The 8 Best Multiplayer Xbox One Games of 2020

Will you play together, or play to win?

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The Rundown

Best Survival Game: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds at Amazon

"This online multiplayer battle royale pits you against 99 others players on a giant map filled with cities, suburbs, and rural areas."

Best Open-World Game: Far Cry 5 at Amazon

"Far Cry 5 isn’t just an ordinary shooter game for the Xbox One — it’s debatably the most immersive open-world gaming experience on the market."

Best First-Person Shooter: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 at Amazon

"This game is designed to focus entirely on multiplayer-only modes like online competitive matches, zombie survival, and battle royale."

Best Narrative: A Way Out at Amazon

"A Way Out combines the driving narrative of a prisonbreak movie with the interactivity of a cooperative video game."

Best Sports Game: NBA 2K19 at Amazon

"When you can’t get a dose of the real thing, NBA 2K19 provides one of the best sports simulations out there."

Best 2D Platform Game: Cuphead at Amazon

"It's a modernized take on the classic run-and-gun 2D platformers of the past, the kind you'd play with your friends in an arcade."

Best All-Ages Game: Overcooked! 2 at Amazon

"In Overcooked! 2, you and your friends are chefs working overtime to satisfy hungry hordes of diners in the world's most absurd restaurants."

Hasbro Family Fun Pack: Conquest Edition at Amazon

"This multiplayer Xbox One game includes four classic board games: "RISK: Urban Assault," "Battleship," "Monopoly Plus," and "Scrabble.""

A new Xbox console may be around the corner, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of fun multiplayer games to play on the Xbox One. A good multiplayer should have addictive competitive or cooperative elements to offer a fun gameplay loop, but it also shouldn't skimp on plot and graphics. We've played and reviewed a number of Xbox One multiplayer games across all genres, including survival, open-world, and platformers to recommend you the best ones.

You should also check out our list of the best offline multiplayer games if you don't want to be always connected.

Best Survival Game: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Courtesy of Amazon
3.6
What We Like
  • No huge learning curve

  • Fun and addictive gameplay

  • Multiple maps and game modes

What We Don't Like
  • Mediocre graphics

  • Some latency and motion issues

The long-awaited PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is finally out, and it offers the best multiplayer Xbox One survival game experience around. This online multiplayer battle royale pits you (with up to three other teammates) against 99 others players on a giant map filled with cities, suburbs, and rural areas. You must use your wits, and most likely teamwork, to fight for survival — only the last person standing can win.

The action starts immediately in PUBG as you parachute onto the map. From there, you and your friends must run for your lives to find shelter, equipment, food, and weapons. That's the only way you'll stand a chance against all the other players that are trying to kill you. Our reviewer enjoyed this addictive gameplay loop, though she had some issues with lackluster graphics and some latency issues.

Work with your friends to stay alive at all costs by manning vehicles and machine guns, avoiding bombs, and staying inside an ever-shrinking play zone full of enemy players. Teamwork is crucial in PUBG. And when you're reviving a downed teammate behind a rock, throwing smoke grenades to hold off snipers, you have to trust that they'll return the favor.

"PUBG is a battle royale, and its focus has never been on plot, but instead is on offering players a fun and replayable gaming experience." Kelsey Simon, Product Tester

Best Open-World Game: Far Cry 5

What We Like
  • Attractive open-world environment

  • Nice mix of weapons

  • Interesting missions

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't depart much from Far Cry 4

Far Cry 5 isn’t just an ordinary shooter game for the Xbox One—it’s perhaps the most immersive open-world gaming experience on the market, filled with endless possibilities where exploration is rewarded and danger lurks around every corner. The game’s main campaign can be played cooperatively online with one other friend.

You're dropped into the great outdoors among the mile-wide forests and hills on the outskirts of Montana, investigating a murderous cult that’s out to kill you. In this far-ranging adventure, you and your partner can man boats and helicopters, rescue hostages, destroy buildings with rocket launchers and even adopt a pet bear to fight alongside you.

Far Cry 5 might sound outlandish, but that’s what the series is all about: an exercise in exploration that pushes the boundaries of just how much you can get away with as you build your character and see how the world changes around you.

