Videogames offer a ton of different experiences, and in this modern age we can connect with the world over in order to save the day cooperatively, or just shoot the hell out of each other in the face while screaming through headsets.
Multiplayer is an important factor for creating lasting longevity in a title. This year saw two of the biggest shooters around embrace major changes for the competitive crowd, two uniquely distinct cooperative experiences that enticed players with multiple playthroughs, and the arrival of a new brawler in town. These are our nominees for best multiplayer of 2012:
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
In one particular battle, an enemy Sackboy nearly avoided my Raiden break-dance kick super simply by being small. It's little nuances like this that constantly come up in fights, and keep things interesting. I really could go on forever, which speaks volumes to the amount of work that went into the game. A lot of detail is present in Battle Royale, which should be commended; this is not a half-assed "clone."
Read the full PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale review
Unlike the first Borderlands, the great humor isn't limited to the characters. The missions contain the funniest parts of the game, often filled with subtle details and punchlines that will make you laugh out loud. In one mission, which has to be a contender for the shortest mission to ever grace an RPG, a guy begs you to shoot him in the face, so you do and immediately receive a reward. From throwing Claptrap the most awkward birthday party ever (poor guy!) to delivering pizza to some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wannabes,Borderlands 2's offbeat humor has a way of making the forgettable side missions into memorable plot lines. Some side missions will even ask you to solve a mystery or riddle, offering a change of pace from spamming bullets at things.
Read the full Borderlands 2 review
Despite the lack of interaction and the dearth of true cooperative opportunities, I felt more connected to my traveling companion than I did to anybody else I've ever played a game with, as the thoroughly impersonal touch causes players to latch onto each other. The desert is expansive and can threaten to grow quite lonely. For all intents and purposes, Journey is a forsaking, solo adventure, but it's one you get to share with another person, and you feel worlds apart when you go your separate ways. This is what Journey's co-op truly means. Two people walking the same path, and simply appreciating each other's company.
Read the full Journey review
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
All the obligatory game types are in place, with the expected Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed modes and more on offer. The biggest changes come as players level up and gain access to the theoretical near-future weaponry and attachments on offer. From sights that highlight your targets to scorestreak bonuses that include personal attack drones and lightning blasts, the additions are subtle overall but do give the game a different feel to Modern Warfare or the last Black Ops release.
Read the full Call of Duty: Black Ops II review
At one point in time, Halo reigned supreme and was the golden standard of what a console first-person shooter should be. Eventually, Call of Duty took that title, and part of that had to do with the Halo series making minor tweaks instead of seriously innovating. The changes implemented by 343, from sprinting to joining matches in progress, are just some examples of how they're keeping up with the times and creating an experience with an addictive quality over relying on stagnant mechanics.
Read the full Halo 4 review
Congrats to all the nominees! We'll be announcing the official winner on Friday, December 14. In the mean time we want you to tell us which game this year had the best multiplayer. Plus, be sure to go vote in our Community Choice Award for your favorite game of 2012.
Check out all our other categories and nominations: