What’s more fun than staving off hordes of enemies, cooking up delicious meals, or defusing a bomb in the world of video games? Doing it all with your best friends, of course. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best multiplayer games you can get your hands on right now.
👾You love badass video games. So do we. Let's play together.
Whether you’re in it for the long haul for some knock-down, drag-out team death matches or you just want to outpace the competition in silly games of trivia, these are the true cream of the crop for getting the gang together.
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Among Us is a game that pits friends against each other, testing their faith and trust in the blink of an eye. Taking place on a spaceship, players take on the role of multicolored space suit-clad Crewmates working to figure out who in the crew is a malevolent Impostor.
All players work to complete a variety of tasks, but only Impostors will be actively working to sabotage the entire crew. Crewmates must examine potential Impostors and vote to eliminate them before more members of the crew are murdered.
It's a sinister, uneasy game that thrives on tension and unrest. It's also massively popular among streamers due to its potentially hilarious nature when you can't successfully find the "sus" players and cut them loose. Think of it as “Werewolf” for millennials.
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Animal Crossing series may well be one of the most relaxing of all time. It gets even better when you add other players into the mix. Invite players to your island, inhabited by animals, to check out your personal house, the friends you've made, and even partake in the turnips and fruits you have available. It's the next best thing to hanging out with friends in real life, which has been an admittedly difficult thing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you're inviting players to let them get some good prices in the stalk market or simply want to exchange clothing patterns, there's always a good time to be had in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
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Call of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play, standalone version of the classic shooter that everyone knows and loves. It’s chock-full of addictive, arcade-like action that challenges players to survive, while being the last to fall among 150 to 200 players.
With two main modes, Plunder and Battle Royale, players work to eliminate each other using a variety of tactics as the "safe zone" on the game's massive map continues to shrink. They all parachute in at the start of the match, tasked with finding supplies and a place to keep safe.
Warzone is a constant fight for survival that fans of games like Fortnite and PUBG have gravitated toward, and for good reason. It combines the satisfying stop-and-pop arcade shooter action of the Call of Duty series with battle royale sensibilities, and to great effect.
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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
This austere first-person shooter is a massively popular part of the Counter-Strike series, and remains a huge part of the PC multiplayer scene. There’s nothing too complicated about it: Players work in teams to foil the opposing groups. It’s heavily grounded in reality, however, with plenty of knives to choose from as well as a range of different arms. It’s a game you’ll definitely want to coordinate with your buddies on, however. It’s not a good idea to go in guns blazing.
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Dead by Daylight
Fans of horror movies will find plenty to love about asymmetrical multiplayer game Dead by Daylight, which pits a killer against a squad of survivors. Choose to play as a killer (Michael Myers, Pyramid Head, you name it) or a survivor who has to spend time working to escape their clutches. Killers have access to an arsenal of powerful weapons and abilities to slay survivors as they scurry around the map. Kill all survivors, and it's game over.
Survivors have a limited amount of passive skills and some items to assist them as they work to repair generators and avoid the killer. If the survivor team can make their escape without getting killed, they win the match. It’s a tense and challenging game that will have you flinching at every little noise you hear, but always coming back for more.
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Destiny 2 is an online multiplayer RPG that you can also enjoy with friends. Players can opt to complete single-player missions but then travel over to the Crucible, where team-based game modes allow Guardians to take on each other in Clash, Control, and Supremacy modes for one, with variations on each game mode. Players can also join up together to tackle various raids for the purposes of completing story-based requirements. It takes several pages from Bungie’s work in the Halo series to great effect, and that’s just part of what makes it such an enticing game to play with others.
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Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Most battle royale titles revolve around killing off other players and becoming the last one standing. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is all about becoming a massive jelly bean-like creature and bouncing your way through obstacle courses to be the first one through the finish line. It won't be easy, though. You're competing against around 60 other players to complete minigames where you can jump, grab, climb, and dive to reach the end.
The game isn't violent, but it can be frustrating enough that you'll feel that way when you don't place for the next round. If you happen to make it to the end, you'll find yourself earning Crowns, the game's premium currency. But beware, as it's hardly a cakewalk, or nearly as sweet as its colorful visuals imply.
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Who hasn’t heard of Fortnite by now? The most popular multiplayer game in the world is a free shooter from Epic Games. Players drop into a massive map, search for weapons and supplies, and then gun each other down as the map slowly closes in on itself. Then bust out some hilarious emotes as you work your way toward getting the coveted Victory Royale as you hang out with friends and dream of Fortnite tournament riches.
