Wccftech’s Best Multiplayer Games of 2019 – Better Together
At the very end of our journey through 2019, though not because of any lesser importance of the category, it's time to discuss online multiplayer games. Not quite a standout year, sure, but a pretty good one nonetheless, even with the failures of heavyweights like Anthem and (to a lesser degree) Tom Clancy's The Division 2.
Due to the very nature of online multiplayer games, we've decided to allow titles that were not originally released this year. It's an exception from our usual rule, but one that is well suited to the ongoing, multi-year nature of online titles.
Arguably the sleeper hit of 2019, Remnant: From the Ashes (made by Gunfire Games, the developer behind Darksiders 3, recently acquired by THQ Nordic) successfully blended Dark Souls-like mechanics with third-person shooter combat, not to mention a unique and mysterious world capable of constantly enticing players to go back for more despite the repeated deaths. The randomly generated maps keep things fresh enough for groups of players daring to face off the nasty bosses featured in Remnant. The game already sold over a million units, which isn't surprising given its budget price. If you're into hardcore cooperative multiplayer games, give this one a try.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (9.4)
Capcom’s first (and only) expansion for Monster Hunter World was astoundingly deep in content when it released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One earlier this year. By implementing a Master Rank, analogous to the G ranks of previous titles, and the brand new Hoarfrost Reach region, Iceborne nearly doubled the roster of giant monsters and wyverns to take on, and though solo play is possible the game is always better when played online with friends. While no new weapon types were added, every weapon received new tools to play with and the new Clutch Claw added another stylish layer of finesse to every encounter.
PC multiplayer games fans will get Iceborne very soon, on January 9th, 2020.
Apex Legends (9)
Respawn's 2019 surely ended on a high note with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, which easily made our 'Best Action Games' shortlist, but it began on an even higher note thanks to Apex Legends.
Everything about the game's release contributed to a 'perfect storm' type of situation. The developer was believed to be working on a third Titanfall game, for instance, and Apex Legends literally came out of nowhere in February. Plenty of streamers loved it right away and its tighter gunplay, largely owed to the developer's prior experience with shooter games, made it an instant hit. In fact, Apex Legends became the top-grossing free to play game in its first month since launch with $92 million. In his review, Kai wrote:
Apex Legends is a surprise addition to the battle royale genre that rewards players for team play rather than playing maverick and gunning for high kill counts. If Respawn can keep new content and characters flowing, Apex Legends easily stands a chance at being the best in the genre.
Yes, some figures might be on a downward trend, but Fortnite remains an absolute juggernaut among multiplayer games. Every time there is a major theatrical release, Epic manages to partner up and create a huge crossover event. We've seen it this year with Avengers Endgame and it just happened again with Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker, which meant millions of players have gone crazy with lightsabers and blaster rifles in the past few weeks.
In fact, Epic even went beyond that on this occasion, as Rise of the Skywalker director J.J. Abrams decided to premiere a clip from the movie exclusively in the game. If that's not the hallmark of a mass phenomenon, we'd be hard-pressed to imagine one.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (9.3)
Naoki Yoshida achieved the impossible and resurrected an all-but-dead MMORPG from the brink of destruction (after successfully nuking the world with a cast of Meteor) that’s now on its fourth expansion, Shadowbringers. This new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV places more emphasis on its story and solo play, giving players an entire storyline to play through on their own with a number of AI party members, culminating in raids and dungeons that require cooperation with other players. Shadowbringers was much more than a simple expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, instead elevating it to one of the best Final Fantasy stories in years.
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep and New Light (7.6)
This was the year Bungie parted ways with Activision. In October, Destiny 2 got not only the new Shadowkeep expansion but also the New Light free-to-play version of the game, which opened up a large part of Destiny 2 to countless new Guardians.
With many fans now reckoning that this is the best the franchise has ever been, 2019 will likely be looked upon as the turning point year for Destiny, with the barrier to entry now removed and Bungie in full control of the IP's future.
Multiplayer games are very popular these days, even beyond our shortlist. We'd like to at least mention a few more which very nearly made the cut.