There are some games that are built around co-op, some that offer co-op as a secondary option, and others in which co-op is included as a game mode separate from the campaign. 2009 had fine examples of each of those, allowing us to enjoy these great games in more ways than one.
The IVG popular vote went to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which is impressive considering the first game had no multi-player options whatsoever. While it didn’t include a campaign co-op option, it did have a somewhat story-driven three-player co-op mode that allowed you to play many of the story mode levels in a new way. The missions featured cutscenes and an (if somewhat basic) narrative packed in with several set pieces similar to those that made the single-player campaign so enjoyable. There was also a Survival mode similar to Horde mode in Gears of War 2, as well as Gold Rush, a similar survival mode, but with an objective (other than simply surviving).
Halo games are known for great multi-player, and while Halo 3: ODST featured a largely unchanged competitive multi-player component, the Firefight co-op mode really stood out. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also featured the independent two-player Spec-ops mode that included various objective and survival-based missions. Left4Dead 2 built upon the first game’s brilliant co-op gameplay by throwing in melee weapons, new infected and an improved AI director. Resident Evil 5 too was a game built around co-op and the entire campaign could be played co-operatively offline or online. Demon’s Souls was probably the most innovative of the lot and it broke new ground in co-operative gameplay not only for the RPG genre, but in co-op gaming as a whole.
But the IVG staff decided that it was Borderlands that deserved the title of best co-op game the most. This epic role-playing shooter with a gazillion guns, challenging enemies and a unique cel-shaded art style features 2-player split screen co-op as well as 4-player online drop-in and drop-out co-op with character classes which play quite differently. The level design not only encourages, but also necessitates co-operation and teamwork. It’s a game that is best experienced in co-op and it’s our staff pick for the game with the Best Use of Co-op.
IVG Staff Pick: Borderlands
Join the discussion at the IVG Community forums