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Halo Infinite has only been available for a short while, but already fans are lauding it as the return to greatness the franchise has been needing since Bungie passed the torch to 343 Industries. While the game’s campaign is compelling and different from any other Halo, the free-to-play multiplayer is what will likely keep the game going. Classic Halo modes and features are accentuated by punchy sound design and new items. Usually it only takes a few minutes for a Halo veteran to get a grip with Infinite, which is usually followed by them saying, “Halo is back!”
Unfortunately, free-to-play games are often plagued with bad in-game economies that can pressure players to continually buy digital goods with inflated prices. When the multiplayer for Halo Infinite first dropped, the progression system drew a ton of ire from the gaming community, but 343 Industries staff did promise continued improvements to make the system more rewarding and fair. It’s certainly not the best free-to-play environment out there, but the quick response shows that the game’s developers may put players first. Time will tell but either way the core gameplay of Halo Infinite is familiar and fantastic.
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Grand Theft Auto 5 is consistently one of the best-selling games of each year, even though it's been out on the market for some time. Much of that popularity can be owed to GTA Online, its online multiplayer component.
Players can jump into the virtual version of Los Santos and live their lives as they see fit. With customizable characters, denizens can explore the city at their leisure, buy their own sports cars, and even own land and nightclubs in-game for private use. There are special heists to undertake, clubs to visit, and even RP groups to join to make it truly feel as though you're a member of the city. It's the next best thing to partying down in a big city, and best of all, all your friends can jump online to experience it with you.
With Rockstar Games continuously adding new content as the months go by, there’s always something new to see and do when you dive back in a month or even six months later. Los Santos is an ever-evolving city that attracts all walks of players, and it’s every bit as addictive as the regular, narrative-based game.
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Halo: The Master Chief Collection
What happens when you take the entirety (minus one or two) entries in one of the most popular shooters ever and make them available for everyone to play? You get Halo: The Master Chief Collection, of course.
What once meant a frustrating dash to snag each game separately on consoles has transformed into one of the most satisfying multiplayer experiences on PC, console, or elsewhere. Now, you can play through most of the games in the Halo series in one place for one price.
It's an excellent way to get ready for Halo Infinite in 2021, and an even better way to play through some of the most satisfying sci-fi shootouts we've seen in the genre. Follow Spartan John-117 (Master Chief to you) as he investigates the ring-like Halo planets and their relationship to humanity's greatest enemy: the series of alien races joined together as the Covenant—at least, that's how it starts.
You get multiple games' worth of awesome single-player and multiplayer shooting, and you get to play an iconic series. What's not to love?
Jackbox Games, Inc.
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Jackbox Party Pack
You don’t know Jack! No, really, that’s the name of one of the games in the Jackbox Party Pack. This hilarious group of side-splitting multiplayer games is all about playing together and finding something everyone enjoyed. Answer trivia questions with You Don’t Know Jack, guess if statements are true or not with Lie Swatter, endplay some fun word association with Word Spud—and these are just some of the games you can get in on.
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Final Fantasy XIV Online
This MMORPG is so popular that Square Enix’s servers cannot handle the sheer amount of players logging in, and they’ve even slowed down the game’s sales. Celebrating every facet of the Final Fantasy franchise, FFXIV Online has brought millions of players to Eorzea to battle monsters, take on detailed story quests, and generally hang out in various beautiful locations. It’s a game that’s perfectly suited for player expression. Fans have been championing the game for years to the point that it’s become a meme online that boasts just how far players can go on a free account.
Unfortunately, the game’s account system is rather annoying and many consider overcoming making one the first boss. Some of the greatest musical compositions in video games is found in FFXIV Online to the point that there are hundreds of mind-blowing tracks. Fans of classic Final Fantasy characters also have a ton to enjoy, such as riding around in an FFVI magitek armor or completing quests set in Ivalice of FFXII and FF Tactics fame. Really the only downfalls FFXIV Online has are the server congestion and the obscene amount of hours that can be lost in its world.
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Set in the same universe as the beloved Titanfall series, Respawn Entertainment jumped into the battle royale genre in a big way with Apex Legends. Since 2019, regular updates have added new characters, weapons, and environments, but it was the game’s focus on player movement is what sets it apart in the genre. Pairing this with a diverse cast of well-designed characters with added utility created one of the multiplayer staples of the past few years. Many of the free-to-play giants on the market benefit from the low barrier to entry, and Apex is no different.
