For a long time, first-person shooter games represented a simple shooting-focused experience – until the release of Half-Life, which determined the new direction the genre should take.

Half-Life is widely known as one of the most influential FPS titles, with over 50 Game of the Year awards for its outstanding graphics, narrative, and technical solutions.

Today, it’s a tad dated, especially in the visuals department – but it’s still one of the most significant video games that have graced this world with their existence. Knowing all these facts, you may wonder if there is an alternative offering a comparable energy set in a more modern gameplay. For this occasion, we have gathered a list of five unique games similar to Half-Life, preceded by a brief explanation of why that particular title is so innovative.

The Core of First-Person Storytelling in Gaming

Half-Life broke up with the proven storytelling through cutscenes in favor of scripted interactions happening in real-time.

This feature, paired with realistic mechanics, logical weapon use, and clever enemies, made it more challenging and enjoyable to play. No wonder that even years later, it still inspires many other successful games you can find in this guide.

Titles that Capture the Spirit of Half-Life

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Dishonored Definitive Edition 2012-10-11 Action Arkane Studios
Dishonored 2 2016-11-11 Action Arkane Studios
Deus Ex Collection 2017-01-06 Adventure SQUARE ENIX
Deus Ex Human Revolution Directors Cut 2013-10-25 Action & Shooter Eidos Montréal
Deus Ex Goty 2000-06-22 RPG Ion Storm
Deus Ex The Fall 2014-03-18 Adventure nFusion Interactive LLC
Deus Ex Invisible War 2004-03-05 Action & Shooter Ion Storm
Deus Ex Mankind Divided Xbox Live Key Europe 2016-08-23 RPG SQUARE ENIX
Singularity Gogcom Key Global 2010-06-30 Horror Raven Software
Bioshock Infinite 2013-03-25 RPG Irrational Games
Bioshock The Collection 2016-09-15 Adventure Irrational Games
Bioshock Remastered 2016-09-15 Action & Shooter 2K Australia
Bioshock The Collection 2016-09-16 Adventure Irrational Games
Red Faction Guerrilla Re Mars Tered 2018-07-03 Action Volition, KAIKO
Wolfenstein The New Order 2014-05-19 Action & Shooter Machine Games
Fear Ultimate Shooter 2005-10-17 Horror Monolith Productions, Inc.
Fear 3 2011-06-23 Adventure Day 1 Studios
Fear 2 Project 2009-02-12 Adventure Monolith Productions
Metro 2033 Redux 2014-08-27 Horror 4A GAMES
Metro Last Light Redux 2014-08-27 Adventure 4A GAMES
Metro Exodus 2020-02-14 Adventure 4A GAMES
Prey 2017 2017-05-04 Adventure Arkane Studios

BioShock

Release date:2007-08-21
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:2K Australia

Meet Jack – a man saving himself from a fatal plane crash in the ocean depths. To his surprise, he soon finds an underwater city that should remain a secret.

Although their plots look slightly different, BioShock and Half-Life share similar story depth. They both offer a vast selection of mighty weapons, fascinating characters, engaging environmental puzzles, and complex combat – everything Half-Life fans love! BioShock is all about immersion, so you’ll soon notice that perfect Half-Life vibe.

Key features
  • Unravel the mystery of the underwater city of Rapture
  • Beware of the ever-present danger
  • Choose from various weapons and upgrade them
  • Make decisions to see one of three shocking endings

Deus Ex

Release date:2017-01-06
Genre:Adventure
Developer:SQUARE ENIX

It is 2052, and the Gray Death exterminates humanity. Only the privileged can benefit from rare medicine, and such an unfair situation inspires the birth of terrorist organizations.

Play as agent Denton, uncovering new facts in the surprisingly disturbing plot of this thought-provoking recommendation. Like Half-Life, Deus Ex focuses on immersive storytelling, an atmosphere of approaching danger, and first-person exploration. Many players consider this title far better than Valve’s game!

Key features
  • Play an immersive cyberpunk action RPG
  • See what happens to the world infested by the Gray Death
  • Make choices and enjoy futuristic technologies
  • Battle in a highly interactive environment

F.E.A.R.

Release date:2005-10-17
Genre:Horror
Developer:Monolith Productions

Tasked with the assassination of Paxton Fettel, Point Man encounters paranormal phenomena messing with his mind. But there is one unchanging factor – a mysterious girl leaving gruesomely murdered bodies behind.

F.E.A.R. represents a survival horror take on the classic first-person shooter experience. Like Half-Life, it revolves around a man solving a mysterious case threatening humanity’s fate. And you can play it in multiplayer!

Key features
  • Become an essential part of the First Encounter Assault Recon unit
  • Uncover details of Paxton Fettel’s malicious plan
  • Explore and have fun with realistic physics
  • Play solo or in multiplayer for up to sixteen players

Metro 2033

Release date:2014-08-27
Genre:Horror
Developer:4A GAMES

Based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s books, Metro 2033 tells the tale of young Artyom dealing with a world after a nuclear war. Now, the safest hideout for survivors is the dark underground of the Moscow metro, infested with unimaginable horrors.

This story-driven game grips with its post-apocalyptic atmosphere, mysterious phenomena, and characters driven by the sheer will to survive. But it’s not just about combat, as moral choices play a crucial role in the plot and influence which of the two endings you get.

Key features
  • See the world after a nuclear war
  • Play as Artyom and make impossibly challenging choices
  • Embark on a risky journey to save the remaining survivors
  • Sneak and decide when to use your ammo

Prey (2017)

Release date:2017-05-04
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Arkane Studios

Earth’s developing space program attracts a hostile race’s attention. Humans build Talos I, a prison space station where Morgan Yu finds himself/herself after an unexpected alien outbreak.

Prey is so similar to Half-Life that many suspect it is the third installment in the series from Valve. As a first-person action game, it focuses on exploration, confronting clever enemies, and discovering pieces of disturbing story. Select this game if you crave a sci-fi take on the Half-Life experience!

Key features
  • Explore Talos I to discover the horrifying truth
  • Collect items and develop skills
  • Discover story bits by interacting with other characters
  • Make decisions to see one of three endings

With Half-Life 3 nowhere on the horizon, fans of the series successfully detect a similar atmosphere in other titles. Fortunately, many are considered much better than Valve’s slightly outdated game.

Die-hard Half-Life enthusiasts can still enjoy Half-Life 2 Half-Life: Alyx and the fan-made Black Mesa, which we highly recommend checking out!