I’ve become so numb to the hype words/descriptors that publishers use to try and sell/quantify their games. At this point it’s just noise; words that have been blurred together and smoothed out, had all of their corners and meaning sanded away.
But for me there is still one word that manages to cut through the noise. That jumps off the screen when browsing Steam/trailers/reviews/whatever and grabs my attention every time. “Co-op.” I’m always on the look out for a good game to play alongside friends or family, so if I see “co-op” attached to a game, I have to take a look.
We have no shortage of single player games, and certainly mountains of team-based competitive titles that let you play alongside friends, but the true cooperative “us-versus-the-game” games I still find to be a bit of a rarity. Or at least rarer than I’d like them to be. And couch co-op is practically an endangered species.
I don’t even know what “immersive” is supposed to mean when it comes to a video game anymore. I don’t ever want to hear “soulslike” again. But you tell me a game has co-op, and I’m all ears.
Love when a game has co-op, my only gripe lately has been the three player co-op games as we usually have a group of 4, sometimes 5, wanting to play together and people have to sit out.
Are there a lot of three player co-op games? It feels like every game allows teams of 4 now. What’s 3 people only? Apex Legends, Destiny I suppose…
Aliens: Fireteam Elite and Outriders is about the only ones I can think of.
Wild Hearts, Nioh, Wo Long, Stranger of Paradise are examples off the top of my head. There’s also stuff like Code Vein a few years back that looks like it could support three players but it’s two player only.
Secret of Mana…
That got me right in the feels…
Every Fromsoft souls game except for Sekiro allows for 2 co-operators max, though with the seamless multiplayer mod for Elden Ring you can bump that up to 3 co-operators
Off the top of my head Revenant from the ashes, For The King, Outriders as said, Wild Hearts, Destiny as well to name a few
If you can, you should get Star Saga: One – Beyond the Boundary (1988) and Star Saga: Two – The Clathran Menace (1989). They can be played co-op with up to 6 players, and they’re great with an amazing story. They’re text-only games, though the booklets that come with it do have illustrations. They’re hybrid RPGs/board games/computer games, and I don’t know of anything like them.
Check Out PlateUp!
Fun Game to Play with Friends and Family.
That game is amazing co-op. My wife and I play the crap out of that game.
Just like Over Cooked. Love it.
Eon Alter is another really unique game. A tad clunky but such a cool unique design using cell phones and a free app to control/play your character on a turn based RPG.
SO True ! We need more coop-games to chill with friends together. Even shitty games become quite fun in a group.
Mario and sonic at the olympics anyone?
Honestly, I feel this so much. Most of my fondest memories are from couch co-op games like Halo, and unfortunately, I worry that that golden era of couch co-op is over.
My friends and I also always look for some fun Co-Op Games.
We look at nearly each one. Costs an Arm and a Leg, but sometimes there are quite some Pearls to be found.
I wish Hazelight made more games. They seem like the only people who do this true co-op really well anymore
These days practically every time a game says “co-op”, they don’t mean the kind of co-op, where you can play through the entire story campaign with a buddy/spouse. No, they practically always mean some form of randomized scenarios and I gosh durn hate that! One of the best pastimes I can think of is playing through games with my husband, but it’s just SO difficult to find games with co-op and a story campaign you can play through together, let alone one that’s also a good game! All the ones we’ve tried in the last couple of years have been… Read more »
All the borderland, the division, divinity original sins, are made for you. Try it takes two, awesome coop.
Divinity Original Sin is good, though its value as a co-operative game is a little wonky. It’s a turn-based game, so all co-op really does gameplay-wise is let you explore separately a bit and make pre-battle positioning a bit easier, as well as initiate a pre-emptive attack with 2 people (lategame we’d start fights by casting hail attack+meteor swarm outside of detection range to vaporize enemies without spending AP). It does make the roleplay bits a little better since otherwise you feel like you’re debating with yourself… though you’ll probably end up min-maxing your replies towards the traits you want… Read more »
I’d recommend Salt & Sanctuary and Salt & Sacrifice, For The King, Wizards of Legend, obviously Stardew Valley. Those are the main games my wife and I play together.
