Today is Valentine’s, and what better way to commemorate the stoning and decapitation of the blessed Saint than a countdown of the best five games for paired co-op. So lock the doors, light the candles, and team up with a loved one to shoot other people in the face.
5 – Gears of War II
This snap-to-cover, over-the shoulder, meat-headed shooter is just made to be played with a buddy. The co-operative campaign has been lovingly crafted, with characters Marcus and Dom integrated into the narrative and a drop in/drop out system that allows a friend to join your campaign. Playing tactically together often becomes crucial to progression – you’ll repeatedly find yourself shouting for covering fire, or heroically diving into the fray to distract the Locusts from your partner secretly flanking them.
4 -Portal 2
A non-shootie co-operative experience makes the list, unless of course you count the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device as a gun. Portal 2 is the essence of teamwork; working together as partners Atlas and P-Body, you have to navigate complicated environments by solving puzzles together. A bit like Sherlock and Watson. Except you’re robots. And there are portals. And toxic pools.
3 – COD MW3: Special Ops
Though weary of unchanging online multi-player, and perpetually disappointed with lazy solo campaigns, I think the Special Operatives mode in Call of Duty provides some of the best co-operative play out there. Playing as a two-man team to complete objectives against waves of progressively difficult enemies is both exhilarating and terrifying (particularly when a Juggernaut has got his sights on you) and it will have you both screaming commando-style directives down the mic in no time.
2 – Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise
I know this is a kid’s game. But trust me, working together in harmony has never been sweeter. An ideal date night for online play, Viva Piñata allows you to build, grow and maintain a garden together, enticing colourful creatures to romance each other in your little piece of heaven. You each control a cursor which makes for relaxed, co-operative play that is surprisingly addictive. It’s also definitely not lame.
1 – Halo 3: Multi-team
Whether you want to frantically drive a Mongoose around an arena while your loved one sits in the back with a rocket launcher, bunny hop around the ‘Hill’ hoping against hope your partner will join you soon, or just band together for a straight-up Slayer match, Halo 3 has got it all. This may be a conventional choice for number 1, but it’s undeniable that this game makes for incredibly fun co-operative play, especially on Multi-team mode; it’s the two of you against the world.
So what do you think? Would your top five look completely different? Sound off in the comments below with your favourite co-op experiences if you think you know better. Which you don’t. Because I’m obviously right. Playing Halo by candlelight. Like a boss.