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The best games to play with friends online

From visiting your friend’s island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to teaming up with them to shoot down wasteland baddies in Borderlands 3, the best games to play with friends online offer hours of fun across PC, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and more.

Even miles apart, video games allow friends to play, compete, or even just hang out virtually. There are games you can play over Zoom — our list of the best Jackbox games will help there — but we wanted to focus this list less on party games and on games that are best experienced with a few pals.

We have competitive and cooperative game options below and some that strike a balance between the two (such as Among Us). It doesn’t matter what kind of games you or your friends are into — our list has a little something for everyone.

Further reading

Among Us

Among Us

Available on: PC, iOS, Android

Although Among Us has been out for nearly two years, it only hit its stride a few weeks ago. From drawing around 100 players every day, Among Us now draws nearly 200,000 each day. Among Us is a simple social deduction game for 4-10 players. In it, you play as a crewmember with a list of tasks to complete. So, the goal is simple enough: Complete your tasks, and your team wins.

However, there’s at least one imposter among the group (you can have more imposters if you want). Imposters can kill crewmembers and sabotage various systems on the ship, keeping crewmembers from completing their tasks. To make matters worse, players can only talk amongst themselves if they report a dead body or call an emergency meeting to vote someone off the ship. Among Us is endless fun, and it’s free on iOS and Android. The Stream version isn’t free, but at $5, it might as well be.

Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, PC, PS4, Xbox One

Monster Hunter: World goes a long way in making Capcom’s long-running franchise accessible. Still, the grind is real in World. Although the loop of hunting monsters and upgrading your gear is addicting on its own, it’s much better with a group of friends. And because of World’s accessibility, it’s easy for a series veteran to take a newcomer out and show them the ropes. Monster Hunter: World offers hundreds of hours of fun with friends, and with the Iceborne expansion, even more. If you’re a Game Pass subscriber, you don’t have to buy Monster Hunter: Worldeither. It ranks among the best games on Xbox Game Pass.

Read our Monster Hunter: World review

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Stadia

The ultimate looter-shooter, Borderlands 3 is an even bigger and deeper game than its predecessors, with multiple planets to explore and several classes that each use their own special abilities. It’s completely playable in single-player mode, but bringing along a friend online makes every mission more engaging and opens up strategic opportunities in battle. As one player draws fire, the other can ambush enemies who aren’t expecting an attack.

With the loot system of Borderlands 3 that lets each player have their own drops instead of sharing them, there won’t be any arguments afterward, either. Plus, there are a whole lot of guns.

Outriders

Outriders Crafting Guide

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

If you’re more into looting and shooting from a third-person perspective, then the new surprise hit Outriders might be exactly what you and some friends are looking for. You and up to two other friends can team up as sever classes, each with their own suite of powers and abilities, to mow down waves of enemies with extremely satisfying weaponry. The story mode is fairly weak, but if you just tune that out, you and your pals can have a fantastic time blasting your way through the levels, collecting new weapons and armor, and leveling up your very fun-to-use powers.

A positive, or perhaps negative depending on what you’re looking for, is that Outriders isn’t intended to be an endless live service game where you always have more to grind for. There is an end to the story, and while there are endgame-level things to hunt and grind for beyond that, you won’t have to dedicate your entire life just to this one game if you want to see it all.

Read our full Outriders review

Minecraft

Minecraft

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch, iOS, Android

Why work on building a dream home in Minecraft alone when a friend can help craft more quickly?

Minecraft features cross-play between nearly every supported system because of its Bedrock update. This includes Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox, PC, and even mobile devices, meaning players can enjoy the game with their friends regardless of which system they’re on. The only exceptions are legacy platforms like Xbox 360 and PS3, which do not support cross-play. Provided players don’t get bored, there is essentially no end in Minecraft, making it a perfect choice for hunkering down when people can’t leave their homes for weeks on end.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Available on: Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a Nintendo Switch exclusive, and that means putting up with the console’s archaic friend code system to invite friends to an island. Once that’s done, however, it’s a joyous experience of appreciating the mundane. Visit friends’ houses to admire their paintings and interior decorating, then venture outside and catch bugs and fish. There isn’t a set goal, but that’s what makes the series so special.

Hanging out with friends and discovering secrets is its own reward, and text chat lets players easily communicate with each other without having to use the Nintendo Switch Online app. That said, Animal Crossing: New Horizons does have chat support through the app.