The game is available on PC and every major gaming console, including Nintendo Switch, and crossplay allows for anyone to play together. The lack of a mobile port may keep the game from being as popular as say Fortnite or Among Us with younger players, but a mobile version of the game is in development. With continued support, rewarding gameplay, and esports representation we will likely be seeing Apex Legends for years to come.
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Left 4 Dead 2
The quintessential zombie shooter is Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2, which improves on its popular predecessor in several important ways. Take on brutal Boomers, huge zombies who plod toward you with murderous intent, or try to pick off Witches, whose crying will drive you mad until you bust a cap in their head. As one of a foursome of survivors, you’ve got to put all these zombies down and make it out alive. Easier said than done, right?
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Mario Kart 8
There’s nothing better than a rousing game of Mario Kart, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive edition of the arcade title. Jump in a variety of different Nintendo-themed karts with your favorite character and tear up the track. Watch out for blue shells and banana peels, though, which can turn a fun time with friends into a heated argument. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
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The blocky world of Minecraft is your oyster, and creating things within the confines of this low-res universe is fun on your own. Imagine bringing friends in to create, too. There’s plenty to do with your buddies as you erect huge structures, mine for resources, and take on monsters like spiders, skeletons, and the infamous creepers. It’s a fun, easygoing way to spend time with friends that’s appropriate for all ages.
Ghost Town Games Ltd./Team17
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Think you know a thing or two about cooking? Put that all out of your mind when playing Overcooked! 2, a game that will test your ability to multitask as well as your friendships. Players must trade off as they work to serve a variety of dishes to waiting customers between cooking dishes and cleaning them (and everything in between) throughout shifting cooking layouts and other frustrating obstacles. It’s all about working together, but sometimes that’s impossible when your kitchen is interrupted by streams of people or split in half by the sea.
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If you've ever wanted to see what it was like to be a ghost hunter, Phasmophobia has you covered. Journey into a haunted house with up to three additional friends and get to the bottom of each haunting. Using a variety of tools and investigative methods, you'll have to hunt down the paranormal beings in each area, figure out what kind they are (spirit? wraith? something else?) and document their existence before getting the heck out. But that's if the excursion goes well.
Ghosts can kill you or one of your crew, so you have to go to great lengths to make sure you're covered while investigating. Phasmophobia is an absolutely terrifying co-op multiplayer adventure that isn't for the faint of heart, but it’ll keep everyone entertained, especially while creeping around in the dark.
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Before Fortnite, there was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, one of the most expansive battle royale titles around. Compete on a massive map while the storm closes in around you to nab the coveted Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner—though it’s not as easy as just getting a few kills. You’ve got to be the last player standing at the end of the round, and duos and squads is perfect for enlisting your friends to help watch your back.
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Rainbow Six: Siege
All Rainbow Six games are great for playing with friends, but Siege is a team-based affair that will call your tactical skills into question. Players select different operators as they split off into different teams: the Counter-Terrorism Units, with four operators per team to choose from that will play both attackers and defenders. They can face off against each other across 11 maps and 5 different type of modes, including Hostage, Bomb, Secure Area, and more. With a destructive system, a powerful set of arms, and intriguing abilities, this is a multiplayer affair that outshines the current Ghost Recon release.
Arc System Works
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Guilty Gear Strive
Most fighting games are immediately engaging for both players and spectators; a simple lifebar slowly wittles away as two players punch their way to victory. Even the most complex fighters have that core design that makes it fun to watch. The one thing holding back fighting games in the modern era is the lackluster online connection that makes playing them a frustrating experience that’s rarely applicable in an offline scenario. This is where rollback netcode fixes a lot of issues, and Guilty Gear Strive is one of the first big titles to proudly feature good online play.
Rollback netcode has revolutionized fighting games to the point that the feature is now expected from any game in the genre moving forward. Not only is the online play fun, Strive shakes up the franchise to make one of the most compelling fighters on the market with absolutely stunning visuals and an explosive metal soundtrack. Characters have incredible levels of detail, personality, and gameplay flair so it’s easy to find a favorite.
Lastly, Guilty Gear Strive tournaments (both large scale and grassroots) have been amazing to watch so far, and the action is not expected to slow down anytime soon.
