Shooting games have always been at the forefront of gaming ever since the inception of the format itself, starting out with ‘Space Invaders’ and now continuing the trend with AAA titles like ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Battlefield’. Now, these games can get quite costly and with the emergence of microtransactions, it is really hard for casual gamers to enjoy such experiences. However, there are several games out there that are completely free and do not require the player to go through extensive lootboxes. And here, we’ve compiled them for you. You can play these top shooting games online.
8. Modern Combat 5: Blackout (2014)
‘Modern Combat 5: Blackout’ is a popular first person shooter video game developed and published by Gameloft for android and iOS devices. It is the fifth installment in the long running series and really does manage to up the game when it comes to graphics and combat mechanics. Even though there is a complete single player campaign, what we are going to focus on here is the multiplayer format which allows players to form squads and then take part in team based battles. There are a total of 7 multiplayer game modes and with 7 different maps to play on, it really is quite varied when you consider it with other mobile games. All in all, it keeps the gameplay simple and addictive and is definitely one you should check out if you have been playing the series from its beginning.
7. Deer Hunter Classic (2013)
‘Deer Hunter Classic’ is the original ‘Deer Hunter’ video game that found its popularity due to its laid back combat mechanics and innovative gameplay. It strives to simulate the life of a hunter who is on a mission to hunt down all kinds of animals imaginable to mankind. The dude is extremely confident of his abilities and this is where the humor simply begins. You must travel through all the locations in the game world, of which there are a lot, and complete all the tasks given to you in order to progress to the next one.
As you keep progressing, the hunts also become harder and require you to focus and concentrate. One failed attempt can be very costly when you reach arena 4 and thus can have a lot of negative effect on your session. There are two types of in-game currency — one normal and one premium. The normal one can be obtained quite easily and counts towards your basic upgrades and acquiring new weapons. The premium currency, however, is used for a variety of reasons and can make the difference between you getting stuck on a level or clearing it. Even though it is technically not an online multiplayer shooting game, it does require an internet connection to play and is one of the more unique titles on this list. So we decided to throw it in anyway, but be prepared for the hardcore simulation mechanics as they can catch players off guard.
6. Critical Ops (2015)
‘Critical Ops’ is a free to play multiplayer shooter developed and published by Critical Force in the year 2015 for android and iOS devices. Being heavily influenced by games like ‘Counter Strike’, it found massive popularity during the first few months of its release due to its loyal depiction of the same. The game does not try to hide its influences, and instead advertises them in front of the face of gamers right from the very beginning. The question is not whether the two games are similar but to what extent? If you have played the critically acclaimed first person shooter ‘Counter Strike’, then this should definitely be on the top of your wishlist. And being a free to play multiplayer shooter, it does not demand much from the player either. You just need some data to download the game on your device and a steady internet connection and you are good to go.
Even though certain items within the game are locked behind a paywall, we never felt that the game was going out of its way to make things difficult for a free to play player and it is definitely possible to acquire a lot of powerful weapons through casual grinding alone. On the surface, there are two factions similar to ‘Counter Strike’ — the Coalition and the Breach. There are four game modes, with the defuse mode being most similar to the gameplay of ‘Counter Strike’. Here you are required to plant a C4 bomb on a location on the map before the other team takes you out.
In addition to the defuse game mode, there is a gun game mode which takes you through 15 levels, each time providing you with a different gun. The opponents and team mates also get the same gun, hence making it a matter of skill rather than items. The other two modes are: a deathmatch mode and a ranked ‘defuse’ mode, which is for hardcore players. We are sure you will definitely enjoy this one if you are looking for a free to play shooting game to play on your handheld smartphones.
5. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (2017)
If you have ever seen a game explode into the market literally overnight, then chances are you are referring to this one. The battle royale genre seemingly came from nowhere and became the talk of the town mainly due to the success of this game and if you have not tried it yet, what are you even doing reading this list? Put the game on download first before you continue reading further as this is not one you want to miss out on. We seldom find indie games to break the industry and take over the internet before we can even spell chicken dinner, and this is why this one receives special mention.
