As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, so do the variety of experiences it has to offer. One of the most popular categories out there is the action genre with titles that will test your skills. The high-octane genre spans over quite a few subcategories from fighting games to survival experiences. We’ll explore some of the best action games out currently and take a look at what’s coming soon.
Let’s dive into one of the largest gaming genres out there and find an experience that’s right for you!
Nothing says action like a knock-down-drag-out fighter that depends on hair trigger reflexes to emerge victorious. The classic two player showdown first established itself in arcades across the globe in the 1980’s. Now all of these brawlers, and more are available on a home console near you. Fighting games boil down to combat between two or more opponents that attack and defend. Using various combos and other offensive tactics you chip away at each other’s health bar until someone reaches zero and is KO’d.
This formula has created some legendary showdowns in classic franchises like Dead or Alive, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, Soulcalibur and Tekken. Sport prize fighters like EA’s UFC offer ultra-realistic graphics and authentic moves to give you a taste of action in the octagon.
Whether you are a fan of 1v1 or 4v4 there is a ton of fighting action available for both beginners and veterans alike.
Top heavyweight fighters out now
Mortal Kombat Ultimate
The definitive edition of the most visceral fighter out there has arrived! Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the definitive experience that packs even more action with 3 new characters and all previously released DLC. Whether you are a veteran to the series or just stepping into the ring, this is the best version of the game to start your kombat journey.
Nickelodeon All Star Brawl
Face off against some of your favourite characters of all time in Nickelodeon All Star Brawl for Xbox Series X and Xbox One. It’s packed with the stars of iconic shows like SpongeBox Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats, and more, each with their own unique play style and familiar personality.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
A modern action fighter that puts a focus on multiplayer brawls is Super Smash Bros Ultimate and it enjoys a massive following. It’s a great party game and features classic characters like Mario, Link, Banjo-Kazooie and more. Be sure to pick up the latest Smash Bros. Fighters Pass to keep your roster up-to-date!
Some of the most iconic characters and games ever created have come from the platforming genre. Legendary names like Crash Bandicoot, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man hopped, skipped and jumped their way into stardom.
The general formula for these titles has you controlling characters who traverse platforms and other obstacles while facing off against enemies. Modern titles are still reinventing themselves decades later with incredible graphics, mind bending storylines and challenging levels. Must play games like Astro’s Playroom (free on the PS5), Crash Bandicoot 4, Sackboy’s Big Adventure + Ori and the Will of the Wisps showcase the incredible experiences platformers have to offer.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Go on a journey full of surprises with Kirby in Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Nintendo Switch. Play as the powerful pink puff ball Kirby, and while the journey unfolds, step into a 3D platforming world featuring abandoned monuments, remnants from a past civilization.
Release Date: Available now for Xbox Series S|X and Windows PC
Enter the world of psychics and spies in Psychonauts 2! Raz has finally joined his dream espionage company, Psychonauts, but quickly realizes that his fellow psychic super spies are in danger. Help him solve mysteries and find out the mole within the headquarters in a thrilling and joyous gameplay.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Get ready to manipulate time with the dynamic duo of Ratchet and Clank as they work to stop an evil empire. Battle through cross-dimensional worlds with an outrageous arsenal of weapons. New and old friends await on your adventure as you fight to protect your universe.
Sackboy A Big Adventure
Sackboy is back! Take him on an epic 3D platforming adventure with your friends in Sackboy: A Big Adventure for PlayStation 5 and continue the journey of LittleBigPlanet. Creative characters, levels and an excellent soundtrack will have you in stitches!
Hotly anticipated upcoming platform games
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The galaxy is yours as you play through all nine Star Wars saga films in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. In this LEGO video game unlike any other, you’ll go on humorous, fun-filled adventures to some of the saga’s most legendary locales as you immerse yourself in the LEGO Star Wars universe.
The biggest and most popular part of the gaming industry as a whole are shooters. These games range from military style conflicts to run and gun side scrollers (and everything in between). The commonality between all these titles is a player-controlled character with a fireable weapon. The perspective in which these games are played come in multiple forms; from the first person perspective, over the shoulder third person perspective to hero, and tactical shooters.
First person shooters
First person shooters (FPS) give you the in-game character’s field of vision while playing. This places you in the shoes of the protagonist adding to the game’s immersion. Some of the legendary pillars that make-up the FPS experience are games like Bioshock, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Doom, Half-Life, Halo, Quake, TitanFall and Wolfenstein.
Best in class first person shooters
Deathloop was a smash hit FPS of 2021, winning multiple awards for its innovative and engaging gameplay. In the game it’s up to you stop villains who are manipulating time travel. Every time you die the game hits reset and you are looped back through the experience. Learn from your mistakes or be doomed to repeat them over and over again.
Far Cry 6
Release Date: Available now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One and PS4
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.1/5 (82%)
Yara has been overtaken by dictator Anton Castillo, and as local revolutionary Dani Rojas, it’s up to you to stop his regime in Far Cry 6. Make use of makeshift weapons, vehicles, and animal companions as you liberate the nation from Anton’s brutal grip.
Experience an epic adventure and explore the massive scale of the Halo ring. When all hope is lost, Master Chief is ready to confront the most ruthless foe he’s ever faced. Step inside the armour of humanity’s greatest hero.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Release Date: Available now on PS4, Xbox + Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5
Third person shooters
Third person shooters give you a full body view of your character with “over the shoulder” aiming mechanics. They create immersion through the shared experience between you and the on-screen avatars. Some of these games follow a linear path like the Tomb Raider series while others have a more open world approach like Grand Theft Auto V.
