Multiplayer games are the best, aren't they? There's something about doing battle with others over the internet that adds extra spice to proceedings. You get the thrill of competition, or friendship, as you knock those scores upwards and combine your powers to outdo your enemies. So, that's why we've curated the very best multiplayer offerings on PC for your perusal.
For the record, the list below are geared - there are plenty that aren't, though - towards competitive multiplayer. You know, quickscopes and lobbies and matchmaking. Make sure you head on over to our roundup of the 25 best co-op games on PC if you'd rather team up with a mate, as opposed to defeat them in a battle to the death.
The Best Multiplayer Games on PC
- Regular Human Basketball
- Mount Your Friends
- Golf With Your Friends
- Sea Of Thieves
- Mortal Kombat X
- Fall Guys
- Towerfall Ascension
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Hunt: Showdown
- Starcraft 2
- Among Us
- Garry's Mod
- League Of Legends
- Grand Theft Auto Online
- Rocket League
- Apex Legends
- Call Of Duty: Warzone 2
- Team Fortress 2
- Dota 2
And just remember, this list is in an order, but it's a loose one. They're all good games, so don't get too caught up in the number they've been blessed with.
25. Regular Human Basketball
Just some regular humans here, nothing to look at. Nope, no giant robots equipped with jetpacks, magnets and retractable legs playing basketball. I don't know what you're talking about.
You'll need to assemble four friends for Regular Human Basketball to work properly, but if you can manage that you're in for a treat. It's just like normal basketball, except each team controls a mech by frantically running around inside it to reach the controls.
It's difficult enough when you're on your own, but coordinating with a teammate who has a VERY different idea about 'appropriate times to activate the jetpack' can be a nightmare. A hilarious nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless.
24. Mount Your Friends
Mount Your Friends is what QWOP would look like if it was a multiplayer game about having an orgy on top of a goat. It’s about overcoming awkward controls to climb an ever growing mountain composed of your mates. It’s about cheering when they pull off something impressive and cheering harder when they spectacularly fail.
You’re eliminated if you can’t reach the top within 60 seconds, so when you start playing your piles of men probably won’t be that mountainous. Every limb needs to be carefully extended individually, and you’ll find yourself slowly dragging your way up before pressing the wrong button and plummeting to the ground.
Put a little practice in though, and you can do vertical cartwheels at speeds that would embarrass Mo Farah. Momentum can be used to swing your body far, far into the air… and over to the opposite side of the tower, before plummeting to the ground. That’ll earn you the biggest cheer of all.
23. Golf With Your Friends
Continuing the friendly theme, Golf With Your Friends is your ticket to a good hoot with your pals. On the flipside, it's also a brilliant way to fall out with them. This is a mini-golf game that doesn't take itself too seriously, with wacky courses that features leaps into dinosaur heads, literal mortar strikes, and anti-gravity antics.
You can of course slop honey onto the course in an effort to slow down your friends' balls, or even freeze them if you're feeling particularly malicious. Speaking of balls, you can customise them with unlockable cosmetics like pirate hats, and burger hats, and many more silly hats.
22. Sea Of Thieves
Sea Of Thieves sees you don your pirate garb and set sail in search of gold to plunder. While it might look a bit "kiddy", the act of sailing, and the scuffles you can get into with other players or skeletons or otherwise can prove extremely intense.
There's never a dull moment at sea, basically. And this extends to the simple act of working together to get your ship skimming across the ocean. There's joy to be had in raising the sails and angling them just so, or asking your mates to scout ahead with their telescopes. Yes, the quests give you direction and are fun to boot, but Sea Of Thieves excels as an accessible boat sim.
21. Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat X is great fun. Look past the gratuitous gore (or look at it through begrudgingly appreciative 'oh, come on now' spectacles) and you'll see a solid punchfest between pleasingly outlandish characters. There are nuances to delve into if you like, though you can go a long way with just a couple of combos and some panache.
This iteration of Kombat is particularly keen on turning each stage into more than a pretty background, offering opportunities to jump about and occasionally chuck passers by at your opponent. And did I mention it's one of the smoothest too? Combos are snappy, movement is responsive, and there's no wrangling your character around an arena.
There is, of course, plenty of depth to the game's characters if you're a hardened fighting veteran. Long lists of combo-chains are there to be mastered, as are X-Rays, the game's equivalent of ultimate moves that see your character literally bash people's skulls and tibias and fibias in.
