2021 TechRaptor Awards - Best Multiplayer

Published: December 20, 2021 12:00 PM /


2021 techraptor awards best multiplayer

The games many of us play most often have some sort of multiplayer element to it, and developers that put a lot of thought into that aspect of the game deserve some highlighting. In a category almost exclusively dominated by competitive games, it's nice to see some co-op make our list as well. Here's our nominees and winner for Best Mulitplayer, awarded for exceptional multiplayer gameplay and design.

Our nominees (all other award categories can be found here):

Readers' Choice Winner - Halo Infinite

Developer: 343 Industries | Release Date: December 8, 2021

Seeing Halo Infinite take the Readers' Choice vote isn't much of a surprise, as many feel this is the Halo they've always remembered. With plenty of amazing guns added to the arsenal and new toys like the grappling hook, it's easy to see Halo Infinite resonating with so many.

Third Place - Guilty Gear -Strive-

guilty gear strive

Developer: Arc System Works | Release Date: June 11, 2021

Written By Robert Scarpinito

Six months after release, our hearts are still blazing for the high-octane adrenaline of Guilty Gear Strive. The cel-shaded visuals and over-the-top soundtrack provide the ultimate foundation for intense competition. By the end of the year, the roster features 18 wildly different characters, with more to come. Some are easy to learn, while others are so complex that even long-time veterans have some trouble (looking at you, Happy Chaos). With such a wide range of characters and skill sets, nearly anyone can jump in and enjoy Arc System Works' latest.

Guilty Gear Strive nails that "easy to learn, hard to master" mantra. Learning some combos doesn't take long, and the basics are fairly easy to get. Matches are so quick that even when you're sad about a loss, you're already getting fired up for the next round. While long-term Guilty Gear fans might see Strive as a little too simplified, it opens the floodgates for casual players to try their hand at rocking heaven or hell. That widespread appeal and excitement gives Guilty Gear Strive the perfect platform to welcome players to the fighting game community, earning it the No. 3 spot in our Best Multiplayer Award for 2021.

Second Place - Halo Infinite

halo infinite

Developer: 343 Industries | Release Date: December 8, 2021

Written By Austin Suther

Halo Infinite's multiplayer launch was a surprise soon met with controversy, but as we've recently seen, 343 Industries is listening and changing. Launch woes aside, at its core, Halo multiplayer has never been better. The word "return to form" has been thrown around a lot lately, and I can't disagree with that notion. I can think of two things Halo Infinite does best with its multiplayer: gunplay and movement. 

The excellent gunplay in Halo Infinite is in part due to the wide variety of weapons available. No weapon feels like a waste and everything serves a specific purpose. The Assault Rifle is the workhorse that finally has a good range and damage output. The new pistol feels so satisfying to use for such a little gun. I could go on and on about how the new weapons feel and play – even some of the weirder ones like the shock weapons.

Movement is fluid and allows for fast-paced combat. Extra mobility is granted with the grappling hook, which is so simple to get the hang of, you’ll feel like a Spartan and Spider-Man hybrid in no time. Sliding, vaulting over walls and a brisk move speed make for some frantic, fantastic combat against other Spartans.

Winner - It Takes Two

it takes two

Developer: Hazelight Studios | Release Date: March 26, 2021

Written By Paul Lombardo

It takes two traits of a developer to make an idea reality: passion and commitment; it takes two traits of a studio to develop a game: dedication and execution; and it takes two traits of a game to stand out: intuition and innovation. For Josef Fares and Hazelight Studios, all of these traits were present in the synthesis of the award-winning It Takes Two.

Cody and May, the couple that players find themselves controlling throughout the entire whimsical ride that is It Takes Two, are going through the post-matrimonial motions, saddening their daughter and wedging a rift between the family. The simplicity that comes with It Takes Two's plot slowly unravels as the couple begrudgingly accepts that they should work together, giving Hazelight room to develop their multiplayer mechanics.

It Takes Two is full of new ideas that make other 2021 games look paltry in comparison. The galvanizing, back-to-back introduction of multiplayer mechanics makes it ever-so evident that everything was done to ensure this game was special. It Takes Two breathes life into cooperative gameplay experiences by weaving innovation into the way it forces players to cooperate as well as how the character's marital issues bleed into the varying puzzles they have to solve.  Following Cody and May go from twin-stick shooting in a medieval castle to fighting in a Mortal Kombat-like battle atop an underwear plane being chased by a squirrel army is as joyous as it is stimulating. No mechanic in It Takes Two stays for too long and the player is constantly rewarded for completing puzzles with more toys to play with.

Hazelight was able to gamify a couple's therapy, offering an experience that only works with two individuals who are able and willing to work together. As with the name of the game, it takes two to get on this ride. If you haven't gotten on, get a partner and get in line, because this isn't a game that you want to miss.