Not all shooters are necessarily for mature audiences, Nintendo’s Splatoon 2 is available for some family friendly, light-hearted fun.
High octane shooting games
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
Release Date: Available now on PS4, Xbox Series X|S + Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Revisit Grand Theft Auto’s three iconic worlds in Grand Theft Auto : The Trilogy – The Definitive edition. The game includes the updated versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with enhanced features, such as brilliant new lighting and high-resolution textures and more.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Release Date: Available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4,
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (88%)
Turn your band of outlaws into legendary heroes on a wild ride across the space with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In this action-adventure game, you become Star-Lord and call the shots for Guardians in and out of battle.
Release Date: Available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.3/5 (86%)
Metroid Dread is the epic conclusion to the five-part Metroid saga and one of the best games in the series. Join bounty hunter Samus Aran as she tries to escape a deadly alien world plagued by a mechanical menace. Experience the pulse pounding combat for yourself and feel the dread of being hunted by an alien enemy.
Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection
Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 5
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (88%)
The Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection includes Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy remastered for PS5 with stunning visuals, the DualSense controller‘s adaptive triggers and more, set out for the first time or relive the epic adventure!
If you are looking for a more realistic, strategic experience in a shooter you might want to go tactical. These games avoid the common tropes of arcadey-style action shooters, instead taking a more methodical approach to combat. Tactical shooters require you to carefully plan movement, provide limited health and rely heavily on your squad mates. A pinnacle of the squad-based experience is Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six series, offering challenging combat and thrilling “breach and clear” moments. The current game in the series, Rainbow Six Siege features tense multiplayer moments and a big focus on team-based strategy.
Must play tactical shooters
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction
Release Date: Out now on Xbox One,PS4, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5
This part of the action genre will leave you on the edge of your seat as you fight tooth and nail for your own life. From battle royales, sims to survival horror, there is an adrenaline filled experience that will keep you entertained for hours. Buckle up, the survival category isn’t for the faint of heart, but will definitely leave you with a few stories to tell!
The battle royale experience has taken the gaming industry by storm over the last half of the decade. These games follow a formula of dropping 80-100 players into an area unarmed, forcing them loot for weapons and duke it out until one champion remains.
This sub-genre began in earnest with Arma III mods that later evolved into their own game in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The popularity and growth of the battle royale category has been explosive ever since.
Following PUBG’s massive success Fortnite appeared on the scene, transcending the game industry to become a pop culture phenomenon. Everyone from professional athletes to A-list celebrities were getting in on the action.
In early 2019, developer Respawn introduced Apex Legends based in the TitanFall universe. It brought its own unique spin to the battle royale landscape introducing hero-style mechanics into the mix.
Many other cornerstone shooters like the Call of Duty series got in on the action releasing their own battle royale modes. Call of Duty: Vanguard has its own battle royale mode that is free to play called Warzone you can pick up starter kits to get a leg up on the competition.
The gist of survival sims is to channel your inner Bear Grylls and live off of your surroundings. You are left with minimal resources in a hostile environment and it’s up to you to figure out the rest. Mojang’s Minecraft is a great jumping off point if you are interested in this subgenre with its block-style procedurally generated worlds. Other titles in the same vein are Subnautica where you are left alone to fend for yourself in an alien ocean.
The survival horror genre is about trying to live through a terrifying environment filled with nightmarish enemies. Think zombie apocalypse or escaping a haunted insane asylum and you start to get the idea of the terrifying thrills this subgenre offers. Some of my most memorable moments with video games have come with classic horror titles. The “must play” horror games offer experiences that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Hollywood’s most terrifying films. Alien: Isolation, The Last of Us, Resident Evil 2 and RE 3 are stories that offer as many thrills as chills.
Top tier survival horror titles
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
In the infected and unforgiving world of Dying Light 2 Stay Human, you are the city’s last hope for survival. Take on the role of Aiden Caldwell, a powerful survivor with unique abilities, and single-handedly change the fate of the modern age. Go head-to-head against the criminal factions and infected individuals as you save the city from certain destruction.
Picking up where the survival horror classic Resident Evil 7 biohazard left off, Ethan Winters and wife Mia are living a peaceful existence, until tragedy strikes. Ethan’s world is thrown into chaos and he finds himself in a remote snow-capped village, facing off against unspeakable horrors.
Experience two realities at once in The Medium. Get into the role of a medium and explore both the real and spirit world on your quest to discover the truth behind what happened at the Niwa resort.
Survival horror titles coming soon
In The Quarry every choice, big or small, shapes your story and determines who lives to tell the tale. Will you dare to check what’s behind that trap door? Will you investigate the screams echoing from within the forest? Will you save your friends or desperately run for your life?
If you enjoy music and are no stranger to singing or dancing along to a song, rhythm games could be a perfect fit. These titles are all about carefully timing button presses, or matching movements on screen to sync with a musical beat.
Rhythm games come in forms like the 1996 classic PaRappa the Rapper where you follow along with a loose storyline and jam with out with characters by pressing buttons. There are also peripheral based experiences like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Each comes with their own hardware like a dance mat, guitar controller and full band kit. These games prompt you to hit drumbeats, guitar frets or vocal notes with included hardware.
Dance to your own tune
Just Dance 2022
High octane action
The action genre is the gaming industry’s biggest by far, offering a wide range of adrenaline pumping experiences. If you are looking for a game that will entertain and put your skills to the test, you’ll surely find an unforgettable title in this category. With dozens of subgenres, award winning titles like Bioshock, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption 2 and more you’ll find multiple games that rival any Hollywood action experience. Try a title from each category above and see which is the best fit for you!
Let us know what your favourite action game is in the comments below!