Editorial: More Great Co-op!

So, I was going to review Borderlands today, but WordPress decided to delete my entire review before I could post it (quick review: it’s awesome).  However, Borderlands reminded me how important a good co-op experience is in games these days.  The Halo and Gears of War series’ are always commended for having excellent co-op gameplay, and the co-op among some of the most fun I have with those games.  It got me wondering why more games do not focus more on the co-op gameplay?  Uncharted 2 has co-op, but it is hidden far down in the multiplayer menu, so some players do not even know about it.  In a day when developers are trying their best to entice players to keep their games with downloadable content, the addition of co-op to a game should be one of the first things developers use to their advantage.

So, my dear readers, the questions I ask of you are these: Is co-op important to your gameplay experiences?  Why or why not?  Do you have any co-op games that you and your friends keep going back to?

24 comments

  1. It absolutely is important. I loved Resistance 1 for it, and Pogo and I were incredibly disappointed when the sequel didn’t have it in the same capacity. He had bought the game for that exact reason.

  2. Co-op is very important to me. If I can play a PS3 game in co-op mode with my friends online who also own PS3s, that is just one more reason to buy it.

    That said, local co-op is just as important. It is infuriating to find out I could play co-op with Ashley if she lived in another house and had her own PS3, but I can’t play with her if she is sitting right next to me.

  3. @Lusipurr – yeah, that seems to be a disturbing new trend. I still love blasting through co-op games in person. Online is a great option, but it shouldn’t be the ONLY option.

  4. with the exception of fighting games, I couldn’t care less. It’s nice when it’s there but invariably I use it once or twice and then never touch it again. my IRL friends are too lazy to play co-op for long periods of time and I don’t see the point in playing with people I don’t actually know.

    again, with the exception of fighting games, although not being able to talk shit to a lot of the people PSN because they don’t own bluetooth tends to put a damper on things.

  5. @lusi & ethos – yeah, seriously why the hell did that start happening?

  6. Why? I think it is an over-reaching on the importance of the internet. It’s more-or-less the exact opposite of Nintendo’s old “people think they want to play online, but really they don’t” philosophy.

    As far as multiplayer goes, companies should really stop trying to decide what people want, and give them all the options so they can just decide for themselves.

  7. Single player should always be the focus of the developers. When you cater to the Co-op crowd you get a single player experience that isn’t as good as it should have been most of the time. Resident Evil 5 is the biggest offender of this.

    And as to why there are so little local co-op modes in games now… its simple. Your friends now have to buy there own copy’s of the games. Its all about the money.

  8. Oyashiro beat me to the point. Co-op absolutely ruined RE5, it should only be attempted in certain types of games. Atmospheric story-driven experiences suffer fo it.

  9. “Nintendo’s old “people think they want to play online, but really they don’t” philosophy.”
    Bah-ha ha ha ha ha!
    Man, that’s Nintendo’s stance on everything. “Fuck you! We know what you’re thinking! You have no idea!”

  10. @Ethos: Yep, and apparently it’s worked pretty well for them this generation, friend codes and all.

    As for the overall debate, I love a good co-op game, and Borderlands is a great example (I whole-heartedly agree with Bup’s short review), but single-player games are great, too. I think it’s important that there’s a variety of games available, so that people who want co-op can play co-op and people who want to go it alone can go it alone, and both groups can get great experiences out of their respective games. Right now, for example, if I’m feeling social, I’ll throw in Borderlands and see if my friends want to play. If, however, I don’t feel like dealing with people, I’ll put in Fallout 3. I’m enjoying both of them, but they’re distinctly different experiences.

    I can certainly understand why game companies want to shoe-horn as much multiplayer into a games as possible, though. Even now, I sit here without a copy of Uncharted 2, since I have no interest in the multiplayer portions and I know the single-player will be exactly the same (and maybe a bit cheaper) whether I play it now or 6 months from now.

    For the local split-screen co-op issue, I’ll bemoan the fact that games are giving up split screen to anybody who’ll listen. I understand that, sometimes, the hardware just doesn’t have the resources to handle 2 play sessions at once (most open-world games jump to mind), but for many games, I’d gladly take a hit on graphics if I could play with my girlfriend without her having to go get her own copy of the game and sit upstairs on a completely different console. I hear Borderlands has a local co-op option, and I’m looking forward to trying it out the next time she’s in the mood to play a Diablo/FPS hybrid :D.

  11. I might get Boarderlands just so I have something to play locally with friends.

    -Fallout 3 is a game that would actually work well with a co-op option. The games that I think it innapropriate for are carefully scripted ones such as Uncharted, Bioshock, Dead Space etc. Resident Evil is another such franchise that should never have gone co-op; and what resulted from RE5 ammounted to a simplified game design with broken partner AI, literally forcing you to play with someone else in order to have a decent experience with the game. I really don’t want the industry to do away with epic, well scripted single player games, as they’re my favourite sort.

  12. I think a lot of it has to do with how the game’s storyline/campaign is set up. RE5 is the first game that came to mind when reading the article, and I see that I’m the only one. Since that game had 2 main protagonists, it definitely made it easier to craft a coop experience. RE4 is essentially the same game, but making a coop mode for that game would be pretty much impossible because Leon is by himself the vast majority of the time.
    Games like RE5 are an absolutely great coop experience, but as noted, this creates it’s own issues. The game’s script has 2 main characters, and that won’t change just because you don’t have a buddy playing with you. So you play with an inept AI for player 2.
    Then there’s games like GTA 4 which have just 1 main character, and enable coop online missions by having you play as faceless characters with no backstory doing missions that don’t have anything to do with the rest of the game. It’s not necessarily bad, it just feels kind of tacked on.
    I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way to do coop, it just depends on the individual game, and whether the developers want to give it more of a single or multi player focus.

    My personal favorite coop game is Secret of Mana. Talk about some awful AI. But my god it is so much fun with other people. :)

  13. *meant to say *not* the only one in regards to Resident Evil 5. My bad.

  14. I dissagree, RE4 and RE5 are fundamentally different games. Both share similar mechanics, yet are built arround diametrically opposed gaming philosophies, creating a night and day contrast between gameplay experiences. Also RE4 is good.

  15. @Darth – so, what? you mean that both single player and co-op are wanted and needed and that there is enough room in this world for both? fuck that shit, we need a winner here. stop being so damn mature and open-minded and shit, pick a side.

  16. Okay, saying that they’re “the same game” is an overstatement. I just meant that even when the 2 games have similar mechanics, with the storyline in one game focusing on 1 main character, and 2 mains in the other, it makes playing through the game’s storyline implausible in one case, and almost necessary in the other.
    I liked both games but I did enjoy RE4 more.

  17. I still haven’t finished RE5, it has been my biggest dissapointment this generation besides MGS4. We are agreed however, on the fact that the game designs of RE4 and RE5 virtually necessitate single player and multiplayer respectively.

  18. @Breaka – My mistake, I forgot I was on the internet. Please disregard my previous comment and replace it with something along the lines of the following:

    fuck co-op games and all this WOW shit. If i want3d to play with peopl, i’d go make real friends. games shuold be singleplayer only, because that’s how they were ment to be from back in old-schooll. And while we’re at it make everything 2d again. all you losrs go play your faggat games together, im gonna go play something trule epic. then I’m gonna go play coop withyour moms all night long.

  19. DarthGibblet speaks truth, all games should be single player! Fuck your co-op!

  20. Oh yeah, and @SN: Borderlands is well worth the money for the co-op, IMO, even though the story is best left unmentioned. It passes that all-important test of “when I’m not playing it, I wish I could be.”

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