When it comes to local and online multiplayer games, there's no shortage of entertaining and exciting games to choose from. Whether it's locking and loading with a solid FPS, button-mashing your way through a fun fighter, or skating the night away with some friends, you've got a myriad of fun gaming options to play with friends and family.
A compelling multiplayer component can add loads of fun and replay value to an already great game, or it may be the driving force of the entire game itself. Whether merely kicking back with a friend on your couch, or facing off against dozens of strangers online, a great multiplayer experience can go a long way in making for an enduring videogame.
With this list, we'll comb through the archives of Metacritic as we cover the very best ranked multiplayer games of all time.
10 Gran Turismo (96)
Despite the steady evolution of this humble racing title into a gorgeous and robust racing sim franchise, the original Playstation classic, Gran Turismo, still manages to be the greatest in the series. It's a racer that singlehandedly helped redefine driving sims. From the banging soundtrack to the tight mechanics, there's much to love about this '98 nostalgic ride.
Given the tons of unlockables and customizable features, diversity of maps, and the super thrilling multiplayer face-offs, the fun and replay value in Gran Turismo is simply off the charts.
9 Tekken 3 (96)
You know you're dealing with a pretty memorable multiplayer title when Italian Europop band Eiffel 65 gives a shoutout to the game in one of their songs (specifically called "My Console"). Yes, Tekken 3 is just that great. And while its floaty physics and polygonal jaggies haven't aged all too well, the solid mechanics and robust multiplayer still shines today.
The game delivers a terrific fighting experience for local multiplayer with its satisfying combos, responsive controls, a rocking soundtrack, and a diverse array of unique, dynamic characters. Tekken 3 will serve as a motivating factor for you and a buddy to dust off that old Playstation.
8 The Orange Box (96)
This just might be the ultimate FPS compilation - or at least this is what shooter fans on PC will typically tell you. This is because it features 3 of the most fun and well-crafted FPS titles of the last two decades. This includes a 3-tiered packed of the cinematic sci-fi shooter Half-Life and the trippy first-person puzzler Portal.
Perhaps the key ingredient though, is the endless replay value offered by Team Fortress 2. This multiplayer arena shooter is perhaps one of the best competitive FPS experiences to ever grace the PC. Fans of the iconic PC shooters like Quake and Counter-Strike will find much to love here, as the game uses similarly solid mechanics and gameplay - with a more charming cartoony art style. There is a wealth of fun modes to keep you coming back, like the tried-and-true Capture the Flag and the cooperative "Mann vs Machine."
7 GoldenEye 007 (96)
Fans of the James Bond classic from 1995, Goldeneye, will certainly find much to love in this even more memorable gaming rendition of that film. Typically, though, even gamers who aren't too big on the MI6 agent will find much to appreciate with this shooter, as it remains one of the iconic local multiplayer games of all time.
Goldeneye is just that game; the one friends hanging out will always go back to play - even if the crude, blocky graphics look, shall we say, "dated." There's just something endlessly appealing about sneaking through the air vents of Complex as you try to outmaneuver your opponents, or facing off against some of the classic Bond villains like Jaws and Oddjob while wielding lethal golden guns. The already enjoyable multiplayer features are even further enhanced by a myriad of amusing cheat mods - such as oversized heads and paintballs.
6 NFL 2K1 (97)
Back in the good 'ol days, before EA swooped in and locked down exclusive rights on the NFL name, there were a number of well-crafted and enjoyable football titles that featured the iconic pro football branding. Perhaps the strongest such example is NFL 2k1, the standout hit from Visual Concepts amongst various sports games on the short-lived Dreamcast.
This game masterfully balances nuance and accessibility with its system of corresponding buttons that clearly displays your passing options for each play. The quick pacing, tight mechanics, and robust multiplayer features all contribute to a fantastic virtual football experience. This sports classic still outshines some of the more polished (albeit convoluted) Madden games of the modern era.
5 Halo: Combat Evolved (97)
Developer Bungie had essentially taken the reigns from Rare on the home console-shooter front following the explosive success of their breakthrough hit, Halo, in 2001. Put simply, there's a reason this FPS has become such a household name, which includes a variety of sequels, spinoffs, and even books. This epic odyssey featuring Spartan super-soldier Master Chief is just that enduring.
The game's neat sci-fi themes, solid mechanics, thrilling vehicles, and diversity of split-screen features make Halo an endlessly fun and well-rounded shooter for both solo and multiplayer experiences.
4 Perfect Dark (97)
While Goldeneye is renowned for being N64's more memorable multiplayer shooter, Perfect Dark is the most fleshed-out and robust FPS package on the console. Rather than adhering to an already-released film, Perfect Dark's campaign features a new, fully-fledged narrative involving corporate conspiracies and aliens, which keeps you engaged from start to finish.
But the real appeal to PD is its insane multiplayer mode, which is chock full of stages, characters, weapons, and gametypes. Rare nostalgically draws from the Goldeneye pool with some of these elements, while injecting a myriad of new features and awesome weapons. These include massive lasers that can detect foes through walls and assault rifles that can transform into makeshift sentries. The added option to feature 8 customizable bots in addition to 4 players makes for some truly epic showdowns.
3 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (97)
As if the series needed it - Tony Hawk 3 added even more depth and substance to the already robust THPS2, driving the game's appeal and value to absurd heights. The game comes with a plethora of content which could take at least a couple dozen hours for completionists to clear out. New features like revert tricks and balance bars for lip tricks allowed players to extend their lengthy point combos.
Moreover, the multiplayer features were more robust and enjoyable than ever, thanks to the inclusion of online support, which coincided with the fun new "Control Zone" gametype. This was a team-based game that allowed for up to 6 players to fight for turf in a chaotic skateboarding battleground.
2 Soul Calibur (98)
While the gaming scene was rife with 2D fighters by the end of the '90s, the genre had yet to fully translate in the 3D arena. Enter SoulCalibur, one of the few major efforts in this field; and still one of the strongest to this day.
The game not only came laced with some sleek graphics and solid mechanics for its time, but it utilized a more dynamic system of a 3D space, in addition to weapon-based combat that made for a satisfying romp. Between the carryovers from Namco's Soul Edge and the new additions to the Dreamcast version of SC, the game offered a vast array of unique characters, each with their own mechanics and moves. This game perfectly blended accessibility with more nuanced attack combos and counters, making for the definitive 3D fighting experience.
1 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (98)
If the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater established the groundwork for a solid extreme sports formula, then its sequel perfected it. Indeed, this is still considered to be essentially the pinnacle of the Tony Hawk franchise, despite an endless stream of sequels coming out in the years to follow.
This game really had it all. Not only did it flesh out the Career Mode and add a plethora of awesome new stages, tricks, and characters, but its multiplayer options were second to none. Games like HORSE, which ran with rules similar to that of the basketball game, and the ever-appealing Graffiti, made for heated and feverishly addictive face-offs that caused you and your friends to lose track of time.