The 15 top must-play co-op games
14th Apr 2012 | 18:30
There's always a loser in multiplayer games where you face off against some poor unfortunate staring down the barrel of your gun, but co-op gaming is about making love, not war. You'll love your friends as they save you from the brink of death, puzzle through problems together, double your capacity for mindless slaughter and rack up a bodycount in the thousands. Okay, so they're sometimes about making war.
1. Splinter Cell Conviction
Conviction's co-op nearly matches the size of Sam Fisher's adventure with a story about undercover Russian and American agents. It's about synchronising shots, distracting enemies, and defending your buddy, and a final ten minutes that forces you to break co-op gaming's one rule - you never betray your friends... do you?
2. Left 4 Dead 2
In every game of Left 4 Dead there's always one badass who thinks he can take on the world single-handed - but of course, he's the one who dies first when the zombies come running. It's a gamethat anyone who can aim agun can play, and when the panicsets in you stand together oryou die alone.
3. Dead Rising: Off The Record
Rudimentary as co-op gets, and it should be rubbish, but that mob of zombies we shredded with a strimmer and our buddy finished off with an axe, says otherwise.
4. FIFA 12
Everyone gets so caught up in crushing strangers on Live it's easy to forget you can team up with three friends and dominate the AI for a 'friendlier', more 'laid back' experience.
5. Halo Wars
Halo Wars has a slapdash ghetto co-op mode where both players share the same base and draw from the same resource pool, but it's that very conflict that makes the game. Like playing with your big brother's action figures, you have to share and play nice or someone will take your toys away.
6. Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 isn't just better with a friend; it's almost unplayable without. On your own, Sheva is a big, dumb bag of rocks Chris has to drag around with him while he goes about shooting half of Africa; with a friend she's your saviour - always watching your back and doing some smarter shooting on your behalf.
7. MGS: Peace Walker HD
Peace Walker HD replaced the original's local co-op with online co-op, and it isn't just an advantage; on some later bosses an extra player or two is almost essential. Peace Walker was built for four, with gadgets and weapons that only work with extra players in the room.
Like Diablo or Phantasy Star Online,Borderlands is about accumulating disgustingly powerful kit and adorning your character with weapons and armour so massive and conspicuous that everyone you meet reels in awe. Better yet, it's about scrounging swag from high-level players to cheese your way through early opposition.
9. Portal 2
Part videogame, part cruel psychological experiment, Portal 2's dedicated co-op campaign will very quickly test even the closest of friends' abilities to work together and solve complex tasks. Seeing asolution is only half the problem; working with another player is for the patient and forgiving.
10. HALO ODST
ODST is a selection of perfect Halo moments - a sniper level, a vehicle level, an all-out combat level - set between stealthy open-world sections that encourage creative co-op play. Its Firefight maps beat anything in Halo Reach, too.
11. Gears of War 3
It's easy to let the friendly AI do your fighting for you when you play Gears 3 alone, but with friends you can use those expansive battlefields to spread out, strategise, and tweak your skills for Gears of War's famous Horde mode.
12. Saints Row: The Third
No other game on 360 lets you and a friend lay waste to an entire city from the driving seat of a hoverbike, while dressed like the campest two sixths of the Village People. You want more than that? You're asking for too much.
13. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Treyarch might forever be Robin to Infinity Ward's Batman, but never forget they created CoD's amazing Zombies mode. It's four players versus undead x infinity in a fight you can only ever lose.
14. Lego Star Wars: TCS
The Complete Saga bundles both Star Wars trilogies on one disc and then mercilessly takes the piss out of them in a game that's good enough to play with other gamers, and simple enough to play with kids.
15. Crackdown 2
You don't play co-op Crackdown to level up or to complete the tougher mission objectives; you play co-op Crackdown because it's the only game where you can recreate the Superman II Supes vs Zod fight and throw a bus at your best friend.