What started off as a mod for several shooter by player ‘unknown’, turned out to be one of the best success stories of the decade when it found its place on over 400 million devices worldwide. Having released in the year 2017 for Windows PC, it was soon ported to other platforms mainly due to its popularity. The handheld versions of the game are completely free to play and happen to be one of the best free to play shooting games on the mobile. If you have played battle royales before, then you’ll definitely find yourself familiar with the mechanics.
You start off by customizing your avatar but this is only for aesthetic purposes and makes no difference to the overall gameplay. After you are done with the character creation screen, you are dropped into a lobby where you are able to interact with other players online and join matches. There are two types of matches presently available — one is solo and the other is squad. In solo, you are dropped off from an aircraft on a huge open world map. The game gives you the option to choose the moment when you dive since there are key locations on the map which contain better loot but also attracts a lot of players.
Therefore, we highly suggest that you stay away from these ‘hot’ locations if you are playing the game for the first time. Instead, you should try one of the lesser populated areas. This allows you a bit more breathing space and even though the loot is relatively less attractive, you will be able to survive for a longer period of time as well. There are a total of 100 players in any given match and the aim is to be the last one to survive, at which point you are declared the winner. This gives rise to a lot of tactics when approaching any given situation. You may want to engage in combat aggressively or deploy a more stealth based tactic, but the aim is the same. Be the last one standing and you are awarded with the infamous chicken dinner!
4. Planetside 2 (2012)
‘Planetside 2’ is an intense free to play online multiplayer first person shooting video game developed and published by Sony Online Entertainment in the year 2012 for Microsoft Windows PC and in 2015 for the PlayStation 4 devices. It is a direct sequel to the 2003 video game called ‘Planetside’ that was developed by the same company and follows the efforts of three racers as they fight for the domination and control of the planet Auraxis. If you have played the original game, then you will be able to tell from the first glance alone that this is supposed to be a spiritual successor and not a real sequel for it.
For starters, the events take place around the same time and not much has changed from the original game, giving rise to the idea that you are still fighting the same war as the original release. Upon entering the game world, you are able to see that a lot of new changes have been made to the territory system in order to make it playable on modern systems. The combat mechanics have also been polished for the seventh generation of gaming consoles and is reminiscent of the FPS games of the time, featuring fast paced gameplay, shooting through ironsights and regenerating shields. As soon as you enter the battlefield, the differences are clear and for the better.
The game allows you to choose a faction of your choice and then engage in huge battles in order to help your faction win the war. The engine used for the simulation of the battle is the Forgelight Engine, which is capable of rendering a huge battlefield containing up to 2000 players. As of now, ‘Planetside 2’ holds the Guinness World Record for the most number of players engaging in a single battle, which amounted to 1158. These large scale battles mean that the player need to take care of several objectives in a cooperative format. Therefore, the game rewards the player for every bit of activity they take part in, like providing medical assistance to a fallen soldier or capturing an important location on the map.
Conflict takes place in the form of capturing nodes on the map, ultimately resulting in one faction capturing the entirety of the continent. Once a faction takes over 40% of any given continent, then an alert system warns the other factions of an impending take-over and if they are not able to stop them in time, the continent is lost. A new continent becomes available instantly to keep the game progressing and the players guessing. This is one online shooting game we highly recommend to our readers mainly because of the open world large scale combat mechanics.
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3. Team Fortress 2 (2007)
‘Team Fortress 2’ is a massively popular first person shooter video game developed and published by Valve as a part of ‘The Orange Box’ compilation in the year 2007 for Microsoft Windows PC and Xbox 360. This is an incredibly big launch for the industry as it contained 5 of the best titles that changed the history of gaming forever. Two of the five games were ‘Half Life 2’ and its expansion ‘Episode 1’. Alongside it was ‘Portal’, one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. And the last two games are ‘Team Fortress 2’ and its predecessor ‘Team Fortress Classic’. Now you can already tell that being bundled together with some of the most legendary games of all time always has some consequences attached with it, but ‘Team Fortress 2’ managed to cut through stigma and cement its position on the global charts regardless of being dwarfed by the other games.
Due to its popularity, it was soon ported to the PlayStation 3, Linux and OS X systems after finally being made free to play in the year 2011. This resulted in a massive influx of gamers due to the free to play tag and Valve still makes sure to constantly release cosmetic upgrades for the several characters in order to support that style. Although there is an in-game currency and you are able to acquire several new costumes and weapons through real money, it is always possible for one to grind through the same and acquire their items this way. It is extremely friendly to new players and awards them heavily in the starting stages of the game.
