Looter shooters are a genre of game that pairs addictive loot-based gameplay of games like Diablo with the first-person or third-person genre of shooters.
Whether that loot is randomized guns, unique items, or consumables bolster your character, the looter shooter genre is one that is highly addictive and begs for multiple playthroughs or matches.
Addictive gunplay is a should for any looter shooter worth its salt. Furthermore, games like this generally gain from having wonderful instructions with precise powers and regular updates to keep the sport clean.
Despite how specific this sub-genre seems, developers have pushed quite a variety of takes on the formula. From sci-fi shooters to something that lacks randomized guns at all, there is something for every gamer in these looter shooters.
Recently updated on April 30th, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Looter Shooters haven’t seen many additions since we first updated this list. In fact, games like Anthem have been effectively abandoned, left to be forgotten. However, there are still quite a few looter shooters that are more than worth your time. We’ve gone into more detail on why the games on this list are the best in the genre currently and are worth your time.
Initially updated by Juliet Childers on November 4th, 2020: “RNGesus be with you” would be the call of looter shooter fans. From classics like Borderlands games to new releases to established freemium models like Warframe, fans can pick up any of these great games right now. Those looking for unique takes on the genre may even consider Spellbreak.
Though definitely one of the oldest games on this list, Hellgate: London remains of the originators in the genre. “Shlooters” weren’t really a thing before this game and Borderlands. However, this game predates the original Borderlands game and came from developers who had worked alongside Blizzard Entertainment.
While the single-player has a decent campaign, the multiplayer of this game is its bread and butter. Sadly, the 2018 Steam release of the game did not include the multiplayer facet. Fans of the genre looking to indulge in some of its history should look into this title.
Most looter shooters are first-person or third-person. Not Alienation. This top-down twin-stick shooter is about defending Earth from hordes of aliens.
Of course, plenty of upgrades can be earned for your character and gear to make the job easier. Unique classes with various abilities are available to try, with abilities that fulfill a power fantasy only the likes of Warframe can match. Weapons don’t feel spectacular, but the variety of items and mechanics is enough to make Alienation a game worth trying.
10-Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Often viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel doesn’t get mentioned that often when discussing the franchise. But this game, in many ways, paved the path for many mechanics in the latest release of the series.
The lack of gravity introduced jumps, and the lack of oxygen made use of new gear. The terrain and lack of gravity also contributed to the creation of new vehicles. A shift away from exponential damage scaling made gear obsolescence much less of a glaring issue in Pre-Sequel than it was in Borderlands 2. There’s no doubt that 2K Australia, despite missing the mark on a few core elements of the Borderlands formula, got a shocking amount right on their first attempt.
New damage types, low gravity sections, and the infamous “butt-slamming” this game presented would plant the seeds for design decisions seen in Borderlands 3. If you’re a fan of the Borderlands universe, this game also ties nicely into the Tales From The Borderlands series. It isn’t perfect, but The Pre-Sequel doesn’t get enough credit for what it did right.
9-The Division 2
Science fiction or fantasy are common settings for most looter shooters, as it lets developers go crazy with item ideas. The Division 2 takes a different, more modern approach.
Unlike other looter shooters on the market, The Division 2 uses grounded weapons from reality in a somewhat post-apocalyptic setting. It doesn’t take away from the creativity of items, however. Specialist abilities allow players to use incredibly powerful weapons alongside the default skills they’ve selected. Items come with unique stats, set bonuses, and the game even includes PvP.
8-Risk of Rain 2
Risk of Rain 2 might appear to be a rogue-like, but it also shares many similarities with looter shooters. Players spend the game finding items to make their character more powerful before they inevitably die to the chaotic combat scenarios that occur at later stages.
Death isn’t a dreadful consequence of failure in Risk of Rain 2. It’s a chance to try a new strategy, use a new character, or attempt to complete a challenge. Thanks to the game’s excellent itemization and abundance of items, each run feels distinctly different. Build diversity is high, combat gets hectic, and runs never stop being fun. If you want a bite-sized experience of what looter shooters typically offer, Risk of Rain 2 should be on your radar.
A looter shooter list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the latest Borderlands title. This franchise is arguably responsible for the rise of the looter shooter genre and, subsequently, games like Destiny or The Division.
