Today we are doing an article about the top 20 first-person shooters for low-end PCs. These titles can run decently on both a low-end desktop computer or a laptop.
Back when I first discovered PC gaming, I had nothing but a roasted potato that could run a handful of computer games. Despite that, the memories I had with these titles will be burned inside my memory forever.
To this day, I’m still on the hunt for anything old. It’s a great thing to mix between the old and the new in my opinion. Playing old games allows gamers to discover titles that influenced a plethora of titles that we are currently playing these days.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Suffering
- 2 Soldier of Fortune
- 3 F.E.A.R
- 4 Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
- 5 Dusk
- 6 Star Wars: Republic Commando
- 7 The Darkness II
- 8 Return to Castle Wolfenstein
- 9 Timeshift
- 10 Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death
- 11 Half-Life 2
- 12 Doom 3
- 13 Star Wars: The Dark Forces
- 14 Call of Duty 2
- 15 Deus Ex
- 16 Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD
- 17 XIII
- 18 Red Faction
- 19 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- 20 Singularity
Developer: Surreal Software
Published: Midway Games
Platform: Xbox | PS2 | PC
Release Date: March 8, 2004
The Suffering is a third-person shooter horror game with a built-in first-person shooter mode. The game was developed by the now-defunct Surreal Software which is known for games such as Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The game can be downloaded from GOG, and it works fine on a low-end computer decently. Just make sure to set the affinity for the processor to lowest when playing this game because the game rarely freezes.
The Suffering is a blend of survival and psychological horror which will haunt your memory for years. The game puts you in the shoes of torque a prisoner sentenced to death for murdering his ex-wife and two children. A crime that he doesn’t remember committing. Shortly after, his arrival in Abbot State Penitentiary on Carnate Island, a sudden earthquake hits the island, resulting in the prison getting attacked by mysterious creatures. After being freed, Torque attempts to fight his way to freedom while confronting his own personal demons, all while attempting to remember what really happened to his family.
The gameplay is pretty similar to the likes of Extermination and Alan Wake. The Suffering’s main focus is on the action and scaring the crap out of the player. There’s plenty of shooting to experience here, as well as, jump scares.
Similar to the Silent Hill series, the aforementioned features three endings. These endings will depend on your action in the game. Basically, it works like a karma system.
Soldier of Fortune
Developer: Raven Software
Platform: Dreamcast | PS2 | PC
Release Date: February 29, 2000
One of the goriest first-person shooters ever made which sparked controversies upon its release back in 2000. Moreover, the game is up there with other brutal shooters such as Blood and Aliens vs Predator. Lucky for you, GOG revived this masterpiece and can be now downloaded via their official website. Don’t worry, this game will run on anything nowadays, even your potato PC.
The player assumes the role of John Mullins, a soldier working a U.S.-based mercenary organization known as “The Shop”. He and his partner, Aaron “Hawk” Parsons, are tasked to retrieve the stolen nuclear weapons from terrorists who plan to destroy the world. As a US soldier, you’ll have to go to several countries to stop the threat, including Sudan, Tokyo, Uganda, and Iraq. The enemy won’t be playing any games, and you aren’t going to play them either. Use any necessary means to blow the terrorist’s plans.
The title is built on the Quake 2 engine, so expect to see some heavy realistic depictions of violence where you can see parts of human bodies scattering all over the place after you’ve blown their head with your shotgun. Soldier of Fortune is a really fun game if you don’t mind the graphics and just want to blast everyone’s head off.
If you are looking for a game where you blast anything that moves, Soldier of Fortune is an excellent choice.
Developer: Monolith Production
Published: Vivendi Universal Games
Platform: PS3 | Xbox 360 | PC
Release Date: October 17, 2005
No matter how many years have passed, F.E.A.R still holds up to this along with other games such as Half-Life 2. It’s amazing how such a game that came out in 2005 is still being discovered by PC Players to this day. And, let’s not forget the frequent mods the game has been getting lately. These mods mainly exist to enhance the textures and the overall visuals.
The game puts you in the shoes of a F.E.A.R.’s agent. You possess superhuman reflexes which enables you to slow down time while you charge into enemies’ bullets. As an agent, your job is to uncover the secrets of a paranormal menace in the form of Alma, a young girl.
The gameplay in F.E.A.R is pure awesomeness. But more importantly, the overall game focuses more on psychological horror and how to breathe fear into the player. You’ll be encountering an abundance of soldiers who are tasked to take you down no matter what. Be careful, these soldiers are not joking around.
The game can be downloaded from GOG. The game is one of the top 10 best FPS games for a potato PC.
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
Platform: PS3 | Xbox 360 | PC
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a great alternative in case if you’re yearning for something similar to Red Dead Redemption. Although this one is a first-person shooter unlike the latter, both share the western theme. The title is by Techland, known for games such as Dying Light, and Dead Island.
