2018 was a great year for games, and this year’s multiplayer games are no exception. From high-stakes shooters to chaotic cooking games, this year’s selection of games is one of the most diverse collections out there. As the year comes to a close, we look back on the best of the best when it comes to multiplayer games. Here are all the best multiplayer games of 2018.
1. A Way Out
One of the surprise hits of the year was A Way Out from Hazelight Studios. This co-op action-adventure game can only be played multiplayer, either split-screen or online, and offers a fresh new take on the cooperative genre. Players must work together to solve puzzles and navigate quick time events as they escape prison and venture beyond the walls. This game would make the list based on the creative new spin on the co-op genre, but it also has a surprisingly well-written story to back it up. A Way Out is a must-play for those who long for the days of couch co-op.
2. Far Cry 5
Coming up next on the list is Far Cry 5, which takes players to Hope County, Montana, to bring down the doomsday cult heralded by Joseph Seed. Much like Far Cry 4, players can play through the whole game’s campaign cooperatively, which can make for some hilarious antics thanks to the rich setting. Combining the wide variety of weapons and vehicles with the new companions and co-op makes for an incredibly fun and wild way to experience Far Cry 5’s rather dark narrative. Hopefully Far Cry New Dawn will be just as fun to experience cooperatively when it whisks players back to Hope County in early 2019
3. Unravel Two
Unravel Two was one of the small surprises that came out of E3 2018, for Coldwood Interactive and EA revealed and released the game on the same day. Unravel Two continues the story of Yarny, but unlike the first game this one can be played cooperatively. Two Yarnys have to work together to explore the beautiful world and solve tricky puzzles using nothing but their environment and each other. Unravel Two builds off of the mechanics introduced in the first game, like wrapping yarn around hitch points to create trampolines and swings but improves them and creates new ways to solve puzzles with two people. While Unravel Two’s co-op is local multiplayer only, it is definitely worth picking up if players are looking for a heartwarming couch co-op game.
4. Forza Horizon 4
When most people think of big multiplayer games, the first ones that usually come to mind are shooters. However, Forza Horizon 4 shows that there doesn’t always have to be tons of action to make a solid multiplayer experience. Forza Horizon 4 is the next installment in the Forza racing series, and marks one of the best racing games to date. This open-world racing game gives players the freedom to explore the United Kingdom at their own pace, creating races and customizing cars all along the way.
What’s new with this one is that the seasons will change, creating new environments to explore and hazards to avoid. Forza Horizon 4 lets players explore the UK with up to 72 players per server, so it’s no wonder that players are finding Forza Horizon 4 to be one of the best racing games of all time.
5. Battlefield 5
Battlefield V is the next installment in the long-running Battlefield franchise and it continues to build and deliver exactly what fans expect from it. Fans of the Battlefield series will find a lot of similarities to past installments, for better or for worse. The biggest change coming with Battlefield V is the brand-new Firestorm battle royale mode, which launches in March 2019. Until then, players have plenty to enjoy from the rich single-player campaign to the various multiplayer modes.
What these features lack in innovation, they make up for in consistent fun and intense interactions with other players. Despite the rocky launch, Battlefield V has continued to receive updates from EA DICE to address player feedback and make the game better. Hopefully, Battlefield V’s battle royale mode will live up to the hype.
6. Destiny 2: Forsaken
A lot can be said about Destiny 2’s first year. It had its ups and downs, and parts of it left a sour taste in many players’ mouths. However, Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion was a return to form for Bungie and a major improvement to the game. From the fun and exciting new subclasses to the ever-evolving mystery of the Dreaming City (which is still being unraveled at the time of writing), Destiny 2: Forsaken brought back what many fans of Destiny loved: a hobby.
New events unfolded on a weekly basis, and with the new challenge system players had lots of rewards to chase. Destiny 2: Forsaken got a lot of things right, and if the future of Destiny is anything like it is now after Forsaken, then Destiny fans have a lot to look forward to for the first time in a long time.
7. Guacamelee 2
The Guacamelee franchise is perhaps one of the most inventive and fun takes on the Metroidvania genre out there today. Drawing inspiration from luchadores and Mexican culture, Guacamelee gained quite a following when it launched back in 2013. Guacamelee 2 continues the story of Juan Aguacate, bringing back many of the abilities and characters that fans grew to love in the first game. Guacamelee 2 also introduced multiplayer, allowing fans to play with up to four players cooperatively.
While some of the encounters and puzzles are more challenging for multiple people, the game makes up for it by dishing out a rich and colorful story and smashing gameplay, making Guacamelee 2 one of the best multiplayer games of the year.
8. Hitman 2
If players enjoyed Hitman in 2016, then they will certainly enjoy Hitman 2, which offers more of the same – including all the levels from the first game. While Hitman 2 brings some new tricks and gadgets with it, the core Hitman experience remains untouched for players familiar with Io Interactive’s recent take on the series.
