In 2021, we continue to see games we are never finished with. There’s always another weekly challenge, another season of content, another set of outfits to release, another 8 GB to download. Games are being announced alongside their post-release content schedules, given new life with game-changing updates. You can launch a game from last year and be completely overwhelmed by just how much has changed.
The one unifying factor to so many of these ongoing games is they let you play with others. Games are as good a foundation for socializing with friends as a charcuterie board. Whether it’s getting into hi-jinks with our friends or competing against others, we like playing games together. Turns out, customers - do in fact - want online games.
Use this thread to shout out the new updates to your favorite multiplayer game or single-player games that have gotten substantial updates! Multiplayer games that are just getting started are free game as well!
I don’t play many games that could qualify for this category, but Satisfactory - which is in early access, so [waves hand] - has had some stellar updates this year. I let my spouse do the factory building, because now I’m all about those trains.
And for a few similar shoutouts: Phasmophobia is at a much more stable build last time I played, and it has some new cool ghosts; and Industries of Titan and Ooblets have both had big enough updates to feel like pretty complete games, though I’m still quite excited to see what else they’ll add before leaving early access.
After the big patch recently, I’ve been back into Animal Crossing again and have been enjoying it! Had a bit of cleaning up to do, but the town is looking better than ever now.
Monster Hunter is pretty much the only game I play with friends these days, so I’ll shout out Monster Hunter: Rise for being another great entry. Not only are there some great new monsters, but we spent a lot of time just running around the maps looking for those secret spots. And, you know, just talking with each other. In this second year of mostly staying inside due to covid that meant a lot to me.
Outside of video games, the tabletop RPG campaign I’m running in Spire has been great. What a fun system that is to play in.
I’m going to be saying this a lot this year but it’s got to be Guilty Gear Strive for me here.
Over the past year I’ve went from only playing fighting games single player or button mashing with friends to climbing the ranks in Strive (all the way to Celestial!) I’ve played it an absurd amount online since it came out in a way that I’ve just never done with a fighting game before.
Shout outs to @Taiga2k for organising the weekly GG Strive lobbies (Wobbies) on the Discord. Getting together weekly with people from this community and chatting and playing games has been a blast and is definitely part of what made me stick with the game. And we gotta do a Wobbies tourney next year.
I’ve been a big fan of Splitgate this year. It’s rare for me to play a multiplayer game like you might in the “old days” - purely for fun. I have zero interest in the battle pass stuff, cosmetics, ranked modes. The game is simply incredibly fun to play. No multiplayer game has allowed me to get this creative with movement and flanking since Splatoon. As my aim is garbage, having the opportunity to beat my opponents in a game of positioning rather than accuracy is a huge draw.
Ongoing games were the bulk of what I played this year.
Genshin Impact gets content updates every 6 weeks and once I burn through the new stuff it becomes a game that I can stop in on for 30 minutes a day.
Similar cadence for Granblue Fantasy, and I continued to play the fighting game for a lot of the year as well; haven’t touched it for a couple of months but there’s a new character coming out in a couple of days so I’ll dip back in.
I don’t think Destiny 2 had the best year but it got cross-play which has made it easier for me to find people to do harder content with.
Also got back into Apex Legends but I still cannot stand playing this game on a controller so I may just sit it out until I can find a video card. Hopefully it’s still good in 3 years.
Deep Rock Galactic continues to be fantastically tuned for coop shenanigans with friends, and the devs have recently reaffirmed their commitment to free updates with the introduction of themed seasons. Season 1 added a new faction with different enemy types, a new primary weapon for each class, and a new mission type that I think is quite good. DRG looks like it’ll continue to hold top spot for coop game among my friends well into 2022!
Although the temptation is just to call out Halo Infinite’s stunning multiplayer launch, I’m actually going to suggest Hunt: Showdown. It’s been out a little while but I only discovered it this year, it’s been getting regular updates, and I’ve never played anything that so successfully marries horror/tension and multiplayer.
I don’t know if it’s a very good game (tons of really strange design decisions, bad UI, weird difficulty spikes), but man, if my friends and I didn’t have fun playing Back 4 Blood this year. The roguelike “run” structure is really compelling for organized play with friends.
It’s Apex Legends. There was never any doubt about it, I’ve put 700 hours into that thing this year after finally clicking with its combat rhythm and (I CANNOT stress this enough) finally clocking that Horizon is Just Me. Embodying a floaty Scottish space mom has done a lot for my personal gender affirmation.
