Best Multiplayer Games 2018: The best games to settle debates

How good are you at games, really? There’s only one way to find out. And by one we obviously mean hundreds, if not thousands, because multiplayer gaming is an ever-evolving behemoth that births new titles every day.

Rather than trying them all – a never-ending task, if ever there was one – perhaps you’d like to read a list of our recommendations? Good. Here are some of the best multiplayer games you can play in 2018. And maybe for years afterwards.

Related: PS4 Pro vs PS4

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Developer: PUBG Corporation

Available on: PC, Xbox One

PUBG is the beating heart of multiplayer gaming in 2018, following a near-mythical rise through Steam during its Early Access phase last year, and an army of streamers all chasing down chicken dinners for their enraptured viewers.

If you’ve seen the movie Battle Royale, you get it: 100 people on an island, scavenging for weapons and fighting to the death. But somehow PUBG’s more than the sum of its parts, whether by virtue of the squad banter, the constant tension, or the sheer scale and detail. It’s not as polished as you might expect, but it’s twice as enjoyable.

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Read the full PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds review

Fortnite Battle Royale

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Developer: Epic Games

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Epic was very clever in the weeks and months following Fortnite’s release. Witnessing the snowballing popularity of PUBG and the emergence of a whole new genre, they found a way to remix Fortnite’s best assets in the en vogue battle royale. It’s faster-paced than PUBG and adds a new wrinkle with an on-the-fly building system, so rather than crawling around on your belly, you spend the late game hunkered down in a home-made fort.

Related: Fortnite Battle Royale vs PUBG

Overwatch

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Developer: Blizzard

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Harnessing the finer points of class-based FPS gaming, MOBAs and the human brain’s irrepressible response to bright colours, Overwatch is a juggernaut game with huge casual, hardcore and esports player bases at its beck and call. Like Valve’s 2007 class shooter Team Fortress 2, Overwatch strong-arms you into playing a specific role, and finding skill in subtle areas. Unlike TF2, it’s also in love with big manga characters.

Buy Overwatch from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

The fact that its fanbase contains a small but notable minority who don’t actually play the game but simply enjoy the character art and story says a lot about Blizzard’s skill at cultivating fanboyism.

Related: Overwatch latest news

Read the full Overwatch review

Quake Champions

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Developer: id Software, Saber Interactive

Available on: PC

Still gestating in Early Access, Quake Champions is already a go-to FPS for those with old school sensibilities.

About that: it does carry the name of the multiplayer shooter’s origins, yes, but it’s not stuck in the past. There’s a precarious but successful blend of lightning-fast movement, bounce pads, and familiar weaponry with modern favourites like the eponymous Champions and their unique abilities. The payment model’s a bit complex, but the fundamentals are hard to resist. Nail a railgun headshot in mid-air and just try to disagree.

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Read the full Quake Champions review

Rocket League

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Developer: Psyonix

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

Car football. What could possibly be a better elevator pitch than that? It could have been a horrible mess, of course, if Psyonix hadn’t implemented the physics as expertly as they did. Somehow launching a truck up into the air, pulling off a few barrel rolls and heading (bonneting?) a crossed ball into a goal tended by a dune buggy feels like the most natural and intuitive thing in the world after a few matches.

Buy Rocket League from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Now in its fourth year, Rock League has basketball and hockey variants, a strong competitive scene, and accounts for roughly 50% of the world’s Gifs.

Related: Best PC Games

DOTA 2

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Developer: Valve

Available on: PC

Picking one phenomenally popular MOBA over the other was always going to throw up some strong emotions, but honestly Dota 2 and League of Legends are both excellent MOBAs. It’s just that people don’t tend to play them both, like you might with PUBG and Fortnite: Battle Royale.

Born of a Warcraft 3 expansion pack mod, Dota 2 doesn’t have much in common with RTS gaming but the micromanagement and split-millisecond decision making are very much still present. Pick a lane, get some last hits, buy some upgrades, and feel like a modern day Garry Kasparov… until you watch the pros do it and realise that it looks like a completely different game at that level.

