Today we continue our annual game awards with a look at the best in multiplayer for 2016!
To recap the process, everyone at USG put their heads together and voted on nine individual categories as a group, and each team member has nominated their own pick for the category. Rather than argue long and loud about personal opinions, however, we've taken a scientific approach: We voted on each category through an anonymous survey in which we weighted each nominee from "most" to "least."
This means, in theory at least, that a game that gets nominated by more than one person won't necessarily sweep the category-it's entirely possible for a dark horse to take the prize if it receives enough second- or third-place points from everyone. We'll see!
We'll be publishing a different category each day through the end of the year, leading up to our final vote for best game of 2016. Join us as we count down to our Game of the Year! Want to see the rest of our 2016 recap coverage? Just click here.
Best Multiplayer: The Nominees
Shooters dominated the multiplayer conversation in 2017; and not surprisingly, they dominated USgamer's nominations as well. Of course, one little RPG did manage to throw a wrench in the works...
Kat: Battlefield 1
Overwatch really loomed large over this year; but for the sake of variety, I'm going to pick one of my other favorite shooters of the year: Battlefield 1. As I wrote in my review, Battlefield 1's multiplayer is the best the series has seen in a while. The maps are generally very sharp, and the return to more classical guns and vehicles serves to refocus the action after several successive entries worth of high technology. In that, Battlefield 1 is very much a return to form, and a great success.
Yeah, Overwatch owned this year without a doubt. It's the only multiplayer game, other than Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft, that I play on a regular basis. Great characters draw you into the experience, but once you're there you'll find a well-tuned team-based multiplayer shooter. It's not about the star players, it's about everyone working together to complete the objective. And death doesn't feel like failure if you died on the payload like a good team member should. Blizzard turned the failure of Project Titan into something amazing.
Blizzard's highly accessible, character-driven multiplayer FPS was like a breath of minty fresh air for the genre when it was unleashed earlier this year. Very much focused on team play, the objective-oriented title features a variety of classes that enable participants to take on specific battlefield roles, from supporting your group by healing, through taking the fight to the frontlines as an offensive character, to disrupting the enemy's strategy as a tank or defensive player. This sheer range of characters and roles helped give the game incredibly broad appeal, and made it one of the most talked about (and played) releases of this year.
Nadia: Pokémon Sun and Moon
Though I chose to award my favorite single-player campaign to Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Sun and Moon comes in at a hot second. Pokémon's single-player campaigns usually aren't much to write home about, but man, something about its family-oriented story just hit me where I live. All that said, I definitely enjoyed the heck out of Sun and Moon's multiplayer, particularly the (admittedly laggy but still fun) Battle Royal feature. Did I get stomped? Heck yes-but my Incineroar Nakameowra still put on a good show. Good kitty.
The Winner: Overwatch
Overwatch established itself as one of the medium's dominant shooters in 2016, so it only makes sense that it should be crowned this year's Best Multiplayer game. Were there better multiplayer games out there? Maybe. But when we think back on this year, Overwatch will definitely loom large. Blizzard's breakout hit is going to be dominating the headlines for a long time to come.
Runner-up (Weighted Average): Pokemon Sun and Moon (1.6), Battlefield 1 (1.6)
Tomorrow: 2016's Best Visual Style