It doesn’t matter if it’s a competitive or a cooperative experience; these are the best gaming moments you could be sharing with others in 2021, from a co-op adventure like none other to the return of an FPS-staple and the launch of a school-yard game with an esports twist.
Here are our picks for the Best Multiplayer Games of 2021
5.) Outriders – People Can Fly
Looter-Shooters have a long history in the multiplayer space, and Outriders was another solid offering in this space (server issues aside). It’s a great game with fun gameplay that encourages mobility even without jumping and delivers a well-scaled experience from the single-player to the multiplayer. The strength in Outriders multiplayer comes from how the different classes can interact to deliver a great cooperative third-person shooting experience, with replayability getting into the dozens and dozens of hours.
– Wil James
4.) Halo Infinite – 343 Industries
Although the initial launch of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer portion had some, including me, asking for changes to the battle pass system, it’s hard to find anything to complain about when it comes to the core gameplay. And hey, they’ve updated not only the battle pass but other things like playlists since launching in response to player feedback.
The big battle modes are hectic Halo action, but the smaller arena modes hooked me the most with Halo Infinite as the change of pace and smaller team sizes compared to other shooters in recent years is a refreshing change of pace. In the 3v3 or 4v4 modes, every action you do will affect the overall match results, and compared to other games, it does feel like your skills and teamwork are essential. Pair this all with the plethora of guns with various styles, from the trust backup pistol to the true firepower of the shotgun, all the guns feel fantastic, and the flow of the maps is like nothing else this year.
– Dylan Blight
3.) Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker – Square Enix Creative Business Unit III
About mid-way through 2021, Final Fantasy XIV had a large player boom coming off its great value free trial and the upcoming Endwalker expansion. It seemed like everyone had connections on their socials jumping into the game for the first time. Over the years, Square Enix has cultivated an MMO community that freely welcomes new players with its sprout program and provides a world filled with potential for players to explore with their friends, both existing and new.
– Ciaran Marchant
2.) Knockout City – Velan Studios
Easily one of the biggest surprises of the year to hit my multiplayer rotation was Knockout City. I thought a game looked terrible in its first trailer, and I assumed it would release and disappear within a month. However, the dodgeball game makes for a tight and competitive game unlike anything else on the market right now. There’s a reliance on teamwork, quick reflexes and even some degree of platforming. Or at least, a lot of map appearances as you dodge, weave and throw balls back and forth across a map, dodging opponents charging you or throwing power balls from high in the sky. Learning when to throw a ball at an opponent or pass to someone on your team separates the rookies from the pros. There’s also been a nice amount of content rolled out throughout the year to keep things fresh, making for one of 2021’s best multiplayer games that were in my rotation year-round since release.
– Dylan Blight
1.) It Takes Two – Hazelight Studios
There weren’t many better gaming experiences this year than It Takes Two. Whether it was playing the various 1v1 mini-games, figuring out one of the games’ various puzzles or reacting to some of the crazy story moments, everything was enhanced by having to experience it with someone else. The game is also incredibly balanced, with both players feeling like they are contributing equally despite having their own unique skills and abilities at times.
With the success of It Takes Two and their previous game A Way Out, Hazelight Studios have proven they have a great handle on these co-op experiences and will have us anticipating what they make next.
– Ashley Hobley