New to Hitman 2 are the two multiplayer modes players can participate in: Sniper Assassin and Ghost Mode. Sniper Assassin allows players to work together to create opportunities and take out targets with the same cunning tricks using nothing but sniper rifles. While Ghost Mode allows players to face off head-to-head in a race to eliminate targets on one of the many levels in the game. Players can see each other, but not interact with each other, as they race to eliminate a series of targets one-by-one. Both modes add much more to the Hitman 2 experience, and hopefully Io Interactive will keep adding more features to them as the game continues to grow.
9. Overcooked 2
Continuing the theme of fun couch co-op games is Overcooked 2, the fun and chaotic cooking game. Much like in the first game in the series, players must work together to prepare and cook food for customers while battling against the wild environments and hazards that get in the way. Ghost Town Games added new mechanics into the mix to make the levels even more dynamic. Overcooked 2 is one of the most entertaining (and sometimes stressful) co-op games to take on, but it makes for an incredibly rewarding experience when players overcome challenging levels – making it a great game to bust out for a good laugh.
10. Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World broke down many of the walls that made the series inaccessible to many players, allowing it to be a smashing success in terms of both sales and reception. The game features an easier, though still somewhat confusing, drop-in-drop-out co-op system that allows players to assist others in challenging hunts. It also made the tracking and chasing part of the hunts a lot easier compared to previous installments in the Monster Hunter franchise thanks to the introduction of the Scoutflies. Monster Hunter World continues to grow as Capcom adds new hunts, outfits, and more to the game, and fans can expect a major expansion called Iceborne to launch later in 2019.
11. Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighting games of the year, especially in terms of visual design. Every element of the game makes it feel like players are controlling the anime, which is perfect for fans of the show. Combine the stunning visuals with smooth combat and a vast character roster and FighterZ has a recipe for success. While the online play still needs some work, fighting friends in Dragon Ball FighterZ is a thrilling experience for those who love Dragon Ball.
12. Soulcalibur 6
The Soulcalibur series is known for a few things: fun fighting mechanics, wild character creators, and cross-over characters. Soulcalibur 6 continues that tradition by making improvements to nearly every element of the game compared to the previous installments. While the single-player story is decent, the excellent guest roster and character creator are where the game shines. Soulcalibur 6 features new (but familiar) faces like Geralt from The Witcher series and 2B from Nier Automata, and will likely get more DLC characters in the future. Unlike many of the fighting games on the list, the online functionality works well, making Soulcalibur 6 one of the best installments in the series to date.
13. Jackbox Party Pack 5
There are few games as synonymous with “fun party games” as the Jackbox games. The latest pack of games brings back the fan-favorite You Don’t Know Jack, but there are four other titles to try. Split The Room, You Don’t Know Jack, and Zeeple Dome are fun, but the star of Jackbox Party Pack 5 is Mad Verse City. This game lets players construct rhymes and raps that giant robots will then dish out on-screen. Whether its the classic You Don’t Know Jack or one of the new games, players are sure to have a good laugh with Jackbox Party Pack 5.
14. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Treyarch and Activision are back at it again with this year’s installment in the Call of Duty franchise, but this time with some new tricks up their sleeves. While Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has the traditional elements that players have come to expect in the series – like Zombies and the many multiplayer game modes – the big highlight this year is the new Blackout battle royale mode. Blackout takes the battle royale format that fans of PUBG and Fortnite are used to and combines it with Call of Duty’s familiar combat.
While Black Ops 4 lacks a traditional single-player campaign – to the disappointment of some fans – the sequel makes up for it by adding a variety of multiplayer content for players to enjoy, making it perhaps one of the most diverse Call of Duty installments to date.
15. Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Rounding out the list is the latest installment in the long-running Nintendo party/fighting game series, Super Smash Bros Ultimate. This installment pulls out all the stops and brings back every single character from the previous installments, making for the largest roster in Smash Bros history. While there are plenty of familiar faces, there are also some new characters joining the roster, like King K. Rool from Donkey Kong or Isabelle from Animal Crossing. Each character feels so unique and hand-crafted that it leaves a lot of room to practice and master characters.
While the online functionality still needs some work, the local multiplayer is perhaps the best it’s ever been. Having so many fighters to choose from makes for a ton of character match-ups, so players can experiment and hone their skill till their heart’s content. With new fighters rolling out over the course of the next year, including Joker from Persona 5, Smash fans will be sinking their teeth into this game for a long time to come.
That wraps up the list of the best multiplayer games of the year. While some disappointing games in 2018, these titles show that multiplayer (and even couch co-op) games are far from dying out. Hopefully, 2019 will feature even more great titles that players can enjoy with all their friends.