The 10 best arena-based first-person shooters, according to Metacritic

Arena-style FPS games are hard to categorize, but they’re usually associated with fast-paced, high-octane gameplay and weapons. To succeed, players needed to possess natural talent and an acquired kill, which would allow them to climb the ranks and gain bragging rights. This type of FPS shooter managed to break away from elements that could influence the outcome of a battle, such as a team’s strength and skills.

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Those who mastered the savagery of arena FPS combat emerged stronger, which was part of the appeal and charm of the genre. Metacritic has ranked the best arena FPS shooters over the past few decades, all of which have influenced and continue to influence the evolution of the genre.

ten Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (83)


With an ocean of players and one of the most robust and beloved combat systems in FPS gaming, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has become a cultural phenomenon. It’s exceptionally difficult to master, especially considering how many veterans continue to regularly bombard the online playing field.

CS: GO took everything from the previous Counter-Strike titles, while expanding the concept of an arena-style shooter to create one of the genre’s defining properties. Nearly a decade later, he continues to be one of the band’s most prolific.

9 Rise of the tribes (86)


tribes was considered one of the earliest precursors to arena-style FPS games in the 1990s, and it had a huge impact during that time. In 2012, Hi-Rez Studios decided to resurrect the franchise with the latest entry, Rise, a free title with extensive gameplay elements.

The series is best known for using jetpacks for dogfighting, creating new vertical space for players to fight through. Although Rise scored highly with critics, it didn’t quite achieve the same level of critical and iconic acclaim as the original games.


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8 Conviction (87)


The Doom Slayer battles a Mancubus in DOOM

The 2016 reboot of Loss took all its cues from classic arena FPS shooters like Quake III: Arena and unreal tournament, forging an entirely new, yet oddly familiar dynamic. Loss required quick reflexes and adaptability to stay alive, which was no small feat.

With so much thrown at the player at any one time, quick decisions were a must, as was the ability to tap into the devastating arsenal of devastating and overkill. Loss weapons. Put it side by side against Quake III: Arena, and it’s obvious where most of the inspiration comes from.


seven Apex Legends (89)


Apex Legends combines battle royale and hero shooters

This large-scale arena FPS game takes place in the Titanfall universe, but its battlefields are much bigger and more expansive, forcing teams to work together more effectively. In terms of game mechanics, it has more in common with battle royale games like fortnite, but its roots in arena combat are obvious.

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Wide open maps reduce frantic firefights a bit, but once the bullets start flying, Apex Legends shows its true colors. It manages to straddle a classical era and a modern era, creating a comfortable, if imperfect, blend of the two. Ironically, it’s also a game that causes players to swear and swear a lot.


6 Time separators 2 (90)


Time separators 2

the Time Separators The series debuted on the PlayStation 2 as a spiritual successor to Rare’s golden eye and perfect dark titles for the N64. The combat was much faster and frenetic, which matched the smooth 60fps gameplay well.

In terms of the overall approach, Time Separators doesn’t really differentiate itself from its DNA predecessors, but the second chapter of the series provided one of the best arena-style FPS experiences of the period. It’s also a shoo-in for a video game property that could easily be turned into a Christopher Nolan movie.


5 Monitoring (91)


Characters running towards the screen in Overwatch 2

Monitoring could be considered one of the last great arena FPS titles, falling just short of from Fortnite The Battle Royale formula has taken the world by storm. It has a large following, thanks in part to a roster of excellent characters, a host of dynamite maps, finely tuned FPS mechanics, and dazzling visuals.

Although it was later overshadowed by competitors like Fortnite, Overwatch managed to sustain itself for a significant period of time. These days, it still has a die-hard fanbase, thanks in large part to how it embraces and implements the arena FPS formula.


4 Quake III: Arena (93)


When Quake III: Arena debuted, it offered audiences an entirely new experience within the existing franchise. A single-player campaign mode was favored in favor of a straightforward arena FPS experience, leveraging arcade-style gameplay with dystopian gameplay. American Gladiators to feel.

It’s the game that really immortalized concepts like rocket jumping, adding them to the official FPS lexicon. It would eventually be eclipsed by unreal tournament, but it could very well be considered the ancestor of the arena FPS genre.




3 Unreal Tournament 2004 (93)


Unreal Tournament was in direct competition with Quake III: Arena, debuted a month before that game. At first glance, the two games looked a lot alike, but Unreal Tournament leveraged the world built by the original Unreal FPS game, which sets it apart.

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The second entry in the franchise was in 2004 and was a vast improvement in every way. Unreal Tournament 2004 is one of the purest and most intact arena FPS games ever made, and helped reshape the entire definition of the genre as the game’s development progressed.


2 Withers (96)


Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64

When Rare debuted GoldenEye 007 on the N64 as a property linked to the james bond film of the same name, it was doubtful they had any idea how successful it would become. It quickly became the talk of the town, thanks in large part to a robust 4-player multiplayer system that drove fans crazy.

golden eye was far from a perfect game, but its signature control scheme, weapon mechanics, and split-screen arena FPS gameplay made it a surefire hit. He was responsible for turning the N64 into a strong competitor, at a time when companies like Sony were just beginning to put down roots.


1 Perfect Black (97)


Perfect Dark was a 007 type game from Rare

Not to be outdone by the success of golden eye, Rare immediately began working on a spiritual follow-up that used the same engine and familiar game mechanics from the previous title. He then set about tinkering with gameplay elements to expand and improve on everything that had come before.

perfect dark was an original story set in a standalone universe, but for fans of arena FPS it was simply golden eye on steroids. It was a relevant comparison, since perfect dark took every facet of the 4-player split-screen formula and improved it to the nth degree.

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