A screenshot of an alien monster attacking the protagonist of Outriders.
Image via People Can Fly

Top 13 best looter shooter games out right now, ranked

Which comes first? The looter or the shooter?

Two gameplay features are, for all intents and purposes, completely ubiquitous in the modern video game industry. They are, of course, the separate concepts of looting and shooting. Put those features together, and, in theory, you’ve got the ultimate video game. However, the formula doesn’t often pan out, and the end result is a grindy mess with gunplay that feels like you’re firing a wet cardboard gun at plywood targets. In other words, not great.

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This list, however, is about to present you with about half a dozen genuinely great looter shooters. Most of them have their own idea of what, exactly, constitutes loot, but they all feature both looting and shooting. That makes them pretty darn good in our book.

What makes a good looter shooter?

The thing about looter shooter games is that they exist on a sliding scale of how gunplay meshes with looting components. More specifically, on one end of the proverbial horseshoe, you’ve got literal looter shooter titles, such as Borderlands. On the other, you’ve got things like Warframe, where you definitely shoot and loot, but only resources and blueprints. This has all been taken into account for the purposes of this article, using Gearbox’s beloved franchise as an obvious baseline.

Each and every game on this list is a pretty darn great looter shooter. Each also has a slightly different idea of what makes for a looter shooter. On top of grading by relative quality, we also judge them by how closely they adhere to the genre’s core concept. The higher-up games on this list are, therefore, still great. It’s just that they have a slightly less straightforward interpretation of the shoot/loot gameplay loop.

Best pistols in Escape From Tarkov ranked
Image via Battlestate Games

#13: Escape From Tarkov

What is Escape From Tarkov if not a looter-shooter? The entire premise of the game’s whole gameplay loop rests on the player’s inclination to go out, shoot, and – indeed – loot. What sets it apart from almost every other title on this list is its incredible depth of gameplay mechanics, to the point that you’ve got dozens of points of interaction with your weapon alone, let alone anything else on the level, the NPCs, and other players around you. It’s a complex and involved kind of experience that won’t lend itself to all types of player, but Tarkov is definitely worth mulling about.

Image via STALKER Gamma

#12: STALKER: Anomaly – Gamma Modpack

STALKER games have always enjoyed a fairly prolific modding scene, but the release of the open-source rebuild of the games’ X-Ray Engine truly spurred the community into action. Today, STALKER: Anomaly – Gamma represents the pinnacle of the experience, allowing you to loot and shoot your way through the Exclusion Zone entirely for free. It’s a real hoot, just be prepared for ample amounts of jankiness, as is STALKER known to deliver.

An official Bethesda promo image celebrating Fallout 76: Atlantic City
Image via Bethesda

#11: Fallout 76

Though it got off to a very rocky start, Fallout 76 is now a fully realized and satisfyingly complete looter-shooter set against the backdrop of thermonuclear warfare. Bethesda’s vision of an irradiated, mutant-ridden Appalachia is impeccable, and the game’s live-service model (though not without fault) keeps on trucking from one big content update to another. It’s taken a few years, sure, but Fallout 76 did end up earning its place on this list in all the ways that matter.

Promotional image of two unique Warframes posing for a picture.
Image via Digital Extremes

#10: Warframe

Warframe is a resource-based looter-shooter. This long-lasting live-service gun ’em down has received hundreds of pieces of gear over the course of its lifetime, but the vast majority of loot players get during actual gameplay are plain resources. Resources that are, in turn, spent on producing usable gear from unique blueprints. This means Warframe is quite different from full-blooded looter-shooters, such as Borderlands, but it still technically makes the cut. Good thing, too, because it’s a pretty great game with more horizontal player progression than one could shake a parasite-laden machine gun at.

A shot from the Outriders promo art, one of the best looter shooter games
Image via People Can Fly

#9: Outriders

Outriders embodies all the core principles of a true looter-shooter to a T. As a stat-heavy third-person shooter, Outriders takes cues from the likes of Borderlands and Destiny. Though it delivers something that doesn’t quite reach the heights of its obvious inspirations. But setting that aside, it’s still a remarkably competent and fun looter-shooter whose Painkiller and Bulletstorm DNA manages to shine through. Even if only every so often and through a mire of slight drudgery.

