Throughout the history of the gaming industry, cooperative play has managed to enhance many, many games whether bringing different game opportunities like cooperative missions, or it, preferably, actually makes the game better.  Now, in likeness of Gameinformer's latest magazine centering around co-op, I will take you through some of the best co-op games I've ever had the pleasure of playing.

#1.) Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

Splinter Cell: Conviction doesn't exactly thrive with its single player campaign experience, but it truly flourishes with its cooperative availability for both an online and offline duo. The game presents “Deniable Ops”, a game mode jam packed with co-op features, putting you and a partner up against AI. Features include unlockable weapons, story based missions, a co-op campaign that requires two able players, and four different modes: “Hunter”, “Infiltration”, “Last Stand”, “Face-Off”. “Hunter” pitss you in an area full of weapon equipped AI, that you must defeat through a number of rounds (each area representing a round). “Infiltration” is just like “Hunter”, but in this particular game mode, detection means failure. “Last Stand” is a mode that gives you the choice of wiping out endless waves of enemies stealthily, or guns ablazing. Lastly, “Face Off” is a game mode that doesn't exactly require stealth at all, setting up both you and your partner against eachother in an all-out deathmatch. All of these features and more in Splinter Cell: Conviction.

#2.) Army of Two: 40th Day 

Army of Two: 40th Day has a mediocre campaign, but it's easily enhanced when you join up with a partner. The game puts you and a partner in decision making positions such as whether or not you'll save the hostages, or stealthily leave them behind. Another one of my favorites is when one of you runs ahead, and the enemies spot you, you have a choice to back off and “surrender”, while your partner runs in taking everyone out unexpectedly. The game is meant for co-op and, in my opinion, doesn't play nearly the same as it does with a partner. All that and the game brings an excellent way to customize your weapons, like using a soda can as your weapon suppressor.

#3.) Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2, exclusively for the Xbox 360, is a third person shooter that has a pretty good multiplayer, but like Army of Two: 40th Day, hooking up with a partner just makes the overall experience better. In the game, there are various features and game modes that are available to play solo, or with a partner. In the campaign, Player 1 plays as Marcus Fenix, leader of the Delta squad, and Player 2 plays as Dominic Santiago, a member of the Delta squad and Marcus’ closest friend. Together you will face the Locust horde, a weapon equipped group of creatures planning to wipe out the human race as we know it. Without a second player, Dominic will be controlled by an AI. Aside from the campaign, a mode I particularly liked that has cooperative playability is “Horde”. In “Horde”, you and a partner play through waves and waves of the Locust. Fifty to be exact. Completing wave 50 means victory for you and up to four players. “Horde” has online split-screen, so two of those players can be you and a partner. All this and more in Gears of War 2.

#4.) Portal 2

Portal 2, nominated for Game of the Year at the Video Game Awards 2011 (VGAs), is a great puzzle game to play alone, but with this sequel, you have the opportunity to figure out the puzzles with a co-op buddy. In the game, there is a single player campaign for you to complete, but also a cooperative campaign for you and a partner to complete, online or offline. The cooperative campaign does have a few tie ins to the main story, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be played in a certain order. Both players play as bipedal bots, named Atlas and P-Body. Just like the single player campaign, you play through imaginative puzzles, but this time you have an extra hand to help you along the way. From figuring out puzzles to playing rock-paper-scissor, Portal 2 is a must-play.

The cake is a lie!!

#5.) Castle Crashers

Castle Crashers, created by NewGrounds’ Tom Fulp, is a beat ‘em up that is currently an exclusive to consoles, but will be added to Steam very soon. Something I found very enjoyable in the game is that as the levels go on, it becomes nearly impossible to complete the levels without a little help from a few partners. That's where co-op comes in. Co-op is where the game is able to really start to develop, and you can really see how cooperative play is almost a necessity if you intend on winning, and having fun. The game allows you to choose from various playable characters that each wield different abilities, making teamwork an even more imaginative, fun experience. After selecting a character, you can then play through dozens of missions. Any mission can be played with up to four players online and offline. Alone or with help from other people, you will find yourself battling for princesses, collecting coins to buy items, fighting bosses, and much, much more. Castle Crasher

s is available on the Xbox 360 for 1,200 Microsoft Points and on Playstation Network for a price of $14.99.

