When it comes to gaming, fun shared is fun multiplied. Shutting out the world for a 300+ hour solo campaign isn’t without its merits, but every once in a while you really ought to be a little more social.
Go on. Compete with friends until a strong dislike forms, or buddy up as a pack and go terrorising weaker players until they ragequit in disgust – y’know, the gaming form of social…
Overcooked 2 (Aug 7 – NS, PC, PS4, XO)
Too many cooks in the kitchen can be an awesome thing. Just ask any four-person posse who’s digested the single-screen mania that was 2016’s Overcooked. Simple to pick up, but slowly and surely garnished with increasing complexity, this serves up more of the same. Namely, food poisoning for terribly made meals, awful tips, fires, fights over extinguishers, and ruined real-life friendships.
From what we’ve tasted, Overcooked 2 is a delicious second course thanks to its additional mechanics (flinging ingredients anyone?) and its pun-tastic zombie plot, loosely titled Night of the Walking Bread.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth (Aug 14 – Mac, PC)
Prepare to gather your guildmates (or ignore them à la Leeroy) and charge back into the sheer addictiveness of Azeroth. Featuring Allied Races, Island Expeditions, the Heart of Azeroth and Warfronts, this seventh WoW expansion will be best enjoyed with like-minded pals who love a good grind. You’re going to need the backup, too, as you figure out the newly revamped PvP talent system and level up to 120 in the zones of Zandalar and Kul Tiras.
Don’t delay. Scoop up a chicken leg, dig through your contacts, and go get your WoW band back together. It’s time to put work / school / significant others on mute for a month or twelve.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Aug 28 – NS)
Ordinarily we view any “new” 3DS port to Switch with a concerned frown, but today is not that day. This critically acclaimed Action RPG is well deserving of a place on the very limited storage of this console. Because who could say no to slaughtering Godzilla’s extended family with three buddies in co-op, either online or in person using local wireless?
The icing on top? This offers the largest collection of killer cryptids in any of the Monster Hunter titles thus far, plus you can be a Felyne in the hilarious Prowler mode. That’s right folks, you and your pals can be a posse of pussies.
FIFA 19 (Sep 28 – NS, PC, PS4, XO)
Always an out-of-hours MP classic in the FANDOM offices, Fifa 19 is putting the boot into the competition like never before. EA has scooped up the UEFA tournament licenses this year after Konami didn’t renew it for its rival Pro Evolution Soccer series (sweet side bonus: UEFA matches will be commentated on by Derek Rae and Lee Dixon).
We’re keen to see how the beautiful game has changed for you and your buds. The biggest effects on its multiplayer will be Timed Finishing (think: secondary button presses that improve shot accuracy), Active Touch (more player-accurate ways to receive the ball) and Dynamic Tactics (more advanced preset AI strategies on your d-pad). Either way, there’s plenty there for you to get your kicks.
Forza Horizon 4 (Oct 2 – XO)
If you’re a petrolhead who loves your racing games you probably already know the score here – any game bearing the brand of Forza is at the front of the pack, sometimes with an embarrassingly wide lead over the old guard franchises. Bombing around Forza Horizon 4 in one of its 450 whips, either with your own Fast and Furious crew of mates, or against them, is going to awesome.
Heck, thanks to the usual Drivatar AI system that copies the traits of everybody on your friends list, you don’t even need people to be online to blow their doors off. There’ll be scorewars and passive-aggressive messages all day, everyday.
This time around, you can expect weather and seasons to have a very meaningful effect on the British landscape, opening up whole new areas and driving challenges.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 (Oct 12 – PC, PS4, XO)
Love it or loathe it, you have to admit that this year’s CoD is a curiously large diversion from what’s gone before. Gone is the solo campaign – the lion’s share of narrative will be in the historically amazing four-player co-op of Zombies. Also, the traditional PvP (which has been more or less retconned back to the salad days of Black Ops III) shall exist alongside Blackout, Treyarch’s take on the stupidly popular battle royale genre.
The potential for epic multi is there, thanks to vehicles, ditched hover jumping, and basically every decent CoD map ever being sewed together into one big island of pain. We’re cautiously optimistic. You’d best reactivate your old CoD crew.
Battlefield V (Oct 19 – PC, PS4, XO)
If you were upset by the news that BFV wouldn’t be launching with its boldest MP addition, worry no longer – EA has recently confirmed that Grand Operations will in fact be available from day one. Huzzah! The confidently labelled mode will be a Grand evolution of the Operations we adored in Battlefield 1. Essentially, you and your band of WWII mates will experience a one-hour MP odyssey, sliced up into 20-minute sessions. Each sesh covers one “in-game day” and the results will colour the narrative and shape the challenges of the next day.
If getting 360 no-scoped by 14-year olds in Nazi attire isn’t your jam, you can always get together and smash out a cooperative mode called Combined Arms.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Oct 26 – PS4, XO)
Fair warning: if RDR 2 multi is going to be anything like the free-roaming, outlaw posse antics of its predecessors, those Rockstar servers are gonna be an absolute Wild West. We can all expect to go down in a blaze of Young Guns-esque glory in rootin’ tootin’ gun battles, as our compadres affect Southern drawls to talk trash to randos.
Better yet, make your own dang fun by taking your deputies out exploring into prairies humming with life, woods filled with hungry carnivores, and we just bet that them thar hills are filled with gold (and possible Sasquatch Easter Eggs).
Fallout 76 (Nov 14. PC, PS4, XO)
Though it’s by no means a horror game, Fallout 76 frightens us. We’re going to spend so much time in this irradiated world it’s genuinely scary. On day one we plan to emerge from Vault 76 – a bunker housed by the 500 brightest minds of the old world…plus three of our idiotic real-life mates – and try to survive against unfair odds.
Thankfully, griefing from randoms will be kept to a minimum, thanks to private servers and PvP being restricted by a challenge system (possibly by slapping the other party with a Vault-Tec approved duelling glove). Honestly, we can’t wait to see what trouble we can create in a lawless world that’s a whopping four times the size of Fallout 4.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Dec 7 – NS)
The best multiplayer experiences are ones where you can truly reach out and connect with somebody – hopefully with a Home-Run Bat that sends them shrieking into orbit. Four-person, single-screen multiplayer games don’t get much more frenetic than a round of Super Smash Bros. and this Switch release is no exception.
Ultimate expands even further beyond the traditional Nintendo boundaries to have a who’s who of video game heroes, thanks to guest characters like Snake, Sonic, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud Strife and Bayonetta. Though it’s a shame we’re one Bandicoot and a Spartan short of a full four-way console brawl, this 63-character roster is nothing to sneeze at. We’ve no doubt that this game is going to be a permanent install on any self-respecting Switch.