Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, the shift from local to online multiplayer played a big role in how we played with friends. Some of our best memories were made in the Deathmatches of Call of Duty or Halo. Here, we attempted to rank our five favorite online multiplayer games. While many of them have offline options, the majority of our time spent with them were online. Next week we’ll list our five favorite offline games.
Steve’s Top Five
Ah Runescape. Just thinking about this game brings waves of nostalgia flowing over me. Every day when I got back from school, I would hop onto Runescape to chop wood or go fishing or some other mundane task. I had a group of friends that I would always meet up with when playing to make these grindy things go by way faster. We would crawl through dungeons, we would buy and sell things to other people, we would go out and hunt goblins. I still remember the process of my friend taking me on a particular mission to get me some rainbow colored boots. Runescape was a huge part of my childhood and I feel like if I would leave it off, I would be doing it a huge disservice.
4. Halo 3
Halo is a franchise that will go down in history as one of the most revolutionary and generational gaming franchises in history. Microsofts flagship franchise has been going strong for many, many years and continues the standard that we have come to expect from these games. I spent an uncomfortable amount of time in the Halo 3 Forge mode and that’s honestly where I remember enjoying the game the most. My friends and I would spend hours and hours and hours setting up intricate capture the flag maps and traps for each other. Many laughs were had. Many snipers were sniped. Good times were had by all.
3. Dark Souls 2
Let me be frank. I am not a fan of Dark Souls 2 as a standalone, offline game. But man, for where the game really lacked in the offline game, it was amazing on the online side. It really was the only SoulsBorne game that did the online gaming aspect well. They matched you with other people near your level (Sorry Bloodborne). The summoning for other people into your world is usually very quick and painless (Sorry Dark Souls). The factions that you could join for PVP and Cooperation were all straightforward in how they worked and all had uses (Sorry Dark Souls 3). Everything just seemed to clicked in a perfect storm of awesome online experience. Plus, it writing about it gives me the excuse to post this hatemail I got. Enjoy!
If you watch Rikki and I on Twitch, you will see how overwhelmingly Overwatch-related it is. We play every Wednesday at the least but it usually turns into once every day or two. It is all consuming on my PS4 play time and you can usually find it in the disc drive if you hit eject. Not only one of the best games I’ve played in years, but also a shooter that redefined what I will be looking for in my FPS games from now on. It’s ruined online and offline games for me because I usually think, “Why am I not playing Overwatch?” But it doesn’t really hold the number one spot for me. That goes to…..
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
8th Prestige. 30 days of total online play. 30 DAYS. I played an absurd amount of this game. Team Tactical and Hardcore Search and Destroy quickly became part of my daily routine. Call of Duty 4 may have been the game to bring me into the CoD franchise, but MW2 was the one to slam the door on every other online shooter. Sure, I played other shooters, but none of them really had the same draw to them that I found with MW2. What other game could I get 5 other people together with riot shields to run up on people then blow them up with C4? No other game. That insanity is exactly what I want in my games, and the reason why this game took up so much of my life.
Rikki’s Top Five
By 2016, I thought my days of playing online shooters were over. It had been years since I played Halo and (to an extent) Call of Duty religiously. The genre seemed boring and bland. You run around and shoot people. Seen it before. But then I was talked into picking up Overwatch. A big reason I didn’t even try it until six months after its release is I was afraid of getting hooked and spending all of my free time playing it. Single-player games would take a backseat. Well, my fears were 100% correct. It was like a combination of those shooters and a simplified version of League of Legends. Every character had their own unique abilities and each person had a role to play on the team. One person wasn’t going to carry the team. It was different and unique. It was a breath of fresh air. In time, it could move up the list, but due to being a pretty recent release, it’s at number 5.
4. Rocket League
One of the free games on Playstation Plus for July of 2015, my friend Jarrod decided to download Rocket League on a whim. The trailer looked cool. It’s soccer but with cars! We thought it could be a fun time-killer. Well, damn near two years later, we’re still playing it. It’s the perfect example of a simple yet fun game and reminds me of NBA Jam in that respect. Each match is only five minutes long (barring overtime), so there’s no major commitment when you decide to play just one more. There have been numerous comebacks, more collapses, and a near infinite amount of GeoDrummer whiffs since we first started playing, and while The Swashbucklers (what we call our group of friends who play with us) have slowed down over the past few months, I’m sure more memories are yet to come.
3. League of Legends
I’ll play, but just one match. The most egregious lie I’ve ever told… There wasn’t just one match. There never was. I knew it. My friends knew it. In college, and for some time after, League of Legends was part of my daily life. At any point, I could log on and see a friend playing. Then we’d get a hold of other friends and have a full team ready to lose for the next three or four hours. It was a great time. So many great memories playing with my shitty internet, single-digit FPS, and touch pad. One of my favorite moments in the history of me playing video games was on League. I had a quadra kill as Pantheon, ulted to a random spot in the middle lane, and happened to land on the fifth for a pentakill. But over time, the length of matches, plus the fact that if one player on the other team gets ahead you’re doomed, led to frustration replacing the fun. I haven’t played in years and haven’t felt even the slightest urge to do so, but man those were some good times with friends…
2. Halo 2
Before Halo 2, if I wanted to play a game with a friend, we’d have to call each other and convince our parents to give us a ride. It could be a little bit of a hassle, considering we couldn’t drive yet. But then Halo 2 came out. Everything changed for me. That call to a friend wasn’t about getting a ride anymore. It was about turning on the Xbox. It was so crazy to me that I wasn’t playing just with people in my room; I was playing with the world. From 8th grade to sometime in late 10th, I was playing Halo 2 virtually every day with my friends. In my years playing shooters, no game had better maps. None. Lockout, Midship, Ivory Tower, Ascension, Sanctuary, Relic, Terminal. Man. They were all great (aside from Backwash). Halo 2 revolutionized how I played games with friends.
1. Halo 3
Halo 3’s release date was September 25th, 2007. It felt like a damn holiday. People skipped school (to be fair, it just so happened to be a half day for some reason) and spent their day handling their business on Guardian and The Pit instead. The build up was unreal and the final product lived up to the hype. Everything we loved about Halo 2 was back, but with some improvements. Equipment like the bubble shield and regenerator added a new element to combat. The Mongoose, Chopper, and Prowler gave us a little more variety in splattering the enemy team. Some weapons debuted in Halo 3, too, but not so many that it upset the balance (Halo 4 might as well be called Power Weapons: The Game). But the main reason it takes the top spot over Halo 2 is the campaign was online. Playing through that campaign for the first time with my friend Jake (LoveGoose on the stream) was one of the funnest times I’ve ever had. The score keeping made it both competitive and cooperative, something you rarely see and something I loved. I played through it multiple times with friends, trying to outscore each other. It’s close. It really is. But I feel like Halo 3 gave me more memories than Halo 2. They both defined my teenage years, but Halo 3 is my top pick.