Back in March of last year, Javier and myself planned to play a new game from EA called A Way Out – All the trailers and marketing had got me hyped for what looked like a fun co-op that could be played local or online. We settled in for the evening with a unhealthy supply of crisps, energy drinks and beers hoping that this game would live up to the hype…

…6 hours later and we both felt like we had played through something really special; read Javier’s review for more details. In that review he mentions that the game left him wanting more, and I have to agree, fast forward ten months to present day and that craving still hasn’t been itched.

Now I know that there are a lot of co-op games out there, but so many of them are either drop in and play, or online matchmaking games such as Call of Duty or Fortnite… Which are great and definitely have their place, but its not really what I’m looking for when I think of co-op. It’s also worth giving a shout out to games like GTA: Online and RDR2: Online which are both also very fun to play with friends, but again are not the story driven co-op exclusives I’m looking for. There’s a lot of fun to be had with the games mentioned above, the only problem is that I’m basically still playing them on my own in the long run. What I mean is I can play those games every day with somebody new, and it won’t effect my enjoyment of the game nor theirs. What I really want is something along the lines of A Way Out where I play as one distinctive character, and my buddy as the other, and if one of us isn’t around then you simply do not progress, I understand this may not appeal to everyone, it’s just in my opinion it feels a lot more rewarding when you beat the game as a proper team.

I realise that I have heaped a load of praise onto A Way Out so far, but other developers have definitely given proper co-op a go over the years, the first big one that springs to my mind is Resident Evil 5. Back in 2009 Capcom had decided to depart from its roots as a survival horror game in favour of this action adventure co-op title, and I couldn’t have been happier (Though I still love classic Resi). This ticked all the boxes for me and although it wasn’t a perfect game it was more than enough to satisfy my co-op needs, and once again, me and my partner in crime Javier cracked open those beers for one mammoth overnight sitting… Good times. Other games such as Army of Two and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men have also given it a good shot at cracking into the co-op market to various levels of success – The problem is that out of all the games I have said positive things about, only one of them has been released on current generation consoles and that is an issue.

I think it’s obvious that the popularity of online games such as COD and GTA, and the easy drop in and drop out gameplay is the main reason that local and online split screen co-op titles feel like they’re becoming more and more of a rarity, and I completely understand that from a developer’s point of view, even more so when you consider the financial side of things and how much money there is to be made with loot boxes and players wanting to buy cosmetics to show off to randoms… But from a player’s stand point I find there is no better feeling than completing a story-driven adventure with your mates by your side. Unfortunately the time between those stories is growing larger and larger, and truth be told I can’t see that changing any time soon.

Halo 2 Multiplayer

Looking through the release schedule for 2019 doesn’t fill me with much confidence either when it comes to co-op games. Sure some titles such as The Blackout Club and Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones give me hope, and fingers crossed these will deliver… Though what I want in the future is for developers to properly commit to co-op rather than making it simply an online afterthought. Here’s hoping!

Agree with me? Or am I missing out on some massive co-op games that could change my mind? Let me know in the comments below…

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