"Far Cry 5 isn't a departure from the previous series in terms of gameplay, but it's still full of fun, fast-paced action with plenty of missions to complete and enemies to shoot." Ajay Kumar, Tech Editor

Best First-Person Shooter: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

What We Like
  • Classic BlackOps mixed with newer battle royale

  • Customizable characters

  • Interesting teamwork-based play styles

What We Don't Like
  • No single player campaign

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 differentiates itself from other Xbox One shooters by combining elements of the classic Black Ops series with the best multiplayer elements of popular new games like PUBG or "Fortnite." In fact, this game is designed without a single-player campaign, instead focusing entirely on multiplayer-only modes like online competitive matches, zombie survival, and battle royale.

The game reworks traditional first-person shooter gameplay and employs more tactical and teamwork-based play styles. You can outfit customizable characters that complement your squad, acquire medical kits to recoup lost health for both you and your teammates, and collect and give away custom upgradable gear. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 also offers local co-op and multiplayer so you don't necessarily have to be online to play with friends.

Best Narrative: A Way Out

What We Like
  • Cinematic experience

  • Cool story

  • Lots of emotion-driven plot points

What We Don't Like
  • Some plot elements fall flat

"A Way Out" combines the driving narrative of a prisonbreak movie with the interactivity of a cooperative video game. This multiplayer Xbox One game must be played with another player (either online or through split-screen) and provides an atmospheric cinematic experience that truly feels like you're in a film. The best part is that you only need one copy of the game to play through with another person.

"A Way Out" is shot in a third-person perspective and follows the story of two prisoners with intertwining fates who are both set on escaping jail. Like a good movie, the action-adventure elements (like adrenaline-pumping car chases where one player drives and the other shoots) are intercut with slower and more emotion-driven plot points that heighten the game’s stakes, story, and atmosphere.

Every now and then—between the chaos of breaking out, getting in fistfights, and knocking out guards—you’ll come across more cinematic scenes where your characters play a board game or shoot hoops together. All together, these elements combine to create an experiential and atmospheric journey that captivates in both its collaborative gameplay efforts and emotional storytelling. 

Best Sports Game: NBA 2K19

3.8
What We Like
  • Story mode is engaging and fun

  • Tight and responsive controls

  • Smooth online gameplay

  • Expanded defensive maneuvers

What We Don't Like
  • Long load times

  • Microtransactions

  • Weak tutorial

Unfortunately, the real NBA season only lasts for a short time each year. But with "NBA 2K19," you and your friends can play basketball with your favorite teams anytime you want on the Xbox One console. When you can’t get a dose of the real thing, "NBA 2K19" provides one of the best sports simulations out there that shines for both its realistic presentation and for giving players that same exciting feeling of watching the fourth quarter of a playoff.

Looking at gameplay in "NBA 2K19" is like watching an actual NBA game. Our reviewer loved the way the lines of reality were blurred with lifelike motion-capture physics, graphical models of real players, and in-game linear voice commentary by Greg Anthony and Doris Burke who’ll discuss your team and what's happening on the (virtual) court.

If you have some friends over, or you’re up for an online challenge, "NBA 2K19" will make everyone feel like everything is at stake — when Steph Curry steps up to take that three-point shot, it's you at the controls. And if you miss, the feeling will hit you like a real game. "NBA 2K19" also lets you play as classic teams like the legendary Chicago Bulls of the '90s, so you can finally make all those sports fantasies come to life.

"NBA 2K19 features some of the best commentaries for any sports game, with insightful breakdowns, fun player anecdotes, and up tempo play-by-plays." Eric Watson, Product Tester

Best 2D Platform Game: Cuphead

What We Like
  • Charming retro graphics

  • Exciting and creative boss battles

  • Cool moves and collectibles

What We Don't Like
  • Can be a little too challenging

"Cuphead" is a modernized take on the classic run-and-gun 2D platformers of the past, the kind you'd play with your friends in an arcade, like "Contra" or "Gunstar Heroes." This charming and challenging indie game features offline Co-op multiplayer so you and a friend can complete the entire game together just like old times.

