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Best Free First-Person Shooter

In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
Introduction

The best free first person shooter (FPS) category covers, as the title says, the very Best, safe, First-Person Shooters. There are many free First-person shooters that are easily better then the mainstream games such as Call of Duty, and Halo. Although free, some games allow you to buy addons in-game, giving some an unfair advantage. Buying things with real money?! That's not free at all. This is a list of the top-quality fully free, no unfair advantages, first person shooters.

A FPS is a type of action game where you view the world through the eyes of your in-game entity. Thus, the term First Person Shooter. There are two main categories for a FPS: Singleplayer, and multiplayer. Unfortunately, single player FPSs are a rare commodity in the freeware world.

The game-play, graphics, and objectives of FPSs vary from title to title. Some games in the genre have a more cartoon feel, while others strive to emulate realism. I myself have met many people who have different tastes.

Discussion

Urban Terror

Online: Primarily
Singleplayer: None
Registration: NoneUrban Terror Screenshot Free First Person Shooter
Popularity: High

Urban Terror, commonly abbreviated to UrT, is an action based FPS. It is only multiplayer. Described as "fun over realism" by the creators, the game has fast paced, intense game-play.

UrT doesn't throw realism to the wind mind you, but rather tries to enhance game-play with elements like powerslides and wallhops. There are five different game types: Death match (DM), team death match (Team DM), Survivor, Capture the flag (CTF), and Bomb. You are given a choice of eleven different guns, and two pistols, with optional attachments.

As of now, it requires no registration, and no personal information at all to play online. There are over a thousand servers, and plenty of players to go around. There will be no waiting for people to show up here.

 

Hidden & Dangerous Deluxe

Online: Optional
Singleplayer: Primarily
Registration: NoneHidden and Dangerous Deluxe
Popularity: Not applicable

Love it or hate it Hidden and Dangerous Deluxe is one of those games. Unlike most first person shooters, this game is not action based. It relies primarily on strategy to get the job done.

You take full control of four WWII special operation soldiers, and when I say full control, I mean full control. You get to choose the soldiers from a list of 40 candidates, and load them  whichever you choose. You are only limited by the amount you can carry. The player has direct control over one character, who may shout orders to the others, and can (and will need to) open the map where you can tell the others exactly what to do. Right down to crouch, prone, and hide. You perish after about three bullets, and as little as one if you are hit in the head, but so do your enemies. The controls are hard to get down, but you can change them to a much more preferable setup in the options. It has over thirty missions, and plenty of guns to keep you satisfied.

Along with lots of cut scenes and cinema, this game also offers satisfying game play. If you're looking for a first person shooter whose aim is not just to blow up as many people as possible, this may be the only free one for you.

 

TrueCombat:Elite

Online: Primarily
Singleplayer: None
Registration: NoneTrue Combat: Elite
Popularity: Low

Yet another game struggling for existence. It was once the epitome of the freeware FPS. It was a host to commercial quality graphics, a huge fan base, and wonderful game-play.

Now two of the three are missing. Last updated in 2006 the graphics are still modern, but by no means cutting edge anymore. It still has extraordinary game-play, allowing you to crouch, prone, look down your scope, and lean out from behind walls. It does not disappoint in this section. It has many maps, and even more custom maps, and there's always something new and exciting.

Although the fan base has all but died off, there are still over five hundred servers and enough people to give you a good time. This game plays a lot like America's Army, but is much easier to break in. I highly recommend this one, and the only reason it is not my top pick is because of its lack of population.

 

Sauerbraten

Online: Yes
Singleplayer: Yes
Registration: NoneCube 2: sauerbraten
Popularity: Medium

Sauerbraten throws realism to the wind. With breath-taking graphics (that can be disabled if you have a slow machine) you run around at break neck speeds, and blast everyone you see, unless of course you are in a team game mode. 

Sauerbraten has 15 game modes and 7 completely different weapons. One of the funniest game modes is called instagib, where you get a rifle with unlimited rounds, and die in one hit. This makes for lightning game-play which is not found anywhere else.

The game's key buying factor is not the game-play however. It is the innovative level editor which allows anyone with a vision and minimal skill to create a masterpiece. Players can work together on the same map over the Internet with its own special game mode. And every player has an equal opportunity to submit his/her map to the creators to be included in the next version of the game. 

This has spawned the most unique and interesting levels in any game up to date. Unfortunately, without an auto-download feature, you won't see many casual, user created maps on the big servers.

 

America's Army

Online: Primarily
Singleplayer: Tutorial
Registration: 2 SitesAmerica's Army 3
Popularity: High

America's Army is a game produced and given away free from the United States Army. It is much more realism based than most FPS games out there.