The game takes place twenty years after the events of the original game. You play as the McCall brothers: Ray and Thomas. The game starts with the two brothers fighting in the American Civil War. However, they end up abandoning their post to rescue their family home. After two years, several events happen which lead the brothers to seek the gold. Their journey won’t be so easy as the Apache, and Mendoza will be in their way.
Call of Juarez’s gameplay can be compared to the Farcry series, but the overall setting sparks a bit of uniqueness which you sadly cannot find in any other game. The sequel, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, improves everything about the series including the action. However, I’m not sure if the sequel is capable of running on your low-end PC.
You can get your hands on the Call of Juarez series from either Steam or GOG. This series is an experience that you mustn’t neglect.
Developer: David Szymanski
Published: New Blood Interactive
Platform: PC | macOS | Linux | Nintendo Switch
Release Date: December 10, 2018
Dusk is a first-person shooter that was recently released. It takes inspiration from retro FPS games such as Redneck Rampage and Rise of the Triad. Hence why it has retro-styled graphics in the first place.
The player assumes the role of a nameless treasure hunter ( often called DuskDude) who has heard rumors that there is a treasure hidden around the city of Pennsylvania. He’ll have to fight through a plethora of enemies to reach the hidden riches inside the sealed town.
If you ask me, the closest thing to Dusk in terms of gameplay and the fast-pacing is Painkiller. Not only that but also the overall atmosphere is pretty identical as well. But rest assured, you won’t be fighting giant demons here.
You can play this game on your low-end PC despite being fairly new. Head straight to GOG or Steam if you want to get your hands on this one.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Platform: PC | Xbox
Release Date: February 28, 2005
One of the best Star Wars games that sadly will never get a proper continuation, so we’re stuck in that cliffhanger for all eternity. This entry in the franchise is different than previous titles as it focuses on tactical first-person shooting. The game’s story puts you in the shoes of Delta Squad who are tasked with completing tougher missions throughout the course of the game.
The gameplay is seamless and fun, but one of the best features in the games is commands. As a Delta squad leader, you can give orders to your subordinates anytime you want. This method is crucial to surviving the increasingly difficult mission, and especially boss fights.
Lucky for you, Star Wars: Republic Commando doesn’t require a beast of a PC to run. I guarantee you that it will run on your low-end pc or laptop with no issues. If you are planning to get this game, head straight to the Steam/GOG page.
The Darkness II
Developer: Digital Extremes
Published: 2K Games
Platform: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3 | mac OS X
Release Date: February 7, 2012
The Darkness 2 is one of my favorite first-person shooters ever made. It hurts to see that the game is never getting a sequel mainly due to the poor sales, and what happened to the comic it’s based on.
You play Jackie Estacado who must rescue his girlfriend which is trapped by the Darkness in the depths of Hell. His mission won’t be easy as he will have to confront the Brotherhood, a group of armed cultists trying to take the powers of the Darkness away from Jackie.
While The Darkness II has the same mechanics as any other first-person shooter, it manages to include elements found in role-playing video games such as skill trees and experience which enables Jackie to upgrade his stats. If you ever plan to play this game, stay away from the light because it’s Jackie’s deadliest weakness.
The Darkness II runs great on low-end computers, as well as, laptops. An Intel HD 4000 paired with a core 2 duo is capable of running this title decently, but not perfectly. You can get this game via Steam.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Developer: Gray Matter Interactive
Platform: PC | Xbox | PS2 | mac OS X | Linux
Release Date: November 19, 2001
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is one of the best fast-paced first-person shooters that you will ever experience. To this day, the game still holds up in terms of the shooting mechanics, and the gameplay. In case you don’t know, the game received a sequel which doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. It’s titled Wolfenstein and was released back in 2009.
Players assume the role of agent Blazkowicz who is once again tasked to take on german soldiers, flee the castle, and discover the truth behind everything. The more you progress in the game, the more you’ll notice that the difficulty increases. So, be ready to die a couple of times.
If you enjoy fast-paced shooters, RTCW will be your best bet. After all, the game is built on the id Tech 3 engine which is known for other titles such as Quake III Arena, Soldier of Fortune: Double Helix, and Dark Salvation.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is available on GOG and Steam. Still, if you want my opinion, GOG is a better choice when it comes to anything old.
Developer: Saber Interactive
Published: Vivendi Games
Platform: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3
Release Date: October 30, 2007
Coming next in the list is TimeShift. The aforementioned is the result you get when mixing Crysis and Half-Life. While it isn’t the best game ever, its in-game abilities make it worth a shot.
