What defines the best multiplayer games? Sometimes it’s not the game that shines, it’s the players. Deep gameplay and glistening visuals only go so far in making a standout multiplayer game, only humans can provide the unpredictability and scheming that turns the average first-person shooter or puzzle game into a gladiatorial showdown or cooperative crusade. But what are the best multiplayer games? Fast and frantic or tense and calculated, multiplayer games come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re all connected by the simple pleasure we derive from interacting with one another. Whether that’s two minds attempting to solve a puzzle or one player’s never ending quest to get one over on their fellow man, these games wouldn’t be the same without a bunch of humans running around killing, maiming or occasionally (very occasionally) helping each other. Here are the best multiplayer games:
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Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game is the stand-alone sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a "hero", who all have unique abilities and styles of play. During a match, a player and their team collects experience points and items for their heroes in order to fight through the opposing team's heroes and other defenses. A team wins by being the first to destroy a large structure located in the opposing team's base, called the "Ancient".
FIFA, also known as FIFA Football or FIFA Soccer, is a series of football video games or football simulator, released annually by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label. While there was no major competition when EA released the first titles in their Madden NFL and NHL series, football video games such as Sensible Soccer, Kick Off and Match Day had been developed since the late 1980s and already competitive in the games market when EA Sports announced a football game as the next addition to their EA Sports label. When the series began in late 1993, it was notable for being the first to have an official licence from FIFA, the world governing body of football. The latest installments in the series contain many exclusively-licensed leagues including leagues and teams from around the world, including the German Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, English Premier League and Football League, Italian Serie A and Serie B, Spanish La Liga and Segunda División, Portuguese Primeira Liga, French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, Dutch Eredivisie, Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Mexican Liga MX, American Major League Soccer, South Korean K-League, Saudi Professional League, Australian A-League, Turkish Süper Lig, Chilean Primera División and Argentine Primera División, allowing the use of real leagues, clubs and player names and likenesses within the games. In addition, internationally popular clubs from around the world, including some teams from Greece and South Africa, without those nations' entire leagues. The main series has been complemented by additional installments based on single major tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Football Championship and UEFA Champions League, as well as a series of football management titles.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (colloquially referred to as Global Offensive or CS:GO) is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation. It is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, and was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in August 2012, with the Linux version being released in September 2014. Cross-platform multiplayer was planned between Windows, OS X, Linux, and PlayStation 3 players, but was ultimately limited to the computer versions because of the difference in update frequency between systems. The game pits two teams against each other: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Both sides are tasked with eliminating the other while also completing separate objectives, the Terrorists, depending on the game mode, must either plant the bomb or defend the hostages, while the Counter-Terrorists must prevent the bomb from being planted or to rescue the hostages. There are six game modes, all of which have distinct characteristics specific to that mode. Global Offensive has matchmaking support that allows players to play on dedicated Valve servers, as well as allowing members of the community to host their own servers with custom maps and game modes. Global Offensive has a competitive scene, with Valve-sponsored tournaments known as the "Majors" being the premier competitive event for the game.
Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game franchise. The series began on Microsoft Windows, and later expanded to consoles and handhelds. Several spin-off games have been released. The earlier games in the series are set primarily in World War II, but later games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare are set in modern times or in futuristic settings. The most recently announced game, Call of Duty: WWII, will release on November 3, 2017 and return the series to its early-20th century roots. The Call of Duty games are published and owned by Activision. While Infinity Ward is still a developer, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games also develop several of the titles with the release of the studios' games alternating with each other. Some games have been developed by Gray Matter Interactive, Nokia, Exakt Entertainment, Spark Unlimited, Amaze Entertainment, n-Space, Aspyr, Rebellion Developments, Ideaworks Game Studio, and nStigate Games. The games use a variety of engines, including the id Tech 3, the Treyarch NGL, and the IW engine. As of February 2016, the Call of Duty series has sold over 250 million copies. Sales of all Call of Duty games topped US$15 billion.