You work as a team to complete specific objectives. If you are killed, you re-spawn with the rest of your team at the beginning of the round. This makes for lots of down time in your games. I found that you had to be very skilled to even score a kill.

After playing for three weeks and getting an average of one kill per game I gave up. It certainly takes a deal of practice to get good at this one, however, with the game's stat tracking and ranking system, the results can be truly rewarding.

 

Rising Eagle

Online: Primarily
Singleplayer: None
Registration: Email AddressRising Eagle Futuristic Infantry Warfare
Popularity: All but dead

This is a fast paced tactical action game oriented towards teamwork. There are over 40 weapons to keep you company, and six main unit classes. Each class has its own fresh load out of weapons and tactical advantages.

Although it is a fun game, it is slowly slipping into oblivion. With hardly a player in the servers and only three servers up, playing it can be a real drag. It's sad to see a great game fall by the wayside, but I fear this one is on its way out.

 

PRISIM Guard Shield

Online: Yes
Singleplayer: Yes
Registration: NonePrisim: Guard Shield
Popularity: All but dead

This is a tactical FPS produced by the National Guard. Don't be afraid of the "All but dead" popularity, this game is primarily for a single player.

The game-play is a mix of tactical and action. The character is able to withstand more bullets than I would suppose a normal human can take, and to help him out is an arsenal of near future weapons and gadgets.

It hasn't been updated for some time now, but remains a good game none the less. It has an OK campaign, and a fairly good multiplayer. At the beginning of the game your character, retired form the National Guard, finds himself in a terrorist situation at New York harbor. As a security guard you see the need to help. You end up being reinstated into the Guard and have to run about doing missions of national security.

In multiplayer things run smoothly, and it is fun. The only downside is that there is never anyone in the servers for you to play with. Another problem is sadly, not everyone can run this game because of its harsh system requirements.

Related Products and Links

Smokin' Guns MP, SPB

Warsow MP, SPB

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory MP

F.E.A.R. Combat MP

Nexuiz MP, SPB

D-Day: Normandy MP, SPB

*Starseige: Tribes MP
*Requires a download from Cnet. Downloads from Cnet (Download.com) require the use of a proprietary installer.

Tribes 2 MP

World of Padman MP

Harmony SPC

Action Doom & Action Doom II SPC

Red Alert: A Path Beyond MP 

MP= Multiplayer | SPB= Single v Bots | SPC= Single Player Campaign

If this list still isn't doing it for you, head on down to Wikipedia's list of free first person shooters. But be warned, you might have to shell out some hard earned income for in-game items.

Quick Selection Guide

Urban Terror
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Fun game-play Not too computer intensive.
Hackers are a slight problem at the moment.
4.2.015
1 GB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows, Mac, Linux

Urban Terror is on the verge of a major update. Check the sight frequently so your version does not become obsolete.

Hidden & Dangerous Deluxe
4
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Customization, Campaigns
Weak online, controls
N/A
264 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows
TrueCombat:Elite
4
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Wonderful game-play, many maps and guns
Population, the only downfall
http://www.truecombatelite.com/
0.49b
Alone: 459 MB All in one: 723 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows, Mac, Linux
Sauerbraten
4
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Map editor, tons of maps
Not many weapons
http://sauerbraten.org/
Collect Edition (01/04/2013)
576 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows, Mac, Linux
America's Army
3.5
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Teamwork, Graphics
Too much of the game is downtime
http://www.americasarmy.com/
3.0.8 (06/12/2009)
276 KB Deploy Approx 5 GB installed
Unrestricted freeware
Windows
Rising Eagle
3
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Graphics, Game-play, Weapons, Customization
If you think TC:E has too few players...
1.3.1
1.32 GB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows

This game would be much higher up on the list with a fresh serving of players.

PRISIM Guard Shield
3
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Graphics, Game-play, Campaign
System requirements, No one ever online, not many guns
http://www.prismthegame.com/
Release 3
1.5 GB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows

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Comments

by shnbwmn on 30. October 2013 - 11:40  (111885)

This list needs some serious updating. Xonotic, Red Eclipse, 25Assist (America's Army 2.5), Black Mesa, Unvanquished, Alien Arena, Team Fortress 2 (doesn't matter if it's free2play, still should be included), AA Proving Grounds, Open Arena, etc ... there's so many, and if you include all the free2play FPSs, there's almost too much variety.

by RDX711 on 3. September 2013 - 17:27  (110490)

Thanks for this great list, specially for mentioning whether the game is primarily single player / multiplayer & whether it is online / offline. Finding this out was difficult and took a lot of time before downloading. Now it would be nice if this list was expanded.

by Téquila (not verified) on 1. October 2012 - 8:01  (100028)

Howdy,

please, can you fix the Smokin'Guns site link ? Now the right one is www.smokin-guns.org

And there you'll find the last Smokin'Guns 1.1 released few months ago.

