Singleplayer isn’t dead just yet.
Sometimes you just wanna sit down, plug in your headphones, log off your Steam Friends List and play something by yourself. This is a list of the best single-player FPS games for your Steam Deck. I’ve compiled a list of FPS games that not only work on the Steam Deck (some with minor tweaking), but ones that you can play alone on the couch, with no little kids screaming obscenities about your mother, or friends laughing at your ineptitude at gaming.
The rules of the list were simple: the game, whether it have coop or multiplayer, has to have a decent solo experience and not only be playable on the Steam Deck, but enjoyable as well. Of course, the latter is subjective, but I think that part is still important. Many games are exceptionally well crafted, but maybe not for the Steam Deck’s control scheme or smaller 800p screen. Big thanks to a good friend (who wished to remain anonymous) for lending me some of their games to test.
For each game on this, list you’ll receive a small summary and my recommendation. Then you’ll get a small section of “Tech Stuff” that relates to either game tweaks or “Quality of Life” improvements.
15. Star Wars Republic Commando
Leading an elite squad of Republic Commandos? Check.
Controlling your squad through a squad control system? Check.
An awesome campaign in the heart of the Clone Wars? Check.
This game is what people point to when they say they want another Star Wars FPS game. Don’t get me wrong, Dark Forces is great and everything, but man, there’s something about blasting clankers with my brothers in arms while experiencing a great story that gets me going. You got Wookiees, you got kamikaze droids, amazing banter between squadmates, and loads of clankers to tear apart with your team. What’s not to love?
If you see this game on sale and you don’t grab it for your Steam Deck, consider yourself an enemy of the Republic.
Man, we’ve come a long way in WINE and Proton compatibility. I remember when this game was still virtually unplayable because of the various hiccups and stutters on Linux. Now, it’s a smooth experience from start to end with a minor exception: widescreen support. Luckily, thanks to Leon280698 on GitHub, there’s a fix for the game aptly called Star Wars Republic Commando Fix, which not only fixes the HUD issues, but a slew of other things as well, including:
- Updated GameSpyMgr.dll with new master server address (Restores server browser)
- Added menu option to set a custom factor for the view shake (0.0 = no shake, 1.0 = vanilla)
- OpenGL renderer improvements
- Added FPS limit menu option. Limiting the fps can help with the menu mouse sensitivity and other fps bound problems like the extreme Helmet shaking.
These features come alongside other fixes that are more for creating mods than enjoying the game.
14. Generation Zero
Swedish meatballs anyone? – Steam – Gold
Imagine coming back from a weekend camping trip, only to find that the entirety of your hometown has been ransacked by giant murder-death-robots… Good, now imagine that scenario in a Swedish setting with plenty of guns and punk-rock to go around, and you’ve got Generation Zero. An RPG-Lite FPS with an okay campaign that you won’t be focusing on too much. It has coop as well if you get interested, which is definitely a strength for this game. However, the solo experience isn’t all that bad either and changes the tone to something more somber and isolating.
Buy it on sale, I’ve seen it go for $12 on special occasions.
Not much to say on this one. It works pretty great out of the box, but I would definitely recommend enabling ‘Dynamic Resolution’ to help with slowdowns and adjusting settings so combat stays smooth. Maybe enable a 40 FPS limit if you wanna squeeze out another 30-40 or so minutes of gameplay.
13. Serious Sam 3: BFE
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – Steam – PLATINUM
Remember Duke Nukem? Remember developers just having fun creating games and not caring about the metaphysical meaning of our existence and how in a short while we’re all gonna be dust? Yeah, Serious Sam is like that.
Serious Sam 3 is a wild ride. It definitely has aged a bit with its more brown color palette (courtesy of the ‘Call of Duty’ realistic-shooter era of gaming), but what it lacks in environmental colors, it certainly makes up for in gameplay. It’s fast, hard hitting, and if you’re not careful on harder difficulties, fun. And we know that’s a no-no around these parts.
Seriously though, the game is available for $30, but I’ve seen it go on sale for $10. And even at the normal $30 price, it’s a really good purchase considering that people still buy WarCraft III: Reforged.