Check out the “We Were Here” series. It’s a good puzzle co-op series of games.
Funny CO-OP is the word that puts me to sleep. I was really interested in the game “Blight: Survival” until I got to the part about CO-OP.
Wow people are really offended by my disinterest in CO-OP games.
This, While I can appreciate that those who want co-op can have, for me it doesnt fit … typically what I’d appreciate is solo or co-op not but lately most that read co-op is “only co-op”
Well there’s always… Dare I say it?
…..Darktide to consider….
But really tho, I agree, especially couch co-op is so much fun! And so rare these days I sometimes feel compelled to bust out ye olde 64 to get a fix!
Yyyeeaaa…played that. Got bored of the barebones copy-paste grind after like 30 hours. =/
Maro Kart – SNES TMNT Turtles in Time. Contra 3. Good ol days.
Golden axe, street of rage! even better: SWAT on amstrad CPC!
There’s Shredder’s Revenge to consider then.
Tbh, all the souls-like and live services and season pass are the best way to prevent me from buying a game. Co-op may be good, but as we get older it’s harder to have time to play co-op now. I just want good solo rpg. I want a new mass effect and a new witcher 🙁
And a new Elder Scrolls. Though considering how long it’s been since Skyrim, and how high expectations will be for TES:6, I feel like it’ll be a disappointment to some degree.
starfield will be my substitution drug (at least I hope)
It’s impossible for games to live up to fan expectations. TES6 is already overhyped, and the fans will keep raising their expectations higher and higher. They’re setting themselves up for disappointment.
Co-op is good. But – as WereCatf mentioned – there’s a difference between a proper co-op where you play the same game as you do in single player, and a random generated co-op missions. That being said, some of those buzzwords still work for me. However they have the opposite effect. If I hear “live service” or “season pass” I know I should stay away from those games. It basically tell you what kind of monetization scheme they are using and I don’t want to be a part of that. Hell, even “triple A” becomes negative for me as many… Read more »
Ye Gods, if I never hear the term ‘Open World’ again it will be too soon. Your game has a story line series of missions and “optional” side missions but you have to complete them all to finish the game? That’s not really open world is it? You have a huge map but only the main missions and sweet Fanny Addams happening on the rest of the map? Call that what it is: ‘Could Have Been Open World (But We Ran Out Of Time/Money/Ideas)’ Also ‘Made by the guy who made (insert good game here)’. Well done him. He also… Read more »
I call those games “Commute Simulators” because now the maps are so large it genuinely takes several real-world minutes to traverse them and get to the next game part of the game.
You should have seen what it was like to go from Qeynos to Freeport.
The best co-op I ever played was World of Illusion – Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. You can’t get ahead without the other’s cooperation and you can also play pranks on one another.
The problem I have is getting friends to commit to joining up for a co-op, couch or no. The few co-op titles I do own are just gathering digital dust I’m afraid.
You have seen me.
Co-op is another one where I sleep, because games so often do it wrong. If it’s not some tacked on uninteresting side mode rather than the actual game, then it’s online only which means I can’t invite people over to play it, they’d have to get their own system, copy of the game, and online subscription before we can play. And yeah, I don’t know what immersive is supposed to mean anymore either. Dead Space is one of the most unimmersive games I’ve ever played, putting HUD elements on Isaac’s back where it makes no sense in universe because he… Read more »
Split screen is my kink
going down the list:
how “immersive”? are we talking im gonna forget the world around me or am i gonna have to find exact amount of firewood to put in the stove to cook with?
open or empty, better not be both
so rage bait?
yes we heard you like batman breaking peoples spines
is there even an old-gen?
no, my wallet will NOT be seeing your store anytime
good luck making me care beyond the first bits
make a movie not a game
ah so buggy as fuck and no fun for casual players?