Northgard is an elegant RTS where winter can pose a bigger threat than an army of axemen. Every villager adds another hungry mouth to feed, and food is always in short supply. Especially when the snow starts to fall.
Time ticks ever onward and winter is always just around the corner, bringing harsh production penalties along with rat plagues, blizzards and earthquakes. Even so, the slow pace and relative simplicity of Northgard make it an easy strategy game to get into - if not to excel at. You probably won't meet your viking foes until you're fifteen minutes into a match, and it'll be longer still before you start poking at their territory. If you even want to.
The dash of 4X in Northgard's DNA means military conquest isn't the only route to victory. Amass enough fame, wealth or knowledge and it won't matter how many angry Norsemen are at your gates. That gives multiplayer matches a dynamic that goes beyond the one-note destruction of other RTSeses, where the leading player tries to distract everyone from their imminent victory.
Hearthstone's a competitive card game that's just the right levels of accessible. Based off Blizzard's beefy back-catalogue, you'll throw down Warcraft-themed cards at opponents in the hopes of destroying their health bars.
Yes, there's a fair amount of money to be spent if you want all the strongest cards; but honestly, it's one of the rare breeds of CCG which remains so simple yet caters for big-brain-plays of the highest order. And for that reason, I wouldn't write it off just because of its microtransaction fast-track.
18. Fall Guys
You're a sentient Tic-Tac who must compete against 60 other Tic-Tacs in a series of gauntlets, where Tic-Tacs that don't reach the end, or end up on the losing team are eliminated. It's essentially a survival of the fittest which'll see you guide your little guy through obstacle courses and painful group exercises. Think of it as a sort of mash-up of Ninja Warrior with elements of a team-building course.
What makes Fall Guys a great multiplayer choice is its bittyness. You're able to jump in for a game, then hop off if you'd like. Or you can take it very seriously and channel all your energy into emerging victorious and nabbing that crown. Plus, it's one you can play with your mates, your kids, your nan.
17. Towerfall Ascension
Towerfall Ascension is my favourite local-multiplayer game. It’s got a neat wave survival co-op mode, but that’s not why it’s here. It’s here because nothing has thrilled or delighted me in quite the same way as one of Ascension’s archery duels.
It goes up to four players, and its best mode is its simplest: last archer standing wins. Ascension tells engrossing stories with just three verbs - dodging, jumping and shooting. It only takes a single arrow to take out a player, but a well timed dash can let them safely pluck the offending projectile out of the air. It’s a system that gives fights a wonderful back and forth feeling to them, and results in the best slow motion replays in video games.
Plus the jumping feels real good.
Fortnite isn't only a battle royale, but a messy metaverse, swimming in dabs and franchises. But accept the silliness and you'll begin to uncover a polished shooter that's surprisingly complex. There's classic Fortnite, where building structures to aid you in battle is paramount to your success. A mode that I didn't get on with, personally, but there's no denying that those with adequate motor skills will delight in the building battles that can ensue between teams.
And then there's No Build mode, a recent addition that's brought me right into Fortnite's fold. It's battle royale as you know it - a circle closes in yada yada - without all the building malarchy. This means you've got Fortnite distilled into a more of a traditional shooter experience, only with the added benefits of Fortnite's silly metaverse: cars and gas stations, weird hamster balls with grapple hooks, Darth Vader, firework guns, fishing. It's without a doubt the most ludicrous battle royale mode out there, but it's without a doubt the most joyous.
15. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the culmination of 14 years of development to a genre-defining team shooter. Five terrorists want to arm a bomb, or defend a hostage. Five counter-terrorists want to stop them. You know how CounterStrike works, right?
It’s a deeply unimaginative premise, but that doesn’t matter - CS:GO is one of the most stimulating FPS games I’ve ever played. The guns feel great and if the maps were any more refined they’d start cutting into the fabric of reality, but those are the factors that enhance Counter-Strike’s best moments rather than generate them.
There’s an exquisite tension to being the last person left alive on your team. The same can be said for any game with the same round structure, but the simplicity of Counter-Strike elevates that dynamic.
14. Rainbow Six Siege
People will tell you tactics are more important than aiming, but they’re lying. If you don’t want to be the first one to die each round in this Counter-Strike-like shooter, you’ll need both.
The basics of Rainbow Six Siege will sound familiar: one team has to plant a bomb or pry a hostage away from the other. It diverges from Counter-Strike with its classes, which all bring different abilities to bear on levels with destructible walls and floors.
