9 September 2016

Top Ten Multiplayer Games

Humanity on the whole is a pretty social species. We can make great advances in the fields of science and technology as well as produce great media in the form of films, TV and of course video games, all achievable by working together. Now that might be the strangest way to start a top ten video game list but it all links together on a particular aspect of gaming, multiplayer! Yes playing games on our own can be pretty chill and relaxing but multiplayer gaming has been around since the start and is particularly popular today with the advent of the Internet, making playing with other people easier than ever. So I've looked back at the games I've enjoyed the most when playing alongside my fellow man to make a top ten multiplayer games list!

P.S. Some of the entries are whole series as opposed to a single game just to make things easier.

10. Worms

We begin with one of the granddaddies of early multiplayer turn based strategy games, the Worms franchise. My first experience was playing Worms Armageddon on the original PlayStation but that was mostly a solo affair. Later on I got various Worms games on PC and PlayStation 3 which I played with friends and with a good group of people, a round of Worms can be both mentally stimulating as well as just plain hilarious. Of course everyone is trying to win but the nature of the strategic aspect of the game lends itself to either pulling of a sweet elimination or making a pig's ear of it for everyone else to see and laugh. The game is both serious and non serious which is a race blend for a game of this ilk.

9. Jackbox Party Pack

Now for something a little bit different which didn't even start out as a video game but is now available through the medium. The Jackbox Party Pack is a group of quirky party games which are seemingly aimed at testing who out of all your friends are the funniest. My two personal favourites are Fibbage and Quiplash, the former being a spot the truth from all the lies your friends have made up and the latter just being about coming up with the funniest phrase to a statement. While trying to win is what everyone is aiming for, the real joy of the game is just seeing what your friends have come up with which makes Jackbox a pretty chill way to play games with friends.

8. Terraria

Minecraft as you probably already know is a hugely successful game which can support some fun multiplayer larks but I was never really into it that much, Terraria on the other hand I was very much into and I also have a couple of friends who'll share that sentiment. Now Terrraria is a fine game in its own right but playing with friends does allow for some advantages to playing alone such as easier bosses and a general quicker progression through the game. It's also a pretty relaxing game to just play with people, you don't need to be fully concentrating 100% all the time such as when gathering resources, allowing you to just talk about whatever as you play which you would have a hard time doing in a frantic FPS or something.

7. Uncharted

This is more a nostalgic addition to the list as Uncharted isn't really know for its multiplayer, even though it does have a great multiplayer component. I think it was a bit of a coincidence that my particular circle of friends were all playing Uncharted 2 when it came out and we played it pretty consistently for a good while before moving onto something else. Still, a very solid multiplayer shooter with climbing mechanics thrown into the mix.

6. Destiny

Ahh Destiny, a pretty good game but maybe a tad overhyped but still a fine example of multiplayer gaming. For starters the whole story is playable with up to 3 people as well as being able to take on strikes as a threesome and the ever popular raids which support 6 players. On top of the PvE stuff you also of course have classic PvP modes such as team deathmatch and the like. While today I don't really play the game any more and the general progression of the game is very MMO like, when I was playing it I was pretty invested and Destiny offers too much multiplayer opportunities to be ignored for this list.

5. Super Smash Bros

Fighting games are one of the ultimate forms of competitive multipayer gaming with huge events such as EVO centred around the notion of going mano-a-mano with your opponent in a straight fight. However while I have played games such as Street Fighter and BlazBlue with friends and had fun, the whole fighting game scene isn't one I really fit into much. I know Super Smash Bros can also be played in the same vain as other 'traditional' fighters but the very nature of the game I think is more lax and fun loving with it's items and simple moves making it a game I can get more behind than other fighting game offerings. Not to mention playing Smash with 3 other people in a 4 way fight is something everyone needs to experience at least once.

4. Mario Kart 

This sort of follows on from Super Smash Bros, only swap out fighting game community with racing game community. With that said, while I'm not a real member of the fighting game crowd, I am very much into my car racing games, so much so I have a racing wheel to play them with. So I could of put games such as Gran Turismo, Project CARS or any of the Formula 1 games in this section of the top ten but the one thing that is stopping me is play those games online with strangers is usually an awful experience, mainly due to the difficult nature of policing a race so people tend to play unfairly (crash into other racers, cutting corners etc.). However with Mario Kart, the nature of the game is focused on screwing people over (blue shells anyone?) which in a strange way I prefer as it makes for a much more level playing field since everyone is in the same boat of using items. It makes for a much less serious tune of gameplay both with friends and random players alike.

3. Call of Duty 

Now we come to the juggernaut of the modern FPS genre that is the Call of Duty franchise. In the end a list detailing the best multiplayer games, especially of my era, wouldn't be complete without CoD. While it can split opinion between gamers, personally I find the series pretty solid and enjoyable. I classify the Call of Duty games as good in-between games, by which I mean they are great to play when you aren't playing any other major triple A release. If you are like me then you'll probably have a lot of games on your shelves and I'm sure most of you will feel overwhelmed by the sheer choice at times, It's those times when I decide to pop in the latest CoD game and play a few matches to relieve the boredom for an hour or two. They are still great games in their own right but I find they are most useful as a last resort if you get my drift.

2. Team Fortress 2

From one major FPS to another we have Valve's ever popular Team Fortress 2. A true testimony to this game is that it's still being played by it's dedicated fans since 2007 and part of this games longevity is Valve's commitment to keep updating the game. As someone who had played this game back in the day and much later on, TF2 is almost unrecognisable from it's humble origins. Of course a bulk of recent updates have been focused on pointless cosmetic items but I still enjoy the game, both back then and today.

Honourable Mentions

Killzone - another solid FPS with good multiplayer but a bit too meh.

Castle Crashers - A very fun little 4 player beat-em-up but no real replay value on this one.

Mercenary Kings - Not good enough to make the top ten but still a great little 4 player 2D shooter.

And now...

1. Overwatch

I maybe jumping on a bandwagon here with my number one choice but to me Overwatch really is one of the best multiplayer focused game to come out for quite some time. One of the many reasons for this claim is of course all the characters that Blizzard have made. Each one has it's strengths and weaknesses and play very differently to each other, in fact it's kinda reminiscent to Valve's Team Fortress 2 which also has a cast of playable characters to choose from. However even though Overwatch has a much larger cast, it is still a remarkably balanced game for what it is. Each character will have a different play-style which can either be great or not so great depending on the situation, allowing for a pretty deep meta-game and changeable strategies. Sure sometimes it seems one particular character is more OP then the others but Blizzard are usually pretty hot on the case with updates for their games and have been doing a good job so far of keeping Overwatch fresh and playable. It's still early but I predict that we'll still be playing/talking about Overwatch for a good few years.

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