It’s unfortunate to say that this game should NOT be played natively. Use Proton and be prepared for some initial stutter as shaders compile. Past that, it’s a joy to play at 60FPS. Make sure to keep ‘Half-Rate’ shading off or you’ll get weird text issues. Also, there’s no Steam Deck controller glyphs, which is very minor.
You Spin Me Right Round Baby… – Steam – Silver
From the studio of Dishonored comes a very similar feeling game called Deathloop. The style’s certainly different, but you still get this ‘playground’ feeling, which I’m guessing is intentional by the devs. You’re going to die, you’re going to learn, and you’re going to get better. That’s the core premise of Deathloop, other than shoving a man off of a cliff, telekinetically lifting him in the air, and shooting him with your sniper rifle.
Game doesn’t really go on sale too much, but it definitely sees a price drop of $15 or so when it does.
This game should honestly have a gold rating. Disable online features for the game, or you’re going to be sitting there awhile waiting for your level to load up. And to be honest, you’re gonna be playing this solo on the Steam Deck since you’re not going to be matching a regular keyboard and mouse.
11. Halo Master Chief Collection
They Put The Master Chief In Da Steam Deck – Steam – Gold
If you don’t know what Halo is, I’m sorry that you missed out on some amazing experiences with a ring in outer space full of life-leeching organisms that seek to consume everything in the galaxy. Halo Master Chief Collection includes:
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo 4
Considering I still enjoy the original Halo: Combat Evolved to this day says something about the franchise. It’s great, it’s a classic FPS series that introduced the genre to modern mechanics still employed today. These are the games that everyone should play to understand the lore and universe of Halo.
It’s on sale for 60% off (as of writing this article), so get it. Spending $16 on 6 amazing games that will keep you entertained for hours and hours on end is a far better buy than Postal 4 (yes, I refuse to get over it).
Easy Anticheat isn’t supported here, so start without the anticheat enabled and play the campaigns. Turn down to a 40FPS lock for a quieter experience on the Deck with better battery life.
There’s a few QoL mods out there that fix various things among other more comprehensive mods that aim to recreate what was lost, here’s what I’ve found:
10. Black Mesa Definitive Edition
It’s me Gordon, Barney, from Black Mesa! – Steam – Gold
If I seriously need to explain why Half-Life is a good game, you need a crowbar to the head.
Black Mesa is currently $5, open up your wallet and buy this. It’s probably one of the best remakes of a good older videogame in a long time and currently runs well on the Steam Deck.
I was able to play this no issue slightly reduced from ‘High’ graphical settings. Occasional stutter, but I believe that was from the shaders loading. Some report issues with controllers; I didn’t have any issues, but your mileage may vary of course so adjust accordingly.
9. Far Cry 3 & 4
Do you know the definition of insanity? – (FC3)Steam/(FC4)Steam – Gold
The Far Cry games always caught my interest when I was younger, and admittedly they’ve kinda fallen off my radar now after Far Cry 4. But I did have a blast with 3 and 4, and still consider Far Cry 3 to be the strongest game in the series and the most pure form of Far Cry as a game. You’re basically an outsider that comes in and wreaks havoc with vehicles and guns in your own little sandbox of a remote world where the local dictator wants to either kill you, disembowel you, or both.
The games are always on sale, I’ve seen both below $8 and they’re well worth their asking prices at that point.
Far Cry 4 has no real issues I can complain about, other than my Steam Deck getting hot for my short romp through the wilderness and promptly getting killed by a honey badger. However, Far Cry 3 requires a bit of patience to get going and I would refer to the protondb page for workarounds. Though I only had to tinker with Ubisoft Connect a tad and it booted right up, of course YMMV.
8. Dying Light & The Following
Got bit? We got a pill for that – Steam – PLATINUM
Parkour, zombies… Parkour zombies? It doesn’t matter – so long as we get back to the safehouse before dark, we’ll be fine. This has to be one of my favorite zombie games of all time, it just feels smooth. Melee combat will be your go-to in the beginning, but don’t worry, you’ll get access to ranged weapons soon enough, and boy are they glorious. You get to obtain skills that suit your playstyle and really turn your character into your own personalized killing machine.
