Carrying on from my favourite 20 online competitive games on PS3 comes the much lesser loved ugly cousin in the multiplayer family… Co-op.
I’m very much a co-op gamer. And this is partly due to the fact I’m a friend oriented man… boy… thing, there is nothing quite like the achievement in a victory with your best buddy by your side.
…I also like co-op games because I am terrible at vidya gaemz. So being able to pin the blame on your partner running off ahead helps my own self confidence.
So without further ado, the typical warning about content following in no way being affiliated with anyone or anything other than my own feeble mind unable to comprehend how apparently ‘gripping’ Journey was.
Well. Where else could I possibly start…other than the greatest co-op game to ever grace the shores of Playstation 3-land?
Dead Island has gripped me into its co-op for the pure factor of major super funziez. The game is catered so well for just bunking off for hours on end and doing nothing constructive to the main objective at all.
This is what the majority of games lack now-a-days, the ability to just goof off whenever you want with 1, 2 or 3 other like-minded people and just enjoy the mechanics of the game at its most base value… in this case, making zombies ragdoll over car bonnets.
Which brings me onto case point number 2; may I present… zombies… and all their ragdoll glory-ness. The way in which you can dismember or cripple zombies in a group is astonishing to say the least. And I’m still astonished that we find so much laughter in kicking zombies off of piers, or throwing boxes at them and watching them drown.
It’s a good life sometimes.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days:
Oh-ho, controversial eh? Well, I couldn’t wait any longer, and many of you probably won’t class it as co-op…but… you’re probably right anyway, so let’s just move on eh?
Kane & Lynch 2 was an awful game of terrible design choices from the get go. However, it did give me plenty of joy…and of course I’m talking about Fragile Alliance. This mode whilst not ‘strictly’ co-op is based around helping one another to achieve a single goal… or at least for the first round or two. But even so this mode is a complete barrel of laughs.
It’s hard to describe when deep down, I too know how flawed everything in this game is, but there is some underlying thrills to be had here when you’re with some friends and some random players. I have fond memories of running up the stairs to the hangar rooftop for the helicopter pick-up, friends and strangers being mowed down around me. Reaching the ladder, only me and one other alive… he nears the pad… then I tell the pilot to get a move on just as he reaches us. It’s fair to say what came down the microphone wasn’t family friendly.
And there we have it, the golden rule to co-op games, always have rewards for being a bit of a noonoo to fellow players.
…Oh… and there’s a story mode as well which is hilarious when you spend just over 3 hours trying to complete that one car segment… the horror…
You see, my tastes aren’t ALL bad.
Whilst I was very tempted to add Borderlands 2 to this list, I felt it was the original that really got me and my friends back into online co-op. And for that it deserves more recognition.
It is such a simple premise to make a game which is essentially, get 3 other people, and blow fizzle up. But do it so completely over the top and with some great characters and locations too. Also… we’re going to put some cooky art design in so it doesn’t feel like Serious Sam.
And I’m very grateful that Borderlands set the tone for games that followed in its wake as a standard for pure childish shooty fun fun action.
Yup… you read that correctly.
Think yourselves lucky I didn’t include it in the competitive list as well… it was even in the original 20. That’s how unmistakably good this game is.
…Maybe I’m overselling it a bit. But for all its flaws… and I mean… there is a lot of them. Playing Hazes ‘story’ if you can call it that with some friends or strangers is an absolute delight.
I think it’s actually just a case of… it’s slightly more bearable if you’re with someone else? I’m not sure, but there is a charm hidden inside the low textures Haze offers us that is riddled with giggles and fun times… and glitches… them too. It’s all about the adventure, and playing Haze co-op certainly makes it an adventure to cherish and remember… as much as you’d like to forget ever playing it.
Well, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t choose between all 3 of them, so I just picked the middle… that’s a good bet right?
Resistance 2 is my favourite Resistance game to date, in terms of the online cooperative multiplayer they offer you. I will say however, Resistance 3 and Fall of Mans co-op was mechanically great. But Resistance 2 stood out for being that much more fun. The class system was a brilliant addition and seriously made some maps very stressful, but in a good way… in a way which is shown via multiple soldiers all shouting obscenities at the single medic whilst grims cascade into them.
It was an experience I’m glad I played… but overall it did seem a bit compact for what it could have been… there was a lot of good times to be had with it, but not enough different content to be had. Pressing buttons to spawn enemies on top of some stranger lagging behind is super-duper, but it does get old after a while.
All in all, Resistance 2 is some archaic juvenile gun-toting fun.
Resident Evil 5:
What a dire, dismal game.
…In single player.
However, in a co-op mode the game should really have only been released as for half the price, it’s an absolute corker.
It’s another simple combination that tickles my gamer side, zombies + attractive female characters X co-op story = impeccable jollies.
