This generation has seen the controversial rise of “games as a service” (GaaS), “live service games”; whatever you want to call them. While there are certainly more than enough single-player games out there to satisfy solitary gamers, the big publishers are moving their attention towards multiplayer experiences. As the biggest console on the market, the best PS4 multiplayer games are as varied as they are numerous.
With the emphasis on online experiences only growing stronger from the big dogs as the years go by, it’s time to look at the best multiplayer games on the PlayStation 4. Whichever unusual and questionable places the industry goes in the future, here are some suggestions for them to learn from to create games that last the distance.
A couple of quick qualifiers: we are only including one game per franchise and we’re also listing this in no particular order, just because we don’t fancy being oiled and tarred over numbers. We’re also including whether you need PlayStation Plus to play these PS4 games online or not. Bear in mind that all of these games will also be playable on PlayStation 5 through backwards compatibility. With that being said, here are our picks for the best multiplayer games on the PlayStation 4, whether that’s local multiplayer or online.
Developer: Rockstar Games Publisher: Take-Two Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
While there are some aspects of GTA Online that really shouldn’t be emulated, it’s been a popular mainstay for five years for a simple reason: it’s just damn fun.
At this point in time with the community already well in place for the game, there might be quite the grind ahead for you to compete against others, but if you just want a game to mess around in with friends, it’s probably the perfect pick.
There are many things you can get up to in GTA Online, including the inevitable bit of murder. However, if you want a far more relaxed time of it in San Andreas, turn on Passive Mode and take a cruise around, throw some darts, get yourself an awkward lap dance, or embarrass yourself with some golf as you pass the time until they announce a new Top Spin.
Developer: DICE Publisher: EA Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
The jury’s still out on whether Battlefield V will deliver when it lands at the backend of 2018, but you can always depend on Battlefield 1 for some FPS insanity, whether it’s by land or air. Disregard it disregard basic history of The Great War and dip into speeding at people while on horseback with a cutlass in your hand.
Deep in content with a fairly relaxed learning curve, Battlefield 1 earned rave reviews at launch and has maintained a solid playerbase in the two years since. Depending on your preference, Battlefield 4 may actually suit you better as a more modern shooter, but does the fourth entry have burning zeppelins crashing to the ground?
“Not just one of the best FPS games of the year, but one of the best overall. DICE have taken a step backwards with Battlefield 1 but taken many forward at the same time. For once, a game where you can believe the hype.”
Developer: Respawn Publisher: EA Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Beloved by those who know, Titanfall 2 released during an awkward window right between Battlefield 1 and whichever Call of Duty was being released that year (we forget, something about space?). While it may not have sold quite as many copies as its quality deserved, Titanfall 2 is still solidly played to this day.
Refinements over the first game are aplenty, as well as maintaining the irrefutable pace that makes it so electrifying to play. It’s easy to pick up but difficult to master and with many different Titans to unleash some large-scale murder with, you will keep coming back for more.
As a bonus, it has one of the best single-players campaigns of any FPS, even if it is a little on the short side.
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Epic Games Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: No
We’re talking specifically about the Battle Royale portion of Epic’s monolith, though with some patience and friends you may be able to get a lot out of the convoluted Save the World as well. But it’s Battle Royale that everyone knows Fortnite for, thanks to its intricate blend of shooting and building that makes it stand apart from its peers.
Whether you’re playing solo or with friends, no match in Fortnite is ever the same. The learning curve is fairly steep and the other players are ruthless to beginners, but once it all clicks and you feel somewhat competent at building ramps and then slam dunking on top of someone with a shotgun blast, it’s easy to see why so many love it.
Here’s a quick thing to remember: there will always be someone better than you, a player who has dabs for breakfast and eats walls for dinner.
Developer: Digital Extremes Publisher: Digital Extremes Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: No
Who could have predicted that Warframe, a game about being a fashionable robot ninja lad, would last the distance as emphatically as it has to become one of the best PS4 multiplayer games? That’s all down to Digital Extremes’ perseverance to turn it from a rough diamond into something expansive and wonderful.
As a free PS4 game, the grind is real with Warframe until you can gather enough loot to not make you look like a peasant. However, with an open world this pretty and a dedication to the community this stout, it’s worth at least checking out if you haven’t yet.
It can be a little bewildering to begin with, so be sure to take things slow and also don’t take out another mortgage for microtransactions.
6. Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix Publisher: Psyonix Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: No
When Rocket League was released as a free PlayStation Plus game, few could have predicted that the barmy but massively addictive hybrid would still be going strong to this day. A simple twist on football and racing that could have been nothing but a neat distraction for many has turned into a phenomenon, one of the most popular games not only on Twitch but also in the world.