Now, coming to gameplay, its very similar to online shooters that came out during that time. Think ‘Counter Strike’ and ‘Unreal Tournament’ but in a smaller scale and with extensive character classes. There are 9 character classes for you to choose from, each having their own identity and abilities. These mostly reflect your play style but also may differ on the mode that you are playing. When it comes to matchmaking, there are several modes like ‘Capture the Flag’ and ‘King of he Hill’’ and most of these play out as one would expect them to. There is nothing more to discuss on the gameplay since its pretty normal and stays true to the core of the series. The humor mechanics are on-point and are one of the selling points of the game; kudos to Valve on this aspect. They have an incredibly polished online multiplayer shooting game on their hands and we highly recommend it to fans of the genre.
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2. Apex Legends (2019)
‘Apex Legends’ is an extremely well made free to play shooter that is EA’s own entry into the battle royale format. It seems battle royales are the talk of the town lately and owning to the success of ‘Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds’ and ‘Fortnite’, all the big names in the industry are scrambling for a chunk of the profits. We recently received a ‘Battlefield’ game that added its own identity into the battle royale format along with a ‘Call of Duty’ game that also seemed to be based on the same. However, all of these AAA releases are not exactly free to play and require you to own the original game in order to tap into these game modes.
In addition, due to the type of their gameplay format, they are not exactly the main focus of the title but are included as an added bonus. However, ‘Apex Legends’ is all set to change all of that by making the game extremely accessible to fans online. The free to play tag really helps nowadays when gamers know that it is no longer limited to indie releases that are forgettable at best. And with the addition of juiced up combat mechanics with stellar graphics, you know you have an extremely polished experience in your hands. The concept really started with the release of ‘Titanfall’, another massively popular first person shooter by Respawn.
You are put in groups of three and are dropped off in an open map with a total of 60 players. The aim is to survive till the end like any other battle royale game. There are a total of 9 heroes to choose from but three of them are locked from the beginning and need to be unlocked by completing specific quests. During the course of gameplay, you are able to communicate with your team mates by using a ping based system, which marks important locations on the minimap. Strategy is quite important and can make the difference between a win and a loss, so make sure you are constantly communicating with your squad and making changes to your gameplay according to the conditions on the map. This will ensure that you are on top of things and can spring into action at the slightest hint of a threat.
Keep your wits about you and you will soon find yourself winning more games than you anticipated. This is another aspect of ‘Apex Legends’ that we really liked. It seems to reward the player with the better skill rather than the one with the better gear, so it provides plenty of free to play players to keep up with their premium counterparts. We highly recommend this one if you are looking for a definitive online shooting experience.
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1. Warframe (2013)
‘Warframe’ is an immensely popular free to play third person shooting game developed and published by Digital Extremes in the year 2013 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One systems. Though the initial release was a bit slow for its quality, it soon picked up pace due to the efforts and dedication of the developers. During the first few months of release, they failed to find the required amount of people to play due to the unpolished gameplay mechanics and lack of creative level design.
However, Digital Extremes stuck through the bad times, polishing the game and introducing new levels while marketing it effectively to their intended target group. Slowly but surely, the efforts started to pay off and players worldwide started realizing the potential of this free to play title. After four expansion packs and a lot of new content, it enjoys around 50 million players worldwide as of 2019, making it the most commercially successful title by Digital Extremes till date. The roots of the title can be traced back to the year 2000 when Digital Extremes already had plans for the gameplay style and features under the working name of ‘Dark Sector’. They also had a playable version ready by the year 2004 but could not release the game due to a lack of publishers.
Soon, they started adapting the gameplay mechanics and combat systems for modern consoles and self published the game under ‘Warframe’ in 2013. It can safely be said that a project so many years in development under the same team holds some special place in their hearts, so you can expect continued support for the same in times to come. In fact, a sequel called ‘Warframe 2’ is currently in the final stages of development and should be available sometime later this year. As far as the few gameplay trailers reveal, the graphics have been updated, with newer systems being introduced to enhance multiplayer gameplay. This is one free to play shooter that you should definitely not miss out on, especially with all the hype being generated by the upcoming sequel.
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