Most recently, I have been playing GRAW, Gears of War and Splinter Cell – all on the co-op modes available in each game. As my usual gaming buddy, CJ can attest to how much more fun it is to have a real person guarding your back rather than some limp A.I. This is for a number of reasons, but not least:
Humans can mess up, but a stupid play can be laughed at. The computer on the other hand messes up and simply provides frustration.
A success is twice as big a deal when there’s at least one other person involved. Suddenly, taking that checkpoint means much more as your realise your accomplishments in the team. A play where you can help each other (as in the scripted sequences in GOW) are especially important as the dynamics give opportunities for many high fives.
A newer gameplay element such as active cover in shooting games requires you to really use a high level of interactivity. Exploring these excellently realised worlds gives you that great ‘look-at-this!!’ fun factor. Pointing out either online or even better in person all of the best parts of a game is fun.
Co-op play online bring it’s own level of mischief. Teabagging the enemy is now notorious as a humiliation tactic, as is the frequent damning of players as ‘noobs‘ of course. Camaraderie between teammates can result in huge bonds being formed, as well as clans. This gives even further in things like MMORPG‘s (worst acronym ever!) where people can and have been digitally as well as physically married.
I guess the main thing that co-op play brings about is a different way to do things. You’ll find a friend might try something differently that works well, or has a particular gaming skill that you wouldn’t otherwise have seen or have access to. So lets take a look at my top 3 co-op games:
Okay, so it’s an oldie now but it sure is a classic. Teams of varying sizes on the maps that now almost everyone in the world has probably seen vie to kill each other. Or rather plant a bomb, or rescue hostages. You see it’s broken to T’s vs CT’s – Terrorists vs Counter-Terrorists. A great game with simple mechanics that requires good cooperative play.
Gears of War is the daddy of cooperative play. There’s nothing that comes remotely close to it for the intense play, great graphics and general hijinks of delta squad. If you haven’t played it in co-op, go do it. Now.
Neverwinter Nights 2
Though we still can’t get this to run properly, when it plays as well as the original Neverwinter then it will certainly be an amazing co-op experience. Wandering around dungeons together could only have been eclipsed if you could do multiplayer in Oblivion. Which you can’t.
So there we are – if you’re generally a solo gamer, please do try cooperative modes. You’ll find a lot more fun there than you bargained for and possibly make some new friends to boot. Just watch they don’t steal your kills…