1. League of Legends
Developer: Riot Games
Format(s): PC

At one point the most popular game in the world, League of Legends helped kick off the MOBA craze, and continues to excel by constantly testing and experimenting with new ideas. Though there is the standard 5v5, three-lane map, there’s also a two-lane 3v3 map, a single-lane map where players are randomly assigned champions, and special limited-time events that throw up surprises. The vast range of characters (more than 130!) means you’re certain to find one that suits your playstyle. And if you get bored of one, just switch to another.

2. Spellbreak
Developer: Digital Extremes
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (November 20)

Warframe started as a relatively simple online hack-‘n’-slasher, but has since blossomed into a galaxy-spanning action-adventure with an embarrassment of riches for players to dig into, all for free. You play as a Tenno – a space-ninja-wizard, or halfway between a Guyver and a Jedi, if you prefer – and it’s your mission to rid the universe of an oppressive regime of bad guys. While that hardly sounds original, it’s the smooth-as-butter combat, the fluid movement and exciting visual flourishes that help Warframe stand out. Developer Digital Extremes is also very good at communicating with its fans, which has led to a supportive playerbase. You should become one of them.

3. GTA Online
Developer: Rockstar Games
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

It’s technically a mode in GTA 5 rather than a game itself, but GTA Online deserves to be recognized as its own beast. It’s an illicit playground for you to live out a fantasy life of a supercriminal. In real life you might be a mild-mannered accountant, teacher, fast food worker, or doctor, but GTA Online lets you complete dangerous heists, illegal operations, and expensive (and ill-gotten) luxuries. All the things that would land you in jail in the real world, basically.

4. Path of Exile
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

If you’ve been looking for an alternative to Diablo 3 or the Torchlight series, or better yet, on the lookout for a new ever-expansive experience that is also free to play, Path of Exile is the game for you. It’s rare to see ARPGs, especially live-service ones, lasting for so many years, and developer Grinding Gear Games has been feeding into its online ecosystem with several updates ever since launch.

With the choice to play either standard and take your time with the game, or dive into the seasonal updates called Leagues to tackle challenges, there’s no shortage of variety. We do recommend looking for builds beforehand if you’re going for a more serious playthrough, but if not, just jumping in and taking part of events with people online will set you on the right path automatically.

5. Forza Horizon 4
Developer: Playground Games
Format(s): PC, Xbox One

If we had to recommend one racing game to play right now, it’s the colourful, extravagant Forza Horizon 4. It can be played offline, but it’s basically a perennially-online racer, and you’ll see other players zoom around the map in souped-up motors. A racing year is split into seasons, each affecting track conditions and showing the British countryside landscapes in a stunning new light. We recommend getting the first year over with as quickly as possible, because then the online play really opens up, with races and challenges littering the map. You can join impromptu convoys with friends or strangers, and half the fun lies in skidding around tight corners outside the events.

6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Developer: Nintendo
Format(s): Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate plays like the greatest hits of a legendary series. It takes old levels and characters and makes them feel fresh again, with snappy animations and visuals that look better than ever. Online, you can create a private room with your friends and settle decade-long debates about who’s the better Smash player, or test your skills against strangers, building your Global Smash Power (a hell of a name) and taking on all comers. It’s the most polished version of Smash you can play, and with more than 70 characters to choose from, there’s a hero for every playstyle.

7. Divinity: Original Sin 2
Developer: Capcom
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is quite possibly the best RPG of all time, and it’s even better with friends. You get Larian’s wonderful writing and fantasy storytelling layered on top of an intuitive, tactical battle system. Fights are turn-based, and coordination paramount. By combining abilities, weapons, spells and elements, you can outsmart your opponent and create fight-winning combos. Interesting multi-part quests hide behind every door and around every corner, and the world of Rivellon is full of memorable characters.

8. Call of Duty: Warzone
Developer: Infinity Ward
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One

2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a solid if unspectacular entry to the series, but its popularity has been eclipsed by the more recent Call of Duty: Warzone, a standalone battle royale mode. It’s not a wholesale reinvention of the genre, but it’s the most ambitious, original spin on the well-trodden formula yet. Instead of 100 players, it’s 150 players. Rather than solely focusing on killing players for loot, you can complete objective-based contracts dotted around the map, which net you cash to spend on better gear. And, in our favorite feature, your first death sends you to the Gulag, where you can win a 1v1 gunfight to parachute back down to earth. Warzone has a slower, sneakier solo mode plus a three-player team mode, and both are brilliant.

9. Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix
Format(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Nobody foresaw just how big Rocket League was going to be – after all, RC cars playing football (soccer, if you insist) isn’t the catchiest hook. But as soon as you pick up the controller and launch yourself through the air at a giant ball, while other toy cars zip around you, you’ll immediately realise why so many fans are obsessed. Matches are quick and rewards are doled out generously, making it easy to lose hours as you lie to yourself: “Just one more match.”

10.Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Developer: Nintendo
Format(s): Nintendo Switch

For many players, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has kept hope and joy alive during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a wholesome, charming life sim about catching butterflies, trading turnips and decorating your home. You can play the entire thing solo, but you’d be missing out. You can visit friends’ islands to browse their shops, fish their ponds and mingle with their visitors, and walking around a new island seeing how your buddies have laid out their new hometown is endlessly relaxing. Make sure you name other players your “best friends” if you want them to get the most out of your island.


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