By Ashe Youngs – There are a lot of online competitive games that are great fun that I have sunk many a weekday hour into…ok hundreds. This list is a group of games that I feel really broke the boundaries and laid inspiration for other great games in similar styles to follow. As these beauties are all epic, it was hard to put them in order, so in all honesty, I’ve put them in fashion for my absolute love for them.
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch
Paving the way
Valves physics engine was a major breakthrough for the industry, as was Half-Life 2: Deathmatch which was the foundation for other epic games like Counterstrike and Team Fortress that later became intensely popular and years later are still monuments to gaming.
“All hail Valve!”
Of the Half-Life franchise, the second instalment is recognised as the best, using a gravity gun to hurl a toilet at someone’s face across a room never gets old. The community are very dedicated to the franchise and a lot of custom maps have been made and mods introduced. Having all players on an equal playing field makes this game work so well that there is no room for rage quitters. Team balancing works well and everyone has to find guns dotted around maps and health stations. (anyone notice that Bioshock looks very similar?) This game deserves respect and I admit I played a lot more Counterstrike: Source but this is still a fun game and I would not have my precious counterstrike memories without it. All hail Valve!
Aliens: Colonial Marines Deathmatch
We don’t talk about the campaign…
Although I have to agree with the resonating bad reviews the campaign received worldwide; I feel that the multiplayer is just-plain-awesome. When first released there were a few bugs and glitches mainly involving the movement of the Xenomorphs, but these were rectified swiftly.
The deathmatch multiplayer mode enables you to play as a marine or an alien. Both teams are highly customisable in tactical equipment/skills and aesthetics. Teams are also well balanced as you get archetypical class builds available. For example, you could play effectively as a sniper class on both teams using a battle rifle or in the Xenos case a Spitter. There are classes that also take a likening to Left 4 Dead, such as the special classes which include a Boomer like Boiler and a Crusher which is similar to a Tank, yet both are much more lethal and unforgiving. Working as a team is essential. As marines players usually find a safe spot where it is difficult to be attacked from all angles, the Xenomorphs are able to cling to all facing walls and ceilings and stealthily annihilate the marines.
The games ambience is gorgeous; the rusted and infested walls, eerie lighting, dense smog and movie style soundtrack fit very well for the intense style of gameplay. The level designs are well planned out enabling a variety of strategies and pathways. Customisation is great for all styles of gameplay and fashionistas, right down to a dog collar for your fabulous Xeno, and it’s Aliens…come on.
Gotham City Impostors
Made you look
Gotham City Impostors is an fps from Warner Bros, based on the cartoony aspects of the Batman comics. It is stylised in bright bold colours, zany props, comic book style levels and random gems that reflect the insanity of the playable characters. The intro cut scene explains the gameplay and sense of humour of the game perfectly; the characters in the game are completely ridiculous that have kooky catchphrases and sense of style. You can customise your clothing to make them look like they just escaped from Arkham Asylum to a businessman skipping work early to go to the beach in surf shorts.
As for the important tactical part, there are a large plethora of guns to choose from. They come with customisable accessories that you unlock which includes the usual aiming aids and a body odour sniffer which leave a static smell image where nearby opponents have been a few seconds before. Gadgets and support items like care packages and bombs keep classes different, rampages and psyche profiles to reward your gameplay with extra XP.
“Choking people in a cloud of farts”
Fast pace and roller skates
The gameplay itself is very fast paced for the most part unless of course, you are a sniper or camping with your team in a safe area. There are quick ways to travel such as glider rigs, roller-skates and the grapple hook (which doubles as a very fun weapon to use) there are a few op weapons and a particular load out (created by the number one player in the world on Xbox 360) that makes a person near indestructible. The second being that matchmaking is host dedicated and when the host backs out, the match stops. Those two things aside, blowing people up with trap in the boxes, catching people in bear traps, skating up to someone with a deadly katana and scaring them to death, choking people stuck in a cloud of farts that slowly kills them and sitting on someone’s head with your fat body are just a few reasons why I love this silly game and why I highly recommend it.
