Playing with friends has always been really satisfying, but when both of you are playing for a common goal, that’s even better. There have been hundreds of games that let you play cooperatively over the years, but only a handful of them are worth remembering. This short list has just a few of them, which I believe to be the best to capture that cooperative essence. Nevertheless, if you think there are some games that should have definitely been featured in this list and weren’t, tell me about them in the comments section of the site.
Yes, the original Contra is still one the best cooperative experience ever created. Although many people may think that this game only works on a nostalgic level this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Contra’s unique cooperative style can’t be found anywhere else. Contra is well known for being one of the most difficult games ever created, but if you want to increase your chances of watching the ending sequence, please, play with a friend.
This block-based sandbox independent title allows players to create whatever they can imagine using the world’s resources. You can always do this alone if you want to, but this experience is definitely enhanced when playing cooperatively on a dedicated server. Apart from all the threats that you can encounter when playing in the default mode, constructing something very specific adds to the game’s complexity, but thankfully, this difficulty is lessened if you decide to play some of your friends. Furthermore, the complete version of the game added more materials and modes, giving players additional tools to work with.
3) Diablo II
Although Diablo II is a really old game and the third iteration of the series is (hopefully) just around the corner, this game still represents one of the best cooperative experiences ever created. Fighting against hordes of monsters and picking up loot with your friends is great in this game mainly because Diablo II is really varied, and making a balanced group to defeat enemies more effectively is pretty unique. It is worth pointing out that the game’s difficulty changes according to the number of players participating, making the sessions a little bit more challenging and rewarding.
2) Rock Band 3
There was a time when rhythm games became massively popular and everyone was playing their favorite songs in a little more interactive way. The first Guitar Hero allowed up to two players to participate, but this was far from being cooperative. This mode was quite modest and simple, but the concept was so engaging that the guys at Harmonix perfected it in their Rock Band series. The latter allowed up to four players to play a given song and newer games added more peripherals (like the keyboard instrument,) modes (Pro,) songs in the form of DLC and band-centric releases (Green Day, The Beatles.) The gameplay in these games is extremely rewarding and even to this very day, no single game has been able to replicate it. Still, the third major release in the series is simply the best and it makes me wonder what Harmonix is going to do next.
1) Left 4 Dead 2
Although the original Left 4 Dead was innovative in multiple ways, the second iteration represents the pinnacle in the series. Left 4 Dead 2 may seem exactly the same as the first one, but added not only more weapons, but also new classes of zombies. This sequel takes place in a different setting and the four new characters are extremely similar to the ones in the original title. Playing on your own may be one of the simplest, most boring and uneventful things ever, but if you have a few friends that want to play online, you’ll be part of one of the most memorable experiences. If you like cooperative games, you cannot go wrong with Left 4 Dead 2.
These are some of the titles that were considered for the list, but unfortunately didn’t make it to the final cut: Little Big Planet, Left 4 Dead, Perfect Dark, the Call of Duty series and Serious Sam: The First Encounter.