The team playing offense needs to carefully plan their attack, breaching rooms from multiple angles simultaneously. When you swing through a window at the same time as your friends detonate their C4 on the opposite wall, you can almost convince yourself you should be in the actual SAS.
Valorant is a tactical team-based shooter that's similar to CS:GO, but with ninjas and cyborgs. This isn't a game where you can jump around corners and spray wildly, oh no. To succeed, you must coordinate with your teammates, get your aim on point, and master your favourite agents.
And this is what separates Valorant from CS:GO really. Each hero comes with cool abilities like flashbangs that'll curve around walls, or teleports that'll shift you behind targets in a pinch. The fun lies in using these powers in creative ways and pulling off some clutch plays.
12. Hunt: Showdown
Hunt: Showdown is a nerve-shredding PvPvE FPS, which sees you hunt down an AI nasty hiding away on a map. The catch being - other squads are also gunning for the same enemy as you. Oh, and another catch - if you die, you lose your equipment forever. That's what makes this game so high-stakes, and ultimately, so much fun.
Unlike many 'classical' battle royales out there, Hunt: Showdown separates itself from the competition with outstanding audio design. You'll hear gunshots ring out in the distance, alerting you to an enemy's presence. Footsteps pad on wood. The creak of a door opening. Your reliance on these small cues can mean the difference between winning a fight or losing all your precious cargo. It's quite something.
11. StarCraft 2
The holy grail of RTS design, and not for no reason. It's a slick, polished to perfection unit-bosser that hasn't been bettered in the X years since it came out.
Gosh, it's hard though. At least, if you want to compete on the ladder: that direction involves research, timing memorisation and a faster clicking finger than a snapping mouse trap. Playing with friends lets you be a little more goofy. Sometimes it's nice not to have to worry about zerg rushes because you know your mate always plumps for Hydralisks.
It's another one where playstyles lead to identities. I play a particular brand of Protoss, because I'm a prick who loves the idea of kicking ass with all their fiddly units when really I'm more cut out for Siege tanks and marines.
10. Among Us
Ahh, Among Us. A social deduction game where 4-10 players prepare a spaceship for departure, but one or two only pretend to do so; because they are secretly out for blood.
I'm terrible at Among Us, mainly because I'm awful at lying, but also because I dislike confrontation. But I can see the appeal of calling emergency meetings to discuss why there's a corpse in the engine room, or slitting someone's throat and blaming your friend for it.
Whenever I play Among Us, I mainly focus on doing the mundane jobs and nothing else.
9. Garry’s Mod
Garry’s Mod is many things to many people, but for me it’s collection of home-brewed nonsense assembled from Steam assets and unhampered imagination. I've dabbled in the free-form construction mode, but most of my time has been spent on Fretta servers.
Within the same half hour, I’ve dodged geometric shapes while clambering up a slope alongside 30 other people. I’ve built bobsleds, then raced them. I’ve hunted down players posing as inanimate objects, completed obstacle courses and played charades.
The game changes whenever enough people vote for it to, so if you pile into a server with a handful of friends you can form a voting cartel and ensure the game swaps at your whim. Plenty of the games are fun in their own right, but Fretta works best when you’re constantly pushing on to the next.
8. League Of Legends
I lost thousands of hours to League Of Legends at university. I'm actually convinced I put more effort into learning this MOBA than I did my course.
To put League Of Legends as simply as possible, two teams of five battle to destroy each other's Nexus; a big crystal located in each base. As each match wears on, you'll get more powerful, kit your character out in new gear, and fight for map supremacy. I'd say it's best played with a friend who's played it before, as there's a steep learning curve, and a huge amount of depth here.
But don't let it put you off, as this is League of Legend's appeal - at least to me. I adored learning each character's intricacies and how best to work with my team to win important fights.
7. Grand Theft Auto Online
Grand Theft Auto Online (GTA Online) might be linked to GTA V, but it's very much its own universe. Hop online and up to 30 players can mess about in sandboxes designed for, well, practically everything. That's the thing about GTA Online: it's very difficult to get bored. There's mini-campaigns built around heists, or servers designed for roleplaying, or Hot Wheels-esque tracks for whizzing about in.
And much like many of the others on this list, GTA Online is constantly being updated with loads of new Heists, servers, and more. If anything, it's only maturing with age, and is a theme park filled with excellent set-pieces and tonnes of silliness. Definitely worth a crack.
