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News > FPS > Video Games
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The best tactical shooters 2021 ft. Squad, Hell Let Loose, Post Scriptum

There is no better time to be a fan of tactical shooters with several games either released or due to be in 2021. From World War 1 to Space there is something for everyone - here are the best tactical shooters playable this year.
The best tactical shooters 2021 ft. Squad, Hell Let Loose, Post Scriptum

Anyone that has been a fan of tactical shooters for a long time will know that at one point the technology just wasn't there to realise gamers dreams.

Sure we had talented development teams putting out games like the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon titles, Delta Force, and SWAT.

Gradually the bigger game development studios moved away from tactical shooters to pitch their tent in the much more lucrative casual shooter with the Battlefield and Call of Duty series reigning supreme on both console and PC.

The fans of an FPS grounded in reality hadn't disappeared though, and it was indie developers that picked up the mantle and ran with it. Unreal Tournament had a little mod called Red Orchestra with a team that would go on to be known as Tripwire Interactive.

tactical shooter milsim 2021
(Picture: Tripwire Interactive)

Battlefield 2 too had a mod that would long outlive that game - Project Reality - which would become a behemoth over its 15 years in development featuring 15 fully realised factions, many maps, and honestly completely outgrew the BF2 engine. The game even spawned its own mods that would later be incorporated into the game. Those developers many of you will know are the nucleus of the studio behind Squad.

Best tactical shooters 2021
Project Reality is still in development 15 years after its initial release. (Picture: The Project Reality Team)

Now with those studios all-grown-up and the democratization of game development through free-to-use engines such as Epic Game's Unreal Engine we now have multiple studios developing competing and complementary tactical shooters. And importantly with player bases that can sustain the development of these projects that, as anyone who has followed the genre knows, takes years (decades?) to fully-realise.

The best tactical shooters 2021

In short - it's a great time to be a fan of tactical shooters. So having said all that if you are in the market for one, or want to whet your appetite for what is coming up we thought we would break down the best tactical shooters in 2021. From those already released and being continually updated to those that are just starting their journeys - here they are.

Squad

best tactical shooters 2020 squad
(Picture: Steam user /Percy)

Entering early access all the way back in 2015, every year Squad gets better and better. To save too much of a preamble squad is the spiritual sequel to Project Reality, a combined-arms tactical shooter, players are split into one of two teams, and then squads of eight, with a player-controlled Commander dictating the action on both sides. 

Set up bases, control key areas, engage enemy forces, fight, retreat. Call in arty, helicopter evacs, relay information to other squads and that's just if you are an infantry soldier.

Best tactical shooter 2021
(Picture: Offworld Industries)

You can also fly said helicopters, be an artillery gunman, exclusively run supplies and build bases. It's simply the best tactical shooter based on modern warfare on the market and nothing even comes near.

Officially released in September of last year, v1.0 brought with it 100 player servers, a map based on Fallujah, the scene of some of the most dangerous fighting of the second Gulf war, as well as the pan-Middle Eastern Alliance faction with all their weapons and vehicles.

Knowing how Offworld Industries work around Squad, you know this is truly just the beginning.

The roadmap just for 2021 is huge, v2.0 expected in February will have new vehicles for the Great Britain faction, new Insurgency weapons and vehicles and an overhaul of the layer system.

Best tactical shooters 2021 squad
(Picture: Offworld Industries)

After that, the list is long for planned features but players can expect at least three new maps, three new factions in the shape of the U.S Marines, PANASIA, and Australian Forces.

Then throw in a new post-revive system, A.I civilians, fast rope, amphibious vehicles and new and improved game modes and you have the makings of something even greater than what we have so far.

Post Scriptum

Best milsims 2021 Post scriptum
(Picture: Periscope Games)

What started as a mod for Squad quickly outgrew that by its sheer ambition. Post Scriptum is an amazing game. Huge, detailed, and historically accurate the game currently has two chapters from the Western Front you can do battle in.

Like Squad, you can take on the role of Commander, create tank squads, run supplies and so on.

First introduced was post-D-Day, with the U.S Army facing off against the Wermacht in Holland and Northern France. The British were added not long after with maps centred on the infamous Operation Market Garden.

Best Tactical shooters
(Picture: Periscope Games)

The end of 2019 saw the release of Chapter 2 and the introduction of pre-D-Day Western Front, when the French attempted to slow down the German onslaught. These maps are absolutely gorgeous and full of interesting zones to fight over and capture meaning no two games are ever the same.

Chapter 3 has begun, based on D-Day itself with the release of Carentan and the U.S Airborne. Chapter 2 isn't quite over as it continues with the release of Maginot, the French's ill-conceived defensive line.

best milsims 2021(Picture: Periscope Games)

Other changes planned include a tank deck system that puts control into the hands of players when it comes to what armour will be available on a given map. Details are scarce with  the pandemic likely slowing down development, but it is known that more maps, factions and their assorted armaments are in the works.

 

Hell Let Loose

Hell Let Loose
(Picture: Black Matter)

When Black Matter's Hell Let Loose entered early access back in 2019 it felt like it came out from nowhere.

An Australia-based development studio and this ambitious title was their first game. Initial impressions were good. The graphics were truly "next-gen", the combat and general feel of the movement and weaponry were on point. It was feature light but, as we spoke about before, the tac/milsim community knows all too well how these things go. Get the game out and in our hands, with the right systems and base to build something more, and we will support you.

Hell Let Loose best shooter 2021
(Picture: Black Matter)

And Hell Let Loose had that and Black Matter have kept up their end of the bargain continually adding new content from maps to weaponry and vehicles.

In many ways, HLL will look and feel similar to Squad/Post Scriptum but there is something to be said for Black Matter's ability to not get bogged down in some of the more irritating aspects of those competitors.

The ticket-based system that runs down as players die, vehicles are destroyed or points are capped - is gone in favour of a bigger focus on capturing key areas of the map, coordinating both attack and defence. It feels more dynamic, less crushing and rewards players with better games more regularly.

Another major plus point is the game's graphics. Never the most pressing matter for the genre recent years has seen tactical shooters really take their graphics to another level, and Hell Let Loose is part of the gang. The maps, the lighting, the weapon models, explosions are all of the very highest quality and it creates an immersive experience that by the end of every map, which usually revolves around a crescendo of violence, you're left gripping your mouse and needing to take a bit of a breather.

And the best thing about it all? There is loads more coming. In 2021 alone, we are looking at the Eastern Front opening up which, of course, facilitates the need for the Soviet army. Reworks to vehicles, improvements to game modes, more maps and weapons. Black Matter detailed all of what is coming in their 2021 roadmap and its a mouthwatering prospect.