#6.) Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a first person shooter that puts you and four other survivors against an angry horde of the undead. There isn’t exactly a story to play along  the game, but each map has you and the other survivors trying to get to a certain destination, a helipad being one of them. Each survivor, four at max, is playable, including Francis, a stereotypical biker; Louis, a district account manager; Zoey, a university student; and Bill, a Vietnam veteran. Have only three players to play with and not four? Don’t fret, the fourth player will be replaced with an AI that will help you on your way to victory. Together you shoot your way through different variations of infected creatures, like a “Tank”, a huge, muscular infected that swipes at its enemies, knocking them off their feet. Along with the several levels to play through online or offline with other people, there is a competitive multiplayer experience you can dwell in if you’re not all for the co-op the game brings.

#7.) Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Terrorist Hunt 

Rainbow Six Vegas 2, another Tom Clancy title, is a first person shooter where you attempt to take out highly known terrorists that must be stopped. Like Splinter Cell: Conviction, the game doesn’t exactly bring its best when it comes to the single player campaign, but the co-op is fantastic. “Terrorist Hunt”, to be specific. In this cooperative game mode (That can also be played alone), you are put up against an area of terrorists that you need to take down one by one. The game gives you several maps to choose from, and is a simple “defeat the number of enemies” game mode that turned out to be a  surprisingly addictive experience for me.

#8.) Saints Row: The Third

Cooperative play is available in almost anything you choose to do in Saints Row: The Third. You play a mission, your partner can be there. You choose to hop out of an airplane, your partner can be right there holding your hand. Customization is one thing I love doing, especially with a co-op buddy. Running around both dressed up in animal costumes hitting bystanders with wooden bats is exactly what I think is a good time, and Saints Row: The Third makes it happen. In everything that is available to you in the game alone, it’s always nice to have a partner there beside you, whether you’re walking down the sidewalk beating up anything in your path, or speeding away with a shiny custom car you created for a nice getaway. The game is a ton of fun with or without a partner, but Saints Row: The Third easily makes the list.

#9.) LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet is a very family friendly title that even I can enjoy. As a Sackboy, a cartoonish character that is very much customizable, you play through levels trying to get to the finish point. There are many levels for you to complete, and they all can be done with up to four players, online or offline. DLC brings a nice batch of new levels and clothing items for your character as well. The Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots DLC, for example suits you up in some of your favorite characters from that game. This DLC brings new levels for you to complete, clothing items for you to dress up as your favorite characters from the game, and the “Paintinator”, a pistol-like weapon that fires blotches of paint. Even after the main story levels and DLC levels, there is a whole set of levels that users have created over time for you to check out and complete. The game’s level editor allows you to create and share levels online as well. LittleBigPlanet is full of imaginative levels for you and four others to complete, and makes for a great game to play at a sleep-over, or a family gathering.

#10.) Borderlands

Borderlands is a first person shooter game with role playing elements that contains hundreds of different guns to collect, and dozens of quests to complete. At the beginning of the game, you choose one out of four characters, including:

 Mordecai – Mordecai is Borderlands' “Hunter” class. He relies on damage dealt with precise marksmanship and the use of falconry to defeat enemies and acquire loot.

Lilith – Lilith is Borderlands' “Siren” class. She is one of six Sirens, a group of women with unbelievable powers.

Brick – Brick is Borderlands' “Berserker” class. He can become proficient in explosive weapons, such as Rocket Launchers, and has the ability to go into a Berserk rage that makes him very powerful in melee combat.

Roland – Roland is Borderlands' “Soldier” class. He is a former soldier of the Crimson Lance, the highly trained private military of The Atlas Corporation. He is proficient with all weapons, although he prefers Shotguns and Combat Rifles. Roland can deploy a Scorpio Turret that can be upgraded throughout the game.

 *All info on characters credited to Borderlands’ Wikia

 From there, jump-in jump-out co-op is available to you, and it sure does make for a good experience.

Tell us about your some great co-op games you’ve played, and / or if you’ve spent time enjoying some of the game above in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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About The Author

GuestPost represents the work of past New Gamer Nation writers. Though they may not be with us anymore physically, we know they are with us in spirit.

  • saggie

    i really enjoyed reading this , i love co-op games!
    vegas and gears of war are my favorites , with MW2 [even if it only in special ops 🙂 ]

    little big planet is a funny and light game for party with friend , you dont need any skills or knowledge to have fun in it.

    as always was fun to read Michael!

    • Michael A.

      Thanks. Modern Warfare 2 had some really nice spec-ops missions, for what it’s worth. I was never too into them. LittleBigPlanet is a game that I think anyone can enjoy, and it’s fitting for almost any occasion. Thanks, that means a lot.

  • Nice article. Co-op games are a ton of fun. Several of these I haven’t had a chance to try, though.

    • Michael A.

      Thanks. Each game up there is something I’ve played a good amount of, and I think a lot of other people would enjoy as well.