Borderlands 3 continues the wacky story from Borderlands 2 with plenty of recurring and new characters. Loot in this game is as crazy as ever, with older manufacturers making a return alongside new item augments called anointments.
The story in this installment isn’t as good as in Borderlands 2, but Gearbox has done an excellent job modernizing the Borderlands gameplay loop with faster movement, punchy weapons, and some of the most satisfying loot you’ll find in this genre. It isn’t as content-rich as its older brother, yet the excellent gunplay and itemization make up for this. Besides, if Borderlands 2 was any indicator, Gearbox is sticking with Borderlands 3 for the long haul.
Payday 2 has seen updates and DLC since it launched back in 2013. Out of all of the games on this list, Payday 2 easily has the most amount of support post-launch.
This sport obligations players with finishing contracts to earn cash. This can range from kidnapping human beings to robbing high-security banks. That cash can then be spent on new guns, attachments, gadget, and the experience from each undertaking grants new capabilities to make every new heist less difficult. With 4 player co-op, this recreation is a blast both solo or with a collection of buddies.
5-Shadow Warrior 2
If you wish that looter shooters were faster-paced, look no further than Shadow Warrior 2. This game combines addictive loot drops with visceral gameplay that only DOOM can match.
You play as Lo Wang, a warrior who is destined to kill demons with a large arsenal of weapons, magic, and melee weapons. Items can come with various stats to make each unique from the last. Deep customization exists to allow for proper builds to suit your playstyle, and the game even supports 4 player co-op. If you want a fast-paced looter shooter, you can’t go wrong with Shadow Warrior 2.
Outriders is the only looter shooter that’s managed to capture the frantic, ability-centric gameplay of dungeon crawlers and meld it with the looter shooter genre. Borderlands is typically referenced as “Diablo with guns,” but that franchise is focused on weapons first and abilities second.
Not Outriders. Players can turn enemies into molecular dust with time-bending blades as a Trickster or light entire rooms aflame as a Pyromancer. Loot flies out of enemies and drop pods as if guns were going out of style. And thanks to Outriders’ excellent gear modding system, players can feel like destruction incarnate for their entire playthrough. Not many looter shooters handle loot and abilities as well as Outriders.
This once-obscure free-to-play shooter has become one of the largest titles on PC and consoles. Warframe is a game about killing genetically augmented soldiers and aliens as space ninjas.
Unlike most ninjas, the Warframes you control have special powers that can alter the flow of combat. You can freeze time itself using Limbo, or decide to absorb all of the enemy’s damage to deal bonus damage as Chroma. Weapons and Warframes alike can be customized with mods enemies drop, granting a large number of possible builds for gear.
It also has an engaging story, if a bit short. Best of all, it’s free if you don’t mind a bit of a grind-fest sometimes.
Bungie’s successor to Halo was met with a mixed reception when it released, but years of updates and expansions later, Destiny 2 is one of the best looter shooters you can try today.
Like most looter shooters, you start the game by picking from one of three distinct classes to determine your unique powers. The game has multiple campaigns, competitive multiplayer, a plethora of PvE content to do either solo or co-op, and even a variety of endgame raids to choose from. No matter what you enjoy about looter shooters, Destiny 2 has something for everybody.
Borderlands has made its way on this list not once, not twice, but three times. We know it might be excessive, but Borderlands 2 truly deserves the crown as the best looter shooter on the market.
After years of DLC and post-launch support, Gearbox has crafted a looter shooter with hundreds of hours of content and near-infinite replayability. Players can choose between one of six classes, each with a unique active skill and three distinct skill trees.
What’s particular about Borderlands 2 is the leveling experience itself. There isn’t always a rush to reach the level cap to finish raids or endgame content material. The complete sport has an incredible pace that doesn’t rush you toward an cease intention. Every hour spent on Pandora is spent blasting bandits and company robots for wacky loot.
And Borderlands 2 gets the loot game right. Billions of weapon combinations and hundreds of legendary weapons give you a reason to farm bosses and side content. Its gunplay isn’t as solid as Destiny or Borderlands 3, yet the breadth of content on offer here is nothing short of astounding. There isn’t any looter shooter on the market that provides this much content and replayability without relying on seasonal content releases. Borderlands 2 has set the bar for this genre, and it has yet to be surpassed.