Thank you

Téquila
Smokin' Guns team

by MidnightCowboy on 1. October 2012 - 9:24  (100030)

Thanks for letting us know, Tequila. The link is now corrected.

by George.J on 3. November 2011 - 4:59  (82635)
by joeguru on 19. March 2013 - 19:33  (106399)

War Rock has moved to http://en.warrock.nexoneu.com/

by George.J on 2. November 2011 - 14:56  (82586)

The list is really missing the most highly rated freeware game of all time, Team Fortress 2 (free since June'11) and Quake Live.

Team Fortress 2: http://www.tf2.com/freetoplay/
Gizmo's review: http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/freeware-games-week.htm

Quake Live: http://www.quakelive.com/

by Psilas (not verified) on 10. October 2011 - 2:46  (81173)

@ Stasou....

As someone else suggested, download 'Enemy Territory' but also get the mod called 'BOBOT'.

After installing 'Bobot' you'll get offline single player and it works very well indeed and is easy to use.

Have fun.

by Stasou on 11. October 2011 - 17:08  (81244)

With 'BOBOT' will i be playing against bots or will there be some sort of storyline?

by Psilas (not verified) on 10. October 2011 - 2:42  (81172)

Woa there soldiers.

How can anyone not include ASSAULTCUBE!

Its basic,its old school but its EXCELLENT.

50 MB download.
Build your own maps
Bot support for offline practice (crap bots but they are there)
VERY popular with ALWAYS at least 30-40 people online
56k Dial up support
It looks/plays decent.

All the above make it one of the best 'free' FPS games around.
Egalitarian FPS gaming at its finest.

ps. Prism Guard Shield is probably the best 'singleplayer'offline FPS game given that most are unfortunately multiplayer only.

by Stasou on 5. October 2011 - 16:51  (80944)

I'm looking for an FPS game that is not multiplayer/online. Prism Guard Shield is ok but i wonder if there are any other such games.

by brokengavel (not verified) on 18. September 2011 - 1:31  (79820)

there are an insane amount of free fps games these days. most of the ones you got on your list are shakey at best. M.A.T. is by far the best one not on your list. i think the fact that its very noob-friendly is a major plus. unlike games such as K.O.S where you can unload an entire clip into someones sternum and nothing happens, but when you merely poke your head around the corner youre dead. great game, but you gotta be pro to actually enjoy it. A.V.A is another really great game but can be frustratingly shakey at times. urban terror has really cool maps, but thats about it. battlefield play4free surprised me for how fast and easy it downloads. some games arent mouse friendly or vista compatible. with M.A.T. you dont have to adjust mouse sensitivity or anything. its pretty straight forward, just register and download and youre ready to play. no zip file hassles, or other game engines to download. also rarely any hackers these days. the best thing about M.A.T. is that it does what youy want. when you want, and you can see everything clear as a bell, no shakey environment or uncontrolable gameplay. i hate those games where you cant see whats going on around you, or even get a bead on someone because the second you try to move or shift your mouse it turns into the blair witch project.

by Way To Much (not verified) on 13. September 2011 - 14:40  (79533)

There are some typos in this article. Here are a few:

"This is a list of the top-quality fully free, no unfair advantages, first person shooters. If you want them, search elsewhere." (Search elsewhere? Really?)

"and wonderful game-play Now two of the three are missing." (Punctuation missing)

"splitting edge" (Was that cutting edge?)

"and lean out from behind walls it does not disappoint in this section." (Punctuation missing)

"something new and exiting." (the word is 'exciting'.)

"Each has it's own fresh load out of weapons..." (What does this mean?)

"but I fear this one is on it's way out." (...its, no apostrophe, not used as a contraction here)

"tones of maps" (tons, quantity not sound or shades)

by Jesferkicks on 14. September 2011 - 15:12  (79597)

Thanks for the assist.
1. This will be replaced when I upload a new introduction section.

2. Will correct punctuation.

3. Cutting edge was probably meant. I'll change it.

4. Will correct punctuation.

5. Will change "exiting" to "exciting".

6. Not quite sure, but it was written by my predecessor. I'm leery of changing his words. Under consideration.

7. Will correct "it's" to "its"

8. Will correct "tones" to "tons"

by emilydale1993 (not verified) on 11. September 2011 - 0:19  (79396)

Hi,

Please try http://www.xonotic.org/ great graphics for gaming pc. Can also be tweaked for not so fast pc. I and kids love it. 18 weapons. 30+ maps. No registration required. Online and offline gameplay. 990MB download size that would required fast and stable internet connection to complete. I haven't tried online gameplay but i am pretty sure 10x more fun.

