I love co-op gaming, multiplayer shooting people and driving about can be fun but working together to achieve your goal is easily the best thing in gaming and I thought as we’re about to enter the madness that is the spending frenzy of Christmas I’d share with you my favourite co-op experiences.
Okay so not all of these are from this year but I’ve played them all this and they are all from the Xbox 360 which I think was the gaming device that really got the whole “gaming with your mates” down to a fine art with their Xbox Live Gold service, all of these experiences are personal but I don’t think any of them will be lost on you.
Left 4 Dead Survival mode.
You’ve all played this; everyone loves Left 4 Dead don’t they? If you’ve never played it then you have been missing out on not just a wonderful game, not just the biggest laugh you’ll ever have but also you’ve been missing Mike Patton from Faith No More lending his voice to the infected (I’ve been dying to cram that into an article). The campaigns are superb for co-op, in fact one of the few faults of the game were that it was a lot harder to play on your own thanks to the occasional mistakes made by the A.I. but survival mode added an extra element of chaos. The premise is simple; you and three chums have a house or shop or area to defend for a certain time with waves of zombies throwing themselves at you. It’s timed and you receive kudos for lasting the longest. You start off with a few petrol cans and guns lying about so you set up shop and when you’re ready you call in help which of course sets of the horde and this is where the fun begins. My truly memorable moment from this game was when I was gaming with my now wife and a friend, we were setting up a roof top scenario, we’d had a few practice runs we’d had a few mishaps but now things were going to run like clockwork, nothing could wrong, that is of course until we set of the horde and my friend, let’s call him Mark (because that’s his name) accidentally sets fire to the petrol can he’s standing beside setting the whole area we’re in on fire he backs away panicking shooting at the flames (he must have been on a fire prevention course I’ve missed) and in the process falling through the floor where Zombies were waiting for him, I jumped down and we were both slaughtered while my wife helped by shooting down on us before trying her best to fend off the horde before she was attacked by a Hunter which ripped her to pieces because we were too busy being eaten underneath her, I’ve never heard so much panicked laughing in my life and it was a joy, a disaster, but a joy.
Portal 2 was a day one purchase and I sat down and blasted the first few levels of the single player just to get acclimatized to it all before getting an invite to play co-op.
Portal 2 co-op is hard, it’s a laugh and all that but it’s a real puzzler but wandering around areas shooting portals or speed paint onto walls or ceilings or pipes was superb, it just worked so well, okay so it didn’t work so well after we’d been playing for five hours and had also been drinking but then as we got more drunk the game became more fun. There were moments in that game when killing your co-op partner was there for you, hit the portal and just the right or wrong time and send him flying into the nether – oh how you giggled when you watched as your mate went head first into oblivion but the sense of achievement when you’d spent an hour working out a level to finally complete it was one of the most gratifying moments in gaming.
Halo 3: Vidmaster Challenge
Have you ever tried this? No? I don’t blame you to be honest but a mate wanted to try for it so four of us set up and got ready one night thinking “yeah, how hard can this be?”, the answer is very.
The challenge was simple; complete the last level of Halo 3 on Legendary in 4 player co-op with the Iron skull activated meaning that if one person died everyone went back to the start of the check point and then complete the last run to the big spaceship on Ghosts rather than warthogs, sound easy? Well it took four seasoned Halo players over two hours to complete this nightmare, something which without the Iron Skull on and in warthogs would have taken about twenty minutes. The sense of working together here was masterful it was real backs to the wall stuff and super edgy because one hit from a brute with a gravity hammer and it was back to the start. I’ve never seen so many Spartans trying to edge their way around a level before, the sheer caution employed would have shamed John 117 if I’m being honest and the normal gay abandon that you would employ when in Ghosts turned into something akin to a half blind pensioner re-sitting his driving test, in the rain, whilst having an alien race shooting at you. When it was all over you could just tell everyone fell back into their chairs and breathed deeply, closed their eyes and thanked the Lord they could finally go to bed.
Now, you all know Dark Souls is my favourite game of this generation of consoles, it’s probably my favourite game ever. I love this game but I’m not sure I would have stuck with it were it not for Jolly old co-op.
As you’ll guess jolly old co-op is the option of being able to summon other human players and occasionally NPC’s in to help you with certain bits of the game, normally boss or sub bosses but sometimes just some help clearing out an area to get a certain armour set can be nice and here’s the beauty of it, I’ve never once, in over two hundred hours of playing the game, met a random human player on co-op who acts like an ass and tries to ruin things for you, everyone always helps. Maybe it’s the difficulty of the game, maybe it’s because a more mature audience play it but nothing is more satisfying that struggling for hours on a Taurus Demon or Gaping Dragon (just for the record I did him myself, whilst poisoned) to see a soul sign appear and witnessing a player appear who clearly is going to smash your enemy to little bits and then proceed to do so. I have also spent many a happy hour helping others and there isn’t quite like having a chap send you a private message thanking you for helping them smite the Iron Golem or and I quote “thank you so much for helping me do those two b*stards (the notorious and slightly unfair archers of Anor Londo) I’ve spent two weeks trying to get past them” you could play Call of Duty for the next ten years and not get a message like that.
Grand Theft Auto V
This is very much a personal one this, I’ve done three articles on GTA V now so my opinions are pretty clear but my wife was watching me play it and thought she’s buy a copy for herself so I thought I’d put up our co-op highlights, and by highlights I mean disasters.
Starting any mission my wife would not get into the passenger but drag me out of the car, this would also frequently happen during missions, whilst we were being shot at, this caused arguments.
Robbing shops, this was fun, I would hold up the shop my wife would keep guard, my wife would panic if a passer-by or cop would intervene and all hell would break loose, I often died, Bonny and Clyde we were not.
Survival. Okay this actually tended to go pretty well, we played well and smoked many a fool but sometimes things went wrong and when they went wrong Jesus Wept did they go wrong; the highlight of this was when I turned to look at my wife’s screen (we have two TV’s in our living room for gaming, yeah we’re that cool) to see why she wasn’t shooting anyone; now, let me make this clear, we were in the desert, we were shooting people, and she had picked up, from God knows where, a golf club, eh? I didn’t even know they existed in the game, I’ve never seen one since, we died as it turned out that golf clubs are useless against heavily armed men.
So those are my top co-op highlights, there was one other moment of co-op gaming when my wife was playing F.E.A.R. 2 on her own and got a fright and chucked the controller onto my lap so that if the wee girl came out of the telly in some sort of F.E.A.R/The Ring combo she would go for me, now that’s co-op for you, but I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone that, so I won’t .