This generation has seen the controversial rise of “games as a service” (GaaS), “live service games”; whatever you want to call them. While there certainly are more than enough single-player games out there to satisfy solitary gamers, the big publishers are moving their attention towards multiplayer experiences.
Ubisoft are arguably the biggest proponent of this ethos, going as far as declaring that they were “done with finite experiences” in early 2018 after the success of games like Rainbow Six Siege, even though Assassin’s Creed Odyssey very much stuck to the same single-player principles as other games in the franchise.
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 PS4 multiplayer games. 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. With that being said, here are our picks for the best multiplayer games on the PlayStation 4, whether that’s local multiplayer or online. We’re also including whether you need PlayStation Plus to play these PS4 games online or not.
The Best PS4 Multiplayer Games
1. GTA 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.
2. Battlefield 1
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? You already know the answer to that.
“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.”
3. Titanfall 2
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.
“A passionately produced FPS that shows 99% of the opposition how it should be done, Titanfall 2 deserves to rank alongside the year’s very best.”
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. We have some tips for newbies, just in case you haven’t tried it out yet.
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: Yes
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.
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.
“Magical. Ridiculous. Exciting. Infuriating. Overwatch is all of those things and much more that’s hard to define. One of the first essential gaming experiences of 2016.”
8. Monster Hunter: World
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.
“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.”
9. The Last of Us Remastered
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. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the sequel will be getting multiplayer, but a spin-off seems likely.
10. Rainbow Six Siege
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.