Battle of the Looter Shooters in 2021: Which one is for you?

Digital Extremes
Digital Extremes /
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Two years ago, I wrote an article very similar to this one, pitting the prominent looter shooters at the time and ranking them in many important categories from strongest to weakest. These categories ranged from gameplay, customization, story, and so forth. While I do have my biases in some of these games, I try to remain as impartial as possible. This time around, some contenders remain, while one exits, but two new names enter in the rankings.

Anthem, as it has been known for some time already, won’t be getting any future support and is essentially not up for the running. Since then, and entering the fray are Borderlands 3 and Outriders. I have also added more depth to create clearer distinctions between the contending titles.

As a disclaimer like last time, just because I rank some titles higher than others in different categories does not mean it’s the better pick for everyone overall.

Gameplay – Tie

It seems like an easy cop-out to rank these games equally in terms of their gameplay, but each title is unique enough in their own ways. Two games are played in third person and the other two are first person. The gunplay, abilities, and other things that add to the overall gameplay are fun and enticing. They all have a different appeal to all kinds of players who are into shooting games in general.

Last time, I did say Destiny was tied next to Anthem in terms of a core gameplay loop that was fun and did most things right. Over time, I changed my opinion on the fact that every game has its strengths. Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2 have very clean and responsive gunplay, especially with their unique types of weapons. I would go as far as to say, they probably have some of the best feeling gunplay mechanics for FPS titles in the past console generation.

Warframe and Outriders are both third-person games, with Outriders being more of a conventional cover shooter akin to something like Gears of War. It has its tactical fun to it, and can definitely add more diversity to gameplay approaches with a different type of FOV and builds that may not be so practical in first-person games.

Warframe is technically a looter shooter given the random nature of drops and plethora of weapons and classes (or Warframes) to choose from. However, the game has a bountiful amount of melee weapons to choose from with different stances and builds to choose from. You can go through a hefty amount of the game with melee builds from the get-go and be completely fine.