It took me a pretty long time to get onto the multiplayer band wagon, I’ve always preferred playing with a screen to myself, so the earliest days of split screen was not for me. I used to hate it with a passion when I would be wandering around a map on 007: Nightfire (more on that later) and would get sniped from a mile away by my brother who had watched my progress around the castle or wherever for the last 5 minutes on my screen, waiting for his chance to strike and lord his success over me! So, with the appearance of multiplayer games over this new-fangled thing called the “Internet” I could finally enjoy a multiplayer game with access to the entire screen! It was glorious but still I haven’t been too swept up in the standard online experiences like Call of Duty or Fortnite. However, after playing on Monster Hunter World with Luke and sparingly with Joe, I thought it’d be pretty cool to make a list of some of my favourite experiences in the world of online gaming!
As far as I remember this was my first foray into the online aspect of gaming. After smashing through the stellar campaign of what was MEANT to be the last Halo game, I booted up online and was nearly immediately melee’d and teabagged… Yay social gaming! After this first snafu I eventually got into the grove and quickly learned the most OP combo in the game was to blindly run at an enemy firing the assault rifle before finishing them off with a melee strike to the face. In fact, most battles would come down to who could smash that B button first… The weapon was only really there to open the door for your Spartan’s meaty fist. Of course, that sounds pretty dull now but for some reason I couldn’t get enough, with a cool sounding announcer, rad looking weapons and of course the fun customisation options making the whole experience a raid on your senses. The customisation was one of the highlights with your player Spartan able to change their helmet, shoulders and chest plate. I of course was an absolute sweat lord back in those days though, so it was my mission in life to acquire the samurai looking Hayabusa armour… Sure it made your head a big glowing target to be slotted but damn if I didn’t love looking like a more violent power ranger!
I told you there would be more on this. There was a time, back in the early 2000’s where we were spoilt for choice when it came to James Bond games. Several released in a relatively short space of time, both based on films and a few with original stories. Nightfire was one of those without any ties to the films besides featuring a pretty poor recreation of Pierce Brosnan (Lets give it a break though it WAS 2004 after all). I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the storyline since it was just not memorable at all, but this game was one of my most played back in 2004. My brother used to invite his 2 best friends over every Sunday evening, he’d ask nicely to borrow (steal) my PS2 multi-tab and they would set up on the living room TV to play some death match. Simply because I was there I was always invited to play with the bigger kids and I used to have a blast! We’d sit down and play snipers only on Ravine, a map with, you guessed it, a massive ravine in the middle which lended itself to sniping. The matches normally came down to who could get hold of the Moonraker Laser first and hold it the longest! These gaming nights have stuck with me for years and were a highlight of growing up, it’s a feeling that’s definitely hard to replicate these days but damn it was great at the time!
This might surprise a few of those who know/follow me since I’m well known for shitting on the Destiny games near constantly. I understand I was stuck in an addictive loop of shooting and looting, I got nowhere, achieved nothing and always wanted more. I was glad to finally rid myself of this monkey on my back when I was so disturbed by Shadowkeep and its shoddiness. I can’t help but miss the early days of Destiny 1 though, when me and my friends formed an ironclad fireteam and explored this new and exciting world together as our loot numbers rose rapidly and or guns shot more varied cool shit! Running around discovering all we could was incredibly fun for us all and we bonded over or shared love of doming aliens across the solar system… Eventally though like all good things it came to an end, when the endgame was revealed to be a tedious slog through events we had already completed. I still went back now and then but the daily gameplay I’d once enjoyed was clearly dead. Still I can’t fault the game for reigniting a passion for online gaming that had been waning in those years around Destiny’s launch. Since it’s release in 2014 I have found myself far more interested in the online experience and its probably all in some vain attempt to blow on those embers in my memory of great online co-op just one more time…
The most recent edition to this list, FighterZ was an odd beast for its multiplayer. I originally bought the game because I’m a huge fan of the franchise and the Respawning gods needed someone to review it! So I played around, did some story, a few arcade ladders, then I wrote up my review and moved on without really paying attention to other players. Just over a year later, Luke decided he fancied getting on the 2D fighter and picked it up too. After fighting each other repeatedly for a week we realised we’d gone as far as we could battling one and other and so we moved on to the wider player pool in the Ranked playlists! I was originally terrified that I would be stepping into a world of being ganked by players who knew non-stop combos and the hidden secrets of the game, but I was pleasantly surprised that FighterZ’ matchmaking means you’re always matched with someone of near on equal ability to your own regardless of what level you’re at! This opened so many new avenues for fun in game and me and Luke quickly took to the new adventure. Of course, this is another good thing that can’t last since I’m now at a strange purgatory where I can’t beat anyone higher than me but also can’t lose to anyone lower than me? So, it seems like I’m now forever stuck in the Android bracket! Oh well, the ladders are still fun I guess?
Surprised? Well you shouldn’t be, Hogs of War is a standout game from my childhood. I remember it with such fondness and glee, watching small pigs in WW1 costumes blowing seven shades of shit out of each other with high explosives was a joy, the whole thing handled like a 3D Worms’ game, before 3D Worms was the norm! And with the voice of Rik Mayall playing most of the character with some hilariously stereotyped accents, it was a recipe for fun. Me and my brother used to play this almost every day, though most of that time was me watching him play through the campaign with his squad of British bacon known as Tommys Trotters. We did however, sometimes settle down together and play a few rounds of deathmatch where my siblings’ flair for proper tactics would butt heads with my overall video game mastery. It was a stalemate most of the time, but I can’t think of many times I’ve had that much fun playing a local multiplayer game! Plus it taught me all I needed to know about world war history… Through the rose tinted glasses of comedy hogs…
What games offered the best multiplayer experiences in your eyes? Let me know down in the comments!Become a Patron!