Sunday, September 21, 2014


Video games were designed to be experienced with a crowd. Sure, depending on the title and its genre, there is much fun to be had from a single-player, narrative-driven campaign, but most of us find more amusement when socializing and teaming with others for some multiplayer mayhem. Whether its Call of Duty, Gears of War or World of Warcraft, everyone has a favorite cooperative game they’re constantly dragging friends online to play. While expanding their horizons, they’re noticing the wider selection of IPs out on the market delivering the same addictive and entertaining gameplay. Do you seek a new multiplayer fix? Here are 15 online co-op games you need to be playing with your friends.


Do you really want to put a friend’s loyalty to the test? Place them on the battlefield of this open-world, tactical shooter and see if they’re capable of lying down cover fire. Arma III is arguably the most extensive and realistic war simulator out, presenting an in-game editor and custom mission creator that allows up to 16 players to partake in it. Go mod crazy and invite friends to join your infantry to take out enemy threats.


Everyone’s favorite addiction became even more serious once Rockstar introduced the online component of its open-world action shooter dubbed GTA Online. Upon creating a character, you’re thrown into a random server with 16 other maniacal gamers, who most likely share the same affinity for causing havoc on the streets of Los Santos. Recruit robbers on the go and loot stores, or take on rival gangs by forming your own. The developer has plans to release a new Heists mode sometime in the coming weeks, but at this point, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see it bundled with the upcoming PS4, PC and Xbox One versions slated this fall.


One of the few PC titles to support six-play online co-op, the dark fantasy RPG joins gamers together through party invites. From there the gang can seek out adventures and enter combat zones. Having the option to join a party at any given moment is a sweet deal. Although the game’s biggest selling point is in its six optional classes — Duelist, Marauder, Ranger, Shadow, Templar and Witch — where anyone can go buck wild customizing their characters.


If you ask a real gamer what they’re playing at the moment, and nine times out of 10, the response will be Destiny. Not the full-length version, but the actual beta. It’s crazy. With access to a co-op Strike mission that welcomes fireteams of up to three players and a Crucible competitive multiplayer component, the alpha offers enough content to keep you hooked for hours on end. There’s a reason why the forums are calling Bungie’s shooter frontrunner for Game of the Year.


Working with others is a challenge, but in the case of this stealth action title, it can be fun and rewarding. Be paired with three other robbers online, each boasting a special trait, and plot Ocean’s 11 to pull off a successful heist. Players can choose from a list of eight different classes, including a locksmith, pickpocket, mole, hacker and more. Sneak past alarms and armed guards with a little teamwork, stealing everything in sight. Show that there is an honor amongst thieves after all.


For the one percent of gamers out there who haven’t succumbed to the hype of Activision’s shooter, it’s okay to give in at this point. We say that because you can only take so much Battlefield 4 multiplayer before the feeling of loneliness strikes. Ghosts has a variety of co-op modes to engage in from 6-player teams fighting against bots on multiplayer maps to 4-player squadrons creating defenses against an alien invasion. The fast-paced action forces players to collaborate as a unit, something most BF4 conformists might need some adjusting to.


A modern throwback that borrows cues from past classics like Contra and Metal Slug, this side-scrolling shooter invites players to engage in some chaotic run-and-gun action. The gun-crafting system is insane to say the least with a variety of different weapons made available through the use of acquired resources dropped by enemies. Assault rifles, machine guns and pistols can basically be matched with barrels, magazines, and scopes to assemble even heavier firepower. Link up with four players to run through over 100 levels and eliminate baddies along the way.


It’s time you come to terms with reality. Dark Souls II is impossible to beat solo. However, with a group, you stand a fighting chance. Gluttons for punishment can team up together and experience the same spirit-crushing torment through 4-player co-op, calling on each other through the use of white summon stones and receiving souls as a reward for assisting in boss battles. Just know there is a limit on summons, which is reflected by the amount of enemies defeated. Play it smart and save the backup for serious encounters. Oh wait, that’s every time.


The PS4 exclusive might be limited on multiplayer modes, but the content found in its latest Intercept expansion makes up for any co-op shortcomings. Sony fanboys can join a team of four to set out and intercept intel transmitted by the Helghast military. Each player has the luxury of choosing from four new character classes — Medic, Marksman, Tactician and Assault — while tasked with separate duties to help complete the mission. It’s all about scoring kills and teamwork.


The card-based strategy game is awesome as a standalone title, but it works better as a competitive multiplayer game. Whether it’s through the story campaign or unique game modes, Ironclad Tactics lets you engage in seamless co-op play without any restrictions. Options to build collaborative decks or go at it with separate ones are at your disposal. The more players involved, the more addictive it gets.

11. PORTAL 2

Some co-op titles just have infinite replay value. Portal 2 just happens to be one of them. Valve’s first-person puzzler requires two minds to get past a series of mental-grieving challenges, placing responsibility on each player to move through their respective portals. Drop your guard and it’s only a matter of moves before one or the other is trapped in an endless wormhole. The campaign is short, but ridiculously enjoyable.


The first official expansion for Diablo III addresses the numerous issues present in the standalone title by adding new content and improved gameplay features. Blizzard opens up the virtual domain to join one of six different classes and tackle Act V of the Diablo III story. In co-op mode, you can earn bonus XP while balancing the difficulty level depending on the number of players present onscreen. Adventure mode manages to extend the multiplayer experience, letting everyone split up to complete bounties solo, earning credit and rewards for the entire team in the process.


How to Survive is a different style of zombie game, one that plays more like a crossbreed of Dead Island and Diablo. Join other survivors in the online multiplayer story and challenge modes to fight off the undead in hopes of surviving another day. The character skill trees are similar, but each one carries a unique trait that others in your party can’t use, forcing players to implement group strategies when swarmed around infected bodies. While lacking the wide array of gameplay found in most other survival-horror titles, How to Survive has enough substance to satisfy crowds until The Walking Dead comes back on the air this October.

14. PAYDAY 2

Heist fanatics looking to recreate infamous burglary scenes from pop culture classics like Heat or Point Break can live vicariously through the co-op FPS. Payday 2 succeeds at putting together well-planned bank robberies, letting teammates assign roles, scope out targeted joints, and strategize raids. The game stresses organization and preparation, as the slightest slipup will leave your entire team sitting in the back of a SWAT van. Don’t let it be you who takes the fall.


Don’t sleep on turn-based strategy games. With the right group of people, games like Age of Wonders III prove to be more entertaining than expected. The PC title throws a number of playable options at you like 8-player battles that divvy players up between humans and the AI to standalone scenarios with everyone on the same team. Execute attacks simultaneously via “adjacent hex rule” and fight against the same enemies on the tactical map.

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