Emily

by Jesferkicks on 12. September 2011 - 0:56  (79452)

Thx Emily! Just got back from there. Started the tutorial, wow, this game is fast. In fact, its the first game I've seen that emphasizes speed as a major factor in the game. Graphics look awesome. Whole thing looks professional and a keeper. Going to add it to the front of my review list. Thx again for the tip :) Jesferkicks.

by Jesferkicks on 12. September 2011 - 1:17  (79454)

As an aside Emily: From your excellently written suggestion I notice you have either, a practiced from another venue, or an innate ability to get to the heart of a subject with a few direct statements of fact. Such an ability is perfect for a Gizmos reviewer. You might wish to volunteer as a reviewer. You would find it rewarding. Out. Jesferkicks.

by emilydale1993 (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 13:20  (79891)

Hi Jesferkicks,

Thanks for response but can't do your recommendation quite lazy in real life. More power to all the people here.

Emily

by Stamosland (not verified) on 3. September 2011 - 22:42  (78970)

Ey guys, here you can find a great selection of free Fps online:

http://www.online-fps.com/category/mmofps/

For me, the best is True Combat Elite...

by Jesferkicks on 4. September 2011 - 16:31  (78992)

Good call Stamosland!

Just returned from Online FBS.
{ http://www.online-fps.com/category/mmofps/ }

Nice site. Going to add it to my Related Links section as soon as I reconfigure this article (hopefully by today). Also added your True Combat Elite
{ http://www.truecombatelite.com/ } to my "To Be Reviewed" list. Hadn't heard of it until now. Thanks for the tips.

by Jesferkicks on 4. September 2011 - 16:53  (78993)

@ Stamosland

LoL.
Scratch my remarks about True Combat Elite. If I would of read my own article more closely I would of noticed that my predecessor reviewed the game and its staring right at me. Minor brain xxxt, sorry about that.

by son (not verified) on 17. August 2011 - 23:52  (77842)

Urban Terror required a sign up and credit card, although they stated there would be no charges applied. Is that a common practice for free online games?

by Jesferkicks on 18. August 2011 - 7:40  (77873)

No. Requiring a credit card is not normal practice to download free online games and my suggestion to you would be if ever confronted again by such to immediately back out of the web site. Even if the organization is legit and doesn't charge your card, your information is still out there in ether-land where you have no control over it. To make sure we weren't giving out bad links I just downloaded Urban Terror from the link we have listed in Quick Links and it downloaded without a hitch and NO credit card nor anything else was asked.

One thing to note from this download is the setup routine used. Once you launch the setup file it will not offer you the choice of where you wish to place your game files. What it does is merely create a folder under the folder the setup file is in and loads the game there. So, if you wish to place your game elsewhere, I suggest you move the setup file to the appropriate folder and let it create a subfolder where you want it. The setup also does not register the game in your registry and does not create links. The links you'll have to create yourself and then copy them to your startup folder. If you're unconfortable with that let me know and I'll give you a walk-thru.

by Jorpho (not verified) on 17. August 2011 - 16:38  (77819)

The lack of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory here is surprising.

How about Bungie's Marathon trilogy? That's totally free now, and single-player.

by Jesferkicks on 18. August 2011 - 7:54  (77874)

Your right. Reason might be lame but here it goes. This topic has gone for awhile without an editor. I've volunteered to do it but its taking me a month of Sundays to learn how to post my reviews and to learn just what information folks will deem important. I'm slow but I'll get the hang of things (hopefully before the boss kicks me off). I'm currently working on Alien Arena 2011 and since my predecessor has American Army posted which is now AA3 I'll update that one. Wolfenstein looks like a good one for next, haven't heard of the Marathon Trilogy so I'll look it up. Thanks for the input, I'll need all I can get.

by sle1306 (not verified) on 17. August 2011 - 12:54  (77795)

A great free FPS is OpenArena.

by Jesferkicks on 18. August 2011 - 8:48  (77880)

Good one! I'll add it. That's the GPL open-source kickoff of Quake III Arena, one of my favorite early games. I heard that it launched as a freebie but until you mentioned it I haven't thought of it. Thanks again.

by peeter (not verified) on 17. August 2011 - 9:42  (77783)

APB: All Points Bulletin
Multiplayer FPS

by Jesferkicks on 18. August 2011 - 8:09  (77875)

APB:Reloaded sounds interesting. Haven't played it but read a little. It is rated as a 3rd person shooter game though, so I'm going to have to ask the higher ups if its ok to review it here. I'll try to post whether I'm going to include it or not. Thanks for the input. As I keep on saying, I need all the help I can get. Not until I started researching for this post did I realize how many free fps games are available.

by ColonelC (not verified) on 16. August 2011 - 18:04  (77750)

Battlefield play 4 free is imo the best free multiplayer fps (good, permanent internet connection needed).