Here we've rounded up 12 games that are better in every way to play with friends. Yeah, you could play some of them alone. Sure, you could (if you're insane) play some of them with random Internet strangers who love to use profanity. But if you pair up ...
Hayden Dingman @haydencd
Â Jul 15, 2016 5:40 AM
It's dangerous to go alone!
Itâ€™s good to have friends. That goes doubly so when youâ€™re facing down a zombie horde or sneaking into a hostile spy base.Here weâ€™ve rounded up 12 games that are better in every way to play with friends. Yeah, you could play some of them alone. Sure, you could (if youâ€™re insane) play some of them with random Internet strangers who love to use profanity. But if you pair up with a partner or three youâ€™ll have a much more rewarding experience.Unless one of you is bad at games, in which case youâ€™ll never speak to that person again. Thanks, Chris.Editorâ€™s note: This article has been updated periodically to refresh the list of games.
Dota 2 and League of Legends
Sure, you could play either of these MOBAs with a group of random strangers. You also could tie raw steak to your body and run through a grizzly bear's cage. In a world full of toxic video game communities and "haha your mom" teenagers, Dota 2 and League of Legends are somehow notorious for being even worseÂ (though still a blast to play).Both games have done their best to clean up their act in recent years, but if you're the worst team member in a game that relies on precise teamwork to win, you're going to have a bad time. Better bring a few friends along for the ride so they can tease you mercilessly when you lose.
Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity: Original Sin is a fantastic CRPG played by your lonesome, but it reaches a new level when played cooperatively. Both players create and control their own character, andÂ conversations actually allow you to roleplay against each other instead of one player being stuck as a warmongering subordinate.Â Itâ€™s maybe the closest a video game RPG has ever come to tabletop roleplaying.The upcoming sequel promises to flesh out the co-op aspects even moreâ€”four players, all exploring the world individually, completing quests, and backstabbing each otherâ€”but itâ€™s still a ways off. For now, the original game will have to suffice.
Evolveâ€™s a bit of an outsider on this listâ€”itâ€™s the only game outside of Dota 2 andÂ League of LegendsÂ thatâ€™s competitive co-op instead of pure player-versus-environment. But thereâ€™s a reason. Well, a few reasons. First off, itâ€™s free now, which is always a good selling point.But more importantly, Evolveâ€™s four-on-one hunter-versus-monster affair demands teamwork. Itâ€™s pretty much impossible for the Hunters to track down and kill the monster if theyâ€™re not working together, especially because itâ€™s controlled by another player. â€œThe most dangerous game,â€ Iâ€™ve heard.Evolve had some serious issues at launchâ€”not least of which was its hostile DLC plan. But with Turtle Rock promising to turn the game around and make good? Iâ€™m willing to give it another shot, because the core idea intrigued me from my first-ever match.
â€œItâ€™s 2016, and youâ€™re still including Borderlands 2 on this list?â€ Yes, I am. Yeah, the gameâ€™s four years old at this point, but itâ€™s still the last â€œrealâ€ Borderlands game. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel never captured me in quite the same way, Tales from the Borderlands is an adventure game, and Iâ€™d rather not even talk about Gearboxâ€™s latest game, the frantic MOBA-shooter mixÂ Battleborn.And so weâ€™re left with Borderlands 2. Itâ€™s still as great a co-op game as ever. Round up some friends, round up some drinks, and shoot baddies until the guns pop out of their corpses. Simple fun.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
For my money, Call of Dutyâ€™s co-op peak was Modern Warfare 2â€™s Spec Ops modeâ€”twenty-three missions with different objectives for each. But the other half of Call of Dutyâ€™s co-op heritage is its famed Zombies mode, and if youâ€™re going to play you might as well start with the most recent.As of 2016 that means picking up a copy of Black Ops III for its â€œShadows of Evilâ€ storyline, which takes you through Morg Cityâ€”overrun, of course, by zombies. With a cast of shady characters voiced by the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Ron Perlman, it makes for a fun little romp. Heck, some people buy Call of Duty only for Zombies mode at this point.
Killing Floor 2
Part of me hesitates to put Killing Floor 2 on this list. Go to the gameâ€™s Steam page and youâ€™ll see itâ€™s received â€œMixedâ€ reviews of late, for a multitude of reasonsâ€”most of which boil down to the community's feeling like its voice isnâ€™t being heard. Thatâ€™s bad, when youâ€™re in Early Access.So take this recommendation with a shaker of salt. But as someone who casually plays Killing Floor 2, I think the gameâ€™s a lot of fun. Party up, get your guns out, and get ready to blast waves of zombies â€œspecimensâ€ in the face. There are (completely valid) complaints that the game breaks down or is exploitable once youâ€™ve learned its patterns, but by the time youâ€™ve reached that point youâ€™ll have spent many, many hours playing. For me, that counts as â€œGetting my moneyâ€™s worth.â€
Something about co-op and zombies, eh? Dying Light is yet another entry on this list that pits you and friends against the shambling hordes of the undead. Itâ€™s also the most extensive of the zombie games, though, with a massive open world built for sprinting through alleyways and bounding over rooftops using thrilling parkour mechanics.The gameâ€™s perfectly pleasant alone , but infinitely more chaotic with companions. Itâ€™s you, three friends, and a lightning sword/a fire-coated machete/a big olâ€™ sledgehammer/a baseball bat covered in nails. You can even play through the entire lengthy campaign together, if you so choose.In a similar (but less undead) vein: Far Cry 4â€™s co-op can get pretty ridiculous.
Left 4 Dead 2
Okay, okay, one more zombie game. But how could we leave Valveâ€™s classic Left 4 Dead 2 off the list? Released waaaay back in ye olden days of 2009, Left 4 Dead revolves around four survivors trying to find refuge in world overrun with zombiesâ€”healing each other, communicating with each other, and providing complementary firepower coverage.The whole thing was built for fragging with your friends, and is a lot more structured than the open-world mayhem of Dying Light or the arena madness of Call of DutyÂ andÂ Killing Floor 2. Just make sure you bring some pals with you, because the people still playing seven years post-release are a pretty insular crowd at this point. Itâ€™s better to learn with people you know.
Letâ€™s add another Valve entry to the list: Portal 2. Not only did Valve put co-op into Portal 2, but itâ€™s entirely separate from the singleplayer campaign.You and a friend (or enemy) each control a robot and your own separate portal gun, for a total of four portals at a time. Puzzles often require strategic use of all four, whichâ€™ll have you screaming, â€œNo, PUT THE DAMN PORTAL OVER THERE,â€ and gritting your teeth at regular intervals.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Like Portal 2, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is either the best or worst test of a relationship. Originally designed for virtual reality, the game mimics the bomb-defusing scene in any goofy action filmâ€”you know, the â€œdo I cut the red wire or the green wire?â€ type. One player has to describe the bomb they see on-screen, while the other flips through a book of schematics to try and figure out how to defuse it.Itâ€™s tense, frustrating, and (when you succeed) incredibly rewarding. Just make sure to take a break before you say anything youâ€™ll regret.
A few months ago I might've taken Payday 2 off this list. It seemed like Overkill was taking the game in some not-so-great directions, by which I mean ill-received microtransactions and an increasingly frustrated community. But then in May, Overkill bought out the rights to Payday and brought it in-house, killing the microtransactions in the process. Now I feelâ€¦hopeful? Hopeful seems like the correct term.So grab four friends and get ready to pull off some heists. From corner store stick-'em-ups to kidnappings to bank robberies and cybercrime, Payday 2 is all about scratching your Ocean's 11 itch.
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