The 3 Best Multiplayer First Person Shooters Of All Time [MUO Gaming]

Dave LeClair 06-09-2011

Welcome to the first installment of MakeUseOf Gaming. On tap today we will be taking a look at the three best first person shooters in the history of gaming. Of course, this is my opinion on the subject, so should you disagree feel free to let me know in the comments.


First person shooters Top Five Free Online Shooter Games - Must Read For Gamers Read More are one of the biggest genres in the video game world today. With games like Call of Duty setting sales records across all of entertainment, not just gaming, I think it is safe to say first person shooters are here to stay. Obviously, since there are so many first person shooters being released, narrowing it down to the three best is no small task, but when I really thought about it, these choices were actually a no brainer. Remember, I am only looking at these games in regards to their multiplayer prowess; their single player side is of no concern for the purpose of this article.

Halo: Combat Evolved

I will start this off by saying I am not a great Halo player. I have played every Halo, and no matter how much time I spend with them I just cannot get good. I reached a point where I realized that Halo just is not for me. However, I would be insane to leave the original Halo list off any top list of first person shooters.

multiplayer shooters

Game developers had tried to make a good FPS for consoles for a long time and no one could seem to nail it. Then Bungie stepped into the picture and completely flipped the gaming industry on its head. They took a completely PC dominated genre and made it work on a console better than anyone imagined. Bungie brought incredible graphics, a silky smooth frame rate and a control scheme that was adapted perfectly to a game pad instead of mouse and keyboard. Even though Halo features no online play, it is still one of the best multiplayer shooters in history.

Halo has gone on to become one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, and I expect it to continue to sell like hot cakes.


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty was a fairly successful PC shooter before the first Modern Warfare game came out. Then the dynamic shifted, and Call of Duty became a massive franchise that breaks every sales record in the book every year when a new game comes out.

massively multiplayer online shooter

COD4 added so much to the first person shooter genre. The core game play in Call of Duty isn’t that revolutionary. What makes it so special is all the things it added in terms of multiplayer features outside of the actual game. They gave their game a sense of purpose that is not often seen in a multiplayer game. They added a level progression system that many other shooters are borrowing now.

massively multiplayer online shooter


Infinity Ward also added kill streaks, which is a genius way of rewarding players for doing well. If you are getting a lot of kills, what better way is there to be rewarded besides earning more kills!

Their perks system, which allows you to change specific attributes about your soldier based on your play style, is something that kept myself, and millions of other gamers coming back for more.

Battlefield 2

This is without question the video game I have spent the most time with in my life. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of hours I have spent playing Battlefield 2, and I think if I knew the number it would terrify me. Battlefield 2 was the game that finally broke first person shooters out of their World War 2 rut. I cannot stand playing WWII shooters because the guns always feel old and slow.

Battlefield 2 took the systems Dice originally laid out in their earlier shooters Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam, expanded them and put them in a modern setting.


massively multiplayer online shooter

What truly makes Battlefield so special is their emphasis on large-scale teamwork. It is one of the first games to bring giant 64 player battles to the player, and more importantly, they did it in a way that didn’t feel like an unmanageable cluster.

Dice took classes to a whole other level. Having people play as medics to revive and heal teammates, support classes to provide ammo and even engineers to repair damaged vehicles.

Did I mention vehicles? Battlefield 2 merged vehicle-based combat with on-foot combat in a way that I still don’t think has been replicated. They offered all kinds of vehicles like ATV’s, tanks and airplanes. The scope of the game is tremendous. One minute a player could be running around shooting a squad of enemies on foot, and the next flying around in an airplane dropping bombs on the very same squad.


multiplayer shooters

For me, Battlefield 2 is the single best first person shooter ever made, and honestly, one of the best video games ever made. The only game that might top it could be Battlefield 3 The 5 Best Battlefield 3 Websites For Up To The Minute Information Battlefield 3 is being hyped as the Call of Duty killer. That is no small task considering that Call of Duty is one of the biggest selling video game franchises ever. Still, Battlefield has been... Read More .


There have been hundreds of first person shooters released throughout the years. Pretty much any one of those shooters released in the last ten years borrows something from these three games. Not only are they revolutionary in their genre, they are also downright great games. Even today, going back to these games is still fun. And the best part? They all have sequels coming out in the near future.

What are your favorite first person shooters? Do you think my list is asinine? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: First Person Shooter, Multiplayer Games.

