Best Third-Person Shooters 2021

First-person shooters are popular, but what about third-person shooter games? Fret not, we've made the ultimate list of the best third-person shooter games!

While the shooter genre may be best known for first-person games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, there are just as many great third-person shooters releasing today.

From triple-A blockbusters to indie jams, players have a lot of options when deciding which third-person games to pick up and play.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best third-person shooters to play in 2021, including the best third-person shooters on PC and console.

We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite third-person shooter games!

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To get started, the first game we’re recommending is Madness: Project Nexus, a third-person run n’ gun-style shooter with arcade-inspired chaotic combat.

In it, you take on the role of a deadly little bean man as he infiltrates heavily guarded facilities, cult camps, moving trains, and more while fighting back against oppressive soldiers and cannibal bandits.

Your character can wield a host of guns including pistols, rifles, shotguns, and machineguns with unique perks as well as countless melee weapons for when you’re low on ammo.

Project Nexus features an 8-hour story campaign that supports local co-op and an arena mode where players can customize their warrior from the ground up and progress through specialized skill trees.

One of the most surprisingly good releases of 2021 is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which offers a fresh take on the now-iconic band of misfit heroes as they travel across the cosmos stirring up trouble.

Players control Star-Lord as he leads his oddball crew through a series of catastrophic events and makes decisions that will shape the galaxy’s fate.

Armed with a pair of elemental blasters and rocket boots, Star-Lord is able to get around environments with ease and issue commands to his comrades to pull off powerful “tag-team beatdown” attacks.

Throughout the campaign, players will get to enhance Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians’ abilities using RPG-driven progression.

Next up, Attack on Toys is a third-person shooter with RTS elements inspired by games like Army Men, The Mean Greens, and Home Wars.

It features a similar premise in which players control toy army soldiers as they wage war with rival squads using tanks, helicopters, and even robot mechs.

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Soldiers can be customized and leveled up to unlock new weapons, cosmetics, and equipment to give them an edge during battle.

After playing through the included battle scenarios, you can try your hand at crafting your own using an in-game map editor that allows you to share your creations with others via Steam Workshop.

Securing a spot on our list of best PS5 exclusives, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a continuation of the third-person shooter franchise from Insomniac and Sony with a host of technical improvements for PS5.

The story sees heroes Ratchet and Clank embarking on an interdimensional journey after an experiment-gone-wrong causes Dr. Nefarious’ Dimensionator device to go haywire.

This causes portals from different worlds to begin opening and closing at random with rippling consequences for Ratchet and Clank’s homeworld.

Rift Apart expands upon the satisfying gameplay from previous entries by introducing new weapons and gadgets as well as a new playable character.

If you’ve been searching for a third-person shooter that scratches the same itch as Left 4 Dead or other squad-based shooters, consider checking out Aliens: Fireteam Elite.

In it, teams of up to four players are tasked with exploring infested space colonies teeming with alien and android enemies inspired by the iconic film franchise.

Players are given five classes to pick from, each with their own skill trees, upgrades, and weapons tailored for different playstyles.

Although the game is still lacking some pretty basic features, namely in-game voice chat and drop-in drop-out co-op, the development road map suggests new features are currently being worked on.

In our review for World War Z back when the game first launched, we praised the third-person shooter for its satisfying combat, weapon, and class variety that encourages players to keep coming back.

Since then, Saber Interactive has been toiling away on new features for WWZ: Aftermath, a substantial update that adds new campaign chapters, character specializations, and gameplay refinements.

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One of the best additions is a new Horde Mode XL, which sees you and your squad mowing down increasingly difficult zombie waves and trying to survive for as long as possible.

It’s the perfect kind of ‘dumb fun’ zombie shooter that can serve as a palette cleanser for bigger releases or when you and your friends can’t decide on what to play.

Hitman 3 wraps up IO Interactive’s World of Assassination trilogy while doubling (technically tripling) down on the franchise’s immersive sim sandbox design.

Once more, players reprise their role as the eponymous hitman Agent 47 as he sets off on a globe-trotting mission to dismantle the criminal organization known as Providence.