An idea so deviously straightforward that it’s a wonder nobody else tried it before Psyonix, Rocket League is an upgrade on the PS3’s underrated (but understandably under-marketed) Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars that sees you playing as a car and trying to score goals. It’s nothing more, nothing less, and it’s absolutely wonderful.
As with all multiplayer games that have been around for years, expect an upwards climb before you can consider yourself good. Considering it’s now also free, time to grind.
Developer: Blizzard Publisher: Activision Blizzard Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Not quite at the peak of its powers these days but still a great time, Overwatch is the originator of the “hero shooter”, which also owes a debt of gratitude to Team Fortress 2. Fundamentally, they’re very similar games with teamwork being key and different members of the team being better suited for certain tasks.
However, it’s in Overwatch’s approach to lore that it shines through with each of its heroes having distinct personalities and backstories. There’s a character for everyone (except for Hanzo, who should belong to nobody) and with plenty of different ways to play with friends and train, it could be your next weekend consumer.
Get your practice in before Overwatch 2 comes out.
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Really, Monster Hunter: World isn’t a million miles away from the earlier games in the series, which never, for one or reason or other, truly resonated with Western audiences. Plenty of broken sales records and a dedicated community and World is perfect evidence that you only need to change wheels and not reinvent them to be a success.
Loot is the aim of the game with World, so the hunt is on for you and some friends to track down the biggest, baddest beasts and only feel slightly bad over cutting them down at their most majestic.
It’s a tough game, but certainly the most inviting of any in the Monster Hunter franchise. There’s also a lot of barmy crossovers with Capcom properties to keep things fresh, as well as some very dapper cats. Thanks to the gigantic Iceborne expansion, the world of World just got a whole load bigger.
“Monster Hunter: World isn’t for everyone. The focus on loot and grinding ensures that, but everything it does is superlative, making it an essential purchase for any RPG fans looking for something new. As for the established fans, it’s everything you loved about the old games, but prettier. A win/win, all round.”
Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SIE Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Yep, arguably the greatest single-player property in PlayStation history also has multiplayer. And it’s pretty damn great, so much so that it’s still played by plenty of fans to this day. It might lack the frenetic pace and constant updates of other games on this list, but it’s the perfect way to pass the time until TLOU 2 — apart from playing the first game on Grounded for the nth time.
There are plenty of different modes in The Last of Us’ multiplayer, though what’s most interesting is its approach to wrapping it all up in a narrative. Depending on how well you do, the survivors can either flourish or faulter, so there’s no pressure on you at all to perform in deathmatches.
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is notoriously toxic on PC, but with most of its PS4 playerbase allergic to microphones, you are going to be just fine. Sure, that doesn’t stop team-killing in Casual, but it’s certainly a damn sight better than children screeching at you when you’re the last one alive.
For the competitive of you reading this, Ranked is where the wheat is separated from the chaff and Siege is at its best. Every action needs to be deliberate and planned out, so it means you really need to squad up with friends if you want to stand a chance and climb up the rankings.
No matter what, though, there will always be some dingo who uses Fuze during a hostage situation.
Developer: NetherRealm Studios Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
NetherRealm have been on a tear over the past few years after being reformed from the ashes of Midway with Injustice 2 arguably representing them at their finest. While changes from the first game aren’t wholesale, a focus on delivering a depth of content offline and online has made it one of the PS4’s most sought after fighting games.
Boasting a story that most of its peers would be jealous of, Injustice 2 has sumptuous, cinematic visuals and a layer of strategy that goes deeper and deeper the higher up the competitive ladder you climb. If that’s not what you’re after, just grab some friends and watch as Batman kicks seven shades of Krypton out of Superman without a deus ex Martha in sight.
“With its content-rich Multiverse mode and the boundless possibilities of the gear system, the thrilling Story experience, and the superlative game mechanics under the hood, Injustice 2 proves why NetherRealm are setting the pace for all fighting game developers.”
Developer: Behaviour Interactive Publisher: Starbreeze Studios Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Really, it’s neck and neck between this and Friday the 13th for the crown of the best isometric slasher multiplayer game. There’s not a huge difference between them in terms of the good and the bad, but with the legal issues surrounding the Friday the 13th franchise having an knock-on effect for the game, Dead By Daylight may be the smart pick.
