2023 was a great year for games and gaming culture. And the shooter genre was no different, with many AAA games like Modern Warfare 3 and Dead Space and tons of incredible indie shooters that took the internet by storm. Whatever your preference, the best shooters of 2023 offer something for everyone.

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

While not the most “traditional” shooter, Armored Core 6 was an incredible experience that absolutely deserves its spot here. The environment were stellar and combined with the customizable movement makes moving through combat zones engaging. The gunplay, while very nontraditional, felt fluid and made sense with the theming. After all, if you are piloting a massive war machine, why not let that war machine acquire targets and aim for you as well? That makes you the player feel like the one independent merc facing off against the storm, with only your skill to keep you alive.

Battlebit: Remastered

A group of soldiers in tan camo shelter behind a group of shipping containers

Battlebit: Remastered was a stand out for me this year, but until now I could never remember why I had such a sense of deja vu with it. It reminds me so much of the browser games that were omnipresent when I was a kid. The blocky weapons and environment lend themselves very well to a 256 player battle, with any given player easy to distinguish in a horde. The gunplay is snappy and very responsive, with many choices that can all be modded even further for your preferred playstyle. Add in vehicle combat and destructible environments and you have a recipe for a shooter that easily rivals AAA titles like Battlefield.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

I will get my strong negative opinion out of the way here: this game is not as good as we hoped. However it does fill the criteria. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3‘s guns feel good and snappy with good customization options and appropriate punch to them. The environments feel good to navigate and the pvp maps are good at not giving any team an advantage off spawn. The game feels good, looks good and, plays well if only because of the sheer quantity of assets ripped from other Call of Duty games. For that reason, it makes its way onto the list of best shooters.

Dead Space

What is there to say about the Dead Space remake that has not been said to death already? It’s simply one of the best shooters of the year. The game feels even more full with horrors beyond our comprehension to witness and side quests to complete. The Ishimura feels even more ominous and hostile compared to the original, and the necromorphs are even more terrifying to see lumbering or skittering or whatever they do towards you. All the weapons feel like they have more punch than in the original. The movement especially is leagues better, especially in the zero gravity flight sections which are now enjoyable rather than a tad painful.

Payday 3

The Payday 3 crew are fighting off a cop with a riot shield in a cloud of red smoke

Payday 3 had a rough start. Living up to the genre defining Payday 2 is no easy task, and while Payday 3 is not there yet it is getting closer. I personally enjoyed the gunplay more here, since Payday 3 in my experience relies more on actual movement and smart play. In comparison, Payday 2 could feel like all you had to do was sit in a choke point with a machine gun and turn everyone into Swiss cheese.

Payday 3 also looks and feels really good at times. The recently released remaster of Murky water Station and Cook Off play very well with the new mechanics. These same maps also look very good and much more refined. Payday 3 really has potential to be a great game, its just a question of the devs follow-through

Robocop: Rouge City

When a friend showed me the trailer for Robocop: Rouge City, I really had no idea what to think about it. Everything in the trailer seemed clunky and stiff and I couldn’t place why. But after playing it I can confidently say that it works so well for the world it’s in. You feel like you really are the original Alex Murphy, with the slow mechanical movements of the original films. You feel like you are walking through Old Detroit with your massive pistol in hand, ready to enact justice. The gunplay feels right in line too with clunky reloading, amazing sound design and appropriate feeling quirks (like the RBS Mk2 having Robocop’s spinning arm). The entire game fits the source material so well and is executed perfectly and deserves its spot among the best shooters of 2023.

Trepang2

Trepang2 was a unexpected gem in shooters this year and deserves to be among the best shooters of 2023. In a competition of pure feel and enjoyment, Trepang2 is the uncontested winner. The game has stellar environments that push the player to fight smarter, harder and faster. The bosses are incredibly memorable with great dialogue and amazing fights (the enforcer fight is burned in my head). The gunplay is extremely smooth, with weapon customization before every mission so you can best adapt your arsenal to your preferred method of combat: stealthy and slow or loud with guns blazing. And with the main theming being modern day with aspects of the occult, it stands out as quite different from the run of the mill modern shooter. This game is a gem that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Kalen Gressler
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