The 9 Best Xbox One Shooter Games to Buy in 2018

Play shooter games with the best graphics, sound, goriness and more

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Gameplay: Destiny

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When it comes to pure shooting gameplay, Destiny easily stands above every other shooter on Xbox One. Thanks to a decade of making the (also great playing) Halo games, developer Bungie has really perfected first-person-shooter gameplay with Destiny.

Honestly, shooting stuff just feels great in this sci-fi adventure that has you jetting around the Solar System to protect Earth from invading aliens. The controls are extremely responsive and precise, and can more than keep up with the fast-paced (and oftentimes hectic) encounters in both campaign and multiplayer.

It is rare to have a shooter where every weapon you find is a viable option, but Destiny is balanced enough to accommodate any play style whether you want to use SMGs, pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, rocket launchers or shotguns. Because each of those weapon types also has many variations with different stats and abilities (different damage types, different fire rates, different damage rates, etc.), fine-tuning your arsenal to feature exactly what you want is a big part of the fun and why Destiny can be so addictive to keep playing once you pick it up.

Take a peek at some of the other best Xbox One games you can buy.

Best Graphics: Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront
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Star Wars Battlefront isn’t the best overall great shooter because of its imprecise feeling controls and poor weapon balance, but it does do two things extremely well that make it worth playing anyway: It looks amazing and delivers Star Wars fanservice by the boatload.

There are large scale battles with AT-AT and AT-ST walkers stomping around, TIE Fighters and A-Wings dueling in the air, dozens of Stormtroopers and Rebels fighting on the ground. And characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are running through the thick of it all. The best part is that the graphics are absolutely stunning to the point the game looks almost realistic. Levels on sandy Tatooine and snowy Hoth look great, but maps on the forest moon of Endor in particular look especially incredible because the dense plant life is lush and green, and the sunlight filtering through the canopy high overhead bathes everything in an undeniably realistic light.

Better yet, it all looks this good and has so much onscreen action at once, but the frame rate never drops below 60FPS. Star Wars Battlefront is a technical marvel that is easily one of the best looking games on Xbox One.          

Best Multiplayer: Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
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Competitive player versus player or team-based deathmatch is always the most popular game mode in every shooter, and the most popular game series overall among multiplayer shooter fans is Call of Duty.

The latest Call of Duty, Black Ops III, is the most feature-rich of them all with a ton of different modes such as free-for-all, team deathmatch, capture the flag, multiple point control variations, elimination modes and more. And they're available both online and offline with CPU bots. In terms of sheer quantity and variety of content, Black Ops III is absolutely fantastic, so if you want to sink your teeth into a hardcore competitive shooter on Xbox Live, Call of Duty Black Ops III is the one to pick.

Check out our other reviews of the best Xbox One war games available on the market today.

Best Cooperative: Halo Master Chief Collection

Halo Master Chief Collection
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The Halo Master Chief Collection is a great title to have in your Xbox One collection for a number of reasons: It is four separate games with complete single-player campaigns and four distinct versions of multiplayer all in one package, and they all look awesome and play great. But we’re singling it out for its best-in-class co-op play.

Being able to experience Master Chief’s story all the way from landing on the first mysterious alien Halo ring through the events back on Earth in Halo 4 (which in turn lead up to Halo 5) in one seamless experience alongside your friends is simply amazing. All four of the story campaigns are playable cooperatively with at least two players in local split-screen or online, and Halo 3 and Halo 4 offer four-player online co-op.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best split-screen Xbox One games.

Best Open World: Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4
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Most shooter campaigns tend to be tightly scripted experiences where you’re funneled down a corridor from one enemy encounter to another, but there are a few games out there that drop you into an open world and set you loose do whatever you want. Our favorite of these is Far Cry 4, which takes place in a stunningly beautiful fictional country in the Himalayas.