The way I understand it – perhaps wrong – old-gen is for the previous generation of consoles. So a game which is made for both PS4 and PS5 and doesn’t have much difference between those two versions is old-gen, yes. A game which utilizes what PS5 can do and is either PS5 exclusive or has major differences between PS5 and PS4 versions is next-gen (well, the PS5 version is). Don’t ask me how it works on PCs despite being mostly PC player. It could be some milestones like a next generation of GPUs. Then again it could be just marketing… Read more »
You probably don’t care, but immersive (to me) means you get sucked into the game’s story and gameplay to the point you tune out everything else. I love a game where the story sucks me in. I’ve had games where gameplay and mechanics were “eh….I can take it or leave it” and still love the game for its story. Ephemeral Fantasia for the PS2 is a prime example of this.
To me, immersion means trying to make it as ‘real’ of experience as possible so things like minimal HUD, minimal or no fast travel, weapon/armor durability, realistic carrying capacities, usually pretty terrain graphics, and a starvation bar. To be honest I hate immersive features because they tend to waste my time.
Immersive -> meaningless word Open-World -> as others have said….Only sensible if it isn’t empty or just a walking simulator to go from instance to instance. Souls-Like -> usually just means “needlessly grindy and/or with a toxic “git gud” mindset. Hard pass. Gritty -> Grey and brown. Pass. Next-Gen -> as opposed to….? Live Service -> always online with no options for myself? HARD pass. Season Pass -> No clearly defined end game, no serious expansion, and/or needlessly and deliberately cut pieces of the main story. Hard pass. Cinematic -> If I want to watch a movie with random QTEs,… Read more »
Yeah, I genuinely started appreciating the value of being social and peaceful in video games, thus co-op is a great genre.
I really want and need to reduce gaming as my go-to time waster now that I’ve tried out the gym and exercising for real. That also makes gaming sessions more valuable on average than always playing something due to boredom.
Same here, for a while now
Reading magazines and it feels like every indie game in Early Access is a roguelike metroidvania.
Oh where have you BEEN? It’s been that way for years now with all games. If you filter out the term “rogue” from the Steam store, you’ll effectively hide 57% of games. So many great games that had potential suffer from rogue-itis, proc-genned and with no feeling of progress. Games that don’t value your time at all, games with level design that’s the equivalent of spewing spaghetti on a wall. We can overcome this plague, though. Raise awareness of rogue-itis.
With me it requires one more word “Couch” or “Off-line”. Without that.. I just fall back asleep
Deep Rock Galactic is my go-to co-op game for the past couple of years.
Elden Ring with Seamless Co-op made a great game even better.
We definitely need more great co-op games. And not just survival Minecraft wannabes.
Rock and Stone, Brother! It is somewhat amazing, that game is both an utter surprise hit, and still not on many peoples radar. I have shown that game to a number of my friends, even rather casual gamers, and it absolutely hit home. And even when playing in random groups, the game so much supports cooperative playing, it’s surprising. It’s just an amazing experience, one player goes down during extraction phase. And the Driller and Scout go ahead and save that player, while the Engineer secures the drop pod. They could merely leave, the impact would be an insignificant reduction… Read more »
Care to share your top 5 best “us-versus-the-game” games ever? 🙂
In no certain order, off the top of my head, I’d say:
The Divinity Series
It Takes Two
The Monster Hunter series
A Way Out
Just started It Takes Two with the wife. Can confirm it’s awesome so far!
Yeah, I played it with mine. We had such a great time, it sucked I couldn’t then say “here’s another game just like it we can play.”
My Top choice for single screen Co-ops by type:
Couch co-op is rare for the same reason why recent consoles are sold with just one controller instead of two: because statistically families have one children.
They are sold with one controller because they want to be able to ding you for an extra 80 bucks.
