Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Best online multiplayer games

GameCentral readers discuss their favourite online titles, with everything from Apex Legends to Left 4 Dead.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Hammeriron, who asked what it is about the game you like so much and how much have you played it. Has the game been running for a long time and if so when did you start and how regularly do you return to it?

Although most of the choices were from the current generation, we still had a wide variety of suggestions, from current favourites such as Fortnite and PUBG to less obvious choices like Splatoon 2.


Free to enjoy
I hate to be the boring one but I think it’s got to be Fortnite. It’s certainly the online game I’ve played the most, after never really being that bothered previously. The fact that it’s free obviously makes it very appealing but it is really a very good game. I don’t think people realise how involved the tactics can be with the building and although the gunplay isn’t exactly Destiny it’s still pretty good and much more than you’d expect from a free game.

There’s also the fact hat it’s constantly being updated with new and wacky features. That’s where Epic Games make their money, with the Battle Passes, but I have rarely been disappointed and the new one with the spies and everything is particular good.

A lot of times you assume that something is popular only because it’s bland enough to appeal to the lowest common denominator but I genuinely think Fortnite is a great game. I’ll probably be playing it for months, and possibly years to come and there’s not many other games I’d say that of.
Constable Keef


Time to kill
I’m not a big one for online multiplayer but I did really enjoy the two Titanfall games. Maybe it’s just because they had big stompy robots in them but I enjoyed that aspect and the parkour. My problem with multiplayer games though is that you die so quickly and I’ve never really understood why. Especially in the Titans you’d think you’d be able to survive a bit of light gunfire but you still die in a few seconds if you don’t know what you’re doing.

I guess the problem is that if it took longer there’d be very few clean kills, as people had to share assist skills and people keep being able to run away without being finished off. I’d still like to see a game experiment with much more heavily armoured characters though, I’m sure that’d be fun as a change if nothing else.


Never-ending story
PUBG has become my new favourite I think. It’s a game that could’ve been even bigger than it is if they’d fixed the bugs and probably made it free-to-play, but for me it’s still the best battle royale game. The atmosphere of the game is fantastic and almost feels like a live horror movie at times, as you hear doors being bashed in as people search for you or you get sniped by an unseen enemy miles away.

It’s a game that’s never really felt finished though, from the graphics to the controls to the bugs. It is certainly better nowadays but I think a lot of fans have had enough now and are happy to move on to other pastures.

Escape From Tarkov feels like it could be the spiritual successor but I haven’t got into it nearly as much yet. For me the ultimate battle royale, especially one with a more serious tone, has yet to be made and PUBG still shows how far away that dream is.


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Wondrous co-op
I’m not sure this really counts but I will say the best online experience I’ve ever had is in Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Seeing other people’s ghosts moving around and reading all their message adds a really odd sense of community even though you’re still alone for most of the games.

But call in someone to help out with a troublesome boss is a great feeling, as you see them running towards battle ready to help. With all the bowing and saluting it all feels very formal and polite, which is not how I’d normally describe online gaming.

In terms of more traditional games I’d probably go for Apex Legends of the recent battle royale crowd. The gunplay is definitely the best and I like the default three-player co-op set-up. The art and guns is kind of bland though, so it’s probably a good job it’s free.


Left without a sequel
It’s Left 4 Dead 2 for me. I loved that game and it’s definitely the one I’ve played for the longest overall. For me it’s also the best zombie game as while they’re no threat individually the panic you get when they swarm in at you, or you face off one of the larger creatures, is amazing. For what is basically a horror game to still keep you on your toys after all this time is some achievement.

There’s plenty of fan mods and activity for the game on the PC but I don’t think it was ever particularly big on consoles, which is a shame given how much fun it was. I don’t think the Warhammer game Vermintide games were as big as I thought they’d be either, so maybe it’s more niche than I thought.

Even so, I have no idea why Valve have never done another one. I am looking forwards to seeing more of spiritual sequel Back 4 Blood though and I’m interested in giving Hunt: Showdown a go, as that sounds like it might be the closest thing to it for a long while.


Online world
It may not be a gamer’s game but the multiplayer game I’ve spent most time on is easily World Of Warcraft. I hadn’t played it for years but Classic got me back into it and I’ve really been enjoying everything.

It’s not multiplayer in the sense of a Call Of Duty style shooter but playing alongside so many other people and populating the world as if it’s real is great. It’s hard to say if it’ll ever get old but it’s lasted this long so I don’t see why it ever would.


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Obvious answer
This is a difficult question for me, because for years the obvious answer would’ve been Halo. I still have probably spent more time on it than any other game but of course nowadays it’s not quite the force it was. Halo 4 and 5 were both disappointing and now everything is having to be rebooted. Which I agree with, but it’s a shame and it’s obvious that Bungie leaving pulled the heart out of it.

It’s also got the problem that the original way it used to play is now deemed very old fashioned, but if it tries to become Call Of Duty, which it was with 4 and 5, it just ends up annoying older fans and seeming like a wannabe to everyone else.

I’m hopeful for Halo Infinite though. Microsoft seem to realise how important the game is and I like that they’re not just jumping on the Battle Royale bad wagon or anything. I’m a bit worried that it’s not an Xbox Series X exclusive, as I would’ve preferred something that was a big technological leap, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


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