Players assume the role of Michael Swift, a test pilot who goes back in time to defeat the evil scientist Krone before he launches an assault on your facility. Your journey won’t be easy as his minions will come in large numbers ready to blast you to oblivion. But what they don’t know is that you possess inhuman powers.
In TimeShift, time is your ally. You are capable of stopping time, speeding time, and briefly going back in time to undo fatal consequences. It is kind of similar to the Prince of Persia series, but using guns this time. All of these abilities will come in handy against anyone who possesses a threat. Oh, and speaking of time, this game runs on anything these days. So, you don’t have to jump into the future to get your dream rig.
In case if you want this game, head straight to GOG or Steam. We hope you liked what you have read so far. If you want more lists, please let us know below!
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Published: Sierra Entertainment, Evolved Games
Platform: PC | Xbox | PS2 | Gamecube
Release Date: 17 October 2003
Brought to you by the developers behind the Sniper Elite franchise, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, and 007: From Russia with Love. Judge Dredd vs. Death is based on the 2000AD comic series which also spawned several movie adaptations.
You assume the role of Judge Dredd, the law and protector of Mega-City One. The city is awaiting a terrible danger by the insane Dr. Icarus who invented a virus that turns people into either vampires or zombies. However, from the beginning, he planned to achieve immortality so he can rule the world. When all hope is lost, Dredd shows up, loads his gun, and goes on to fight the evil scientist and anyone who possesses a threat to his city.
Since you play as the law himself, your job is to look after the city and capture criminals that roam the streets. Also, there’s a law meter that measures the player’s commitments to the laws of Mega-City One. It all depends on your actions, and if they follow the law, you will get splendid rewards at the end of each chapter. If you ask me, the gameplay is similar to Return of Castle Wolfenstein. The game sometimes shifts from a regular first-person shooter game to a fast-paced one. Luckily, this game is easy. Unless if you decide to play it on hard mode, then good luck.
Judge Dredd vs. Death is one of the best FPS games for a potato PC that I cannot recommend enough. If you are interested to give it a try, head on to Steam or GOG.
Platform: PC | Xbox | PS3 | Xbox 360
Release Date: November 16, 2004
One does not simply, talk about the best FPS games, and not end up mentioning Half-Life. It is one of those games that is like no other. It’s difficult to find something that plays and feels the same as Half-Life 2.
Players assume the role of Gordon Freeman, who fights the alien invasion alongside allies including resistance fighter Alyx Vance. Gordon will fight enemies using a couple of weapons such as the famous gravity gun, and other deadly tools to prevent the aliens from destroying the planet.
Half-Life 2 combines shooting, puzzles, and storytelling, and adds features that make the player’s experience unique and unforgettable. Unlike the first game, you can now use vehicles which makes exploring a lot easy. In the end, if you’re worried about whether the game would run on your system, or not, you really shouldn’t worry, to be honest. The game runs on the worst computers out there, so you should be fine, and it is one of the best FPS games for low-end pcs.
Developer: id Software
Platform: PC | Xbox | PS3 | Xbox 360 | PS4 | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 3, 2004
Unlike the previous Doom entries, Doom 3 focuses entirely on action horror, and whether it manages to scare the hell out of you, or not. Unfortunately, a lot of players disliked this game since it did not feel like the original classic Doom games.
Doom 3 is the first reboot of the Doom series, and according to Doom RPG, it’s a prequel to the first game. The story takes place on Mars in 2145 where scientists are conducting scientific, biological researches and advanced weapons design. These researches, unfortunately, lead to opening a gateway to Hell, resulting in a catastrophic invasion of the Mars base by demons.
Gameplay-wise, the title is similar to a lot of id Software games. One of them is Quake 4. There are a variety of weapons to choose from, and lots of demons to kill. Also, the game introduces puzzle-solving which isn’t available in previous games. Doom 3 is definitely a groundbreaking game if you’re looking for a horror game, and is one of the best FPS games for low-end pc.
Star Wars: The Dark Forces
Platform: PC | Macintosh | Linux | MS-DOS
Release Date: February 28, 1995
Star Wars: The Dark Forces is what the new Star Wars: Battlefront should have been. This one may not appeal to everyone as it did originally come out on MS-DOS then was later ported to PC.
The game puts you in the shoes of Kyle Katarn, a mercenary who discovers the Galactic Empire’s secret, the Dark Trooper Project. This project involves the development of a series of powerful battle droids and power-armored stormtroopers which possesses a great threat.
If you grew up with classic Doom, and Wolfenstein games, SW: Dark Forces will pick your interest as all of these games share something in common. Star Wars: Dark Forces is one of the best FPS games for low-end PCs and laptops that you shouldn’t miss.
Call of Duty 2
Developer: Infinity Ward
Platform: PC | Xbox 360
Release Date: October 25, 2005
Call of Duty 2 is one of the best entries in the series along with Modern Warfare, World at War, and Black Ops. It is the second installment in the franchise and the responsible game for turning it into a series.