Before he can ride off into the sunset, 47 will have to track down and eliminate a fresh batch of targets throughout sandbox levels littered with alternate routes, disguises, and weapons.

Much like its predecessors, Hitman 3 lends itself to replayability, allowing you to retry every contract using new tactics to get the job done.

While more revered for its RPG mechanics than gunplay, the Mass Effect series has a rich and quite controversial history of releases and spin-offs.

In it, players take on the role of Commander Shepard as they fight to save the universe from a race of powerful machines called Reapers.

Shepard is joined by a squad of diverse companions with backgrounds in military, medicine, and engineering that are willing to lend a hand in battle and weigh in on important decisions.

Considering the series started in the early 2000s, the best way to play the original trilogy is through the remastered Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which adds visual, technical, and gameplay refinements.

The rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy ranks consistently high among third-person shooter fans due to its excellent gameplay and storytelling.

If you’ve already had the pleasure of playing through 2013’s Tomb Raider and its follow-up Rise of the Tomb Raider but have yet to touch Shadow of the Tomb Raider, now is as good a time as any.

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In contrast to the two previous games, Shadow’s story casts Lara Croft in a much darker light as she’s forced to operate within morally gray areas.

Years of adventuring and fighting corrupt cults and paramilitary soldiers have caused the heroine to become unhinged and explore new hellish tactics that toe the line between stealth and aggression.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of Rockstar’s best takes on the ever-popular third-person action-adventure shooter genre and is considered by many the best cowboy game of all time.

Set during the tail end of the Old Wild West, the game offers a sprawling open-world brimming with lush vistas, intriguing mysteries, and tons of fun side activities to mess around with.

This is all complemented by one of the most well-crafted video game narratives centered on an aging cowboy forced to confront his own mortality as he navigates his own criminal enterprise.

When you’re not in knee-deep trouble with the law, you’re free to carve out your own adventures and go horseback riding, hunting for exotic animals, drinking, and more.

Next up is Gears 5, the most recent entry in Xbox’s long-running Gears of War third-person shooter exclusive franchise which is now available on both PC and Xbox consoles.

Its story centers on a mercenary named Kate Diaz as she sets out to investigate the connection between her family and a race of subterranean mutated humans known as the Locust Horde.

The game’s 8-12 hour campaign sees Diaz and her crew battling waves of enemies while navigating dense and diverse environments that provide plenty of cover and tactical options.

Like its predecessors, Gears 5 does a great job at executing its multiplayer content with a co-op-friendly story mode and new and returning co-op/PvP modes like Horde, Team Deathmatch, and Escape.

In the realm of third-person shooters, Remedy has managed to strike gold twice with the release of supernatural thrillers like Alan Wake and Control.

And although the game’s technically taxing nature has already been well-documented by us and other PC gaming outlets, not much has been discussed about Control’s equally demanding combat design.

Related:Best Games Like Control

Reminiscent of fast-paced shooters like Doom, Control encourages players to constantly be moving as they fire off shot after shot at zombified enemies known collectively as the Hiss.

Additionally, the main character Jesse Faden is armed with a shapeshifting pistol and a host of special powers that allow her to manipulate objects and levitate.

While roguelike games are quite popular these days, there still aren’t many options for infinitely replayable third-person shooters like Risk of Rain 2. 

Serving as a sequel to the original 2D action-platformer, the game builds upon Risk of Rain’s energetic combat with fully 3D procedurally generated environments.

Each run sees you exploring different biomes defeating mobs of enemies and bosses as you gather gear and spend coins upgrading your character’s abilities.

There are currently 11 character classes to choose from, with each adding its own flavor to the game’s fluid and fast-paced third-person combat.

The Resident Evil series has fared a lot better than other 90s third-person shooter franchises despite criticisms of the super restrictive tank controls found in early entries.

Thankfully, more recent installments do away with this outdated design in favor of an over-the-shoulder camera that can be rotated freely during gameplay.

The recent remake of Resident Evil 2 in particular does an excellent job of delivering satisfying third-person combat as players guide Leon and Claire down zombie-infested hallways and tunnels.

It’s best recommended for anyone who enjoys old-school-inspired shooters complete with all the modern bells and whistles you’d expect in 2021.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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