And whilst I never actually completed the final boss fight because both me and my partners were terribad at anything that involves winning or completion, the journey to that point on two separate occasions was filled with laughs that I doubt I’d find elsewhere as the way the game played was just too serious for its own boots, something I always find entertaining.
However, its next iteration was equally, if not more stupid good fun, for the wrong reasons.
Resident Evil 6:
This new era of horror survival games is already the worst; however, so much co-op action just really hits me in the stomach when thinking back to those days of Silent Hill 2, Clock Tower and Eternal Darkness.
However for some reason Resident Evil 6 really pulled the ideal of just enjoying a game… a bit too far. And I love it.
It was completely unexpected, but this late comer to the list deserves every… undeserved accolade it may get, purely for the fact that the co-op was so out of character with Resident Evil that the pure shock of genuinely enjoying riding on a spring animal or mercesly letting your partner die by snowball … or… I don’t even.
Resident Evil 6 doesn’t offer anything in theform of character progression, or a deep involving story… or even horror. But what it does offer is some bad controls, some very questionable character animations and one or two humourus moments involving snowmobiles.
Two Worlds 2:
Yeah… about this.
I wasn’t quite sure at first, but then, if Resident Evil can make it in for not playing the game the way it’s meant to be played, then heck. So can this.
Kicking ostriches to death whilst minstrels played horribly out of tune guitars and drums is pretty much how I spent a day playing Two Worlds 2 with some friends.
I’m not even sure we completed any missions that day, but what would be the point in that? That means you need to progress through the game, which opens up a whole can of worms I’d rather not let loose, because Two Worlds 2… is bad.
…Yet… so, so good. The ecstasy thrill you get when mucking about in whatever cliché world Two Worlds 2 is based in is such a thrill ride I really don’t mind a good 20 hours were entirely wasted.
Dead Rising 2:
Of course it was going to be included. It has zombies.
I’m sure by now you have realised if there is the premise of zombies, and monkeying about away from any intent to complete the game, Dead Rising 2 was pretty safe in having my purchase.
It’s built for fun, and it delivers on almost all fronts on just that. Even the worst decision in gaming; adding a timer for saving your daughter became an absolute shambolic frolic through the fields of ‘Lol’ and ‘Rofl’ racing through swarms of zombies, being sick, charging with antlers on, riding little bikes… I shouldn’t even need to tell those of you who have even had 10 minutes of this just how brilliant it is for a quick doodling… although… that is about it.
Rage is possibly the greatest misuse of co-op ever.
However, Legends Of The Wasteland is still an absolute balling mode for you and a friend. Whilst there may not be much in the way of actual content, the fun you should be able to get with it will be enough to let you sleep at night.
Whilst it does seem like a massive missed opportunity to only have this amount as a co-op game, the Mutant Bash TV in particular, whilst being one of my favourite moments in the single player, really excelled into its own in co-op.
It again, involves just mindlessly blazing bullets and what-not in all directions, but each of the 9 missions offers the lulz for you and a friend… if you can stop getting distracted at the amazing graphics.
PS: I thought the graphics were reasonably poor. Bite me.
50 Cent: Blood On The Sand:
Well this is an interesting one.
A game I not only thought I would never play, but also I never thought would even exist… proved to be rather entertaining.
…But, yet again, the developers made it brilliant by accident. There was really only one thing that kept us playing this game, and that was the purchasing taunts and then the use of said tauntage. The profanities were rife every step we took, and made the game almost unbearable… for anyone who hasn’t already lost their sense of sanity like I.
The very second we took a breather to let our cheeks rest, the game would bug out and cause more hilarity because arms flailing about whilst continuing to shout about somebodies mother doing unmentionables in a game which was evidently trying it’s hardest to make a rapper look like a hardy, ended up more like a laurel and hardy.
Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon:
My personal surprise hit of the online co-op debacle.
I genuinely can’t tell if Insect Armageddon is actually a bad game or not. My gut instinct looks at it… feels how it plays and is just vomiting ghosts everywhere. As a standalone playable piece of entertainment, I think it’s quite poor.
…However, as I soon found out with a few friends it quickly becomes an insane shooty-fest. It’s a juvenile experience that jetpack wielding Stormtrooper drop-outs killing giant ants and destroying cities in the process shouldn’t be this much fun, but it certainly was. Especially when you get a man down and leave them there to become the next larvae food. Ah… teamwork.
Ah yes, F.3.A.R another one of those horror franchises that took the turn of co-op. (Dead Space, I’m looking at you, and how bad you look) However, unlike the Dead Space franchise, I have a deep burning passion for everything F.E.A.R related. So maybe I was a bit biased when I and a buddyfu started out this adventure.
However, despite any initial worries, it quickly became clear this was going to be a fun few hours. The dual mechanics going on made for some very unique gaming, and whilst it may not be obvious there were laughs to have within, the pure general enjoyment we got from continuing the story in this fashion was bliss.
