Realistic FPS shooters make you feel the thread and the weight of each bullet. The thrill of the hunt and survival becomes real.
These kinds of games are few and far, though. Even though most developers prefer going for “realistic” graphics, most shooter games are, well, games.
But there is still hope, my comrades. We scoured the web for the most realistic FPS games with insane attention to detail that still manages to make your blood boil in action.
Top 9 Most Realistic FPS Games
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Release Date: December 2015
- Platform: PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
- Genre: Multiplayer FPS, Tactical Shooter
Ubisoft’s tactical shooter adds a certain level of fluff, but overall, it’s reasonably realistic.
The game features real-world settings and scenarios, realistic damage, complex reload mechanics, and weapon recoil. In particular, reload times are different if you reload with zero bullets compared to one or more bullets.
Gameplay revolves around two times of five players acting in a defensive or offensive role. The “terrorist” is the defensive team, and they must guard an objective. The “counter-terrorist” attack with specialized gear like shields and smoke grenades to infiltrate the site.
Matches go through various phases that take their cues from real-life SWAT-type situations. As a result, the gameplay features a balance between exploding weaknesses and reinforcing advantages.
It all requires extreme caution. There’s always something hunting you down, and you could die in seconds. Thus, teams need information, the information they can later use to implement tactics.
The not-so-realist element is the “Operators,” which you unlock as you play and progress. These come with potent abilities like burning projectiles and deployable machine guns.
- Publisher: Infinity Ward, Raven Software
- Developer: Activision – Blizzard
- Release Date: March 2020
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
- Genre: Battle-royale, FPS
The Call of Duty saga doesn’t shine because of its realism but because of its entertainment value. Still, we believe CoD: Warzone is their most realistic game yet.
I think the main appeal of Warzone is how the weapons feel real. There’s a fair recoil system for each weapon that requires players to hone their skills to play.
Another thing players take into consideration is aiming speed. Larger weapons take longer to aim, so it’s best to aim and shoot immediately.
Either way, as the most popular battle-royale game, Warzone has grown non-stop-. It features several maps and several game modes, and each game mode requires different tactics and strategies.
The strategy starts at your loud out, where you choose your initial weapons and tactical gear. It should vary depending on your own skills, the map, and what your team requires.
Aside from tactics, it also requires dead-on skills. For example, if you die, you can spawn in the Gulag. You need to defeat an enemy player to return to the battlefield; otherwise, it’s game over.
Overall, Warzone is not very realistic. Characters are super fast, swap weapons in seconds, reload in a flash, withstand bullet sprays, and survive 3-floor jumps. Still, believe it or not, it’s perhaps their most realistic CoD game.
But Warzone is famous for a reason. If you haven’t tried it, I bet it’s because of its 100 GB download size. Once you get past it, you’ll discover massive PvP battles with up to 150 players on a map.
- Publisher: Avalanche Studios, Expansive Worlds
- Developer: Avalanche Studios, Expansive Worlds
- Release Date: April 2009
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
- Genre: Hunting Simulator
The Hunter: Call of the Wild is a hunting simulator game. It offers breathtaking realism with its open-world design.
Call of The Wild is immersive and offers a single-player campaign. The gameplay revolves around first-person hunting across a vivid open-world island. The animals you’ll find include deers, rabbits, hares, and pheasants.
To enter the game, you create a character, which allows you to connect to other players and share in-game clips.
Once you’re on the island, you must track the animals and use cover and stealth to hunt them. If you don’t want to shoot the animals, you can take photos with your character’s camera.
Tracking the animals requires using the in-game GPS, the “Huntermate.” In essence, you need to find animal tracks and then use the Huntermate to see where the animals are hiding.
There’re other elements. Notably, there’re rules you must follow, like the weapons allowed to kill each animal.
Overall, Call of The Wild is the most realistic hunting game. It’s not exactly the crazy PvP FPS game you’re probably looking for, but it’s different.
- Publisher: Team17
- Developer: Black Matter
- Release Date: July 2021
- Platform: PS5, Xbox Series, Windows
- Genre: Multiplayer FPS
Hell Let Loose is the most recent game on our list. It’s a WW2 FPS that offers various multiplayer modes across different historical settings.
In essence, the game emulates a 50 vs. 50 war simulation. Ingame features include proximity chat, real physics, ballistic calculations, weapon recoil, and lethal damage.