While Dead By Daylight isn’t a game you can play constantly, it’s perfect for nights in with friends, taking it in turns to evade the killer and turn on generators. The community is solid for the game and with all manner of iconic murderers available as DLC, you’re sure to be able to bring a slice of slasher history to your PlayStation 4 and scream like a banshee while doing so.
Developer: EA Sports Publisher: EA Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
In all honesty, you could probably choose any FIFA entry over the last five years. You’re only seeing incremental upgrades and roster changes if you invest annually in the franchise — FIFA 21 is out right now, for instance. But FIFA 19 is still going to be a lot of fun with some friends and drinks around.
FIFA 18, though, is where your eyes should be drawn to if you want to pick up one of the best PS4 multiplayer games and also try your skills out online against other players. There’s a tiny skill gap in FIFA 18 compared to other entries, so expect scorelines of 7-6 fairly regularly and also for you to score an absolute thunderstrike with Steven Naismith quite regularly.
Developer: Bandai Namco Publisher: Bandai Namco Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Injustice 2 too deep and layered for you? Tekken 7 is the way to go, the latest entry in a franchise known for being the choice of button mashers everywhere. Its simple gameplay and iconic characters make it the ideal shout if you just want to show your friends who’s the best Eddy Gordo. Spoilers: it’s nobody, because Eddy is cheesing incarnate.
A little light on content compared to its fighting game peers, Tekken 7 is the seventh entry in the franchise for a good reason: it’s brand of fisting (ahem) is no frills but packed with plenty of thrills. Once you’re done pasting other players online, try to make sense of the game’s bizarro storyline if you can.
“The meagre selection of modes and underwhelming story in Tekken 7 might put off the lonesome player, but if you’ve got two controllers and a friend/sibling/partner to play with, Tekken 7 will keep you occupied forever. Besides, where else are you going to see a bear smack seven shades out of a vampire wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt?”
Developer: Hazelight Publisher: EA Originals Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Everything about Josef Fares’ A Way Out is a marvel. Well, apart from some extremely hammy dialogue. With a friend in tow (who doesn’t even have to own a copy of the game to play online with you), you can explore the misadventures of Leo and Vincent as they look to escape from prison and take revenge.
Engaging and simple enough for even non-gamers to enjoy, A Way Out is a heartfelt ride that you can probably get through in a single evening. Its short runtime makes sense as it’s more of a cinematic game over a moment-to-moment experience, but when A Way Out wants to immerse you, it will.
Developer: Endnight Games Publisher: Endnight Games Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
What could make your son being kidnapped by a bunch of primal cannibals a bit less depressing? Sharing the experience with three more lonely dads, of course. The Forest allows you to team up with your buddies to save your shared son or to just mess around and build a zipline that serves zero purpose.
You can play with randoms, but you really ought to team up with your friends if you can. A trauma is no trauma at all if it isn’t shared between friends, which you will find out for yourself when you take a trup down into the island’s many pitch black caves. One of the most difficult but rewarding PS4 survival games around with a sequel of sorts in the pipeline. Quick tip: use fire and use it well.
“A smart port of a PC cult favourite, The Forest on PS4 is simply one of the best survival experiences you will find on a console.”
17. Apex Legends
Developer: Respawn Entertainment Publisher: EA Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: No
A team based battle royale that came out of nowhere to steal Fortnite’s thunder, Apex Legends has been a revelation since it was release with it going on to reach millions of players in such a short space of time. It also looks like going the distance with plenty of updates still to come to keep things fresh.
A mixture of many different genres and games, Apex Legends is one of the finest multiplayer games on PS4 as it promotes teamwork unlike many other games. Thanks to its intuitive pinging system, deep mechanics, and quicker pace compared to its peers, Apex Legends was the biggest surprise hit of 2019 and looks like it’s going to be lasting the distance for some more years yet, es[
“Even the most jaded of battle royale fans will find their interest rejuvenated by Apex Legends thanks to Respawn’s attention to detail, superior gunplay, and fantastic innovations, though the loot boxes and progression system certainly need addressing.”
Developer: Beenox Publisher: Activision Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Those in a certain age range will no doubt have fond memories of the original Crash Team Racing on the original PlayStation.
While the N64 had Mario Kart, the PlayStation had Crash Team Racing, a wackier and arguably cooler alternative that punctuated many drunken nights out.
With its 2019 remake, Beenox have done the source material proud, though it must be said that it’s not quite a game that you can just jump into like before and cheese your way into first. There’s a learning curve that you may at first struggle with, but once you have some track knowledge and mastery of the slide boost, Nitro-Fueled will have you decrying all of your loved ones for betraying you in no time.
