console multiplayer games

The Top 8 Console Multiplayer Games of 2015

In past years, being an MMO or a Multiplayer game fan on console was.. well, crushing. Albeit not the fault of the developers themselves, as porting a PC title to the Xbox 360 or especially the PlayStation 3 was a nightmare of cell processors and about 32k of RAM. But with the advent of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and to everyone’s surprise the WiiU, games once designed purely for PCs are now able to be ported onto home consoles with graphics and frame rates that could favorably be described by console gamers as “good enough” and PC master race types as “Literally Hitler”. In 2015 us mere peasants had a slew of both big hit PC games and multi-platform multiplayer games to choose from, rather than just another bunch of shooter games with multiplayer tacked on.

So here is the MMOGames (voted on by me) Top Console Multiplayer Games of 2015. As a rule, while these games might have been enjoyed by PC gamers for a while now, they must have been released on consoles in 2015. Also the games themselves have to have been built from the ground up as a multiplayer experience, even if the some of the games may come with a tacked on single player mode.

Some major DLC for already existing games will also be included if they are up to the high standards of the single release games. Betas don’t count, so no Overwatch yet. Also, while released in 2015, I was unable to get enough time to play Rainbow Six Siege to the point where I have enough of a grasp on it to really judge the game, so as a middle-ground, it will be added to the contender list for 2016. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will also not feature on this list, only that is less to do with any rules and more because it was an unbelievably awful game.

 

8. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Console Multiplayer Games

2015 might be the year that Destiny finally realized its potential to be a good game, but back in 2013 the crown of ‘most improved’ went to another title. Final Fantasy XIV was… to be very, VERY kind, an unmitigated disaster. A broken, sloppy mess with the kind of design ideas that could only have come from somebody working with an agitated head injury. The game managed to be both over-complicated and under-complicated in a feat only really beaten out as its worst feature by the litany of broken buggy nonsense. But then came A Realm Reborn, and what was once a warning about working out just what your audience wants and then soundly ignoring them in a way not seen since THAT Star Wars Galaxies patch instead became a massive and deserved success.

This year, Heavensward launched for the PC, the PS4, and for some reason, the PS3. It might have been lost among the dual shocks of both Final Fantasy XV not being out yet and Final Fantasy VII Remake actually being a real thing you can one day buy, but the reborn titans first expansion finally allowed players to venture into Ishgaard, level to 60 and most of all, still not play as the Samurai class (not bitter at all). Heavensward continues with what made A Realm Reborn such a success the second time around with its huge focus on story matched only by Star Wars the Old Republic. Expanding on old areas and moving the story along at a brisk pace compared to many of its peers, Heavensward’s only major faults are its still-vague progression, which for players of most modern MMOs can be a turn off, and the fact that, while great, its story is locked behind the task of finishing the first main quest line as well as the many additional quests that have since been added. Still, since this IS a Final Fantasy game, not expecting a thick story is kind of like being shocked about just how much space featured in Star Wars.

A solid addition to a still impressive comeback story.

 

7. Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront

Battlefront should be much higher on this list. As a game, it’s fantastic. It captures everything that is gooey and nostalgic about the 3 Star Wars films that don’t cause weeping and anger into the endless fun that is a Dice multiplayer shooter. While no Battlefront 2, the game has enough going for it to be an all time classic. Combat is crisp and fast paced, while limited, the weapons and armor perks offer enough progression and customization to offer much more depth than they really should. The game modes are for the most part insane fun, despite a few misses, with hero hunt at the top of the pile. That’s even ignoring the sounds and sights that make it every bit Star Wars.

The problem with the game isn’t actually in the game itself, it lies in the cost of the thing. The game feels unfinished, and with a hefty $50 season pass looming overhead, you quickly understand why. In time, Battlefront will suffer from the same problem most MMO season pass games have. With time, the game will be divided into the haves and the have nots. It feels unfair to tax a game as good as Battlefront like this, but once again a publisher’s decision must punish a developer’s hard work. If you can justify the expense, Star Wars Battlefront is a modern classic and a fine addition to consoles (with the possible exception of the lukewarm flying sections) but for the first time on this list (see 6) DLC cost has dampened what should have been a home run.

 

6. Destiny

Destiny

The biggest comeback since Lazarus? Not quite, but 2015 will be known to many as the year of the real Destiny launch. Destiny: the Taken King, as I have spouted off in many of my past articles, is the game Destiny should always have been. What was previously a barren wasteland of grinding, 2 raids, and little else, is now transformed by constant events, progression that means something, and a quest system and story that are actual things that exist.

The shooting portion of Destiny has always been one of the very best in all FPS games, but with the addition of the litany of improvements plastered on since the dark days of the first year, it has finally matured into a good game. Not yet great, but good. But as with Battlefront, the specter of DLC rears its head yet again. While the Silver system is fine (no really, its fine), the new boosted leveling and fact that for many the price of the now working game comes in at over $110 also takes away somewhat from what is a fantastic game now worthy of its hype.