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Souped-up rocket cars? Check. Giant soccer balls? Double check. Rocket League is all about playing soccer with oversized vehicles. No, seriously. Your job is to knock a big soccer ball into your goal before your opponent can. It’s an awesome fictional sport that we definitely wish were real, but unfortunately, this is the only way we’re going to be able to see it played out for now.
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The developers at 1047 are clearly fans of Halo. At a time when Halo was mostly a fond memory, Splitgate entered the market with polished gunplay and a pacing that fans immediately recognized, but with an added twist that made the game extremely compelling. Splitgate is a competitive first-person shooter with portals similar to Valve’s Portal.
Tossing down a portal during a fall only to pop out the other side to snipe an opponent is one of the greatest feelings in gaming. Splitgate’s use of portals is wild with various defensive plays, the ability to destroy portals, and use them for scouting. It takes some getting used to and there’s a level of spatial awareness needed for supremacy but that high level of required skill makes it one of the most competitive shooters available.
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Sea of Thieves
Arr, matey! Round up your hearties and jump into an exciting journey on the high seas. Round up a party and head out on your own seafaring adventure on a pirate ship to collect booty, fight off monsters and enemies under the sea, then work to become a pirate legend in your own right.
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Monster Hunter Rise
Up to four hunters track down an overwhelmingly powerful beast with the sole intent of taking it down to increase their strength for the next, likely bigger, prey. The simple gameplay loop of fighting monsters, crafting new equipment, and steadily taking on stronger beasts is one of the most addicting systems out there. What’s crazy is one can put hundreds of hours into any Monster Hunter title and still have gear to acquire or a new challenge to attempt. Taking down giant dragons and dinosaurs is also no easy feat so it’s often recommended to add a few friends, especially for new players.
Monster Hunter Rise is a technical marvel on the Nintendo Switch, featuring stellar load times and an impressive framerate. The game will soon be on PC, but lacking crossplay is a shame. Monster Hunter World may be a better starting point, but the portability of Rise, the unique Japanese inspired themes, and the upcoming expansion might make it a better choice. There’s a reason Monster Hunter is one of the best selling franchises under Capcom’s belt, and there’s no better time to get into these games than right now.
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The ultimate crossover event from Nintendo features just about every character you could think of from Nintendo’s cadre and more. There are even stars from completely different franchises, including Metal Gear Solid, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more. Choose your main and get to bashing the stuffing out of each other. It’s fast-paced, engrossing fun that anyone can participate in, regardless of skill level.
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Tetris Effect: Connected
Tetris is one of the most satisfying puzzle games of all times, and Tetris Effect: Connected only ups the ante. It adds multiplayer for players to challenge each other as well as a co-op mode to work together, features that were never present in the original Tetris Effect. It's a gorgeous, colorful dance between levels that requires players to place all the falling blocks in the right places.
Continue stacking blocks up, line after line, as you work to clear out all the blocks together or against an opponent. Then groove along to a series of catchy jazz, trance, electronica, and dance songs. It's all about playing with others, though you can play alone if you’d prefer. But once you add other players into the mix, you really begin to understand why Tetris Effect: Connection may be the best version of the bunch.
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When Riot Games decided to enter the hero shooter arena, it did so with much fervor. Valorant is Riot's answer to Overwatch, and one of the more challenging, skill-based shooters you can play right now. Jump in, choose an agent that best fits your play style, and work with your teammates to plant a spike (essentially a high-tech bomb) or defuse it.
There are various ways to play: rewind moves if you happen to be careless, use special arrows to perform quick recon, or plant bombs for your enemies to blow them up when they round a corner. If you’re into the twitch-shooter stylings of Overwatch but want something with more of a learning curve and slow burn, Valorant is the game for you.
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While a lot of games tend to focus on action, there’s a whole world of games that slow things down. Stardew Valley takes pages out of the design of Harvest Moon to create one of the best farming games ever. Gathering resources, growing various crops, and generally improving a farm is relaxing and rewarding. Adding in multiplayer can increase efficiency and it’s nice to just be in the game’s cute world.
This game is one of the indie marvels of our time, created primarily by one Eric Barone. Sheer determination through hours and hours of work combined with steady improvements well after release makes it a staple for just about any type of player. There has even been an esports level competition for Twitch Rivals that shows how any game can be a sport. Stardew Valley is a timeless classic that’s even better with friends.