Liam guides you to the best of the recent co-op games available today.
Itâs actually no wonder that the world is an aggressive place where everyone screws each other over. Try merging lanes in rush hour Wellington traffic without being a total bastard and see if you get anywhere in an hour. Society is set up in such a way that it causes us to hate each other. (You can see that pure, unbridled hate come out when people hide behind the mask of the Internet.)
Indeed, itâs even in our video games: too often now we are asked to play against someone rather than with someone. Gone are the days when a two-player mode meant you could bring along a friend for the ride; now it means that you are able to kick his ass and make him cry himself to sleep at night. Even Mario Kart Wii took out the co-operative Grand Prix.
Indeed, as an engaged man, I find it increasingly difficult to find experiences I can share with my beautiful gamer of a fiancĂ©e. Playing against each other isnât really our idea of fun (and sheâs better than me at Haloâs Rumble Pit anyway), so weâve actually gone out of our way to find some of the better co-op experiences that are as rare as henâs teeth today.
Now, as a nice guy, Iâve decided that if you, dear reader, find yourself in a similar situation, I will share this hard-earned information with you and provide you with the top 10 co-op games available today.
[In no particular order:]
Resistance: Fall of Man
Resistance: Fall of Man is actually one of the few console first-person shooters to offer a co-operative mode, let alone one that allows you to truly co-operate. Indeed, Resistance gives players an opportunity to revive their fallen comrades, so the best strategies require players to stick together rather than running off and being John Rambo. Itâs not quite as polished as Gears of War, but for PS3 owners it's easily the best co-op game available on the platform. Resistance: Fall of Man will be Platinum at the end of month, but you can already pick it up for dirt cheap now if you know where to look, so itâs also great value for money.
The Simpsons: The Game
This entertaining and humorous game is worth playing in its own right, but it really shines when it comes to the co-op mode. With each player taking control of a character, players are essentially required to co-operate to achieve tasks. For example, only Homer will be able to bring down that statue due to his weight, and only Bart will be able to fly as Bartman to the required height to flick a switch. Working together is the only way to succeed, and coupled with the entertaining spoof on video game culture, its co-op mode becomes an enjoyable experience that can be enjoyed by all.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
While the Xbox 360 and PS3 games suffer from technical faults, the Wii version of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga presents perhaps the best co-op game available today. Not only do players have to work together like in The Simpsons game, but death is also not punished, meaning that the experience is light-hearted and enjoyable. Additionally, the cute parody of the greatest movies ever, along with the visceral joy of swinging the Wii Remote like a lightsaber means that Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for the Wii is a real winner. The only downside is that itâs been discontinued in New Zealand, meaning that finding a copy is pretty hard to do.
Perfect Dark Zero
Perfect Dark Zero over Halo 3? Have I gone mad? Of course not; there are two simple reasons why Iâve gone with Rareâs first-person shooter. Firstly, itâs cheap as chips now. You can actually find a copy for like $10 if you shop around. Iâm going to spend more on that tonight feeding myself and my fiancĂ©e and I wonât get 20+ hours of enjoyment out of the food. Secondly, the mission-based structure of Perfect Dark Zero really requires you to co-operate with your fellow player. For example, in one mission Joanna Dark will have to cover her father with sniper fire. As the other player is Jack Dark, and as death spells the end of the mission, itâs paramount that you work together. While Halo 3 is a wonderful game that I love to pieces, often co-op strategies can reduce themselves to âYou stay here and respawn me while I go kamikaze on that Scarab.â Thereâs even an online co-op mode just in case you really are a Johnny No-Mates.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
A recent addition to Xbox Live Arcade, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 offers a surprisingly robust co-operative mode. Supporting up to four players, not only can you all work individually for the greater good of your collective score, but you can also reduce yourself to two ships with each ship having a separate pilot and gunner. Making sure that you donât run into an enemy that your co-pilot had no intention of shooting requires co-operation and communication, and bringing this to a game where it could so easily resort in frustration â look at Super Stardust HD for example â and succeeding rewards it a place on this list.
Gears of War
In a sense, Gears of War almost feels like an updated version of Contra, especially given its trial-and-error nature and its emphasis on a perfect run. Thatâs what I said about Gears of War upon its release, and I still stand by it now. Gears of War is a sublime co-op experience. Indeed, like Resistance, it also requires players to resuscitate their fallen comrades, meaning that co-operation is the key to success. Gears of War is also still one of the best looking games available today, and itâs also available for a decent price if you know where to look. Like Perfect Dark Zero, it also offers online co-op play in case you donât actually know anyone who will come and play with you.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Like a real band, Guitar Hero III allows you and a friend to work together to create music. In fact, an entire career mode is offered and some songs can only be played this way. One player plays the lead guitar, while another plays rhythm or bass guitar. Itâs a fun way to play, especially if one of you isnât as much of a guitar god as the other. Thereâs also an online co-op mode for people that matters too. Rock Band probably does this better, what with the extra instruments, but itâs not even out here yet.
Dynasty Warriors 6
Dynasty Warriors 6 is a shoddy, unfinished mess, but in terms of co-op games, itâs easily one of the best. Death of a single player spells the end of the game, so it pays to look after your partner. Additionally, when you both have access to your special moves, being right next to your partner will make you both stronger, so it pays to hang around. Sure, you might end up fighting over who gets the item drops, but at the end of the day youâll always bury the hatchet to beat Lu Bu. Too Human will probably do the whole hack ânâ slash co-op better, but like Rock Band, itâs not out yet either.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Brawl seems like an odd choice, considering that itâs a multiplayer fighting game. Yes, it offers team-based play, but thatâs not why it made the list. No, it made the list because of its campaign mode, The Subspace Emissary offers a co-operative mode. This mode itself plays a lot like the classic games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, with the last half of the game playing like old school Metroid games â so those who miss the glory days of co-op play will feel right at home here. The camera does follow player one, meaning that player two will have to keep up, but as you share lives itâs in both playersâ interests to stay together. Because of that, itâs a great co-op game for anyone looking for such an experience on their Wii.
In all honesty, you could probably put any vertical-scrolling shoot âem up here, but Ikaruga is the best of the bunch that doesnât require you to pay an arm and a leg for. Available on XBLA for a paltry 800 MS Points, Ikaruga offers some fantastic co-op play. Sharing lives, the key to survival is to make sure each other stays alive. The best way to do this is to make sure that one player is absorbing dark bullets, and one player is absorbing light. That way, you can be shields for each other and get further than if you were both just playing as individuals. Itâs rock hard, and youâll probably end up crying when your partner steals the last continue just as you lose your last life, but the experience will bring you closer together, I promise.
So there you have it, 10 games across all platforms that you will be able to play with other people. However, if you feel Iâve missed any, or you feel that some of them donât deserve to be on that list, be sure to voice your opinion in the comments section below. Until next time, happy gaming!