Minecraft, a blocky multiverse of possibilities. There's a server for anything in this survival game, which turns it from a "survive with your friends by building stuff", to "survive to become the last person standing". Heck, simply input a seed and you can just go about surviving in a really, really nice world.
Or if you're after something that isn't a traditional battle royale mode, you can take part in Bed Wars - a game mode which sees you protect your bed, or destroy other players' beds to win. Heck, you can even drop the whole PVP thing and simply build mad creations with strangers across the internet if you want a more relaxing time. Honestly, you can't go wrong here.
5. Rocket League
Bombastic joy. Those are the two best words to describe Rocket League, a game about playing football with rocket-propelled cars.
That joy kicks in from the very first second. It’s scrappy at first, a mess that invokes childhood memories of school kids swamping the ball, not sparing a thought for teamwork or positioning. That can still provide a chaotic giggle, but Rocket League literally soars to greater heights once everyone knows what they’re doing.
A well-executed aerial shot is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in a video game. Combing the boost button with a double jump at just the right time at just the right angle opens up a space for dextrous plays that hover just out of reach, accessible only to the dedicated but on display for the masses.
4. Apex Legends
Apex Legends is a blisteringly fast-paced battle royale game, where different characters face-off to determine that they're the top survivor. And this is what sets it apart from the competition, really, as each character has three abilities to turn the tides of battle, as opposed to, well, none in other games.
I'm a big fan of Pathfinder, a robot with a grappling hook that lets you close the gap, or escape from an enemy's clutches. It also lets you build up some sweet momentum so you can swing into the air, drop onto a ramp, and pull off a sweet, sweet slide. Again, that's something else Apex nails - a good slide animation.
3. Call Of Duty: Warzone 2
I thought Warzone was the slickest battle royale at the time, and well, Warzone 2 is its long-awaited sequel. While it might not be quite as gargantuan as its predecessor in terms of popularity, it's still a massive deal, with fantastic gunplay and COD's famously streamlined shooting and looting. You've got a plethora of attachments to match your playstyle, along with a meta filled with loadouts that's constantly shifting.
And as Warzone 2 is free, you aren't going to be spending a dime - a great thing. What's more, it really looks the part for a free-to-play experience, giving you that big budget feel for zero pounds. There's never a bad time to drop into Al-Mazrah (in my opinion, a markedly better map than Warzone's Verdansk).
2. Team Fortress 2
The problem with writing about Team Fortress 2, Valve’s unsurpassed class-based shooter, is that I’m in love with one particular version of it.
It’s the version I get to play as a Spy, the weakest character in the game when it comes to a straight up fight. His is a stealthy approach, often revolving around his ability to turn invisible with the aid of different types of watch. That’s deception of a sort, but not the kind that makes his the most unique and memorable role you can play in any multiplayer game. Really, the Spy is all about acting.
It only takes one suspicious Pyro for a ruse to come undone, but you’d be amazed what you can get away with. Slap on a disguise, backpedal from the frontlines while screaming for a medic, and four times out of five times the most important member of the enemy team (their medic, always their medic) will trot right up to you. Maybe he’ll try to give you an inquisitive whack with his bonesaw, but if you know what you’re doing that whack won’t land. You’ll have already stabbed him in the back with your insta-kill knife.
Each class plays like a different game - and some items transform their wielder into new classes in their own right. I’ve spent dozens of hours with the double-jumping Scout and the ‘nade spamming Demoman, but it’s the Spy who stole my heart. Give him a chance, and maybe he’ll steal yours.
1. Dota 2
It feels contrived to describe Dota 2 as a hobby rather than a game, but that doesn’t make that description any less fitting. I’ve poured thousands of hours of my life into it, and I can see myself pouring in thousands more. Dota isn’t just a game: it’s an eternally evolving battleground where limits are tested and friendships are forged.
Sure, every competitive game is about testing limits, but part of what makes Dota special is how many it tests at once. There’s the sheer amount of knowledge that it demands you absorb, the hundreds of items and spells and the endless interactions between them. You’ll need to hone reflexes, develop strategies and learn to be patient with both yourself and others.
Dota is stupendously silly. I mean that both in the sense that it’s ostensibly about wizards trying to knock over rock-gardens that form fragments of a sentient moon, and in a mechanical sense. I could have learnt a language (or several) in the time I’ve spent playing Dota, but almost every match still includes unexpected moments that make me gasp and giggle.