Assassin’s Creed Manhunt
One of a kind stealth deathmatch
Stealth games aren’t quite what they used to be. The AC franchise has certainly changed a lot in terms of its game mechanics being made more COD player friendly…and the involvement of boats? What the fudge!
“…stealthy aerial and acrobatic kills…”
Parkour and smart tactics
Anyway, the multiplayer since being released in Brotherhood has been modified a lot too. The manhunt team mode has two rounds. The first round is Offence, where you need to kill the opposite them who attempt to hide. The second round is where you hide in a crowd and gain points gradually. Alternatively, if you feel brave you can play aggressively and use items such as the smoke bomb to ensnare your pursuers and stun them for a healthy amount of points. Amongst the community, Brotherhood is still regarded as the best. This is because the free running is fantastic and works perfectly alongside stealthy aerial and acrobatic kills from above your unaware enemies. Also in Defence, you are able to easily get chain stuns at ease with help from your teammates. The point system rewards speed and dexterity while defending and on Offence.
Patience and quality
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the Assassins Creed: Black Flag multiplayer, which is my personal favourite as you are rewarded for crafty, patient, painstakingly nerve wrecking high score assassinations. As it is a stealth game at heart it is not meant to be played with rush kills. When you are in visual range of your target there is a meter that will deplete your score rapidly if you run towards them or it will raise your score if you walk or stay static. This works perfects if you attach yourself to a blend group that walks by a target as your score is multiplied by 2. The only problem with this game is when people do not work as a team it makes it incredibly unbalanced, especially if you have one person running around killing people for low scores that other players have been spending the time to build points on.
As for the art style, all the games certainly have a feel for the periods they were set in and the costume designs are stunningly detailed. The community is still playing and we hope they release perhaps a stand alone multiplayer game with fixed mechanics. It’s the only game I have come across like it and it’s so much fun. I recommend this game with a group of friends.
HEADSHOT! MONSTER KILL! DOMINATING! What happened to the days of full action, carnage filled, gory death, fast, dedicated multiplayer fps’s? Personally, I feel that shooters were at their pinnacle in the days of Quake, Doom, Counterstrike: Source and god’s gift that is Unreal Tournament, however, I must say 2016 stepped up to the plate. Where else can you fight in space with planets spinning in the background, kill people with laser guns, balls of explosive goo, a wall of six rockets of death or an oddly scary and loud pneumatic pump? Nothing is more satisfying than using the sniper rifle (which very fun and easy to use at any range) and hearing that epic gnarly voice saying “Headshot!” Even when you get killed it’s amusing hearing a mocking voice taunting you “I’m sorry did I blow your head apart?” When you see your escapades coming up on the screen it’ll give you butterflies, everyone can see what a boss you are.
The acclaimed soundtrack composed by Alexander Brandon & Michiel Van Den Bos fits each map in the game perfectly. The style is a fusion of techno, classical, rock and ambient and it fits incredibly well with the level designs and themes. The levels are extremely varied; they can be from a castle in the middle of a black abyss with precarious walkways snaking around it, on top of a spaceship in warp speed, two Aztec inspired towers facing each other on a terrain looking down on terra firma (picture above) to an ancient cathedral with detailed gothic architecture. Getting around the larger maps is made easier with portals, this can be awkward when you turn up and there is a massive bloodbath occurring while a rocket narrowly misses your precious torso.
“…shoulder to shoulder”
The past present and future
I have played this game since I was 11 and I still absolutely adore it and cannot flaw it. Yeah, the graphics are dated now, but I nearly cried with happiness when I played the 2nd instalment, it looks beautiful. Fans have lovingly added their level designs as well as a few maps created by the team at Epic Games. The character designs are gorgeous, they didn’t stick the Gears of War clones seen in UT3 in as playable characters and go back to the original badasses hurray!
The Unreal games give you so much fun and that inner warm feeling of satisfaction a lot of games lack these days. That is why 17 years on I still jump on and chaotically throw myself and my bullets around its maps shoulder to shoulder with other loyal loving fans.
The second instalment which is in development is available to play free in pre-alpha on