The game gives you free reign to explore anywhere and everywhere, from tropical forests in the lowlands all the way up to snowy mountaintops, as your character joins the fight in a civil war between rebels and a ruthless dictator. You can play through story missions, of course, but your time is just as well spent hunting animals such as tigers, deer, rhino and honey badgers. Or you can climb radio towers to open up more of the map, attack enemy outposts, deliver supplies to villages and more.

The core shooting gameplay is fantastic and the variety of weapon types allow you to go in guns blazing with shotguns and assault rifles, silently snipe enemies from a distance, or anything in-between.

Best Story: Tom Clancy’s The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division
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While a lot of shooter fans ignore the single-player campaign and jump right into multiplayer, there are still some solid stories being told in the genre. The best recent story comes from Tom Clancy’s: The Division. 

The Division takes place in Manhattan after it has been decimated by a virus that was intentionally distributed through infected money on Black Friday. Most surviving civilians have been evacuated, but bodies still line the streets. And gangs, as well as other dangerous elements, have emerged in the chaos (the perpetrator of the viral infection is still at large).

Interestingly, The Division doesn’t simply tell the overall story of the infection and your allies’ task of curing it, but it also tells smaller stories of individual citizens. For example, you’ll find cell phone messages between people scattered all over the city and you can eventually piece these individual messages together into full conversations that tell you exactly what happened to normal people on the ground when the outbreak happened. These side stories are easy to miss completely but are some of the best parts of The Division.

See more reviews of our favorite Xbox One RPG games available for purchase.

Best Sound: Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein-The New Order
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When it comes to shooters, the quality of the sound isn’t measured by how pretty the sweeping orchestral music might be, but rather by the room shaking bass of an explosion and the satisfying crack of gunfire echoing across a battlefield. Shooting games just feel better to play when what you’re doing sounds loud, powerful and dangerous, and few shooters deliver those raw visceral thrills quite as well as Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Taking place in an alternate history 1960s Europe where Germany won World War II, you take on Nazi enemies with some of the loudest and meanest sounding shotguns and machine guns in all of gaming. The music in The New Order is a surprising mix of industrial heavy metal and even dubstep rather than the patriotic marches you might expect. But the game also has lots of quiet moments with no music at all, and it allows the great weapon and explosion sound effects to tell the story and convey emotions instead. Turn up the surround volume or use good headphones because Wolfenstein: The New Order’s sound design will blow you away.

Best Casual Play: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
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Most shooters are designed with teen and adult hardcore gamers in mind, which means they aren’t always the most appropriate or accessible for younger players or more casual gamers who don’t want to take the game quite so seriously. If you’d like to play an online shooter but prefer a more easygoing family-friendly experience, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is a great choice.

These backyard battles between technology-driven zombies and noble plants protecting nature are generally not too intense, so players of any skill level can jump in and have a good time. The cute and funny cast of plant and zombie characters are not only undeniably charming and funny, but they all have unique and distinct play styles and abilities. That means anyone can find a role they like, whether it is a frontline attacker, medic or support class.

Garden Warfare 2 is playable both online against other players or in single-player and local split-screen, thanks to computer-controlled bots that can be added to all of the game modes.

Best Shock Factor: Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Gears of War Ultimate Edition
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In the early days of the shooter genre, the unflinching depiction of violence and gore in games were a huge shock and had a big impact on the popularity of the genre. Things have changed since then, however, and most modern shooters have stepped back a bit from having gore for gore’s sake, but there are still some games carrying the flag for good, old-fashioned ultra-violence like Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.

Gears of War’s story of alien monsters emerging from underground paves the way for some of the most brutal action of any game on Xbox One. Enemies and allies are blown apart by explosives and riddled with bullets. One of the coolest weapons in the game is an assault rifle with a built-in chainsaw, so you can only imagine what it’s capable of in close quarters. A common way to finish off a wounded opponent is with a stomp to their head into the ground. Of course, there’s more to games (including this one) than just violence, but sometimes that’s just what you’re in the mood for, and Gears of War Ultimate Edition will more than satisfy.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best Xbox One fantasy games.