Battlefield is a series of first-person shooter video games that started out on Microsoft Windows and OS X with Battlefield 1942, which was released in 2002. The series is developed by Swedish company EA DICE and is published by American company Electronic Arts. The series features a particular focus on large maps, teamwork and vehicle warfare. The PC games in the series are mainly focused on online multiplayer. The Battlefield series has been played by more than 50 million players worldwide as of 2012, across 11 games and 12 expansion packs released since its inception in 2002.
League of Legends (abbreviated LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions, and was inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients. In League of Legends, players assume the role of an unseen "summoner" that controls a "champion" with unique abilities and battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled champions. The goal is usually to destroy the opposing team's "nexus", a structure which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures, although other distinct game modes exist as well. Each League of Legends match is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak but increasing in strength by accumulating items and experience over the course of the game. The champions and setting blend a variety of elements, including high fantasy, steampunk, folklore, and Lovecraftian horror.
Need for Speed, also known by its initials NFS, is a racing video game franchise created by Electronic Arts and currently developed by Ghost Games. The series centers around illicit street racing and in general tasks players to complete various types of races while evading the local law enforcement in police pursuits. The series released its first title, The Need for Speed in 1994. Since Need for Speed: High Stakes, the series has also integrated car body customization into gameplay. Need for Speed has been critically well received. It is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, selling over 150 million copies of games. Due to its strong sales, the franchise has expanded into other forms of media including a film adaptation and licensed Hot Wheels toys.
Age of Empires III is a real-time strategy video game developed by Microsoft Corporation's Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Mac version was ported over and developed and published by Destineer's MacSoft. The PC version was released on October 18, 2005 in North America and November 4, 2005 in Europe, while the Mac version was released on November 21, 2006 in North America and September 29, 2006 in Europe. An N-Gage version of the game developed by Glu Mobile was released on April 28, 2009. It is the third game of the Age of Empires series and the sequel to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The game portrays the European colonization of the Americas, between approximately 1492 and 1876 AD. There are fourteen total civilizations to play within the game. Age of Empires III has made several innovations in the series, in particular with the addition of the "Home City", which combines real-time strategy and role-playing game features. Two expansion packs have been released: the first, Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs, was released on October 17, 2006, and introduced three Native American civilizations; the second, Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, was released on October 23, 2007, and included three Asian civilizations.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. Siege was released in December 2015 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game puts heavy emphasis on environmental destruction and cooperation between players. Players assume control of an attacker or a defender in different gameplay modes such as hostage rescuing and bomb defusing. The title has no campaign, but features a series of short missions that can be played solo. These missions have a loose narrative, focusing on recruits going through training to prepare them for future encounters with the White Masks, a terrorist group that threatens the safety of the world. Siege is the eleventh entry in the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series and a successor to Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots, a tactical shooter that had a larger focus on narrative. However, Patriots was eventually cancelled due to its technical shortcomings, and the team decided to reboot the franchise. The team evaluated the core of the Rainbow Six franchise and believed that letting players impersonate the top counter-terrorist operatives around the world suited the game most. To create authentic siege situations, the team consulted actual counter-terrorism units, and looked at real-life examples of sieges. Powered by AnvilNext, the game also utilizes Ubisoft's RealBlast technology to create destructible environments.
Unreal Tournament is a first-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes. The second installment in the Unreal series, it was first published by GT Interactive in 1999 for Microsoft Windows, and later released on the PlayStation 2 by Infogrames, in 2001 and on the Dreamcast by Secret Level in 2000. Players compete in a series of matches of various types, with the general aim of out-killing opponents. The PC version supports multiplayer online or over a local area network. Free expansion packs were released, some of which were bundled with a 2000 re-release: Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition. The game is based on the same technology that powered Unreal, but the design of Unreal Tournament shifted the series' focus to competitive multiplayer action. Development took almost a year and a half, and the game was initially intended to be an expansion for Unreal. Unreal Tournament received critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the graphics, artificial intelligence and gameplay, although the console ports were noted for having limitations. The game won several awards, and the series has continued with the releases of sequels Unreal Tournament 2003 in 2002, Unreal Tournament 2004 in 2004, and Unreal Tournament 3 in 2007.
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