Posted by Martin
When it comes to multiplayer gaming, I will say without a doubt that co-op gameplay is by far my favorite method of online play. Starting back in the day with Marathon, and continuing to play video games throughout my life, nothing will match the feeling of working together with someone to overcome a problem, be it funky looking aliens from outer space or Mexican Insurgents bent on giving Presidents Ballantine and Ruiz Pena a hard time. It just feels so much more complete and satisfying. I even have fond memories of crowding around the television and playing games like Baldur’s Gate:Dark Alliance with my brother, having a lot more fun than I ever would have doing the same thing by myself. It’s the same content, the same game, but just comes alive when you’ve got someone else to yell and scream at the screen with.
It’s hard to say what Co-op has that adversarial doesn’t. A lot of it for me is that it’s playable with much fewer numbers than what one requires for a large scale ‘versus’ game. Additionally, adversarial games degenerate into predictable engagements once both sides are familiar with the environments. But, even past that, the fact that the game is bring you together with your fellow players is an effect that cannot be denied.
However, up until recently, there hasn’t been a focus on this at all. One had to search specifically for this mode of gameplay. This may have been one of the reasons I personally have gravitated quite a bit towards the tactical shooter. Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear with the NATO weapons mod has occupied far more of my time than any game should have. Beyond that, it was a thin selection for games that encouraged players to work together, and not against each other. The ones that tried, did it poorly (playing Madden football cooperatively was a new experience in how badly a game can suck).
However, modern games have started to embrace co-op as a primary staple of gameplay. Heck, even whole games are coming out around this concept (XBOX360:Army of Two). Everything from Sci-Fi to realism based shooters has co-op as an integral part of the multiplayer. And I say this hasn’t come soon enough. The real question is, is this a minor fluke, or a portend of things to come? Hopefully it’s the latter.
Chris says: I say it’s a portend, because I dont’ know what that means.
I’m realtively new to co-op gaming, but I can say that it’s definitely deserving of the attention it’s getting these days. While I still love adversarial (and nothing beats adversarial if you know everyone playing), it’s rare that you get the right players to make it great. Co-op is much easier to have a great experience – and that’s just what I have been having almost without fail in GRAW and R6 Vegas. And yes, Madden co-op was just awful. NHL was so-so, but still nothing like what we are getting these days with the tactical shooters.
Spencer says: I couldn’t agree more. I have been waiting for years for a game like Army of Two. When I played through Legend of Zelda Wind Waker a year ago my son sat by my side the entire time. I would have loved being able to give him a control and letting him play at the same time. The closest thing to that kind of experience in recent years has been Gauntlet Legends.