games released this year that included the word “West” huh? Anyway, FPS paranormal western Blood West is one of the better among that crowd thanks to its retro-inspired visuals and satisfying mix of combat, stealth, and exploration. It’s like an imsim + western with a bit of old-school action sprinkled on top. Good stuff, though be warned: You will die a lot at first.
The newest game on this list (just released on November 30, 2022), Darktide is from the makers of the beloved Vermintide series. And like those games, Darktide is also a co-op action game that definitely feels a bit like Left 4 Dead. But unlike Vermintide, Darktide is set in the futuristic Warhammer 40k universe, so replace all the rats, swords, and chainmail with rifles, space monsters, and robots. A satisfying co-op shooter that looks perfectly gritty and dark and which will likely see more updates to expand and support the game over the coming months.
Technically this came out in 2021, but it finally left Early Access this year and that’s when I decided to check it out. And boy oh boy, I’m so happy I played it! Nightmare Reaper looks like similar retro-inspired shooters that have become more common in recent years, but it’s so much more. It’s a roguelike with smart level progression, hundreds of powerful and zany weapons (like whips and spell books), and you improve your character by playing through Gameboy-like mini-games. It’s weird! It’s different! And it’s only $25 on Steam. You should play it.
I know some folks didn’t like Wonderlands, the latest entry in the popular looter shooter franchise that is Borderlands. But even if the humor is at times grating and other times downright bad, the rest of the game is just too much fun for me to hate it. With a bigger focus on melee, armor, magic, and RPG mechanics than past games, Wonderlands dug its claws into me (and my wife, who I play co-op with) and we still are playing it months after release. Let’s just hope the next Borderlands game launches in a much better state.
Does the world need another retro-inspired shooter? Well, I can’t speak for the world, but I can say that I need one, especially one this good. And Cultic is very good. If you were a fan of Blood back in the day, you need to stop reading this right now and play Cultic. It has the same creepy, rural action vibes of Blood, complete with TNT, too. Yet, Cultic has its own crunchy and retro look with open-ended levels and tough-as-nails combat that might challenge some, but will reward those who push through.
One day I’ll get better at Warzone 2.0. I really hope that day comes sooner rather than later because even when I get my ass kicked in the latest Call of Duty battle royale, I still enjoy its sense of scale and pace. A lot of battle royale games have 100 or fewer players; Warzone 2.0 has 150. And the world is both hyper-detailed yet easy to explore and fight in. Honestly, this might end up being one of my favorite shooters of 2023…especially if I get better at playing it.
Few games have sucked me in like Neon White. I sunk hours and hours into this fast-paced first-person platforming shooter for a solid week or two after it launched earlier this year. Often, I was playing the same level over and over, trying to perfect my runs to beat my friends’ times. It also helped that Neon White is stylish as fuck and has a story that I really like, with characters who stayed with me long after I put the game down. And no, this isn’t a card game. It just uses cards to represent its various weapons you pick up. So if that was your reason for skipping one of 2022’s best games, stop it and go shoot some demons.
Nintendo isn’t known for its large library of shooters, and that’s not likely to change anytime in the future. But it does have one of the most popular, colorful, and inventive shooter franchises out there with Splatoon. And the latest entry, released earlier this year on Switch, is just as good as the past two, but with new maps and more polish. If only this squid-infested, ink-splatting kaleidoscope of an online shooter wasn’t such a pain to actually play online, it’d be an even stronger shooter. But asking Nintendo for improved online play is like asking Nintendo to make more shooters: Probably a waste of time.
A smaller indie shooter released on PC, Adaca might not be a game that you heard of in between all the big shooters of 2022 like Wonderlands, Destiny 2, and Call of Duty. But if you love Half-Life 2 as much as I do, you owe it to yourself to check out Adaca. In many ways, it feels like a love letter to Valve’s seminal shooter, with many of the same types of puzzles and combat mechanics found in HL2. It also runs well on most PCs thanks to its sharp but simple art style. So you can likely play Adaca right now, even on that older PC you’ve been meaning to upgrade in your basement.
What if Doom replaced all its guns, gore, and demons with fashion-inspired weapons and poorly dressed people? Well, you’d get Fashion Police Squad, a shooter that is more than just another retro-inspired adventure. In Fashion Police Squad aka FPS (clever) you play as a fashion cop trying to help people dress better and sharper. To do this you use “weapons” like a sewing machine, your belt, and an ink gun that shoots color. Enemies are weak to some weapons and immune to others which forces a lot of weapon swapping and exciting decision-making during combat. Oh and bonus: I can confirm this game runs very well on Steam Deck.
And now, here are some older shooters that might not be as young as the previously mentioned whippersnappers, but are still worth checking out thanks to upgrades, adjustments, and content added this year. These will probably be worth playing next year and the year after that, too.
2022’s Witch Queen expansion for Destiny 2 is fantastic. It gives the online shooter one of its best campaigns in years and adds a ton of new weapons and enemies perfectly slotted into Destiny’s already extensive and solid chestful of content. On top of that, over the course of 2022, Destiny 2 received some great seasons and new events. Its most recent season was a space-pirate-themed plunder for loot and riches involving spaceship-to-spaceship fights and treasure hunts across the galaxy. I mean, come on, how can you beat that?
What began as a Titanfall spin-off is now a rock-solid battle royale with rotating modes, shifting metas, and a loyal playerbase. Apex Legends sets the tone for a lot of battle royales when it comes to meta adjustments, as every time it introduces a new Legend it ostensibly breaks the established meta—but Respawn isn’t afraid of that. The company embraces change, whether that’s fucking with huge swaths of a popular map or locking away a favorite weapon behind the rare care package drop. That change is what keeps Apex Legends feeling so fresh and exciting nearly four years after its launch (god where has the time gone) and what gets me excited to see what’s in its future. It doesn’t hurt that Apex has some of the best gunplay of any modern FPS, period. That’s that Titanfall DNA gifting us from beyond the grave.
Like last year, Fortnite has continued to expand and evolve. And this year, its updates helped it become one of my favorite games ever. I’ll admit, it took me some time to get truly into Fortnite, but this year it happened thanks to the addition of modes that don’t require building. Now in Zero Build, I’ve been able to focus more on Fortnite’s combat and movement, which are better than ever. Well, unless you ask the angry Fortnite players on Twitter who tell me every new season is bad, every change is garbage and is actually the best time in the game’s history. But don’t talk to those people. They suck. Just play Fortnite and have fun.