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  1. jimmy
    January 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Is the person who wrote this list 17? Absolutely terrible list, all good games but top 3 of all time the person should not be weighting for this site as they have no experience

  2. Kay2968
    November 11, 2011 at 5:16 am

    this is so wrong its unbelievable.....    the top 3 multiplayer fps of all time, in no particular order, are:   Quake 3 Arena - Counter Strike - Unreal Tournament 2k4

  3. God5131
    September 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    personly i hate halo cause the whole shield thing was kinda stupid but the was the only thing keeping halo "cool" now with cod u have perks ammo pick ups care packages and nukes or sentry gun i have got to say ok fine the story for halo was good but sci-fi has gone to shit in todays years and now u look ovr to where COD comes in and it seems more realistic and the guns had way better advantage and now here comes COD: MW3 which will more than likely blow almost evry other game out of water. And halo is wat coming out with wat now a remake yeah u can tell then ran the game to shit. NOw this is no offence to anyone.

  4. Nik
    September 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    LOL u forgot best one itz Counter strike 1.6 !!!!!!.   Talk about multiplayer and this one gives you chills.

  5. Caleb-work
    September 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

    how is Counter Strike 1.6 or Source not on here? hmmmm

  6. catfish
    September 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Maybe if the title was "best CONSOLE fps".  What about crysis?  it was a mainstay many years after release?  which of those games have graphics that match crysis, even though they came out much later?  No Duke3D? NO GOLDENEYE?  Play some other FPS.  Author obviously new to FPS.

    • Dave LeClair
      September 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      crysis had terrible multiplayer, so it doen't qualify for a list of best multiplayer shooters, and neither does Duke 3d. Read the title before you comment please.

  7. SMBR
    September 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    My Favorite Game is Counter-Strike : Source

  8. Jessie
    September 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    what about Half life, Bioshock, and FEAR, those are my top three, and also as a fourth would be, crysis. Love those games...

  9. Willdrick
    September 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    if you own a Source-engine game, you might try what I think is the most realistic FPS ever. I'm talking about a mod called Insurgency, one of the few source mods officialy hosted on Steam Store. It's really frustrating at first. you ought to play with friends until you get the hang of it, but to this day, I havn't found 1 game that can achieve this degree of realism. The closest would be BadCompany2 with Hardcore mode turned on, but without prone and propper cover, you'll end up as sniper fodder, while on Insurgency it's balanced through a not-so-pretty "fog of war" to prevent massive camping

  10. muotechguy
    September 7, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Agreed, a fantastic game of it's time and an obvious precursor to these, but I can't blame Dave for not knowing them, it wasn't exactly a famous game. 

    • DeadlyDad
      September 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

      Just spent 2 hours playing Tribes.  Still a blast!!!

  11. Anonymous
    September 7, 2011 at 4:23 am


    "What are your favorite first person shooters? Do you think my list is asinine? Let us know in the comments."

    I think this should sum up for your list, there is no need of comments to accuse you about your personal favs. I mean, you did write the last line for a reason like all MOU article :)

  12. Wepiha
    September 7, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Keep a look out for Tribes:Ascend if you enjoyed the Tribes series (it promises to be something like Starseige: Tribes brought up to date)!

  13. Mike
    September 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Where is Counter-Strike, seriously? I admit being a fanboy but if there is one game that revolutionized team based FPS it is the GoldSrc Counter-Strike.
    It has always been in still is one of the most played games. At it's peak it outnumbered all three of the above together! (broken link removed)

    Although Gamespy doesn't account for all games, players and server I think it is the most valid optionMy personal list would be Counter-Strike, Battlefield 2 and a mixed spot for all the other games worth mentioning (Q3A, UT, T2, RtCW, MoH:AA, ...). If I had to make a pick I would actually go with either Left 4 Dead or Battlefield 1942. Both have something unique about them.

    • Dave LeClair
      September 7, 2011 at 3:07 am

      Counter Strike is def number 4 on the list, it was a toss up between Counter Strike, Halo, and COD. Basically they were interchangeable for me, but I played a lot more COD4, so I had to make that deciding factor.

  14. Dan Tervo
    September 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I think you meant to say Battlefield 1942.  1943 didn't come out until much later and it still hasn't made it to PC.

    BF1942 is still my sentimental favorite.  Flying around in WW2 planes was the best.  I still prefer that to trying to keep modern helicopters and jets under control.

    • Dave LeClair
      September 7, 2011 at 3:05 am

      Yes, that was a typo, meant 1942! I feel shame lol

  15. mick register
    September 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I disagree with this list. Though Halo one was great, I think Halo 3 was the best of its time and offered many great features. Has this author never heard of Forge mode?

    COD: I can't stand it.

    Battlefield Bad company 2: I had played BF:BC1 on both multiplayer and single, I liked it so much that I got this game. Sadly I came to find that my loved gameplay feel and the characters from BC1 had completely changed. BF:BC is best in campaign mode, and does not offer co-op. Overall, it's a second rate game; because of that.

    • Dave LeClair
      September 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      WHOOO hold your horses friend. Not Battlefield Bad Company 2. I'm referring to Battlefield 2, for the PC. Two completely different games.

  16. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Yeah I don't really agree with this list at all.

