Believe it or not, I’m not a co-op gamer. Sure, if you fancy a good, old-fashioned game of Double Dragon or want a buddy to struggle with in a Horde-mode scenario, I’m your man, but you can count me out when it comes to campaign co-op. And it’s not because I’m the guy who would constantly be killing you from behind in Halo (I totally am) or because I’ll horde all the loot (I will). It’s because I’m incredibly anal about dialogue and story, no matter how bad it might be. Hit the jump and I’ll tell you that I play Army of Two for the story. Crap. Shot my load a little early, didn’t I?
That’s right. I prefer to play Army of Two, a game series whose only real selling point/source of innovation is co-op play, alone. I actually want to hear what Salem and Rios have to say. The majority of the time it’s puerile and vapid, but every once in a while you’ll end up with them saying something incredible, like discussing who their favorite member of the Wu Tang Clan is. Something I would’ve missed over your constant chatter of “69! YOLO!” You know who you are.
Maybe that says a little too much about the company I choose to keep, but jibber-jabber is an inherent piece of the co-op puzzle. Why play together if you aren’t chatting?
I’m the kind of buzzkill that demands silence in a movie theater. After all, if you’re not there to see the movie, why are you there in the first place? Even missing one piece of incidental dialogue has made me furious. I keep my games the same way. Hell, I even go so far as to turn subtitles on in every single game that I play, just in case bad audio mixing causes me to miss something.
This is why I’ll never play a game cooperatively on my first playthrough. Resident Evil 5, F.E.A.R.3, Borderlands, Saints Row: The Third, Gears of War, Halo — all games that I played completely alone. Games that are made to be played with others. I know that.
And I’ll never be converted, either. This week has had the staff in a frenzy of excitement/turmoil as co-op cliques are formed and classes are chosen for Borderlands 2. All while I’m trying to figure out how to join them in their festivities, yet still manage to play alone. For the story. Of Borderlands.
The story. Of Borderlands.
Yes, I understand that I have a problem.
And my hatred of co-op goes farther than that. Series like Resident Evil, F.E.A.R. and, begrudgingly, Dead Space have begun to chase that “co-op cash,” ultimately ditching why I liked them in the first place: the seclusion. The feeling of dread and despair you can only get when you’re alone. Especially not when your buddy is telling you about the kick-ass wings they had last night.
I understand that I’m alone in this. I have many friends who are currently playing through Dark Souls cooperatively and it takes all I have not to scream, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” in their faces. If ever there was a game built upon isolation and triumph in adverse circumstances, Dark Souls is that game. To play it with friends, communicating between yourselves through Skype or some other means is depriving yourself of the sense of atmosphere and dread that the game was built on. Not to mention that your toil is reduced two-fold, just as your sense of glory and relief are. No other game does it better. Why ruin what makes it special?
Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: if at first I reject your co-op advances, I have my reasons. It’s not you, it’s me.