Read our full Animal Crossing: New Horizons review

Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4, PC

Call of Duty: Warzone is a completely free-to-play battle royale game set in 2019’s Modern Warfare universe. It supports cross-platform multiplayer across PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Unlike the smaller Black Ops 4 mode Blackout, Call of Duty: Warzone doesn’t require another game to run, and it launched with 150-player battles. Friends can team up in trios and fight to the death against other squads with a mix of first-person shooting and vehicular combat. The unique Gulag system even lets killed players come back to life, giving their teammates motivation to keep fighting to their very last breath.

Read our Call of Duty: Warzone review

Gears 5

Gears 5

Available on: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

Another great shooter option for Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC players, you can play Gears 5 entirely with a friend. The campaign is cooperative with support for up to two others, and the new Escape mode is only playable cooperatively.

Alongside these is Horde mode, which is best played cooperatively for a fighting chance against waves of the Swarm, and there is a beefy competitive multiplayer option for those who want to fight with — or against — their pals. Gears 5 also includes local cooperative play if you’re looking for some couch co-op action.

Read our full Gears 5 review

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 review

Available on: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

Forza Horizon 4 includes the same “Drivatar” A.I. system used by its predecessors, but it’s even better in online cooperative modes. The transition is seamless, with friends all driving on the same map where they can run into each other, and they can easily join up to compete in the same racing events without exiting to another player’s session.

Forza Horizon 4 features a huge number of races, collectibles, and stunts, and exploring its take on the English countryside is an absolute joy. Racing friends from one end of the map to the other only makes it better.

Read our full Forza Horizon 4 review

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Available on: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

Sea of Thieves isn’t just better with friends playing online — it’s almost impossible to play without them. Rare’s pirate game includes a small boat for anyone sailing alone, but it really requires a crew of at least three or four people to command the larger vessels and have a chance against other ships.

Calling out enemy locations over a chat headset and coordinating to reposition sails and cannons is a blast, especially when players send their friends soaring through the air onto another squad’s deck to attack them directly. Sea of Thieves sees Rare back to its old, weird self, and that is a good thing.

Read our full Sea of Thieves review

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Stadia

Available for only a few dollars at this point, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an excellent shared-world shooter that friends can play together in its entirety. That includes the campaign missions, which take agents into several sections of Washington, D.C. Separate cooperative side missions are also available, and when players have had their fill of fighting grunts in standard missions or raids, they can venture together into the Dark Zone to fight against other agents.

Teamwork and cooperation are particularly important here in Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, as valuable gear is on the line and can be lost to another squad in an instant.

Read our full The Division 2 review

Fortnite

Fortnite

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC, Android

Fortnite is a great choice for online gaming with friends, as its battle royale mode supports cross-play across everything from Nintendo Switch to Android phones. Epic Games’ take on the genre is colorful and less gory than some of its competitors, and its building component makes it perfect for creative players tired of hiding in a bush or behind a rock.

New events and gear are also added in Fortnite on a regular basis, ensuring friends will have new content to experience together for as long as they want to keep playing.

Read our full Fortnite review

Overwatch

Overwatch

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, Switch PC

Blizzard’s hero shooter ranks among the top multiplayer games ever created, and when you’re playing with friends and communicating through voice chat, it gets even better. You and your allies can coordinate with each other, selecting the perfect characters for each setting and announcing enemies’ positions as they approach or secure an objective. The good news is that all of the additional maps and characters added since launch are available for free. And not only that, but they are open and free to everyone. So, even if your friend doesn’t have the game, they can still play with you if you do. 

You can find Overwatch available on PC and all consoles — including Nintendo Switch. You’ll be shocked at how many incredible heroes you can choose, and we assure you that the game will still feel new even months after starting to play. 

Read our full Overwatch review

Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft Dungeons
Xbox Game Studios

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC

We could put most action RPGs into this category, and it’d make just as much sense. But Minecraft Dungeons has a couple of things going for it that put it ahead of the rest. For one thing, it’s available on Game Pass, so you can team up with friends and play together, as long as one person in the group has a PC or Xbox One. More notable, however, is the simple and easy to comprehend gameplay.

The hack-and-slash genre is not without complication, and games like Path of Exile highlight how far nuts and bolts such as character creation can go.

Minecraft Dungeons is elementary and offers plenty of unique loot while consistently concentrating on important things like hacking and slashing.

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