• Best sci-fi shooters need a strong story or setting like
    Titanfall 2
    ‘s campaign.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    has top-tier stealth mechanics despite RPG roots.
  • Metro 2033
    delivers a unique atmosphere through scarce resources and lethal gunfights.

Sci-fi is very popular among shooters. Even early entries in the genre, like Doom and Perfect Dark, are part of a broader definition of science fiction. Pretty much any story with guns that doesn’t take place on Earth is, by definition, science fiction. Yet, not every shooter feels like it should be part of the sci-fi FPS canon.


7 Best Soft Sci-Fi Games

The following games are must-plays for fans of soft sci-fi.

What a great sci-fi game needs is a strong story, or at least a competently told setting. Wolfenstein 3D isn’t sci-fi just because its final boss is Mecha Hitler, but Wolfenstein: The New Order arguably could be. The only real difference is how much the science fiction elements in the setting influence the actual game.

10 Titanfall 2

Metascore: 89

A pilot and his titan in Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2
October 28, 2016

Titanfall 2 wasn’t very successful when it was released, but it has since garnered a reputation as one of the best campaigns of any multiplayer-focused shooter. While online play used to be the focus of the game, players who approach the game now are unlikely to find a lively community. That said, the game is so cheap now that it’s worth getting just for that short but excellent campaign.

There isn’t much to say about Titanfall 2’s story. The protagonist is a soldier-turned-mech pilot who must destroy a weapon capable of wiping out entire planets in seconds. What makes the campaign work is a mix of set pieces with unique mechanics and more open areas where the player can choose between multiple paths and approaches.

9 Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Metascore: 89

A stealth sequence from Deus Ex Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the long-awaited prequel of Deus Ex, a legendary action-RPG and immersive sim but a terrible shooter, if one tried to play it like one. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Human Revolution is revealed to be an excellent stealthy cover shooter but a terrible RPG, if one tries to play it like one.


Every Deus Ex Game, Ranked

One of the best sci-fi games to exist, the Deus Ex series is one that everyone should play, but which game takes the crown for the best?

While Deus Ex: Human Revolution is nominally a role-playing game, its shooting and stealth mechanics are some of the best in the genre and one of the most fun elements of the game. And because it’s an RPG, the story surrounding the shooting is much more detailed and intriguing than the average FPS.

8 Metro 2033

Metascore: 77

Before a gunfight in Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is a post-apocalyptic shooter set in the underground tunnels of Moscow. The world has been destroyed by nuclear and biological warfare. The surface is completely unlivable, but even underground, the world is far from safe. Mutated creatures and enemy soldiers alike stalk the tunnels that separate the game’s cities, and resources are scarce.

Metro 2033 isn’t really a survival game, but it certainly can be played as one. On the hardest difficulties, ammo is scarce, and gunfights are extremely lethal, lasting only seconds. It’s the kind of game that knows how to use its gameplay to deliver a unique atmosphere.

7 Marathon

GameFAQs Rating: 3.5/5 (47 Ratings)

A fight against an alien in Marathon

macOS , iOS , Apple Pippin

December 21, 1994

Marathon is quite an old series at this point, as the first game dates back to 1994. But this isn’t just any 1990s sci-fi FPS. Unlike its contemporaries, classic boomer shooters like Doom or Quake, Marathon focuses heavily on story. That’s part of what allowed the series to age so gracefully.

If there is one thing modern fans might find annoying about Marathon is the way the game tells its story. The plot itself is simple but well-told, especially for the standards of the time, and gets way more involved in the sequels. The problem is that everything is told through text-only terminals that only appear once or twice per level.

6 System Shock (2023)

Metascore: 78

Fighting a security mech in System Shock (2023)

The System Shock remake is much more of a traditional shooter than any of its predecessors. Fans of the series might find this weird, but it doesn’t mean that NightDive Studios dumbed down the original’s immersive sim sensibilities.