For once, we had played a game, for its original purpose, and it ruddy well worked.
I still don’t know how I even ended up having both me and a friend own this game… or why… or even how we played it for as long as we did.
The game is broken, and it may have taken us more minutes than we wanted to actually find out how to start the game, and once we were in… find out just what we needed to do. But, it certainly gave us more time to explore everything the game had to offer… which… wasn’t much actually.
But what it did offer us was ingenuity in a genre which needed some life, and it gave it lots of life in the form of some very fun co-op action. It got to the point where the hacking and the slashing, and the dying multiple times for whatever reason started to drive us insane, in the best possible way.
It’s certainly a game you’d need to try for yourself. If you like mindless, senseless, brainless fun… and game development, this may be the one for you.
Conflict Denied Ops:
I may have just put this here to anger you all.
Ok, no I didn’t, but I know it will, so I’ve covered myself. The point is, as completely average as Denied Ops was, the co-op worked extremely well, and I may have even accidentally enjoyed myself once or twice in the playthrough.
There’s just something about games like these where they require the utmost teamwork and bonding between the two players to succeed which makes you turn into an absolute plonker. And in doing so create some fond memories of rage, angst, tragedy, rage and all the ‘lols’.
The actual game itself played rather well all things considered and despite the general feel, look and story of the game being downright… normal, it excelled at offering a co-op sensation that we’ve all seen time and time again, but it pulled it off rather sweetly.
Lost Planet 2:
Another hit that was overlooked because it was genuinely a terribly made game.
However, the co-op was crazy fun. Considering just how perfectly they captured the arcade friend based get to objective A, kill stuff, objective B, kill more stuff, rinse repeat on different gradient landscapes…it’s a shame the competitive multiplayer was awful, and the fact the game, at times, was very poorly… ‘ported’ into single player.
But the online co-op worked monumentally, there were clearly some missions that worked better than others, specifically the … … infamous… ‘train level’ that really was hella fun, but overall the teamwork aspect, and the scoring system were a perfect blend of competitive cooperation that filled a void on the PS3.
…Still, the … not-so-infamous … ‘oil rig’ level needs to be burnt at the stake.
Lord Of The Rings: War In The North:
Well, it’s not as good as The Third Age, but it’s still the second best Lord Of The Rings game out there.
…Well, except The Two Towers and Return Of The King.
…Oh, and Battle For Middle Earth 1 & 2
But apart from those, it’s the best.
Maybe an easier way to put it… is the greatest co-op game under Tolkien’s name. The 3 player co-op is sublime in the way it melds hack and slashing, with picking your use of spells/abilities and co-op strikes effectively. The story may get a bit lost underneath the brutal button mashing you do, but it was more than greatly improved by the co-op features on hand.
And now we hit our PSN do-gooders. Where else to start than with arguably the most famous of them all… Dead Nation.
It’s no more than a bog standard twin stick zombie shooter…
…or is it? The co-op (whilst very sensitive to connection) I felt was impeccable. It was a slice of pure talent by developers who know how to make a pure fun experience. It was tricky and challenging throughout, but never off-putting, and there was enough comedic effect in playing zombie football and blowing them off bridges, whilst keeping the tense feel the game wanted that let me really enjoy everything it had to offer.
…And watching your buddy get chopped in half is always entertainment, whilst you barricade yourself behind skips.
Another obvious choice here.
Whilst I really enjoyed Trine and its co-op I felt Trine 2 offered more flexibility in its approach to co-op gamers. It had some great abilities and controls which complemented them greatly, add to that the beautiful design in audio and visuals, plus the fact you could completely ruin everyone elses day by playing as any one of the characters really gave off that vibe of “We made a fantasy 2.5D adventure for you to screw your friends over in” And they did it wonderfully.
Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone:
Dead Nation 2? … oh, Zombie Apocalypse 2… alright then.
It was definitely more akin to Dead Nation rather than its predecessor though… and as much as I loved the original, I felt this was much more branched and fleshed out as a game you could easily get stuck into with some guys and gals over a microphone.
Whilst I shall admit, I haven’t actually managed to complete this game yet, because apparently my friends I chose for this adventure on multiple times, are just as bad, if not worse than me at actually sticking with the main objective.
When a game gives you twin sticks, zombies, and lots of guns, you’re going to have a good time. And the more people you have playing with you, the better time you’ll have. ZA:NDA … (Isn’t that a Swiss bank?) gives you almost everything you need for a splatterfest.
Whether it’s better than Dead Nation or not, is another question.
Of course, there are some other games out there I would have liked to include: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Army Of Two, Saints Row 2, Turok, Zombie Apocalypse and Payday: The Heist all deserve some very honourable mentions for being just as good as all the above…
… Well, evidently not… just as good, but, they deserve your love and attention just as much.
…If you can peel yourself away from your Journey shrine…
In all good book shops now, “The idiots guide on how not to end an article”.