games / Columns

Top 8 Co-Op Games – Borderlands, Gears of War, More

September 17, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about cooperative games. I love co-op games but game makers don’t seem to make too many of them anymore. I understand that couch co-op is a distant memory (aside from indie games) but even online co-op seems to be not exactly too popular. Some games still do have it, but it’s not a huge feature anymore, which is sad. Still, here’s a list of some of my favorite games (and some franchises) that have excellent co-op gameplay. Let’s begin:

#8: Borderlands (Franchise)

I think if I was actually ever able to play Borderlands in a co-op experience, it might be higher on my list. However, whenever I’ve tried, my friends usually don’t have it, aren’t interested, or have played the games already and don’t want to do it again. I’m curious to try Borderlands 3 but not when I’m at level 1, and some of them are at level 48 or something. Also, the (increasingly) bad writing really puts me off from the game. Still, it would be a fun game, if you had a good group to do it with.

#7: Contra

Contra is, almost by definition, a cooperative game. While you can, theoretically, get through the game by yourself, especially with a certain code active, it becomes a whole lot easier with another player watching your back. Newer Contra games did become more solo experiences but Contra and Contra 3: The Alien Wars (SNES one) really do require you and a friend to team up to defeat the evil hordes.

#6: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

It’s funny, I reviewed The Division 2 and gave it a fair (7.0) score. I enjoyed the game but didn’t have a lot of chances to group up with people to get through the harder areas. After they ironed out their matchmaking though, I tried some grouping and found it a lot of fun. The different abilities really mesh well, especially in a group setting, even if most people just use the turret option. When there are two or three turrets, and one guy healing while everyone is trying to take down a single boss enemy, the game can become a lot of fun.

#5: Halo (Franchise)

I’m kind of lumping all of Halo into this group. The only ones I’ve played in co-op were Halo 1 and Halo: Reach and I had fun times in both. Halo 1 was a fairly definitive couch co-op game, especially in the levels with vehicles. You really would want a second player manning the Warthog gun as you drove it around certain levels. As for Reach,

#4: Diablo 3

Diablo 3 (well, all of Diablo) is fun by yourself, but it becomes more enjoyable with a friend or two. You can really strategize with another player to defeat bosses. One player can kite them around the area while the other deals damage, or if one player is downed, you can use the other to resurrect them. I used to have a blast playing D3 with a few friends, once those Infernal Machine rifts opened, plowing through them on Torment 7, hoping to survive against that one boss that constantly poisoned you.

#3: Gears of War (Franchise)

Gears of War 4 was the first time I think I ever actually played Gears with another person and it made the whole game a lot easier. Sure, there are times that it can get overwhelming or you have a cheap death, but on the whole, the game finally “clicked” for me, in a way that the earlier Gears games didn’t. I think Gears 4, honestly, is a somewhat weak entrance in the franchise, at least compared to Gears 1 or 3, but it still was more fun because I was finally able to play it with a friend.

#2: Remnant: From The Ashes

Man, this game is awesome! It’s the first Dark Souls-like game that I’ve actually enjoyed. I think the biggest reason is because most (if not all) of the other games in that family, Dark Souls, The Surge, Bloodborne, Nioh, etc. are all heavily melee focused. While you do have a melee weapon in Remnant, it is a shooter first, so you actually have to keep your distance from most enemies, or else they will wreck you. I was playing this with a friend but he dropped out, probably because the game was too cool for him to comprehend. I am really in love with this game and it is just about perfect to play with another person or two.

#1: Divinity: Original Sin 2

The original Divinity: Original Sin had multiplayer but it wasn’t as fleshed out as it is in this game. I like that both players can make choices for the dialog options, which might not always be what you want to happen. The combat is still great in the game but with another person, you can really plan out how to attack and in what strategy you want to use. Everything about Divinity is good but it’s the multiplayer that really makes it shine from other RPGs in the similar format.

For comments, list your favorite cooperative games and why.

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison