Does anyone else look back and reminisce about co-op? I have such fond memories, having a friend or two over and turning on the Xbox and working together, exploring worlds together, rather than simply racing or fighting or shooting one another. Why is co-op so rare now a days? Does no one else enjoy playing with someone rather than against them? The only game I can think of that has come out recently is Diablo that offers a co-op experience. The focus of multiplayer has changed to competitive, pitting players against each other. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero problem with this, I thoroughly enjoy games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Titanfall, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy co-op.
Why are developers ignoring co-op? A game like Assassins Creed seems like a perfect co-op type game to me, there is a multiplayer aspect to it as is, it seems to me, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to include a co-operative section to the game. The most recent installment, Black Flag could have been especially interesting, imagine traversing the vast open ocean and coming across a fellow player’s pirate ship only to team up and begin pillaging the high seas together! Sounds f**king awesome no?
UPDATE: AC Unity will have co-op, apparently Ubisoft realized how right I was, and decided to include it in their most recent addition to the massive franchise. Which reinforces this idea of co-op being a good thing, which we need more of.
Some of my favourite co-op games include, Gears of War, Borderlands, Minecraft and Diablo. These games all do co-op well and it never feels shoe-horned in, which is definitely important. There are however many games which co-op could be included and it would add to the experience rather than take away. I used to consider myself a lone-wolf type of gamer, especially with shooters, however last year I began to play in a group, five or six of us would play together fairly regularly and it was so much more fun. I had no idea what I was missing out on. Now I almost always play with at least someone else because it’s just so much better. I love playing with a couple friends, why not make it so that we can work together?
Borderlands both 1 and 2 did a great job of making co-op easy and awesome, similar to Diablo. Playing with people was not only more enjoyable but it helped your character, you gained experience faster and had a better chance of finding upper tier items. Why these types of games are not more common baffles me, hopefully in the coming months and years we will see more games like this or at least including a form of this. Games like Assassins Creed and Battlefield and even Skyrim could become even better with an inclusion of co-op.
Online multiplayer seems to be the main culprit for the decline in couch gaming (playing with friends on the same couch). The rise of online gaming should not mean that splitscreen or local multiplayer is not important. My favourite gaming experiences often involve a group of my friends and I playing together all on the same couch, whether it be against each other or working together. I think that co-op gaming online is good, however I don’t think it is as good as the local alternative. Too often online co-op is offered with no local option, this simply does not cut it. I don’t want to have to have multiple consoles and copies of a game in order to play with my friend, if they don’t have the console then we can’t play together. Online co-op and the idea of playing together through the internet is basically what ended local multiplayer, I guess the idea being why bother leaving your couch to play on someone else’s. I see the appeal, but at the same time, it’s just not the same. There are singleplayer games and there are multiplayer games, social gaming has transformed from people being in the same room to no one playing in the same room. The social side of gaming is one of the best aspects of the pass time, I really hope games like Diablo 3 and others like it show developers it should not be done away with.