Welcome to the age of multiplayer, where gaming is at its best when shared with friends and family.
The popularity of multiplayer gaming has led to the creation of diverse online worlds, cinematic coop experiences and family-friendly interactive innovations such as the Wii and Xbox Kinect. Without a doubt multiplayer is the future of gaming, and yet the term covers a range of games and experiences that differ dramatically (both in quality and genre variety). To make things clearer we have compiled a list of what we believe are the best multiplayer experiences currently around.
The Battlefield series has always been one of the industry‘s leaders when it comes to providing cutting edge multiplayer game play. Battlefield is a real war simulator that caters to up to 64 players with squad play mechanics, creating an in-depth and immersive battle experience. This is really what it’s been all about since Battlefield 1942.
From the desert sands of El Alamein, 1942 was certainly ahead of its time for its use of multiplayer vehicle combat mixed seamlessly with traditional FPS game play. Future iterations built on this and in particular the Bad Company additions expanded on the squad mechanics, allowing you and three others to team up, spawn on each other and work closely together to turn the tide of battle.
A pretty standard option when it comes to multiplayer experiences, the MMORPG has redefined the ways in which players can interact with one another on a game. From raiding to crafting, players can work together to shape their avatar’s fortunes and at times, the game world itself. There is of course a darker side to this, and the paler skin of an MMORPG gamer will testify to hours spent in a dark room by themselves or with friends, engaging in this addictive form of multiplayer game play (and if you’ve seen the South Park WoW episode, you know exactly what we’re talking about).
3) Retro Games and Worms
Sometimes the old experiences are the best. Gaming’s multiplayer progression has at times been thwarted by a constant desire to deliver better graphics and more cinematic and entertaining game play. Sure everybody loves great graphics and big 3D explosions, but it doesn’t always quite create the same intimate team play experiences that we once had. Worms is a great example of this. With retro platform 2D graphics (now 2.5D with newer versions), Worms is a multiplayer game still capable of providing endless hours of fun and shouldn’t be missed by any gamer, young or old.
Did you ever hear about that great game Arma II for the PC? In truth, not many did until the release of a mod for the game called DayZ, a realistic post apocalypse zombie survival simulator. Though sadly exclusive for the PC audience, DayZ is arguably the most enjoyable and immersive multiplayer experience around. Capable of both binding and breaking friendships, DayZ pits you and your trusted ally (we hope) against a world of zombies in a sandbox real-time environment. But watch out, there are more than enough players willing to kill you for your can of beans.
A relatively undeveloped genre, the MMOFPS saw a lot of attention last year with the release of Planetside 2. Like the Battlefield series, Planetside 2 is about simulating an engaging battle experience with planes, tanks and guns. Unlike Battlefield however, the world is entirely persistent and every victory and defeat is felt across your faction. With built in mechanics for squad play and guilds, Planetside 2 is a graphically spectacular multiplayer experience to share with your friends (and our clan hosting services feature many guild websites to get you started with a team).
There is no doubt multiplayer has been the heart of, and will continue to be the heart of gaming for the foreseeable future. We all have our unique tastes, but the question remains, what will game developers come up with next to keep the action going?
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