Given how popular shooters are as a genre, it makes sense that it’s been a long, long time since a year went by where we didn’t play at least a few great shooters, and 2022 has been no different. Different shooters with different gameplay styles have arrived from all corners of the industry, from the indie and offbeat to the AAA and mainstream, and a large number of them have impressed us over the past year. Here, we’re going to go over the ones that stood out to us the most, before crowning one of them as the best of the lot.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
Rollerdrome would have merited a place on this list simply on the basis of how unique it is from pretty much every other game in here, but the fact that it’s also excellent at what it does leaves no doubts as to whether or not it should be included. Developed by OlliOlli developer Roll7, Rollerdrome combines fast-paced third person shooting with spectacular traversal mechanics, as you step into the rollerblades of a protagonist who only ever rolls around, zips about the place at high speed, and performs badass tricks. Wrap that all up in a gorgeous visual aesthetic, and you get one of the best shooters of the year.
TINY TINA’S WONDERLANDS
The Borderlands formula is very much a known quantity by now, but if you are looking for something that takes that framework and freshens it up with a number of intriguing twists, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does just that. The solo and co-op first person action that the series has been known for is still here, of course, as are is loot and progression mechanics. All of it, however, is now delivered against the backdrop of a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired premise, from an explorable overworld to Tiny Tina herself serving as your ever-so-unpredictable Dungeon Master. No, it’s not exactly a big new blockbuster Borderlands release, but until we get another one of those, it’s more than good enough to serve well as a stopgap.
Since its inception, the Splatoon franchises has been widely recognized as one of the best (and most unusual) multiplayer shooter franchises around, and it’s a belief that’s only grown stronger with each successive release. That holds true for Splatoon 3 as well. Smartly looking to refine and improve upon the series’ beloved formula rather than trying to fix something that ain’t broke, Splatoon 3 ends up being as riotously fun as you’d expect it to be. From excellent maps and to vast and varied roster of weapons to, of course, a meaty and well-made single player campaign, Splatoon 3 continues to exhibit exactly why this has quickly become one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises.
DESTROY ALL HUMANS! 2 – REPROBED
The Destroy All Humans! franchise returned to the limelight in 2020 with a remake of the original developed by Black Forest Games, and 2022 saw the developer (and publisher THQ Nordic) following up on its success with a follow-up remake in Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed. The results? Well, largely similar. Reprobed isn’t an unmissable game by any means, and owing to how faithfully it recreates the original Destroy All Humans! 2, it also feels aged in several aspects. But at the same time, it delivers more of that chaotic carnage, bombastic action, and gleefully juvenile humour the series has always been known for. It might not be highbrow game design, but if you’re looking for pure unadulterated fun, you’ll find plenty of it here.
Take modern bullet hell shooter in one hand, Guitar Hero in the other, and then put your hands together- that’s what Metal: Hellsinger is. A devilishly fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled first person shooters where you’re ripping through hordes of terrifying demons- only you’re doing it all to the rhythm of extremely hardcore heavy metal music. The vibe that the game creates is unforgettable, and unlike anything else you’ll see, and it deserves immense praise for how effortlessly it does justice to its premise, which is, of course, is a fascinating one, but is also one that is incredibly tricky to properly pull off.
SNIPER ELITE 5
Sniper Elite 5 may not be a big budget AAA game, but for all the starved stealth fans out there, it’s a game that cannot be missed. Rebellion’s World War 2 stealth series has never really broken into the mainstream, but within its niche, its been quietly making steady and consistent improvements. Sniper Elite 5 is the series’ finest iteration yet. Within its large, intricately designed maps, the game places a number of objectives and side objectives, provides players with an arsenal of tools and weapons, and then lets you completely loose, giving you the freedom to tackle objectives however you wish. For fans of emergent stealth, there’s a whole lot to love here.
Many have wondered why Overwatch 2 needed to launch as a sequel rather than as an update to the original, and while those arguments aren’t without merit, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that at its core, Blizzard’s hero shooter formula remains impeccable. Of course, Overwatch 2 makes a number of tweaks and improvements to that formula, most notably with its switch to 5v5 matches, and in doint so it crafts a wonderfully balanced and excellent designed competitive multiplayer experience that succeeds in ways that no other game out there seems to be able to. It has made some controversial changes, yes, but hopefully, Blizzard will be looking at feedback carefully, because there’s already a great game here- one that can become even better.
The linear, super corny character action games of the 2000s have become something of a dying breed in today’s day and age, but if you’re a fan of that particular style of games, Flying Wild Hog’s Evil West has you covered. It’ll pull you in with its fascinating premise – with you playing as a vampire hunter in an alternate history Wild West that’s populated by vicious beasts and creatures – and once you’re in, it’ll sink its claws into you with its crunching, satisfying, brutal combat, which evokes the style of those old school action titles almost perfectly. This blend of Wild West and dark fantasy is one you won’t want to miss.
Of all the games we’ve listed here, Marauders is the one with the lowest profile- many might not even be aware of it, in fact. But as those who’ve played it will tell you, it’s a game well worth your attention. Imagine Escape from Tarkov, but set in space, and you’ll get a decent idea of what Marauders is going for. The tactical multiplayer shooter is an absolute blast to play, and it’s also a significantly more accessible experience than many of its peers, which means the onboarding process is much smoother. It’s definitely a little rough around the edges, especially in terms of how susceptible it often is to cheaters and hacks, but for the most part, it does more than enough to impress.
SHADOW WARRIOR 3
Flying Wild Hog gets not one, but two places in our list of nominations for the year’s best shooters. Several months before Evil West, earlier in the year, the developer put out Shadow Warrior 3, a game that makes the smart decision to trim a great deal of the fat that weighed down its predecessor. Shadow Warrior 3 is lean, focused, and as a result, a consistently enjoyable game, thanks to its solid blend of fast-paced action and quick, dynamic traversal mechanics. It’s not a game without issues, especially when it comes to story, writing, and characters, but there’s still plenty here that you can’t help but appreciate.
Blizzard Entertainment has been embroiled in a bevy of controversies in recent years, and that, combined with Overwatch 2’s prolonged development cycle, meant there was plenty of skepticism out there surrounding the hero shooter’s launch. We’ve yet to see how its single player content will fare when it arrives later on, but it’s safe to say that the meat and potatoes of the experience – which is the multiplayer component – proves all over again just why the original Overwatch took the world by storm in 2016. Yes, this is a rather iterative sequel (to the extent that some might not even call it a sequel), but the gameplay experience it delivers and the variety and ingenious design it exhibits in everything from its characters to its maps to its modes is unmatched. There’s still room for improvement here, yes, but at the very least, Overwatch 2 has got off to a promising start.