Games used to be played on a couch with your buddies or alone and they were great experiences. Today a lot of gamers lack the ‘buddies on a couch’ presence and instead opt for either a single-player, online competitive, or an online co-op experience. The great thing about co-op gaming is that it can take a mediocre game and make it enjoyable; better yet, it can take a good game and make it great.
We give kudos today to those developers who were able to take advantage of this mechanic and great experiences we’ll always remember.
Borderlands 1 & 2
Gearbox Software struck gaming gold when it developed the Borderlands franchise and it was partially due to the bazillion guns on offer and to the fact you could play through the game with up to 3 of your friends. Despite the fact the games generally delivered lame narratives, but improving in the sequel, the addition of co-op play saved the experience entirely and gave you and your buddies something to grind through together. Throw in the memorable characters and the replay value and Borderlands is easily one of the best co-op games of this generation.
Halo 3 & 4
Bungie was already sitting on a gold mine with the Halo franchise. Fans bought this series in the millions and probably would have without even knowing anything prior to release, but when they added online co-op to Halo, it took the game to new heights. Sure, offline multiplayer was already available, but who wants to play split-screen all the time? Not us. We’re not that starved for nostalgia. However, playing with friends who no longer live by us or friends we’ve met online is an awesome time. (Props to 343 for Halo 4, obviously)
Gears of War Franchise
Co-op gaming hit a great high with the Gears of War franchise. In fact, Epic Games pretty much built an entire franchise on it. Sure, GeoW also had a great third-person camera angle and cover mechanic, but the co-op experience built into Gears of War was incredible. The developers also did a great job by implementing sequences that allows the characters to branch out into different directions to take down sections separately as well. We know when we look back on this generation of gaming, we’ll always have great memories of Gears of War.