Co-op in gaming is as old as the mountains, with Contra probably being one of the first games to really take co-op to new levels way back in the early 80s. Up to that point we had versus games starting with the likes of Pong, but playing together and defeating the same enemy on-screen with a friend (or more) has little to no equal. Some games are just made for a co-op experience and even though the games in the below list can be played as a single player experience, you really should be playing it alongside a friend. Playing it by yourself might result in a game that’s nowhere as enjoyable, as with a friend by your side.
Games such as A Way Outand Snipperclips have been excluded as without a co-op friend you can’t play the game at all.
Cuphead (Local – 2 players)
If there is one game on this list where you should play it as a co-op experience it‘s Cuphead. Playing as either Cuphead or his brother, Mugman, is a real tough challenge. The game is synonymous with being a really challenging experience. Boss fights will push you to the limit, but with a friend it’s just that bit easier. What makes the co-op experience so much more tolerable is that you can revive your buddy if he or she dies. Unless you’re hellbent on going down to the Devil, co-op is where this is at. The only problem is that you need a friend to visit you at your house as this can’t be played online in co-op.
Tom Clancy’s: The Division 1 or 2 (Online – 4 players)
Ubisoft has really pushed the co-op experience in this generation and one area you’ll get to really witness it in is with The Division series. You’re not forced to play the game in co-op with people you know or random agents, but playing it by yourself will really make it a difficult experience. Having a teammate next to you to revive you when you fall makes a huge difference and looting everything that’s there becomes an exciting moment of ‘What did you get?’. However, where the real fun comes into play is with the teamwork required to overcome any threat. You can’t just go Rambo and blast everything without some thought. Then there’s the Dark Zone. You just simply need your friends for that.
Halo 5: Guardians (Online / Local – 4 players)
Microsoft’s iconic shooter received a lot of flack at launch for the story that was quite bland when compared to previous outings. People weren’t wrong as it wasn’t anywhere near as good as previous games in terms of narrative, but where the real fun lied was with the 4-player co-op. Going up against the Promethean’s is no easy task. They’re way more advanced than the Covenant forces in previous Halo games, so attacking them strategically with three other friends is the way to go about this campaign. Set the difficulty to legendary difficulty will test your team to its limits, but it’s so rewarding when you do beat any onslaught thrown your way.
Tom Clancy’s: Ghost Recon Wildlands (Online – 4 players)
There are some games that should be played as a single player experience and some that can, but really, really shouldn’t. Wildlands is one such example. Together you overthrow the Bolivian cartel by deciding on strategic entry points, marking targets and collectively landing bullets in heads and just having the time of your life. Where Wildlands really shines is with the ‘it’s your playground’ mechanic. Want to reach your objective with stealth in mind or do you want to jump out of the helicopter in a base jump method and blow everything up? The choice is yours. It’s a huge game that’ll last you many hours and with a friend or three by your side the hours will feel like minutes. Do not play this by yourself.
Forza Horizon 4 (Online – 4 players)
When you think of racing games you don’t generally consider it as a co-op experience, but that is exactly what Forza Horizon 4 allows players to do. Up to six players can join the adventure of the host whereby you all get a little silly together. Whether you’re all trying to beat a blueprint or beating a jumping distance set for you – it’s a whole lot of fun with friends and, though it can be played as a single player experience, there’s nothing like playing this racer alongside your mates. What’s more, you can have your friends on PC join you for some cross-platform play.