Xbox Live has been around since 2002 and I have have played on the service (probably too much) every year since. A lot of people who play on Live today may not have been round since ‘the good old days’ so I have compiled a list of the best multiplayer experiences I have had along the way. These games have literally sucked the life out of me at one point or another, through late nighters and all day, no-life times. Here are the games I would love to go back in time and play when they were first released (and populated).
1. Halo 2
It really can’t be any surprise that Halo 2 is here, I give it the top spot because it was the game which made Xbox Live what it is today. Looking at my total stats for Halo 2 I played over 20,000 games of multiplayer, I haven’t repeated this in a game since. It was the first console FPS game that was balanced, fun and brought online console gaming to the forefront of everyones mind. It also optimized what Xbox Live was about back then, jumping on the console and socializing with the world. Party chat has since ruined this thrill, and this is why Halo 2 gets the nod over the equally as good Halo 3.
2. MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
Although the original game smashed down the walls of restrictive online console gaming and gave Xbox a template that would last many years, I have plumped for the sequel. It expanded on the first game and introduced a deeper, more strategic experience. What made MechAssault 2 so great was the level of teamwork involved and it brought together a community of gamers searching for online thrills. Not only could you control Mechs but other vehicles became playable, such as tanks, turrets and my favorite the VTOL. Many want a sequel, many will be kept waiting.
3. Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Another title from the original Xbox which was insanely popular. What Battlefront 2 did was made combat on a large scale chaotic, fast paced and a whole load of fun. Online battles were of a scale not seen before and despite a ton of connection issues it still deserves its place here. The appeal of the game meant that it was accessible to fans and non-fans alike, with the core gameplay etching itself in to the memory of a generation of gamers.
4. Gears of War
This game gave the Xbox the foundations to move forward with Xbox Live as it entered the 360 era. Gears of war was a triumph, making less players (4v4) more appealing with the element of teamwork, guts and glory. The game had a type of survivor element and this was its big draw. No one wanted to be eliminated first, no one wanted to let their team down and this coupled with superior graphics, skyrocketed Gears and the 360 in to the next generation. It also knocked Halo 2 off its perch on the Xbox Live activity charts, which was exactly what Microsoft needed.
5. Timesplitters Future Perfect
I’m probably going to get criticism for including 4 out of 5 original Xbox titles but I couldn’t ignore this one. Timesplitters was already a fun game but the addition of online play was what gamers everywhere had wanted. It was a less serious approach to gaming and the vast amount of characters and weapons is what made it special. It offers nothing in the way of depth, that didn’t deter me and thousands of others becoming totally infatuated with its no frills mayhem. If you were on Xbox Live at this time and dished out severe pain on a gingerbread man, it was probably me. It didn’t matter that I sucked at the game. I actually had a riot losing, which was surely testament to the quality and nature of the game and Xbox Live at that moment in time.
Mass Effect 3
Phantasy Star Universe
Tom Clancys Rainbow Six