The side quests are great, most of the characters are fairly memorable, and the world is vast and readily explorable. The DLCs add quite a bit into the game, but you can always ignore the content until you feel like it. Nothing is ever shoved down your throat, and many of the DLC weapons are also offered as blueprints for you to craft as well.
The “The Following” expansion takes the initial game and adds a buggy you can drive around in, and trust me, it’s a lot cooler than it sounds.
The game is always on sale now that Dying Light 2 is out and was supported extremely well by the devs. In fact, to be completely honest, it’s probably one of the most content-rich experiences that you could have on the Deck.
Once again, even though there is a native build of the game, it simply has too many issues to work correctly. Run the game in Proton Experimental, set the refresh rate to 40Hz, and adjust your graphical settings accordingly for a decent experience on battery.
7. F.E.A.R. Platinum
Bring me my brown pants! – GoG – Unrated
This game right here, officer. This is why I can’t deal with little girls in red dresses.
In all seriousness though, this game is a MUST PLAY in the genre of FPS games. It is so masterfully crafted: it’s scary, it’s action filled, it’s this amazing shooter that will turn your expectations on their head. And I still cannot believe how many people have not played this absolute gem of a game. It holds up to this day as one of the best shooters on PC, bar none.
And surely, you must be going “that seems a bit biased, Nate.” And oh ho, you’d be wrong, dear reader, because it is that good, and that’s the scary part. I’ve not played a game since the original F.E.A.R. that does this formula nearly as well. It’s a unique experience that you’ll keep coming back to every couple of years for fun.
Game is $10 and is worth every penny. You get everything: the base game, both expansions, a making-of documentary that you can watch on your Apple Watch at church, a live-action short, and a F.E.A.R. Machinima episode by Rooster Teeth that I forgot about.
Both expansions have a touch of tweaking for resolutions that are needed. Short of that, everything works as intended.
6. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands & Assault on Dragon Keep
D&D, but with psychos – (TTW)Steam/(ADK)Steam – PLATINUM
So, you have the Borderlands world in a pseudo D&D setting, complete with all sorts of soon-to-be-dead creatures. It’s basically Borderlands mashed with fantasy. The formula still works and there’s some great mileage to be had in this spinoff.
I’d normally say to wait for a larger sale, but after playing a session of psychotic D&D with my friends, it’s definitely worth the $40 sale price for Wonderlands and the $10 for the DLC for Borderlands 2.
So, there’s a huge issue with SHIFT connections (online game servicing at its finest) so I’d actually recommend that you play this game completely offline. Big thanks to yo thats kawaii as hell for figuring that one out.
But other than that, turn your refresh rate down to 40Hz, turn on FSR 2.0, and run wild.
5. Shadow Warrior
I remember playing the OG Shadow Warrior a long, long time ago. It was fun, the voice acting was terrible, but kinda in that over-the-top clearly-stereotypical way that reminds me of 90s Saturday Night Live sketches. Everyone just having fun and poking fun at one another.
That being said, Shadow Warrior’s remake is such a big departure from its predecessor. The new Wang is actually pretty funny, has some witty dialogue (of which I wish there were more lines), and has great finishing one-liners. The game plays like any other FPS, except you build up a combo score which incentivizes you to actually vary your weapons and use your katana (which is extremely satisfying to use when you master it).
You get some decent RPG elements, some secret collecting, etc. There’s quite a few nods to the original game out of respect, but man do I just think that this is the superior game. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Build Engine games, but this remake is just nothing but spit and polish.
The game goes on sale constantly, my friend got it for around $7 I believe, well worth that price, but I wouldn’t pay $30 for a game that’s almost 10 years old now.
So, I tried the native build and kept having weird hiccups and slowdowns. The game crashed several times, so I just ran the game through Proton and voila, no issues whatsoever. I was even getting decent battery life at 60FPS.
4. Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
Evil hath returned – Steam – Gold
There are some games that need no introduction, and then there’s Painkiller. I was surprised how many people haven’t heard of this fun FPS. You get plenty of unique weapons, the humor is dark and overly edgy, and to be honest it takes itself way too seriously. But the gameplay is incredibly solid.
But maybe that’s why people don’t get it, it’s just one of those games that doesn’t have that huge die-hard cult following, which is a shame, because there’s a good, fun game here.
