Free To Play FPS Games Like Counter-Strike


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is easily one of the most popular games on Steam, holding a position in the Top 2 highest player-bases. The tactical shooter resonates with an urge to pop heads like FPS Doug using cooperative tactics and precision aiming. Many shooters opt for team deathmatch gameplay, with character classes and zany abilities. But Counter-Strike has always remained true to its roots and inspired countless developers to pursue similar gameplay. I’ve compiled a list of free to play FPS’s, both old and new, that emphasize strategic planning and millisecond response rates to dominate the match.  


Boasting over 400 million subscribers globally (50 million active users) the South Korean developed FPS is one of the most popular shooters around the world and one of the most profitable. Thanks to it's low system requirements CrossFire is accessible in nearly every region. Two mercenary factions compete across a variety of game modes in objective-based matches. Like Counter-Strike CrossFire relies on split-second decisions and well-placed crosshairs to survive. Only a few shots will turn your avatar into a flopping rag-doll. It's a fantastic pick-up game that confronts the player with conflict moments after spawning. And a large variety of maps, both realistic and gaudy, combine with a variety of game modes to keep gameplay refreshing.


If you follow the site then you know Warmode has to be mentioned. Beyond blatantly copying maps from other games, numerous bugs, and hackers there is something charming in the lightweight shooter. Only costing 200MB of space, Warmode is a hilarious ode to what makes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive great by missing many of the predecessors core features. One game mode—team deathmatch—is all that's supplied, and earning kills to upgrade your weaponry is the primary objective. Earn enough kills for your team and you win. While it's not shaking the foundation of the FPS genre, it's uncannily satisfactory to frag other players. And thanks to limited bullet drop and rubber-banding veteran players will easily climb the leaderboards. Warmode is the perfect distraction to have fun and laugh with a group of friends.

Alliance Of Valliant Arms (AVA)

Published by Aeria Games, Alliance of Valiant Arms (AVA) is a Korean lobby based shooter. Unusual to FPS games, players customize a character and can further distinguish their appearance through various cash-shop cosmetics. Not that appearances matter if you can't avoid munching on a digital bullet. Five game modes include classic bomb diffuse but also incorcoporate a Team Fortress 2 escort mode where players protect a vulnerable tank. AVA was released in 2009 so its beginning to show its age, owing to weapon imbalances and a cash shop that favors players with deeper wallets. But enormous weapon variety and fluid gameplay makes it a great tactical shooter alternative to burn some time.

Combat Arms

As one of the first free to play MMO shooters in the West Combat Arms deserves recognition. Launching in the United States in 2008 it eventually made its way to South America and Russia thanks to its widespread success. Well aimed headshots or a short bullet burst are more than enough to tally a kill. While spraying bullets will send you to an early kill-cam. Combat Arms is also one of the first FPS games to introduce a zombie mode, where one infected player must chase other players to spread the disease. Over 250 weapons cements Combat Arms as the FPS with more firearms than any other game. But the huge library renders balance nearly impossible. And only paying players will experience customizing weapons due to the game's rental system. But the huge number of weapons, game modes, and map variety make the game a worthwhile tactical FPS experience.

Metro Conflict

While many tactical shooters are embedded in the present Metro Conflict incorporates futuristic elements to add an extra spice to traditional gameplay. It's developed by Red Duck Inc, the same studio responsible for AVA. Building on previous themes the studio adopted sci-fi to give Metro Conflict a unique identity. Surprisingly—for a tactical shooter—Metro Conflict includes a class system that grants unique weapons and abilities. Managing your skills and employing it at the right moment is crucial. Metro Conflict does suffer from poor hit-boxes and some bugs, but for a casual FPS experience with a unique spin it's worth installing for free.

I didn't grab every tactical shooter inspired by Counter-Strike but this list will continue to grow. Let me know of any games you feel are inspired by the classic shooter to add, or if you disagree with any of the games listed.

From Mega Man II to Ape Escape, I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. I've spent months killing porings in Ragnarok Online and more recently lived a second life in Eve Online. I usually play as gUMBY, gUMBLEoni, or gUMBLes in-game.