  17. Dave LeClair
    September 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I will admit, I have never played Tribes, it is one of the few shooters  that flew under my radar I guess. Would you recommend checking it out now? Or is it to the point where it isn't worth it?

  18. kn0w-b1nary
    September 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I agree with Game Fan. The author is stating newer games, as if Unreal Tournament 2004 and Quake 3 Arena don't count. Sure, newer games have more features, but that by themselves does not make them legendary games. BTW, Unreal Tournament had great vehicle integration.

    • Dave LeClair
      September 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Personally, I don't like Unreal or Quake, and I have played a ton of them. As I said, this is a list based on my opinion, and I do not like fast passed area shooters like Quake and Unreal. That being said I will admit they are great games, just not my personal style for shooters.

      • Game Fan
        September 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

        That's kind of a silly thing to hide behind when the headline is "the best multiplayer fuses of all time" isn't it? 

        In that case, it should have been "3 great multi-player FPSes" or "My Top 3 multi-player FPSes" or "Three of the best multi-player FPSes of all time," but that just wouldn't draw in the hits and get the links. It may not be as bombastic, but if you're going to say "the best of all time," you've really got to be able to stand behind it with more criteria than a subjective "...based on my personal opinion."

        I mean, you could have even said "Opinion: the 3 best multi-player fuses of all time" or something. Saying "The Best of All Time" deserves more than that.

        • Dave LeClair
          September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

          There is no definitive 3 best first person shooters of all time. There is no way anyone could construe that as a fact based article. I would think it is obvious that this is an opinion. Since game criticism is a 100 percent subjective field, anything written in that field is obviously someones opinion. So the title is 100 percent valid, as these are my personal 3 best shooters of all time.

        • Onsenturtle
          September 7, 2011 at 3:28 am

          As many people have commented, if you are going to list "best of all time" you have to include the greats which have surely paved the way for the games you listed. If there is no definitive best then you shouldn't have titled it that way. I was extremely disappointed with the list.
          Counterstrike, for example, is definitely one of the best multiplayer FPS of all time no matter what you think about it considering how long it lasted at the top of the genre before the recent crop of games. 

        • Dave LeClair
          September 7, 2011 at 3:32 am

          I agree it is one of the best, but in terms of quality of the game, IMO, it isn't one of the three best, it is one of the five best.

        • kn0w-b1nary
          September 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm

          While there is no definitive best, I disagree on title. You can get facts to back up claims. i.e. Quake 3 Arena has more user generated content then many other games. Urban Terror has a couple thousand players at prime time, and runs on Quake 3 or the ioquake3 engine. Not trying to push a certain game, but you have too many unsupported statements for your title IMHO.

          P.S. Please take this as constructive criticism, not trolling. ;)

        • Bouchard_jerome
          September 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

          you're right

  19. Game Fan
    September 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    This list shows a profound ignorance of first person shooters, their history, and what it takes to make a quality game. If it were the 3 Best Multiplayer First Person Shooters of the past few years, it would be spot on, but eliminating titles like Tribes, Quake, Counterstrike, Serious Sam, Marathon, and Unreal Tournament in favor of these over-produced, mass-marketed, very recent games above proves that the author, while possibly an FPS fan, doesn't have enough depth in the genre to write this piece.

    Seriously guys, applaud the attempt, but leave this kind of stuff to Kotaku and Joystiq.

    • muotechguy
      September 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

      That's a bit harsh I think. Those are all great games, but games and genres inevitably evolve. I could say the same about strategy games, that C&C was the best strategy game ever, defining the RTS genre even - but Red Alert 2 was a much *better* game - obviously, it was a sequel. If a sequel was worse than the original, then you know something has gone seriously wrong. I love unreal tournament as much as the next guy, buy i'm still going to play BF2 or Black Ops over it nowadays. 

      Perhaps Dave should write a follow up with "The 3 most defining FPS games, ever" and include those you mention?

      • Game Fan
        September 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm

        That would be a great article to read. :)

  20. jello
    September 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I agree Bf2 was awesome.  The newer Battlefield series video and audio improvements with newer games are great.  I miss the BF2 capability of mods like the AIX mod I thought was alot of fun.  I disagree with Dice's decision to make us rent servers in order to host our own games.  Since, Valves VAC and Even Balance's punkbuster are inferior aimbot/wallhack detectors.  Hosting our own servers is the best and most reliable way to ban hackers as a admin.  Many server elsewhere admins are hackers themselves, and not everyone can afford to rent a server.   My three greatest First shooter games would be Quakeworld, Counter Strike Source and BF2.   

  21. mesasr
    September 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    haha,I guess you never heard of Counter-Strike

    • Dave LeClair
      September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Counter Strike would be number 4 or 5 for me personally. There is a lot to love about it, but it had so many problems as well.