Seriously, What Happened to Co-op?


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.

Dorkly’s – The Age of Multiplayer

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?

Diablo 3’s main characters

Borderlands 2, 4 main characters

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.

Diablo 3, 4 people one screen

Are Games Getting to Easy?


I run, sprinting along a rooftop, jump, just barely make it, look around, a guard is about to fire, I jump down. Suddenly I find myself surrounded, I draw my swords. Within a minute or two, ten bodies lie at my feet and the few that are left turn and flee. I felt like a badass, but then I looked at my health bar, I had only gotten hit once… I the feeling of badassery left me, the game made it too easy.

5 guards? no sweat

Recently I have noticed a lot of games seem to hold your hand while you play, they coddle you, make sure you understand everything and then make sure nothing is to challenging especially not right away. If you ever get stuck or lost, the game makes it all too easy to find your way back. I understand why developers do this, they don’t want the game to alienate a potential player by making the game too challenging. However an argument could be made that they are in fact doing the opposite. Games are becoming too easy, without a challenge you lose a sense of accomplishment, Assassins Creed is one of the most notoriously easy games in my opinion. To make things worse, this series seems to get easier with each installment, guards are incredibly easy, they all take a turn attacking with a very obvious set of movements. The difficulty level is easy to start with, but as you progress through the game your character gets better equipment, making it even easier so by the end enemies offer no challenge. This frustrates me, I remember games being difficult, you had to be good at the game, or at least have some skill.

Fighting your first dragon in Skyrim

Games like Skyrim and of course the famous Dark Souls series are some of the few that do not fall into the easy category. Skyrim is not necessarily difficult, but if you change it to the highest level it can definitely be a challenge, enemies like dragons and trolls and the like do not seem much of bother when you are level 50… until you ramp up the difficulty to master, then a dragon becomes a terrifying sight once again, reminiscent of the first time you encountered one, It flying around above you, raining death. Dark Souls is probably the most famous for being difficult, both games are notorious for causing gamers to fly into a rage. A friend of mine, who I must say is incredibly calm (I have never ever seen him even raise his temper towards a game) was playing Dark Souls, he ended up getting so frustrated he ended braking his PS3 controller in two.

Dark Souls – Off to try and kill this stupid dragon for the 15th time

Dark Souls is a bit extreme I must say, it is incredibly challenging, but rarely have I experienced such a sense of accomplishment within a game. Now don’t get me wrong I am definitely not saying that all games should be like Dark Souls, definitely not. I am simply saying that a challenge once in a while would not be terrible. Games like Assassins Creed should stop holding our hands, let us take a crack at it, don’t make it so easy anyone can play, or at least have different difficulty settings. I am tired of being able to sleep through games without even trying I end up often beating them too quickly or easily.

Release Day


Joy, pure joy! Today, today has come! I leap from sleep, immediately awake at the prospect of the coming day. It has arrived, finally. I rush to the purchase, nothing else matters today. I arrive home, the screen is on before my coat is off. Time to play, happiness finally!

The “Girlfriend Interruption” Difficulty


Relationships can be tricky sometimes, especially when one person spends time doing something that excludes the other. This can be somewhat problematic. Guess what? I just so happen to have experienced this before, when I am playing a game for extended periods of time (upwards of 4 hours) my girlfriend becomes frustrated because I seem to be ignoring her. This can lead to, I’ll use the word difficulties. What I have found is that trying to include her can help, asking her what she thinks of the game, or if she would like to take a turn. Simply including her in your activity can change her opinion of the game. The act of including her may even change her mind about games. A common opinion among women is that games are stupid, but if you try to show them why you find gaming enjoyable they may understand why you can spend hours and hours playing. Once they realise gaming isn’t a stupid mindless activity they may even want to try, and in my opinion this is something to encourage. If you can get them playing then it is easier to play yourself without them getting angry, because they understand how fun and addictive a game can be.

My girlfriend never hated games or anything so extreme but sometimes she will get annoyed when I play by myself for a long time without talking to her (which I completely understand and sympathize with). When I try to include her by asking for her opinions and asking if she wants to play seems to help, she engages with the game and she doesn’t get frustrated because I’m not ignoring her. Often she declines my offers saying she would rather watch me play, but this act of inclusion really seems to help. Her declining might just be a polite reaction but it also allows you to keep playing which honestly I have never minded. As a gamer I can say that it can be difficult to watch a beginner (noob) try to play a game you are experienced with. At the same time though if she does decide to take up your offer and try out the game you can practice your patience skill by teaching her and having fun watching her play. This is also a chance to let your frustrations with the game go.  Too often have I gotten frustrated and angry with a game, yelling at the screen some swear words in a nonsensical manner, letting that frustration go can be a difficult task. Watching her play might remind you not take it too seriously because it is a game after all and meant to be fun.

When my girlfriend does decide to play we often have a lot of fun together. I like getting the opportunity to include her with something I enjoy, especially when she has fun as well. Doing something I like with her and having us both enjoy ourselves is always a good thing in my mind…