"Cuphead" is designed in the style of retro 1930s cartoons (think Popeye or very vintage Disney) and consists mostly of exciting and creative boss battles where you can fight everything from telekinetic carrots to boxing frogs. Test your skills by performing synchronous bullet-dodging parries and slides while shooting energy bullets from your fingertips. Collect coins along the way to purchase charm upgrades to your health and firepower, a feature that gives the game an RPG element that forms to any type of play style.

Overall, "Cuphead" is a challenging and fun game where the lives are infinite but the stakes are high.

Best All-Ages Game: Overcooked! 2

What We Like
  • Fun teamwork-based game

  • Kid-friendly

  • Goofy and funny

What We Don't Like
  • Can be occasionally challenging

Time is ticking in "Overcooked! 2," where you and your friends are chefs working overtime to satisfy hungry hordes of diners in the world's most absurd restaurants. You can win by working together — and cooking up some delicious din-din to save the world. This kid-friendly teamwork-based game is a perfect choice if you have a few friends over (or online) and want to play something that is exciting, goofy, and made for laughs.

Designed for up to four players, "Overcooked! 2" has everyone performing a specific kitchen task, cooking up food as fast as possible to satiate the appetites of various menaces. Players will handpick ingredients, put them on counters (or throw them) for other players to chop up, then cook and combine them on dishes to serve to the restaurant at a ridiculous pace. This cooperative cooking simulator relies on speed and communication, and enjoyment can be found in both the follies of flying fish and the completion of a successful (virtual) sushi roll.

Best for Family Game Night: Hasbro Family Fun Pack: Conquest Edition

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Makes family game night fun and modern

  • Great for families

What We Don't Like
  • AI opponents aren't very interesting

"Hasbro Family Fun Pack: Conquest Edition" makes family game night more streamlined, less expensive, and way easier to clean up than a closet full of board games. This multiplayer Xbox One game includes four classic board games: "RISK: Urban Assault," "Battleship," "Monopoly Plus," and "Scrabble."

"Hasbro Family Fun Pack: Conquest Edition" is designed to approximate the gameplay of the traditional games, and it's easy to learn and play for a wide range of age groups, making it a great choice for families. There are options to play both online and offline with up to four players, and families can "pass and play" with a single Xbox One controller if there aren't enough for everyone. Each title has the option to include AI opponents in case you and another player want to duke it out in multiplayer mayhem (or if one of the kids is away at summer camp).

Final Verdict

If you're looking for fun, fast-paced shooting with friends, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is one of our top picks for its addictive, fast-paced gameplay that pits players against each other in a battle royale setting. If you want a similar type of multiplayer game, minus the competition, Far Cry 5 offers great graphics and co-op gameplay. Finally, if you're a sports fan, NBA 2K19 has some of the best voice acting and audio commentary we've seen.

About Our Trusted Experts

Eric Watson has more than five years experience as a tech and gaming writer. He's previously been published on PC Gamer, Polygon, Tabletop Gaming Magazine, and others. He tested NBA 2K19 and enjoyed its smooth controls, great motion capture graphics, and audio commentary.

Kelsey Simon has been a gamer all her life, she even built her own gaming PC and owns several consoles. She liked PUBG for its addictive gameplay loop that forces players together into a battle royale as the map shrinks around them.

Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Lifewire. With over seven years experience in the tech industry, he's reviewed everything from PC parts and games, to phones and laptops. He's been a gamer for as long as he can remember, owns several consoles, and has built a gaming PC. He enjoyed Far Cry 5 for the immersive environment and fun gunplay.

What to Look for When Buying Xbox One Multiplayer Games

Competitive Element - A good Xbox One multiplayer game should have a competitive element which either pits players against each other or has them cooperate for a common goal. PUBG is a good example of forcing players to do battle, while Overcooked 2 allows players to work together in order to finish an order.

Gameplay - The best games have a gameplay loop that's addictive without being too onerous. PUBG pushes the map together, forcing players to fight in tighter quarters and gives the game an element of urgency. Far Cry 5 has tons of missions to complete and weapons to collect.

Graphics- Graphics can vary a lot among games, indie games might stick to 2D or pixel art, while newer games have the latest and greatest 3D graphics. A game that doesn't do so well graphically is PUBG which tends to find it difficult to run on higher settings.