A first-person combat screenshot from Roboquest, facing off against a boss.
Image via RyseUp Studios

#8: Roboquest

Roboquest is, perhaps, the least loot-centric game on this list, though it’s certainly still got loads of it. The reason Roboquest has made its way above Outriders, which is a full-blooded looter-shooter, is that it’s one of the best indie FPS titles on the market right now. An Early Access rogue-lite, Roboquest features dozens of partially random-generated weapons and a combat loop that will remind you of Destiny, Titanfall, and Borderlands all at once, and it’s due to release in full before the end of Q4 2023.

A Remnant 2 character facing off against a Losomn executioner.
Image via Gunfire Games

#7: Remnant 2

Remnant 2 is easily one of the best third-person shooters of 2023, and its unique handling of loot meant it absolutely had to be featured in a proper list of must-play genre offerings. Whereas most other games on this list feature oodles of proc-gen items and gear, each and every piece of usable loot found in Remnant 2 is wholly unique. Often, these items are locked behind surprisingly involved secrets, making them meaningful and interesting to chase after. If a novel approach to looting-shooting is what you’re after, this is the game to check out.

A first-person combat screenshot of one of Borderlands 3's first bosses.
Image via Gearbox Studios

#6: Borderlands 3

We’ll be perfectly honest here: Borderlands 3‘s gunplay is the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s crisp, engaging, and about as slick as an FPS gets. The reason it didn’t rank higher on this list is that it’s also got an overwhelmingly annoying cast of characters and a non-skippable story, and these elements really do eat into its better qualities. Regardless, if gun-hoarding and loot-chasing are what you’re looking for, and if you still want to play something modern, Borderlands 3 is the way to go.

Borderlands 2 ranks lower than 3 on our best looter shooter games list
Image via Ubisoft

#5: The Division 2

Ubisoft’s The Division 2 often goes overlooked in discussions surrounding looter-shooters: unfairly so. It’s a surprisingly deep and engaging RPG wrapped over the bones of a strong tactical shooter. Plus, it’s got better itemization than virtually any other game on this list. Its biggest issue, really, is that it doesn’t have the sort of sci-fi background that other looter-shooters do. In other words, you’re not getting an awesome Starkiller Worldender plasma rifle: it’s going to be a somewhat spicy AR-15 instead.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands ranks high on our best looter shoot games list, don't let this fantastical art fool you
Image via Gearbox Software.

#4: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a less cringeworthy version of Borderlands 3, but with a quasi-medieval aesthetic slapped on top. That’s not a bad thing, mind, as it gives Wonderlands just the right sort of remove for it to feel meaningfully different. You’re getting tons upon tons upon tons of loot, an improved character creation system, and a slightly different traversal system that, truthfully, might not be to everyone’s tastes. Still, it’s a lovely offering that deserves to stand on its own two feet, even if its DLC might not be all that great.

Destiny 2 screenshot depicting a Warlock facing off against Hive enemies on Mars.
Image via Bungie

#3: Destiny 2

For all its faults – which are very many – Destiny 2 is still one of the most unique looter-shooter titles on the market. It owes this uniqueness to its genuinely mechanically challenging content, such as raids and dungeons, and to its compelling combat loop. The live service schtick won’t be to everyone’s taste, naturally, and keeping up with Destiny certainly does take some effort. Thankfully, rewards are bountiful as Bungie continues to evolve a core formula that’s among the best in the industry. The loot, too, is decent!

A Division agent dealing with a squad of Cleaners in New York.
Image via Ubisoft

#2: The Division

It may seem strange that the original Division would be so high up on this list, sure. But that’s because it perfectly encapsulates everything good about the genre niche. Its successor does, too, but Division 2 fails to deliver the same feel as the original’s snowy New York setting. Another thing that works in The Division‘s favour is, arguably, also one of its biggest downsides: it’s way more of an RPG than The Division 2. Its itemization is heavier and more RNG-based, and its enemies are far chunkier and more substantial. Combine this with the game’s excellent atmosphere, and you’ve got something special.

A promotional Borderlands 2 image showing the Gunslinger as he kills a squad of Bandits.
Image via Gearbox Studios

#1: Borderlands 2

Finally, the ultimate looter-shooter is none other than Borderlands 2. True, it doesn’t really play nearly as well as Borderlands 3 does, but its combat loop is nonetheless perfectly suited for excessively large amounts of farming-via-killing. Borderlands 2 is a great shooter with loads of cheap (and quality) DLC, and even a number of comprehensive mods that bump things up a notch or two. Its story, moreover, is far easier to ignore than it is in Borderlands 3, allowing you to focus purely on the grind of it. To this day, Borderlands 2 remains the go-to looter-shooter in our libraries, but genre newcomers may overlook it for one of the newer franchise entries.


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Author
Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.