Alright, so my Best Multiplayer award has seen two different iterations over the last couple of years. Some years, it’s separated into two different categories, differentiated by ‘local’ and ‘online’ multiplayer. Other years, when I don’t think I played a game that best showcases those individual categories, I just lump them together as an overall “Best Multiplayer.” 2018 falls into the latter category.
That’s not to say that 2018 was lacking in quality multiplayer experiences or anything, just that I don’t think it was a year that justified both the local and online multiplayer categories.
So what was the best multiplayer game of 2018? Well, it’s not really too hard to figure out.
Winner: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
An obvious selection, yes. But obvious with reason. Few series have provided such great multiplayer experiences so consistently as Super Smash Bros. And Ultimate is the best entry yet.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to its lofty title by refining the gameplay of the series, bringing back every past playable character, and introducing some new mechanics and fighters as well (which can be a little bit of a mixed bag. For every K. Rool there is an Incineroar). It may not reinvent the franchise, but Ultimate – true to its name – is Super Smash Bros. done better than ever.
Whether you’re sitting next to some friends, brawling each other in some local competition, or taking your skills online to face players from around the world, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate provides endless multiplayer fun (yes, there are still lag issues on occasion, but not nearly to the extent of the past few entries. And now players can make their own lobbies! Progress!).
While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s single player campaign may be a hot mess, it’s bottomless bag of multiplayer features are a true work of art.
Can we get Geno now?
Runner-up: Super Mario Party
2014: Mario Kart 8 (Online), Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Local)
2017: For Honor (Online)*, ARMS (Local)
*Retroactively awarded after further consideration.