To cap off SuperPhillip Central's month of multiplayer madness, I have the first in a new series of articles based on my favorite multiplayer games, whether online or off (mostly off since that's what I'm accustomed to). Whether nailing an opponent with a red shell to make that last second come-from-behind victory in Mario Kart or making an opposing player eat lead in an arena shooter, these are my most beloved multiplayer experiences. After you've seen my picks, let me know what games you personally enjoy the multiplayer modes of most!
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
These first two games on my list of favorite multiplayer games will most likely be mentioned during April 1st's (no April Fools there-- honest!) Nintendo Direct. The first is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which is set to get a new Miiverse stage and new Mewtwo character soon. Even without that, the content for mulitplayer gamers is astronomical. Maybe that's hyperbole, but not by much! There is just so much to do with friends and family, hopping online to take someone from across the country down a notch, playing together in Classic or All-Star modes-- once unheard of in the series, and battling across one of around 30 stages with over 40 fighters! There is no question why my family's Wii U still regularly houses our Smash Bros. disc, and it's not because the system lacks good games-- that much is for sure!
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
There are but three absolutes in this life: death, taxes, and an increase in people playing online in Mario Kart 8 when downloadable content is made live. The second batch of DLC for Mario Kart 8 is due out next month, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear some words about it at tomorrow's Nintendo Direct. If you don't ever bother to download the new tracks and characters, you're still getting your money's worth, online or off. For the first time in a Mario Kart game since Double Dash!! on the GameCube, multiple players can vie for the top spot in a Grand Prix. Versus and online modes offer even more Mario Kart madness. No wonder Mario Kart 8 continues to be played in the SuperPhillip household to this day. It's just plain crazy fun!
New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
One of two big launch titles from Nintendo for the Wii U was New Super Mario Bros. U. While a game like that with a modest presentation doesn't scream "the new generation", the gameplay remains as accessible and well designed as 2D Mario games of the past. Yes, I even mean beloved (and rightfully so) classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Although four players is absolute mayhem-- and depending on your mood and game desires, that can be a good or bad thing-- playing through New Super Mario Bros. U with my brother made it that two skilled players were having fun helping one another out and having a sensational platforming adventure together. And oh, what an adventure it was!
Perfect Dark (N64, XBLA)
The quintessential first-person shooter in my book, Perfect Dark is indeed forever, as the ending credits do say. The game's multiplayer mode offers SO much customization, from the multitude of bot types and personalities (e.g. ones that go after the player in first place, suicidal bots, bots that only attack with their fists, etc.) to the myriad of expansive maps with plenty of choke points, hidden nooks and crannies, and places to battle it out. You can choose what weapons spawn on maps, what music is played, and so much more, and you can save your favorite scenarios for future multiplayer sessions. Literally hundreds of hours have been spent with Perfect Dark's multiplayer, and I haven't even touched the Xbox Live Arcade version.
TimeSplitters 2 (PS2, GCN, XBX)
The successor to Perfect Dark's throne, TimeSplitters 2 was made by Free Radical Design, made up of many team members who designed GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. It only makes sense, then, that TimeSplitters 2 made me, an migrant from Perfect Dark, feel right at home. Through completing missions in the Arcade League, you can unlock new characters, modes (of which there any many), and arenas in the full multiplayer piece of TimeSplitters 2. My brother and I found a lot of joy in blowing and blasting bots away in the multiplayer, and then hopping into the cooperative campaign to save each others' hides-- or at least having one of us (usually my brother) being bullet bait. While not exactly as near the magnificence of Perfect Dark's multiplayer, TimeSplitters 2 delivers plenty of similar feelings to that game.
Unreal Tournament (Multi)
While the gaming world knew of Unreal Tournament's excellence over a decade and a half ago, I am relatively new to the world of frags and bags. Containing four wonderful multiplayer modes that each possess their own set of well crafted maps and arenas, Unreal Tournament is a blast to play even to this day. There are a plethora of reasons players keep coming back to UT, and just a sample of those include fast and frenetic action, great guns that give highly satisfying kills, and insanely smart AI to help train newbies like myself to be good enough to battle it out online against human intelligence (or in my case, lack thereof).
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS)
This next game may be old news thanks to the release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the Nintendo 3DS, but some of my favorite online multiplayer memories (Wii U version owner here) come from playing with a group of three other hunters and attempting to take down some ferocious beast. It is still fun to lose and suffer defeat, but it's even more delicious to pull out an unexpected victory. The stress and excitement levels are intensified thanks to a lack of a health meter for monsters. All you are helped notified by are different stances by the killer creatures and possibly broken off pieces from said behemoths. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the type of a game where the multiplayer is so good that you don't mind fighting against the same foes dozens of times just to get that last desired material to complete your armor set.
Resistance 2 (PS3)
Before the servers were taken offline (RIP), Resistance 2's multiplayer received a lot of playtime by yours truly. While the massive multiplayer deathmatch and team deathmatch modes allowed for a multitude of players to rush across maps, fragging others, the real enjoyment from Resistance 2's multiplayer was in its cooperative modes, spread out across multiple maps. Each had several objectives for players to take care of and complete together, three different character archetypes like offensive and medic, and insane open-ended missions to play through. Sadly, Sony doesn't have infinite money, so the servers were taken offline, an unfortunate casualty of the online multiplayer machine.