“While its initially harsh difficulty may ruin your happy memories of the original in a hurry, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is kart racing nirvana with an abundance of content to dive into that makes it more than just an exercise in nostalgia.”
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Local/Online: Offline PlayStation Plus Required: No
If Ubisoft aren’t going to acknowledge Rayman unless he’s in a Smash clone, we will. Let’s just put it like this: Rayman Legends is one of the most underrated platformers of all time and deserves all the love it gets, especially thanks to its easy co-op for all ages.
Vibrant, full of life, and a general joy to play, Rayman Legends gets even better when you bring a friend along for the ride. There’s even opportunity for some mischief with you both being able to hit each other, but hopefully the kids won’t transfer the cartoon violence into their real lives and start beating you up.
What would be worrying is if they had disembodied hands that spun around before flying at you.
Developer: Mojang Publisher: Microsoft Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Worried that your child isn’t creative enough? Drop them into a Minecraft world for a few hours and see what they do. If they end up enslaving a bunch of villagers and making them procreate to grow crops more effectively, though, that’s not on us. That’s just Minecraft.
Either online or offline, team up with your friends and build worlds all of your own, or dip into the story and try to beat the Ender Dragon. When it comes to what you can create, you are only limited by your imagination — and the blocks themselves. If you can recreate Lord of the Rings in Minecraft, we’ll be very proud of you and give you all the porkchops you could ever want.
Developer(s): Infinity Ward, Raven Software Publisher: Activision Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: No
While most CoD fans were won back around by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it was when its battle royale spin-off, Warzone, released that Call of Duty really boomed back into the same kind of zeitgeist it once had.
Warzone is following the Call of Duty trend of regular free updates with massive (sometimes in more ways than one) content dumps arriving all the time, so be sure to parachute in if you haven’t yet. Maybe get a new hard drive first, mind you.
22. Streets of Rage 4
Developer(s): Dotemu Publisher: Dotemu Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
After many, many years of waiting for beat ’em up fans, Streets of Rage 4 finally realised. We wouldn’t say it was worth the wait, because goodness there was a lot of waiting, but it certainly did the series justice in a big way.
There’s no grand re-invention of the formula here: you have fists and faces to use said fists on with chicken to eat and bins to break. The action is faster and slightly more complex than previous games, but it still has that irresistible pick up and play appeal.
Either with friends on your couch or one friend via online play, Streets of Rage 4 lets you take back Wood Oak City from the hands of the Y Twins, the daughters of a previous big bad. That’s not really all that important, what is important is battering the bad guys and looking good doing it.
Developer(s): Bungie Publisher: Bungie Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
The looter shooter that kickstarted the looter shooter craze of the 2010s, Destiny 2 has been able to last the distance for two big reasons: constant support from Bungie and also because Bungie know how to make damn fine first-person shooting.
It’s good that Bungie’s magic touch is all over the action here, because you will be doing a whole load of shooting in Destiny 2, whether solo or with others, whether in raids, patrols, or one of the many pieces of content cooked up to keep you hooked.
It may not be for everyone (even if it now has a free version), but Destiny 2 has hooked players for thousands of hours since launching in 2017, so if you want to get a Fireteam together, it’s time to lose your real life responsibilities with pals.
24. Borderlands 3
Developer(s): Gearbox Software Publisher: 2K Games Local/Online: Both PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
Of course, before Destiny, there was Borderlands. The third Borderlands entry was a long time coming and while it may not have been worth the wait with it playing largely the same as the second game, that old adage about something not being broke comes to mind.
With billions of guns to find and dozens of places to use them in thanks to Borderlands 3’s planet-hopping adventure, this is a great, relentlessly silly game that provides a great opportunity to kick back and shoot the breeze.
If you don’t take Borderlands 3 too seriously and just want to get up to some outlandish stuff with outlandishly large weaponry, you’ll struggle to find a PS4 multiplayer game that’s a better option.
Developer(s): Hello Games Publisher: Hello Games Local/Online: Online PlayStation Plus Required: Yes
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better redemption story in gaming. Going from the internet’s most hated game to a spacefaring simulator to be proud of, No Man’s Sky has overhauled itself continuously to great effect.
Those overhauls include introducing multiplayer to PS4, which was erroneously promised before launch when it would in fact be years away. Regardless, with No Man’s Sky allowing you build a home upon a distant planet, meet strangers, and even actually take part in a story this time, it’s probably the best of its kind out there.
Even if you felt short-changed by the game at launch, Hello Games have done more than enough over the following years to make No Man’s Sky worth a second try, especially now that you can journey with friends.
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