Sometimes the breakneck pace of shooters is a bit too much. Tactical shooters are slower, emphasizing more realistic strategies and caution over spray-and-pray techniques. That doesn’t make them any easier, of course, it’s just a change in the style you need to play. There are a few that are absolute must-play games. Ready? Read on for four of the best tactical shooters around.
1. ARMA III
It’s hard to even mention tactical shooters without bringing up ARMA III. It’s one of the most realistic shooters out there, and that comes with a steep learning curve that some people find disorienting.
ARMA is much closer to a simulation than many of the shooters out there, combining great gun physics, a ton of vehicles, and dynamic environments to create an amazing FPS experience.
There’s also a constant stream of new content, whether it’s from the game developer or the thousands of mods you can find on Steam. The variety is incredible, so brew some coffee and take a look before you buy it.
ARMA III has been a fast favorite for years. A quick look at reviews shows that many players have their playtime logged in thousands of hours.
The only issue for some people is that the game itself is quite complicated. When it comes to tactical shooters, however, it certainly doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Face the learning curve down and you’re in for a tactical shooter like no other.
2. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Siege remains popular, even breaking into eSports over the course of its lifetime. It was designed by long time veterans of first persons shooters consulting with actual anti-terrorist units.
In short: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege was built from the ground up to be a tactical shooter and the post-launch changes have consistently improved the game over time.
The gameplay outline is simple enough: two teams of five compete over an objective. The gameplay is built on tension and the individual operators who each have their own unique weapons and gadgets.
Teamwork is the key to winning in Siege. The game was built to destroy the action-arcade style heroics that come from games like the Call of Duty series. There’s also fully destructible terrain to take into account.
It’s a great game and still supported. As a tactical shooter it stands on its own, and it has a bit less of a simulationist feel than things like ARMA III.
3. Escape From Tarkov
Escape From Tarkov is a tactical shooter that’s still in development. That said, it has hardcore combat for you, alongside unique gameplay.
The idea is that two opposing teams(United Security and BEAR) have to navigate the landscape to reach an extraction point. Alongside the other players, you’ll also have to compete with NPCs called Scavs. You’ll be able to find equipment along the way as well.
The big feature is the damage system. Rather than a global HP statistic, each major piece of the body takes damage separately. There’s also an armor system being built to allow for damage mitigation but it’s still in an unfinished state.
The game is sure to keep going, but many of the features aren’t there just yet. Still, it’s a very unique game and one of the best tactical shooters currently available. It’s worth a look for anyone who’s tired of the usual FPS mechanics.
4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter Strike: Global Offensive takes it’s gameplay from it’s predecessor and does it with style. Like the original CS there are two teams: Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists and you compete over mission objectives like bombs or hostages.
The gameplay is encouraged to be tactical. Once you’re down for the round… you stay down, which means you need to be careful and move slowly and surely to make your way to victory.
CS:GO is big in the esports scene, with hundreds of thousands of dollars riding on some tournaments. It’s also the origin of skin gambling, which has advanced to the point of actually being able to play games like poker for skins which can be sold for real money later depending on their rarity.
It’s a classic game, and while it may lack the new features of some shooters the core gameplay brings you right down to a solid tactical shooter. Even if you’re not competitively playing the esports connection is a good thing: it means that the game is mostly balanced as well.
It’s the easiest tactical shooter to jump into. Players new to the genre would do well to start here before branching out into more simulationist games but there are no shortage of people to play with if it ends up being your favorite.
Finding the Right Tactical Shooter
Most people will have to experiment to find the right tactical shooter for their tastes. The above will get you started, however, and they run the gamut from gamified tactics to full military simulation. Which one are you going to try first?