You join matches as part of a squad and pick a role within the squad. Then, you go on a historical map like Omaha Beach or the Western Front and participate in large-scale combat. Tanks, artillery, and supply chains are part of the game.
There’re 9 maps to enjoy. The developers created these maps with real-life satellite data. Across these maps, teams have to capture tactical locations on open fields, forests, bridges, and towns. Once a team captures a sector, they generate resources for said team.
Battefleids create 50 vs. 50 multiplayer battles. Moreover, there’re 14 playable roles to choose from, like Scout, Officer, Medic, Engineer, or Tank Commander.
The gameplay is hardcore and full of historical weapons, uniforms, and vehicles. The game replicates the brutal landscapes and the lethality of WW2, so expect a highly punishing game. So, for example, you can dismember an enemy player with heavy fire.
That said, you won’t win by defeating the most enemy players. Instead, Hell Let Loose offers a unique meta where victory comes from breaking into enemy lines.
You’ll require teamwork and communication to make large-scale tactical decisions about attacking and defending. These decisions include calling support, artillery bombing, vehicle attacks, and reinforcements. Similarly, you can build defenses to strengthen your position.
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Developer: New World Interactive
- Release Date: December 2018
- Platform: PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
- Genre: Tactical FPS
The original Insurgency game started as a Source mod. The sequel, Sandstorm, delivers the exact lethal and highly competitive FPS experience.
Insurgency: Sandstorm is a team tactical FPS. Gameplay revolves around lethal close quarters matches. Winning requires teamwork and caution.
Additionally, Sandstorm has a complex ballistic system, vehicles, artillery, and HDR audio that helps you detect your enemies.
These elements allow for coordinated artillery strikes, vehicle attacks, high-speed PvP engagements.
The setting is a fictional conflict in the modern Middle East. Death comes in the form of bullets and the overall challenge of the game. Most of all, though, bullets are scarce, so you have to manage and carefully navigate and explore the environment.
The game also offers customizing options. You can create a character and customize uniforms, accessories, clothes, and voices. You’ll unlock further options as you play and progress. Among these options are weapon upgrades and customizations.
Lastly, Insurgency matches offer 14 vs. 14 or an 8-player co-op against the AI.
Overall, Insurgency: Sandstorm is a brilliant game. From level design to audio and weapon behavior, it’s a top-tier realistic shooter game.
- Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
- Developer: Bohemia Interactive
- Release Date: March 2013
- Platform: Windows
- Genre: Sandbox, Military-sim, FPS
Arma 3 is an open-world military simulator. Its plot delivers a lengthy single-player campaign where you play as an American soldier, Kerry. At the beginning stages of the game, you must survive independently, as your OTAN allies lie defeated.
As the campaign goes on, you’ll face plenty of challenges and missions. These include solo stealth, infiltration, and large-scale conflict with military vehicles.
Arma 3 is hailed as the most realistic military shooter available. It offers the realistic scale and feel of war. Moreover, gameplay mechanics follow the same idea to a degree.
Core game features include a comprehensive aiming system with your crosshair. In particular, your character has 15 different stances to aim the weapon, and each one has particular uses.
Another essential feature is the ballistic calculations for weapon recoil, bullet drop, bullet velocity, and similar. Overall, the game recreates a realistic military scenario that’s still fun. These are part of both the single-player and the PvP modes.
On top of that, a large Arma 3 community has created a ton of mods. These will either increase the realistic aspects or add fantastical stuff. This happens because Arma 3 is a sandbox, so players have a bigger leeway when approaching situations.
- Publisher: Offworld Industries
- Developer: Offworld Industries
- Release Date: September 2020 (Early Access available since 2015)
- Platform: Windows
- Genre: Tactical shooter, PvP FPS
Squad is an indie tactical FPS game. The Canadian studio published the game as the “spiritual successor” to their multi-award-winning Project Reality mod for Battlefield 2.
This is a multiplayer-only game. You join a squad across several factions and join a match against an opposing faction. Each faction has various squads that can have up to nine players.
Then, squads have military operatives of various classes, like combat engineers, medics, or anti-tank specialists. A squad leader communicates with the other squads to move forward and build defensive structures.