At the time of this writing, it’s $2 on Steam until the 26th of September, so get it.
Make sure to add the following to your launch options:
3. STALKER Series & Anomaly (Modded)
It’s no well-kept secret that STALKER is one of my favorite franchises of all time. There is just something about the world, the gameplay, that keeps me coming back to The Zone. She calls to me like an irradiated siren drunk off of Vodka and sporting a hairy, mutated beer belly with an AK-47 slung over her back and a pack of wrinkled Soviet import smokes in her back pocket. She’s not pretty, she kinda puts most people off, and she’s murdered more than a few people as I’ve watched on in horror, but man, do we have fun together.
The gameplay is better explained by others smarter than I with college degrees and the ability to speak Ukrainian. It’s an FPS set in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, you start off as a rookie and can join almost every faction in the game. But this isn’t a walk in the park; the game will demand your attention or kill you out of jealousy because of your Spotify app.
Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat are all the official games, with Anomaly being a community build project that fixes most of the bugs and gives modders a solid singular base to work from.
The games are dirt cheap and worth every penny. Anomaly is free off of ModDB (link above). I think I grabbed Shadow of Chernobyl off of Steam for $2. I’d pay $10 for every game and call it a good deal. If you’re not into playing the older games, try Anomaly and work backwards. GoG also has these games on sale all the time as well:
Shadow of Chernobyl
Call of Pripyat
Shadow of Chernobyl works fantastic and had no issues that I felt or saw.
Clear Sky was about the same, but with a bit of slowdown in the rookie village.
Call of Pripyat has stuttering in new areas but is otherwise playable.
Anomaly runs just fine by itself and had very minor slowdowns from the updated graphics. I was able to get the Escape From Pripyat modpack working by following their Windows guide on their Discord and working through various issues in WINE and Proton. When I used protontricks, I modified the following:
This consistently got Mod Organizer 2 to run just fine with the Escape From Pripyat modpack at around 40FPS on medium settings. As always, your mileage may vary.
2. BPM: Bullets Per Minute
Bullets Per Minute is one of those games I thought I couldn’t really get into, and while that’s kinda true, the Steam Deck allowed me to get into a more relaxed setting on the couch and it really helped me focus in on the amazing soundtrack and keeping the beat as I merrily went along shooting everything that came my way (in tempo, of course).
I wouldn’t quite classify this completely as a ‘Boomer Shooter’ as it still retains that 2000s FPS identity, but with far more style.
It goes for $20, if you find it for $13 during one of it’s sales, it’s a no brainer.
Consistent framerates are more important than high framerates with this one. Lower some settings and lock it to 40FPS for the best experience with no stuttering or drops (unless you’re a dummy like me and overheat your Steam Deck and wonder why it’s performing at 5FPS).
1. Wolfenstein: New Order & Old Blood
If you haven’t played this game, yes, man, you should. This game is just pure crazy FPS fun: it’s Wolfenstein, dialed up to 11, where the bad guys are distinct and flashy in an almost Dan Backslide mustache-twirling way.
And you’re just an unstoppable killing machine. Old Blood has a bit more to it, but it’s got this satisfying Dieselpunk theme to it that takes place earlier in the fictional World War II, so everything has this more believable grounded and dirty look to it all.
I got around 3 hours of play on my Deck with this game at 60FPS, it wasn’t really stressing the Deck out at all. I had some very minor texture pop-in at the first level, but after that, everything worked great. Some say that the Epic Games version works, others state that the GoG version works even better than the Steam version, I have no clue.
Games that may not have made the list, not that they’re bad, but probably because they’re on every other list out there or aren’t as well supported, but you should definitely check out anyways.
It’s on every list and was shown with the Steam Deck at launch.
It doesn’t play too friendly with the Steam Deck, though maybe in the future it will not freeze as much.
Call of Duty 4 Steam – PLATINUM
Just didn’t make the list, definitely check it out.
There are many FPS games that you can give a try on the Steam Deck. Some are good, some are bad, but I’d say you’re genuinely going to have a decent time with most of these single-player games I’ve provided in this list.
If you see that a game isn’t present there that you think should be, please, let me know in the comments. Have a great night and thanks for reading!