GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

Here are the games that brought us together and pulled us apart in 2018.

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Multiplayer is probably at its strongest point this year. While couch co-op games are rare to come by the advancement in subscription services like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and 2018 newcomer Switch Online makes it easier than ever to play online with friends around the world. That being said, we're looking at the strongest games to play with or against your companions this year, from shooters all the way to swashbucklers.

5. FIFA 19 / EA Vancouver

For football fans, FIFA has always been a solid multiplayer choice, because there's nothing better than getting your mate over or linking up online so you can smash them and hold bragging rights. There's also the hugely successful Ultimate Team and Pro Clubs to diversify the content offering for FIFA, all of which has been polished and refined with this year's entry in EA's series.

Perhaps more interesting are the changes to Kick Off mode, as getting a friend over doesn't just mean playing a regular match. New options like Survival - which sees you lose a player every time you score - as well as others such as Headers and Volleys, were added to give more of a custom games feel to FIFA, throwing realism out of the window for some more light-hearted, arcade fun.

GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

4. Fortnite / Epic Games

We can't neglect to mention Epic Games' goliath here, can we? The game has amassed over 200 million players, and you don't get such a large following and cult status for no reason. Fortnite keeps fans young and old coming back with its flavour and personality, whether that be the emotes, constant updates, new and innovative weapons, crossover events, skins, or the map changes, changes that keep the game fun and varied.

But more importantly than that is the fact that the core concept is so strong. It's simple in essence, having you move further into the map with the circle until only one team or player remains, but with all the elements listed above built atop this solid foundation comes together to define Fortnite's secret formula. It's even generated an esports following with millions of US dollars awarded this year alone, and a streaming culture that has propelled those like Ninja and Ali-A into the spotlight.

GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

3. Sea of Thieves / Rare

While Fortnite may be about shooting others in and around the face, Sea of Thieves encourages a more harmonious approach to multiplayer. To succeed as a pirate in Rare's newest game you'll need to work alongside others to manage the ship, direct your adventure, fight off giant beasts, and a whole lot more. This isn't (all) about PvP but about living the pirate fantasy with a bunch of neat little tools at your disposal to help facilitate that.

The beauty of Sea of Thieves is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and you're free to create your own fun or chaos at the pace you want. You determine the adventures you go on, you decide where you go, and you get to choose if you want to just ignore all of this to drink and play musical instruments instead. It's a really free adventure in every sense of the word, but be careful, because the seven seas might not be as friendly as you are.

GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate / Bandai Namco Studios, Sora

Sneaking our way in December was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the newest game in the long-running fighting series that promised to get everyone involved, and what better platform to launch on than the Switch. With the simple press of the Joy-Cons two players can fight it out wherever and whenever, and with support for up to eight players, this is the perfect game to whack out at parties to make things interesting.

Online is also included, but the real appeal is sitting together and smashing it out, with the largest roster ever seen no less. There's a staggering 70+ heroes available to choose from, with 11 of their number being new, so with a ton of game modes and maps on top of that, Nintendo wasn't lying when they said this is the Ultimate Smash Bros. game, both mechanically speaking and in terms of all the returning and new content.

GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 / Treyarch

There might have been a bit of Call of Duty fatigue with some gamers in 2017, and it's fair to say some eyes rolled when Activision revealed the campaign would be canned altogether with Black Ops 4. But that wasn't a bad thing, as it turned out, since we got three excellent multiplayer modes each with their own depth and distinctive flavour, including your usual multiplayer affair featuring Specialists, and three detailed Zombies levels.

Perhaps the standout feature was Blackout though, which took the battle royale formula of shrinking circles while shooting other players and added the Call of Duty FPS seal of quality onto it. It was an instant success with players, and even spawned a few tournaments like the Doritos Bowl at TwitchCon, showing that it wasn't only games like Fortnite that could use the genre to great effect. In our humble opinion, it's the best battle royale shooter out there right now, and it's the multiplayer experience that we enjoyed the most this year.

GOTY 18: Best Multiplayer

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