System Shock Remake: 7 Best Changes From The Original Game

The recent remake of the classic System Shock immersive sim shooter manages to improve on the original in several key ways.

While System Shock isn’t a pure shooter, the unique setting makes it a game that fans of retro sci-fi can’t miss. Cyberspace infiltration means flying into a 3D space typical of old cyberpunk’s internet; computers and electronic keys are large and bulky; even some of the game’s texture, when looked at from close by, reveals a pixelated texture, almost as if to show the game that the remake is built on.

5 Control

Metascore: 82

Discovering an anomaly in Control

Control is a third-person shooter by Remedy Entertainment, who recently released the widely acclaimed Alan Wake 2. But while this game shares some similarities with the company’s other projects, especially with its other third-person shooter series, Max Payne, the setting is what makes Control unique.

Inspired by internet-born paranormal stories like those of the SCP Foundation, Control sees players wrangle with unknowable forces and paranormal powers in a complex and non-linear story. The protagonist, Bureau of Control director Jesse Faden, eventually learns to use some of those powers herself, which helps shake up the otherwise trophy story as much as it reinvigorates the gameplay.

4 BioShock

Metascore: 96

Fighting a big daddy in BioShock

BioShock is an indirect sequel of sorts to the System Shock series. The originals delivered a shock to the electronic system, a cyberpunk kind of sci-fi where a hacker protagonist modifies his body to overcome an evil artificial intelligence. BioShock is, then, a shock to the body: to the protagonist’s body as much as to the world’s inhabitants, whose ruined mind destroyed their underwater city.

BioShock is an illuminating game to play now, over a decade after its release. So many elements of modern story-focused action games were invented here, at least in their current form. Other games had notes or audio recordings for the player to find, but it was BioShock that popularized them in the form that is know today.

3 Prey (2017)

Metascore: 79

Ambushing a large enemy in Prey (2017)

Prey is a great shooter with minor horror and survival elements, with some immersive sim sensibilities thrown in for good measure. It’s the first shooter from Arkane Studios, who later developed the more action-focused but less science fiction-oriented Deathloop. Just like in that game, shooting in Prey is only part of the action: an innovative crafting system and highly interactive environments make this a must-play for any fan of sci-fi shooters.


19 Best Sci-Fi Games On Switch

Though they may not seem like the console’s main genre, there are tons of amazing sci-fi games awaiting fans on the Switch.

The first Prey and its supposed reboot are completely different games. The 2007 original is a very competent shooter, and even if it’s a bit dated, it’s a very original take on what a sci-fi shooter can be like. For this reason, the original might be worth playing through, too, even if it’s completely unrelated to the 2017 reboot.

2 Borderlands 2

Metascore: 89

Figthing with a team member in Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2
September 18, 2012


Everyone knows the Borderlands series, whether it’s the stellar intro of the original or Telltale’s swan songTales from the Borderlands. Borderlands 2, in particular, is still popular with some fans. And while enjoying this title now comes with some hurdles, the second chapter in the series is still a great time.

To really experience Borderlands 2, one needs first to find a friend to play with together, though ideally, every adventuring party should have four members. Then there’s the fact that the game is quite long, especially when taking into consideration making time to play together. Still, the story was never the series’ main strength.

1 Halo: Combat Evolved

Metascore: 97

Shooting at an enemy plane in Halo Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved
November 15, 2001

Halo: Combat Evolved doesn’t really need any introduction. It’s one of the series that changes FPS history forever. Once Halo came out, every console shooter started getting local co-op and multiplayer modes. But Halo is also one of the few shooters of the time to have a story and world building on pair with most RPGs.

Way before Halo: Combat Evolved was even in development, Bungie had worked on a pioneering story-heavy sci-fi shooter series called Marathon. It’s no surprise, then, if the company hit the ground running with Halo. And it also explains why Destiny’s story is so good, especially for a multiplayer, mission-based shooter.


12 Sci-Fi Games With The Best Space Combat

Players who love space combat can’t go wrong with the following sci-fi games.


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