AND if they can have everyone buy multiple consoles, that is also a win. Instead of just one friend with the Xbox or 64, each friend needs their own.
Oh god SO much this one! Another competitive, cinematic, open world, next gen live service game? Snore… They’re a dime a dozen these days. And I don’t like competitive game anymore. I want to have fun or relax when I can play a game. Single player can be good, but what REALLY gets my attention is co-op games I can play with my boyfriend or other friends. A rarity these days.
I’m so hungry for more couch co-op that Im even excited for Disney Illusion Island!
Looking forward to Remnant 2 for exactly this reason
My wife and I are always looking for things we can play together.
There’s a specific type of couch co-op that seems to be dying in AAA.
As far as I can tell, it’s not for lack of demand.
I just wish there were more co-op games where you could both be a party of 6, and also do missions in said party of 6.
live-service has to be the biggest turn off for any video game for me.
Honestly though Co-Op these days isn’t even really true Co-Op and it’s one of the reasons I miss MMOs. Co-Op these days just means “add more hp, add more damage” It just scales up the single-player game.
The best example of a real Co-Op game that I’ve played in a long time was “The Two of Us”, we need more games like that.
Though I suppose the balance is, it HAS to be played Co-Op, there’s a balance that has to be struck between making a game solo-playable vs making it true Co-Op.
Portal 2 was fantastic in this. two different games pretty much, one coop one single player.
Yes!! I’m mainly on X-Box. Side-by-side co-op is almost non-existent except for Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons. I think my family would love some games, if they could play them with me. Alas, it’s just not a priority.
Co-Op is the best if you can get a decent group together. The best example of this is ‘King of the Castle’ a new indy game on Steam. Amazing game, but if your friends are being unreliable it falls flat.
I picked up King of the Castle, but haven’t played it yet. Though it might be fun to do on stream…
I hope you do start streaming again. It was always fun to watch you play and just hang out.
This looks really good! Thanks for the recommendation. Just wishlisted it 🙂
Rock and Stone!
My man, the Earth Defense Force series is for you!
Love me some EDF 🙂 Fuck those ants.
My wife and I are always looking for a co-op game. Between our different gaming tastes and styles, and her motion sickness, the already slim genre is even more sparse.
This is why my husband and I keep playing new Diablo 3 characters and are excited for 4. We recently had fun with the star trek Prodigy game. That one did co op well.
Give me a current gen release of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy!
This is why starting a new 7 days to Die server has happened every so often in my gaming group for a decade now. The challenge of all of us getting to our chosen base location then building it up to the point where we can defend it against a 7th night, plus we love to find big complex POI’s to add to the server to explore.
Actually have been hosting a Darkness Falls variant for friends, so right there with you.
Words cannot describe how utterly tired I am of hearing the word “Open-World Sandbox”
“co-op focused” is coded language for single player ignored.
Resident Evil 5, Halo 5, Gears, and so on.
Portal 2, overcooked, divinity, and so on. oh wait… See? I can add random games so my point is right instead of yours.
I built my office to to have two tvs so my wife and I can “couch co-op” any game. Even one player games work this way as we are right there of the “did you see that moments”.
Co-op.. true co-op games.. feels like a rarity. Me and my SO just bashed our way (or I bashed and they got semi carried) through code vein… that was fun and unique. Now we picked up remnant.. and they are out shooting me, carrying me through it 😀 We love co-op games.. but we hate PVP… so finding something with a long story we can immerse ourselves in, is hard. Yeah there’s all the ‘bite sized’ co-op games.. like overcooked.. but those aren’t for long complicated playthroughs. that is a pick up ‘go oh this is fun’ then put down… Read more »
Seeing how souls-like stands for “you’re going to die a lot”, I wouldn’t want to have “immersive” near it (in a sense “you’re going to feel everything that happens in the game”).
not for me
gonna have to try better, devs XD