The gameplay turns into full-on strategic warfare where each team needs full cooperation across squads and classes. The mechanics lean heavily on communication, teamwork, and coordination.
Similarly, maps have over 16 km in size. You can use vehicles like tanks and transport helicopters. Across the maps, the overall objective is capturing tactical locations or eliminating enough reinforcements.
Other elements include realistic recoil, stamina, and ballistic calculations. Moreover, there’s a complex health system that revolves around combat medics.
Overall, Squad is the most realistic military shooter. Offworld Studios made it alongside real-life military veterans. It’s still a game, though, so the 50v50 battles are enjoyable.
- Publisher: Battlestate Games
- Developer: Battlestate Games
- Release Date: July 2017 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows PC
- Genre: Survival FPS, Multiplayer FPS
Escape from Tarkov is the punishing and hardcore multiplayer experience avid gamers can enjoy.
Its core mechanic is about spawning on one of their maps for 30-minutes or so raids. You loot as much as you can and escape through the exit point. If you escape, then you keep the loot for the next raid; otherwise, you lose most of what you’re carrying.
Now, 30-minute raids don’t sound realistic, but I haven’t said anything about the gameplay. The game is an FPS with localized damage, a healing system specific for each body part and each injury type, thirst, hunger, and complex weapon behavior systems.
Gunplay is equally superb. Guns look and feel close to how they do in real life, down to the scopes and reticles. Also, they are costly, and ammo is scarce, so you need to approach every situation with strategy.
On top of this, your characters (the one you can customize) earn levels in various skill trees by doing the corresponding actions. These skill trees are broad, complex and include how fast you can loot a box, how high you can jump, or how good you can aim.
Lastly, you’ll fight versus other human players, as well as enemy NPCs on the maps. Anyone can kill you in a couple of seconds.
- Publisher: Rockstar
- Developer: Rockstar
- Release Date: October 2019
- Platform: PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
- Genre: Action-adventure, Western, Third-person-shooter, FPS, Realistic, Sandbox
Rockstar’s masterpiece uses a fictional place and fictional characters. However, the game stays true to historical accuracy by respecting culture, tradition, outfits, weapons, and the overall state of society. RDR2 is the ultimate Western simulator and one of the most realistic games ever.
One element that gives the game its realism is NPC interaction. Every character acts and reacts like a real-life person in a Western situation.
Then, you’ve got the proper historical weapons, modeled after actual weapons. They feature recoil, bullet velocity, and tricky aiming. As a result, gunplay is realistic, punishing, and highly dependent on your skills.
That said, many RDR2 elements simulate reality, even at the expense of playability. That means plenty of mundane tasks like cleaning and inspecting your weapons to preserve their quality. Similarly, players have to get their horses to swap weapons, as there’s no proper inventory.
RD2 still has RPG elements, so there’re ways to advance your character. You have three stats (Deadeye, Stamina, and Health), and they improve as you do particular actions. For example, using the bow or melee raises your health.
On top of this, you have to master the various mechanics of the game to progress. These include exploring, hunting, packing goods on your horse to sell them, building relationships, and completing bounties.
Either way, the game makes you play as outlaw Arthur Morgan. You follow a bigger plot on linear scenarios, but there’s a big open-world to explore outside the main mission. This world is highly interactive and immersive.
In Conclusion: What Makes a Realistic Shooter?
Shooting games have been around for decades and cross many genres. There’s more to the genre other than third-person and first-person.
For example, there’s the Borderland saga, a fantastic first-person shooter-looter. You can shoot, you use powers, and you loot like crazy.
On the other side of the coin, there’re games like Escape from Tarkov. These are punishing, realistic, and hardcore FPS titles with little else to help you aside from yourself.
Realistic or tactical shooters are an essential subgenre of the shooting category. These simulate military situations. As such, they require faster reflexes and more strategy than your average shooter.
These games are tactical, brutal, and require teamwork. If you go in alone, without friends or a squad, they will become a respawning simulator. It’ll make you angry.
Some developers go as far as adding hunger, thirst, localized damage, weapon recoil, and bullet drop. In other words, real-life military elements are present in these titles.
Aside from these elements, the weapons and armor will make or break the realism.
So, in a nutshell, shooter games where consequences sound like real-life are “realistic.” A single headshot could kill your enemy, or a bullet to your legs could make you slower.