Here are 6 lesser-known PC games for you to play with your friends!
Do you like video games?
Do you like people?
Do you like playing video games with people?
Would you rather play video games with your friends (or with strangers) than answer inane questions from some random writer on the internet?
Don’t bother answering, I can’t hear you – check out these games instead!
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000
Gametype: Depends what species you play, but it’s mainly First-Person Shooter and/or Stealth.
Not to be confused with the slightly-more-modern and much-shorter-named 2010 release, Aliens vs Predator, Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000 (AVPC2K) is a throwback to much earlier period of gaming before microtransactions and lootboxes.
If you’re not a stickler for graphics, AVPC2K features some thrilling and suspenseful action. You can play an Alien (a Xenomorph from the Alien franchise), a Predator (a Yautja from the Predator franchise), or a Marine (a human from Alien franchise, and no that’s not a joke).
The game features three single-player campaigns – one for each species, all of which are great – but the multiplayer is where it really shines. There are various game modes, including an endless Skirmish against Aliens.
It’s worth playing purely for the Predator’s boomerang-like Disc weapon. AVPC2K also features crossplay between the Steam and the Good Old Games version of the game.
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – Dead Effect 2
Gametype: First-Person Shooter
This is my favourite game of all time, and it kills me that it’s not more popular. Do you know what else kills me, all the time? The weapons of my friend Bazza whenever we play Player versus Player (PvP) mode.
Fortunately for my ego, there’s a campaign co-op mode as well. More games need that. I’m looking directly at you, Doom (2016) – YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!
There are also other game modes, from wave-based survival to horde-clearing. You unlock the playable maps by beating them in single-player mode. There’s also a skill tree, and because the player level caps out at level 20, it’s well balanced.
The whole thing is pure *chef kiss* but hey – maybe I’m biased. Did I mention it’s my favourite game of all time?
Fair warning though: It can be confusing to set up a mutliplayer game the first time, and you need to do it for every single map you play – even if you’re doing the campaign with a buddy.
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – Deep Rock Galactic
Gametype: First-Person Shooter/Collect-em-up
This game is amazing, by which I mean the play area is like a 3D maze (and also that it’s awesome). Every character is a space dwarf.
You choose a mission from the spacedock, and then you load into a procedurally-generated (randomly produced because it uses map-building algorithm) map.
Different missions have different goals. In one mission you might simply be mining space ores, in another you might need to fight multiple boss-level creatures – and so on.
The combat is tough, and the maps aren’t always fairly designed, but that’s part of what makes it so exciting.
There are four different classes and they all serve a specific purpose. I hesitate to use the word ‘synergy’ but it really is apt here.
The spacedock is a great place with many activities as well. My favourite activity is the jukebox, because it can make your character dance and I like to floss just to irritate my space buddies. Sadly there is no option to do the orange justice but we won’t hold that against the game.
No, I’ve never played Fortnite – but my kids like watching Tik Tok videos.
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – Savage Lands
Gametype: First-Person Survival
This is like Minecraft, but if it used the Morrowind engine. The graphics are chunky, the gameplay is clunky, and the sound effects are funky fresh.
I almost didn’t put this on the list, just so I could spend extra paragraphs gushing over The Forest, but Savage Lands lets me dual-wield axes so it made the grade.
The combat can be incredibly tough if you play solo, but collecting resources can be time-consuming if you play with others, because the (fairly small) gameworld has the same amount of resources no matter what mode you play it in. Most of the resources refresh once the day/night cycle has completed though, so that’s handy.
One thing I really enjoy about the game is the viking-apocalyptic feel. You can rebuild some of the buildings, which is fun and also kind of eerie because it makes you realise that someone lived here before. The gameworld gets VERY dark at night, even with the brightness turned all the way up.
There’s one thing that might turn female players away though. There are only male character models to choose from, and according to the Steam Forums that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Speaking of turning players away: This the only game on the list in Early Access, if that’s something you care about.
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Gametype: First-Person Shooter and Third-Person melee/magic
You can use a lightsaber. You can also play it like a shooter. There are many game modes, such as Deathmatch and Duel (shown above). Because it’s so old you might not find your preferred resolution there – the picture above is in 640×480 because the game kept reverting to that. I don’t care, it’s still fun.
I mean, come on now – it’s Star Wars. What more do you need to know?
It’s for a church, honey – it’s gotta seat 20.
Yeah, I just used a Reddit meme. I did that to distract you from the fact that I referred to The Force as ‘magic’ earlier in this entry.
JEDI MIND TRICK!
Hidden Multiplayer Gem – The Forest
Gametype: First-Person Survival Horror
This is similar to Savage Lands in a lot of ways, but an argument could be made that it’s better in every way. The combat is more fluid, the graphics are less chunky, and the building aspect of the game is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
One could, if one wished, cover the entire island on which The Forest takes place with hundreds of tree bridges, thereby emulating an Ewok village. The reason one might do this is so that one may more easily escape the freakish abominations that patrol the island, or perhaps the mutated humans that accompany them.
There’s a lot of in-game lore. The first time I played it was in single player and I put a lot of effort into solving the mystery outlaid in the opening/intro sequence. It well and truly paid off when I finally got around to finishing the game with some friends.
This game gets incredibly dark, both in content and visuals, so make sure to take a lightsource when you decide to explore a cave.
You know – just like in real life!
All the games in this article are available on Steam.
Also, if you read this far, here’s a secret: Every single one of these games is just as fun to play in single-player mode!