The pacing of a video game is conducive to player enjoyment. While some games are best played at a slower rate (e.g., Stardew Valley), many others like first-person shooters benefit from a fast pace. Video games have the power to sadden, uplift, and surprise. That spine-tingling feeling that comes when a baddie is approaching is uncanny in a plethora of ways.
The following games were hand-picked for those into adrenaline-inducing games. That feeling like you’re about to lose or die in a video game is like none another. Here are some fast-paced games that are sure to get your heart racing.
Updated December 3rd, 2020 by Mark Sammut: After a long, slow day stuck behind a desk, few things hit the spot like jumping into a game with fast and intense action. These experiences present controlled chaos, an opportunity to face and overcome hellish scenarios beyond the capabilities of mere mortals. While most games serve as escapes from reality, these titles waste absolutely no time getting players there and also cover a wide range of genres to ensure everyone has a ride suitable for them.
Codemasters’ series has been delivering high-octane racers since 2008’s fantastic Race Driver: Grid, which holds up quite well. While the earlier entries are all worth playing, even the polarizing Grid 2, 2019’s fourth installment delivers a back to basics package that makes it a great place to start for newcomers.
Unlike many racers that hold off on the good stuff for a few hours, Grid immediately brings out the exciting vehicles. This is a pure arcade racer, one that delivers a thrilling sense of speed as the cars threaten to break the sound barrier.
14 Painkiller: Black Edition
First-person shooters are generally a safe bet for fast-paced action, especially when it comes to classic properties like Doom, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. While it might not carry the same prestige as those licenses, Painkiller can be relied upon to deliver non-stop thrills as thousands of aggressive enemies rush the player and get mowed down for their troubles.
2012’s Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is worth trying for those who prefer a more recent release. That said, the original Painkiller, specifically its “Black Edition,” still ranks as the franchise’s best.
13 Katana Zero
Failure is only one misstep away. Katana Zero adopts the tried and tested one-hit-kill formula into a stylish 2D side-scroller starring a samurai assassin with time-themed powers. As the samurai seeks to take down his targets while avoiding hits, scenarios play out like puzzles that need to be solved; death serves as a key that will eventually lead to success.
The action is swift and smooth, as the game presents full control of the character at all times. The one-hit-kill mechanic ensures that every step, reflex, and slash feels important.
12 Quake Champions
An interesting update to a genre-defining arena shooter IP, id Software’s Quake Champions is an absurdly entertaining free-to-play title. With multiple champions to pick from, all of who come with unique abilities, Quake Champions updates the ’90s classic to try and appease a modern audience.
The end result is an experience that empowers the player while also making them feel constantly vulnerable, as the name of the game is still to be forever on the move. When it comes to multiplayer shooters, someone can do much worse than Quake Champions.
Supergiant Games has a history of developing masterpieces and Hades might just be the studio’s crowning achievement. A rogue-lite that tells an engaging story and does not reset everything after a loss, the game follows Zagreus’ repeated attempts to escape the Underworld, which happens to be controlled by his father, Hades. As new weapons and abilities are unlocked, Hades‘ frantic combat grows into something truly special.
While the campaign involves repeatedly fighting through the same areas and bosses, Hades‘ personality, gameplay, and RPG elements should stave off boredom.
1930s cartoons inspired Cuphead’s style of animation. It took a significant amount of time to hand draw this type of animation, but the result was well worth the wait. Because of Cuphead’s animation style, the game is fast-paced and is bound to get your heart racing. Running and gunning against colossal bosses and other foes proves to be problematic. If you only play one game on this list, Cuphead would be a smart choice.
One of the lesser-known fast-paced games out there is a highly competitive 4-player game. SpeedRunners can be played both locally and online. The objective is to knock opponents off the screen. It’s like Super Smash Bros. with a twist. The map is continuously moving, and there is a significant amount of platforming involved. Whether you prefer Super Smash Bros. or SpeedRuunners, it’s undeniable they are fast-moving.
8 Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order is fast-paced like many first-person shooters, but it takes things to a new plateau. The story isn’t as intriguing as we hoped for, but the gameplay holds up.
Wolfenstein: The New Order comes from an acclaimed series that released games like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Wolfenstein 3D. The consensus seems to be that Wolfenstein: The New Order is faster-paced and one of the best overall games in the Wolfenstein series.
7 Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 is a first-person shooter game with a co-op focus. This game requires excellent team cohesion as you work to survive. At the same time, Killing Floor 2 can be gruesome, but it adds to the game’s adrenaline-pumping nature. You won’t regret the decision to experience Killing Floor 2, but be warned, it isn’t for the faint of heart.
6 Dirt Rally
As far as racing simulators go, Dirt Rally is one of the most heart-pounding games. Dirt Rally‘s unpredictable slopes and off-road fury make it a game that needs to be played. Dirt Rally 2.0 might be heart-racing, but the original Dirt Rally was on a different level. The high speeds you reach could lead to a severe heart condition—just kidding. You won’t regret playing Dirt Rally. It can be purchased for a bargain on systems like PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
This widely acclaimed team-based shooter contains unique characters with special abilities that add substance to the game. From Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch is heart-racing in like many other games from the same genre. Overwatch is a game that will likely never go out of style. There is a considerable amount of polish, which is consistent with Blizzard’s games. Reliance on a team is essential to winning matches. Now, where is Overwatch 2?
4 Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ is undoubtedly the best Dragon Ball 2D fighting game in years. The fast pacing of the matches makes it stand out from the others in the same genre. You might find it challenging to nail combos when there is a small window of opportunity to pull them off.
The opportunity often passes as you are bombarded by Ki Blasts like the Kamehameha. This is a game that may boost your cognitive ability because of the timing and memorization required to be a top-tier player.
3 Rocket League
It doesn’t look like much at face value, but once you delve into Rocket League, you realize how unique and incredible this game is. Rocket League is a big name in Esports. The moderate length and fast-paced matches are ideal for Esports leagues.
Scoring a goal gives you a rush of endorphins, with a feeling of achievement like few other video games. Rocket League requires quick reflexes and tenacity. You won’t regret playing this sensational vehicular soccer game.
2 Beat Saber
Beat Saber is an adrenaline-inducing game that makes players dance to the rhythm as it flies towards you. You’ll have to slash music blocks and objects in this heart-racing game. Beat Saber is a VR game that utilizes VR controllers. You’ll have a tough time keeping up with the beat.
Imagine Guitar Hero, except in VR, with added layers of complexity. This futuristic game is easily one of the most heart-racing games available.
1 DOOM Eternal
If you have a flair for heart-racing first-person shooter games, chances are you’ll enjoy DOOM Eternal. The sequel to 2016’s DOOM is action-packed and filled with an array of weapons. Situations escalate and then escalate more.
To top things off, the enemies are frightening, which will place you in a panic-inducing situation. Enemies approach in waves to overwhelm players. You’ll need tons of firepower and finesse to get through DOOM Eternal.
NEXT: The 10 Hardest FPS Games Ever Made, Ranked