This category seemed to have many more surprises than any other this year, with Rocket League seemingly coming out of nowhere, Duck Game becoming a surprise hit, and even Rainbow Six Siege surpassing the expectations of many. Below you’ll find a celebration of games that were geared to make playing with and against one another fun. From tactical shooters to MOBAs to interesting takes on FPSes, check out the games we thought exemplified great mulitplayer gameplay in 2015.
Those of you who follow TechRaptor’s writing, streaming, and videos should have a pretty good idea of the game we voted on here. Here’s a reminder of what our nominees were (find out how we chose our nominees here):
- Duck Game
- Rocket League
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Heroes of the Storm
- Monster Hunter X
3rd Place – Heroes of the Storm
By Kindra Pring
Heroes of the Storm was the latest in the MOBA genre, and developer Blizzard set out to make a more friendly and accessible experience with the title. While the execution on release was not perfect, Heroes of the Storm did manage to create a MOBA atmosphere more welcoming to newer players. Those who are turned off by some of the complexities of games like League of Legends and Dota 2 found HOTS to be an easier way to jump into MOBAs, keeping the games focused on objective control and full team performance.
Using characters and concepts that Blizzard fans already know and love, Heroes of the Storm managed to make a MOBA that can stand out amid the growing genre and create a title that can still keep up competitively, while also welcoming to players who find typical MOBAs too daunting. As well they instituted several randomly selected maps instead of a standard one or two. There are some balance issues and a few features yet to be implemented (like a Surrender function), but as a MOBA, it is constantly able to expand and build, and work out new mechanics, characters, maps, and capabilities. And of course, while it’s considered the “casual” MOBA, Heroes of the Storm led the way for eSports in some ways this year, with its collegiate tournament, celebrating the official release, being cast on ESPN.
Runner Up – Splatoon
By Bryan Heraghty
From the first match to the 40th, Splatoon engaged me in a way I haven’t felt with online shooters in years. With the tension of those final nail biting seconds to control the field and paint every spec I could find, Splatoon maintained a consistent, lively atmosphere throughout. It managed to make every second of multiplayer shooting fun, not just the parts when you get a kill.
The game prioritizes covering the arena in ink, and shooting other players is only meant to halt them from reclaiming what you painted. While playing Splatoon, even without a mic, I felt like I always had a way to contribute, whether I was just starting out, or a high level force to be reckoned with.
The time limit on matches held the tension at a high from the start. From the first second I would plan out where I would go, what I would do on my way there, and how I would maintain it when the going got rough.
Any moment I felt like things were growing static, I switched to a different weapon and I could change up my whole play style. The steady income of new content imbued life in the game for months and months, well past the point many multiplayer communities dwindle significantly, or move on to other games.
The selection of modes on hand kept things interesting as well. If turf covering became stale, the other modes kept me from turning off the console. The king of the hill style Splat Zone, the chaotic Rainmaker mode, and Tower Control glued me to the game for hours a day.
It’s appropriate the game has such a fixation on the word “fresh,” as Splatoon‘s unique charm and contemporary game mechanics represent what a “new IP” should be: something that improves on its predecessors while bringing something original to the table.
Winner – Rocket League
By Andrew Otton
By all accounts Rocket League is something I shouldn’t really like. I’m not a soccer (football, whatever) fan, nor do I like racing games, and I don’t play a ton of multiplayer games but … Rocket League definitely got my attention. And obviously many others. It has a great mix of both a casual fun feeling with the complexity and mechanics to make it competitive if you so desire. Watching Rocket League being played at a high level is incredibly interesting.
While the developers are still working out matchmaking to an extent, tweaking things here and there, you have a pretty good chance of being matched up with someone at a similar skill level. Even better, Rocket League does a great job of making it both fun to play solo in matchmaking, ranked or otherwise, or with some friends if you like, as it easily caters to the more “hardcore” and those that are there to screw around with the fun flying mechanic and physics.
With free updates and content coming all the time, the community around the game should see itself stick around for quite some time. Whether you’re looking for something to just kill a few minutes, or you’re looking for something new, interesting, and fun to master, Rocket League is a great choice.
Readers’ Choice – Splatoon
We here at TechRaptor certainly thought Splatoon was a pretty good game, as evidenced by Bryan’s writeup above. Readers certainly thought that was the case with the game taking nearly 40% of the votes. For a Wii U title that does something that we can only describe as a little weird in the world of video games (originality), it’s a little surprising to see it strike a chord with so many people. Great games do that though.
What do you think of our choices this year? What do you think was the best multiplayer game of 2015?