Best Multiplayer Games of 2011

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2011 may have seen an evolution in single-player gaming (especially to those of you who like a good session of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), but it was also a superb year to get together with friends and either join up for co-op battles or take on each other in a full-blown versus competition.  From fighting to sports to first-person shooters, there were plenty of multiplayer romps to celebrate in 2011.

And so, we’ve selected ten of the best and placed them here on our “best of” list, to kind of give you an idea of which ones you should revisit if you somehow missed out on them before.  You’re guaranteed to have a good time, even if your skill level somehow waivers in the amateur category.  Hey, learning what your opponents can do – and preparing for it – is half the fun, right?

Without further ado, the list!  (And sadly, we didn’t include Hanging With Friends.  Sorry, guys.)

Portal 2

10. Portal 2 (EA)

Though competitive multiplayer would’ve been the stuff of genius, Valve introduced a suave co-op mode for Portal 2, with two robots working together (with portals) to solve puzzles while staying in one piece.  The fact that the two-player game is completely different from the single player one simply adds to the replay value, not to mention the fun.  Just hope your buddy doesn’t mind those accidental deaths.  Whoops.  Sorry, guy.

9. LittleBigPlanet 2 (SCEA)

Making your own levels and then seeing how your player fares is one thing, but it’s sharing these levels and then playing through them with your friends that makes LittleBigPlanet 2 so magical.  You can almost hear their joyful reactions when you introduce them to new challenges, hilarious situations, or opportunities to bond together through teamwork.  Even after all these months of the game’s release, it still doesn’t get old.

assassin's creed revelations

8. Assassin’s Creed Revelations (Ubisoft)

The slick set-up – and, in a non-pun related sense, execution – of Ubisoft’s latest multiplayer oriented Assassin’s Creed is just as killer as ever.  You’ll once again interchange between the hunted and the hunter, trying to avoid killers or hunt them down using your keen assassination skills.  This is trickier than the usual “take ‘em all out” tactic that works for most versus contests, but that’s part of the ingenuity.  Plus, when you do find your friends and kill them, it’s just sooooo good.  (We didn’t mean that in a sicko way, by the way.)

7. Mortal Kombat (WB Games)

A lot of great fighting games came out this year, including Capcom’s Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and two versions of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  And yet we find ourselves drawn in to the high-tech remake of Mortal Kombat, with its vastly different array of characters, gorgeous backgrounds, addictive gameplay (love the X-Ray attacks), and cool online sessions.  Maybe it’s just the way we’re able to execute opponents without any remorse.  (And again, we’re not sickos.)

uncharted 3: drake's deception

6. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (SCEA)

Naughty Dog first introduced multiplayer to the Uncharted world with Among Thieves in 2009, but it’s with Drake’s Deception that it really got it nailed down thanks to destructible environments, great co-op goals, all new areas to tear enemies apart in, and plenty of cool weapons and power-ups.  We wish we didn’t have to pay extra for a Fortune Hunter’s club admission, but these rewards are certainly worth it to fans of the game.

5. Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo)

Once again, Mario Kart remains a top draw for the competitive racing crowd for Nintendo.  Even though you have to fiddle with Friend Codes on some occasions, Mario Kart 7 offers exciting racing fun for all ages across the Wi-Fi Connection, or locally if you have other friends who don’t mind hooking up with you.  The spiked shells still occasionally frustrate, but the racing fun that awaits you – in 3D, no less – will keep you doing laps well into the night.

rayman origins

4. Rayman Origins (Ubisoft)

Looking for a fun local co-op multiplayer platformer that’s just as joyous as New Super Mario Bros. but not nearly as frustrating (for the most part)?  Well, then, pick up a copy of Rayman Origins.  This game is ridiculously fun when you bring along three buddies for the ride, going slap happy on enemies and collecting Lums to your heart’s content.  Sadly, you can’t hook up with friends online, but chances are you’ll have more fun laughing with friends locally anyway.

3. Battlefield 3 (Electronic Arts)

Ready to go to war, soldier?  Battlefield 3s biggest draw definitely has to be its multiplayer, with a number of options available, including various weapon loadouts, vehicles, and classes.  What’s more, you can get some really sweet kills going on, including shooting an enemy out of the sky or ambushing a bunch of folks with a rocket launcher.  And with the new Back To Karkand pack now available, the fun continues onward. 

2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Activision)

A controversial choice to be sure, but the main reason that Modern Warfare 3 just edged out Battlefield 3 is simple – strike packages.  Featuring an assortment of options for every type of first-person shooter player, the abilities just keep stacking up, along with the bounty of rewards that come with your choices.  What’s more, the new maps are outstanding, and being able to customize your modes and share them with others is a huge plus, even if you don’t have an Elite subscription.

gears of war 3

1. Gears of War 3 (Microsoft)

Did you really expect Epic Games to give up its top spot?  Hardly.  With Gears of War 3, it’s clearly outdone itself, with a much improved multiplayer set-up, some thrilling new battle options, and Horde 2.0, which comes with excellent new perks and tweaks to make it worth playing through.  And even though it’s not supported online, Beast mode must be tried several times.  Multiplayer party game of the year, for sure.

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Robert Workman
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