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Developer: Valve

Available on: PC

The original concept and maps are as old as the hills now, but somehow Counter-Strike keeps drawing in new generations of trigger-happy competitors to the perilous bridges of de_aztec and dusty murder-alleys of de_dust2.

A lot’s changed since the original Half-Life mod went live: there are weapon skins, a complicated loot box system, improved graphics, better spectator controls and bots that can and will absolutely slay you. But the essential experience remains the same, demanding absolute precision with every mouse click and complex on-the-fly strategising with team-mates to defuse the bomb, grab the hostages, or stop the do-gooder CTs from doing so.

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Read the full Counter-Strike: Global Offensive review

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Developer: Ubisoft

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Remember when we said people don’t tend to play both popular multiplayer games within the same space? Well here’s Rainbow Six Siege immediately after CS:GO to contradict that.

Buy Rainbow Six Siege from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Actually, the truth is they’re very different games. Thematically you can draw plenty of parallels but Siege’s destructible tech and specialised Operators make for a different Ts vs CTs shootout. One that involves laying traps, flying drones, shooting speculatively through walls, and performing impromptu home repairs as the situation dictates. Ubi did a great job supporting it post-release, and as a result it remains a thriving shooter.

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Read the full Rainbow 6: Siege review

Destiny 2

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Developer: Bungie

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Genre-bleed is everywhere these days, turning sports games into complex RPGs and shooters into MOBAs. But perhaps there’s no more effective cross-pollination than that of the FPS and MMO in Destiny.

Buy Destiny 2 from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

After reducing its community to exotic-obsessed lore perusers with the first Destiny, Bungie built on its strengths in this sequel and even went to the trouble of popping a story in, too. You can spend a hundred hours waging war on opposing alien factions here and never tire of Destiny 2’s fundamental meatiness in combat, the perfect interplay of character abilities, and the irresistible Skinner Box of shiny new things and the acquisition thereof.

Related: Destiny 2 latest news, patch notes and DLC info

Read the full Destiny 2 review

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Developer: Nintendo

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Ultra-accessible handling married to random and sometimes brutally punishing events: a time-honored formula for one of racing’s best ever series. This might actually be the zenith of Mario Kart, too, every new trick sitting comfortably alongside the best-of roster from previous MKs, and every new combination of kart, wheels, and driver a potential breakthrough.

And then there’s the rare quality that’s present in Nintendo’s best first-party output, something that puts a smile on your face even if you did definitely block that shell with a banana skin, and speaks to your inner child in reassuring tones.

Related: Best Nintendo Switch Games

Read the full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review

FIFA 18

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Developer: EA Canada

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Obviously. Obviously FIFA. Yes, it might ruin friendships more regularly than Christmas day Monopoly games, but that’s no reason not to keep playing it until either everyone you know hates you, or you methodically and deliberately put a foot through your TV.

Alone or competitively, it’s always strong like bison at depicting the beautiful game. There’s a growing argument for PES’s supremacy in terms of movement and passing, but the overall, completely licensed package from EA is hard to topple.  

Related: FIFA 19 Wishlist

Read the full FIFA 18 review

Project Cars 2

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Developer: Slightly Mad Studios

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Enthusiasm can be infectious, and Project CARS 2 loves motorsport so much that even if you couldn’t care less about fast cars, you’re drawn in by the fastidious detail here. It’s a wonderful sim from top to bottom, but in multiplayer it’s about as good as racing gets – in the absence of Italian plumbers, at least.

There’s functionality for custom leagues, esports, and casual quick races, so you’re covered at every skill level. Best of all it watches your behaviour and figures out whether you’re an unsportsmanlike oaf after a few races, matching you with like-minded racers thereafter.

Read the full Project Cars 2 review
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