 

5. Neverwinter

Neverwinter Owlbear Mount Giveaway

While it may come to a shock to some of you, Neverwinter’s launch on Xbox One has been an unprecedented success. Previously exclusive to PC, the action combat and familiarity of the Forgotten Realms world make this free-to-play MMORPG a must try for any MMO players with access to an Xbox One. Over the course of 2015, Perfect World Entertainment have released a stream of expansions for the console version of the game bringing the client ever-closer to being caught up with Neverwinter for PC. Players are now waiting on the launch of Underdark, the most recent expansion for PC, and then we can see what comes next for the game.

 

4. World of Tanks

World of Tanks

Fast-paced twitch combat is a must of nearly every online multiplayer game of this generation, with the march of MOBAs and FPS games taking your time to sit and think about what you’re doing will more than likely end with either an R8 round to the base of the skull or Illidan being prepared to bloody murder you. So when the class of fast-paced twitch gameplay was being taught at game school, Wargaming was apparently at home re-watching World at War for the umpteenth time. And thank the nameless 13th for it.

World of Tanks, launched already on PC, Xbox One and 360, and soon PS4, is a slow, methodical game that rewards patience the likes of which you will never find at the bottom of a can of Mountain Dew. Battles can be long, drawn out affairs with mere glimpses of an enemy punctuating a lot of burnt out ruins and quaint European fields. Twitch gaming comes here to die, and that is in no way shape or form an insult. World of Tanks excels in its ability to make slow paced battles as exciting as any FPS. It is a game that rewards waiting for the right time to strike, and at times doing nothing at all, with a crescendo of adrenaline when you get your target in sight and unleash a salvo of lead-based death. World of Tanks is a fantastic game that finally arrived on consoles to everyone’s gain. A game that rewards both the act of thinking long and hard about your every action and the history nerd in all of us.

 

3. Smite

SMITE

MOBAs do not good console multiplayer games make. The fast-paced point and click insanity that makes up most high level League of the Storm 2 games adapts to the limitations of controller like.. well, StarCraft 64 did. But with Smite launching in 2015 on Xbox One, a controller is actually a pretty damn good way to play the game.

Smite is a MOBA that lets a few tweaks make all the difference. While playing almost identical to others in its field, the over the shoulder third person control system not only makes the game the perfect console translation but also makes the game much more approachable than some of its kin. Still containing all the trappings and deep complexity of a MOBA, at its base level it plays more like any 3rd person action game that newcomers can attach themselves to while they learn what the hell lane defense is and why feeding makes them worse than all the world wars times infinity.

These are just small parts of what makes Smite such a fantastic game, but to go into more detail would make this post a hell of a lot longer than it already is. Smite, while for the time being is the only real MOBA to make the jump to consoles, is a fantastic and fun multiplayer in its own right. Also, I am a TERRIBLE Thor.

 

2. Rocket League

Rocket League

Remote control cars playing soccer. Sorry, I don’t really have to add anymore do I? Rocket League is a game that is impossible to describe in too much detail. You play soccer with cars, sometimes things explode. It is the kind of fun only thought possible doing things I can’t describe here without getting fired.

Another out of nowhere masterpiece, Rocket League is a game so perfectly balanced and executed that it pretty much destroyed a chunk of my life that is as large as it is scary, and I have no real interest in asking for it back.

Play this damn game, it’s on PS4, PC, and soon Xbox One. It costs quarter the price of most AAA games and will reward you with more fun than 99% of them. It is a game that deserves to be played.

 

1. Splatoon

splatoon

Hands up if you saw Splatoon coming? Go on hands up. Okay, everyone with their hands up? You’re all dirty liars. Nintendo, the people whose up to this point multiplayer record has been akin to the public relations record of a moderate sized tropical storm, not only launched a game that didn’t have Mario, Link or one of the other 10 or so standbys that litter my childhood as the main stars, but also managed to pull off a third person action shooter that puts to shame every other seasoned developer on their first attempt. Splatoon is euphoric in its silliness. Its squidlings are the kind of fun imaginative design most people would sacrifice actual first born children for. It’s a game that manages to do the almost impossible, make something old hat feel incredibly new.

The core to Splatoon’s success lies in its small but important differences. Its ink based map-covering gameplay rewards more than just head shot ability. Killing enemy players, while helpful, will not win you the match. A game wherein you jump about as a hyperesque squid-child shooting ink at people has no right being this full of strategy or this heart racing. Matches can be won or lost in the blink of an eye and players who couldn’t hit a cow’s ass with a banjo are just as useful as the people who you KNOW have a sniper montage on YouTube somewhere.

Splatoon was a shock that came out of nowhere, a game that, while starting with limited options, has only added more and more without even a hint of charging for it. Splatoon is a joyus explosion of fun, adrenaline, and a song that will burrow so deep into your head you will want to remove it with a power drill. In some ways, we’re all Squids now… or kids now… or squids AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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