The latter takes place during the events of the chaotic World War II. The game contains four campaigns where you control 4 individuals as they are tasked to accomplish certain missions to progress in the story.
Unlike the previous entry, Call of Duty 2 introduces the regenerating health feature and an icon that indicates nearby grenades so that you can avoid fatal death. The graphics were drastically improved as well. Thanks to modders on the internet, you can make this game look even better. If you’re looking for the best FPS games for a low-end pc or laptop, this one is for you.
Developer: Ion Storm
Published: Eidos Interactive
Platform: PC | PS2 | PS3 | Mac OS
Release Date: June 23, 2000
Before Cyberpunk 2077, we had Deus Ex. A phenomenal game that is still praised to this very day for its mechanics, storytelling, and its unique depiction of the future.
Players assume the role of agent JC Denton who is given extraordinary abilities by nanotechnology. As he sets out to combat hostile forces in a world consumed by inequality and a deadly plague, he finds himself stuck in a conspiracy that brings him into conflict with the Triads, Majestic 12, and the Illuminati.
Deus Ex‘s gameplay is a blend of the first-person shooter with stealth elements, adventure, and role-playing genre. This allows the player to complete tasks and missions in a variety of ways, which in turn lead to differing outcomes.
By the way, we’ve made a list of games similar to Cyberpunk 2077 check it out here.
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD
Published: Devolver Digital
Release Date: 28 April 2010
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD is a high-definition remake of the original Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. Not only that but also, the developers have included more features that were not present in the original.
You assume the role of our hero, Serious Sam as he battles his way through a horde of aliens led by the extraterrestrial overlord Mental who seeks to destroy humanity.
The gameplay in Serious Sam is a fast-paced shooting where the action never stops, and enemies don’t too. There are a variety of weapons to choose from like any first-person shooter out there. However, what makes Serious Sam stand from other titles is the number of enemies it keeps sending on your way. If you’re looking for the best FPS games for a low-end PC, check this out.
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Platform: PC | Xbox | Gamecube | PS2
Release Date: November 18, 2003
After the horrible flop of the XIII remake, you will find people return to the original cel-shaded game. Why? because it’s better in so many ways. The developers have put some love while crafting it, unlike the recent remake.
The game’s story is based on the French graphic novel of the same, and it follows a man suffering from Amnesia. The illness leads him to search for his lost identity amidst all the conflict.
Despite XIII’s gameplay playing similarly to other games from the genre, its unique style and cel-shaded graphics make it stand out from being labeled as nothing but a mere mediocre game.
Platform: PC | Xbox | Mac OS | OS X
Release Date: May 22, 2001
Red Faction is the closest thing to Half-Life in my opinion. The original game blew a lot of people away with its storytelling, the atmosphere, and the action. It’s seriously an action game that mustn’t be missed by anyone longing for an epic first-person shooter game.
The player controls a miner named Parker who helps lead a rebellion against the Ultor Corporation that enslaved them for a very long time.
The best thing about Red Faction is the ability to destroy anything that comes to your mind. Kind of similar to the likes of the Just Cause series. Also, in Red Faction we don’t knock on doors, we simply blast them.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Platform: PC | Xbox 360 | Mac OS | Linux | PS3
Release Date: August 21, 2012
One does not simply, talk about first-person shooters on a low-end PC and not end up mentioning Counter-Strike. Thanks to the constant updates by Valve, the game runs on most low-end computers.
As you already know, Counter-Strike is an online multiplayer game. Thus, there’s nothing much to be told here. If you’re looking for the best FPS games on a low-end PC, CS: GO is your best choice.
Developer: Raven Software
Platform: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3
Release Date: June 25, 2010
”It’s as if Timeshift and Wolfenstein 2009 merged” I told myself after I finished the game. Unfortunately, Singularity doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It just takes other elements from previous first-person shooters, blends them, and voila, you have yourself an entertaining sci-fi shooter that manages to be lots of fun and feature buckets of blood and gore.
Singularity is a 2010 first-person shooter developed by Raven Software. The latter is notably known for their Soldier of Fortune series which was a success until Payback came upon us. Now the series became a thing of the past.
When it comes to shooting, Singularity plays like any first-person shooter out there. Yet while it borrows already used mechanics from other games, its setting will keep you hooked for a while. I am aware that some might say ”but you say it has something already used before.” Well, yes, but actually no. There are a couple of unique mechanics to try here.
For example, time manipulation, controlling your bullet when using a different kind of sniper rifle, throwing objects using your left arm, and other mechanics that you can say are quite different from the already used formula. The only issues with Singularity are how short it is and the lack of replay value once you finish the game.