I haven’t played Apex in a while but I follow a bunch of Respawn people on Twitter so periodically I see things like “We put Lil Nas X in Kung Lao cosplay in our game” and I think “Those Respawn people really know what’s what”
I spent a lot of time this year on Animal Crossing (even prior to the big update) and Genshin Impact. A huge part of the reason for both is that my partner also plays them a lot, and through the pandemic, it’s been wonderful to be able to spend time with her when we’re forced to be apart.
I want to be playing a lot more Apex Legends but I feel like the servers are on fire every other time I get onto that game.
I am loving Guilty Gear Strive. It feels so good to play, the netcode is phenomenal, and it’s not done yet!
I’m not a big online gamer, but since building my pc I’ve put a lot of time into GGStrive and Halo Infinite, and hey maybe I will soon be a big online gamer?
This might be an unexpected pick, but I gotta shout out Deathloop because it gave me some of my most memorable ~emergent gameplay~ moments of the year.
While I enjoyed the game’s main path, I do think the mechanics truly shine in the multiplayer. It actually puts your knowledge of the maps, your mastery over the mechanics, and your creativity with your loadouts to the test against a dynamic, unpredictable agent.
It’s just a great cat-and-mouse dynamic that played out differently for me in fun ways, whether it’s navigating all the locked doors and turrets in Frank’s HQ without a Reprise slab, using 2-Bit to turn the guards against an invading Julianna in Charlie’s funhouse, having a sniper v ninja battle in Karl’s Bay, or turning the entire Complex at night into a deathtrap by hacking Egor’s gadgets. All the intense duels and wacky mind games I had with different players during invasions, I never experienced in other games, even multiplayer-focused ones, and that’s what I remember the most from my time with Deathloop.
Warframe! It’s the game that keeps on giving for me, honestly since last generation. Had I posted in this thread before Wednesday, while Warframe would’ve been a contender (they’ve done a few small-to-biggish updates in 2021), I probably would’ve ultimately given the nomination to something else. But then The New War happened…
The New War is Warframe’s latest major story update having dropped just this past Wednesday. They’ve been releasing smaller story quests over the past few years and setting up a lot of pieces with the implication that they would all culminate in this large quest called The New War. And maybe part of it is recency bias talking, but boy howdy did Digital Extremes extremely deliver. When people first get into Warframe, “The Second Dream” is usually the quest that veteran players suggest trying to reach unspoiled because The Really Big Thing happens there. This quest operates on a similar scale, and I suspect will probably serve as another one of those big “try to reach unspoiled” markers in the future (and I won’t spoil anything here of course).
There is A LOT going on in this quest, not only from a lore perspective but also gameplay and quest structure that I was very glad to see. DE took a lot of big swings here, and while I don’t think they were all home runs, I had a really really great time going through it and am extremely excited to see what the future holds for this game.
…have you heard that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial, and includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime?
Endwalker was a gotdamn mastapiece.
I just finished Endwalker today. I’m still processing everything that happened, so I can’t definitively say it was the best story they’ve done, but it was certainly the MOST story they’ve done.
Kudos to all involved, and I hope they’re able to overcome their success-induced problems soon so that more people are able to enjoy it and finish the story.
The official nomination form is live for the next few days! You can nominate your favorites here: [Official Nomination Form]
Please continue discussion.
Warframe is a game I wish would have hooked me long term because there’s so much to like about it. It’s hard for me to even hate the free to play aspect of it because it feels fair in a way others don’t and often felt more like shortcuts. Yeah you could buy this new frame in the shop or you could do some grinding and honestly the grinding in the game is what I liked. There’s something relaxing about running a mission several times and optimizing the run so you can get the blueprint or material you needed. Loading up a podcast and committing to an hour+ wave survival so you can get the potato was fun or a good way to catch up with friends.
Also the game just oozes style. It would have been really easy for them to fall into a style that felt exploitative of ninjas and samurai like so many other games but it manages to pull off a style that while easy to tell what has influenced it is a cool alien style all it’s own. It hits in a way I want more games to hit where creatives were clearly given maybe some direction but told to go wild. It’s also worth pointing out just how good character customization is without breaking the art style. That’s a really hard thing to pull off and where Valve failed in TF2 in maintaining a consistent style Digital Extreme flourished. I can make a really vibrant colored Exclaibur with a glowing green sword and they still look like they fit the universe.