Competitive gaming is great and all, but sometimes when you’re playing games you’d prefer some heart-warming companionship over a bitter rivalry.
Co-operative modes in videogames have been around for ages, from the early days of arcade beat-em-ups to online tag-teaming in the form of the PlayStation 4’s Resogun. And while there’s certainly no dearth of co-op games out there, some of us got to thinking that there are plenty of single player games that could use a good two, three or even four-player mode.
Isn’t it crazy to think that it took Nintendo 24 years to incorporate a simultaneous co-operative mode in the Super Mario Bros. franchise with New Super Mario Bros. Wii? Then think of how 3D Mario games didn’t get that luxury until just recently with Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. Clearly, even major franchises could use more co-op.
That’s where the Pixelitis staff comes in. Join us as we look at other games that could benefit from some couch (or even online) co-op, and be sure to tell us what other games you’d think would benefit from such a mode.
Game that should have co-op: Hotline Miami
If you haven’t played Hotline Miami yet, you’re missing out on a gem. The game was originally released in late 2012 and follows an unnamed protagonist during an epic series of battles with the Russian mob. This may sound like an odd comparison but think of it as a top-down Portal with much more violence. Players must defeat all the enemies on a floor before progressing, which often requires careful planning and smart usage of your weapons. Now think about how awesome co-op was in Portal 2 and you’ll see what I’m getting at here.
Adding co-op to Hotline Miami would emphasize the puzzle aspect of the game immensely. Teamwork would be essential to survival, since failure would stem from either player dying. You’d be able to do cool stuff like bust into rooms simultaneously to create chaos or have one guy kick a door down while the other fires through it. Friendly fire could play into things too, which would force you to be careful regarding where you’re aiming. It would also allow the developers to be more creative with the floor layouts and expand the gameplay without hurting the core concept of the game.
- Ken Smith
Game that should have co-op: Okami
Being one of my favorite games for the PlayStation 2, Okami was near perfect as it is – but what if it had co-op? Okami had you running around Nippon, restoring the tainted land as the wolf sun goddess Amaterasu. Its DS sequel, Okamiden, introduced Amaterasu’s son Chibiterasu as the protagonist, focusing more on puzzle elements. Teaming them up together would make for one amazingly deep (and cute) game.
Imagine how well the team of god-like artists would go together, considering their specialties. Amaterasu would focus on battling and destroying stuff while Chibiterasu would help with nimble sneak attacks and solving puzzles outside of battle. Ink would be shared between both and combo attacks could be drawn for new special attacks. The wolves would complement each other in and out of battle, making cooperation very important at all times.
Keeping up with the art style of the past two games, this would make a great game for PlayStation 4 with its crisp and colorful visuals. And think about what would happen if thatgamecompany were to make such a game. I think my eyes would melt from the sheer beauty of everything.
- Allain Richard
Game that should have co-op: FTL
The dark, uncaring recesses of space can be a lonely place, especially in a game as unforgiving at FTL. For those unfamiliar with the title, FTL is a rogue-like space simulator that became an indie favorite through Steam. Your goal is to get your ship and her crew to the last sector of the galaxy before the rebels do. The game is full of randomly determined content and permanent death, so the player must walk a very fine line between taking chances and risking the ship.
Being that your only true friend in FTL is scrap metal, a friendly ship coming to your aid against greedy space-slugs would be a welcome addition. I don’t think it should make the game easier; I imagine there would simply be a couple of player-ships coursing through the galaxy at their own rate, and if you both end up at the same point, so be it. Maybe then the players could decide how to treat their non-NPC guest. Lend them some scrap? Or maybe just raid their ship?
Well, now that wouldn’t be co-op would it?
- Stephen Hilger
Games that should have co-op: The Final Fantasy series
Now, I know what you’re going to say: “But Pat, there are two Final Fantasy MMORPGs out there!” Yes, but are their stories and cast of characters as engaging as any of the main series’ titles? I think not.
Some games like Final Fantasy VI allow you to assign certain characters to a second controller during battle, which could be enjoyable for some, but ultimately Player One had most of the power, particularly in controlling what happens on the field and in the menus. Imagine if a game like FFVI was re-purposed to allow a second character to walk around on screen as well.
More JRPGs could use co-op. Perhaps the most amazing use of co-op in a JRPG lies with Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies on DS. This game let four people with DQIX cartridges locally connect to someone’s world and team up to help finish both main and side-quests. Players could splinter off at any point or join together in turn-based combat if they happened to be in the same area.
The thought of two players moving about freely in Final Fantasy I through XIII, joining up when need-be sounds like the coolest idea ever, even if it sounds like a programmer’s nightmare.
- Patrick Kulikowski
Games that should have co-op: The Kingdom Hearts series
For a series that models itself on strategic action combat and the occasional cooperative AI, Kingdom Hearts has only touched upon the idea of multiplayer in its DS outing, 365 Days / 2. Though rumors abound, multiplayer is not yet confirmed for the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts III.
One great thing KH has always been consistent with is never feeling like the same game twice. Even though its Action RPG style of battle has always remained unchanged, every installment has added new layers of customization, control and physics to this frame.
Though the aforementioned Days featured co-op by wirelessly linking to other DS systems, this mode was independent of the main story. What Kingdom Hearts III could achieve is granting co-op for the main campaign.
Here’s how I picture it. It might have to be online only, since this is a series known for having a million chaotic things going on at once on screen. To adhere to the series’ formula, there would most likely be only three playable characters on screen at a single time. This would consist of two sets of characters for your three-man party: your one Keyblade wielder and two “assists” with their own unique style of fighting.
There are enough Keybladers in the series at this point, as well as a mishmash of Final Fantasy and Disney characters to serve as backup. You won’t always have to choose to play as the standard Sora, Goofy and Donald team, potentially opting for Riku, Cloud or Aladdin instead. Square Enix could even throw in the fun bonus of combo and chain attacks that would be specific to certain character combinations, a la Chrono Trigger.
Though you would start off with the original Kingdom Hearts crew, you would go on to collect more characters as you progressed through the single player campaign. They would then be added to your team in a similar vein to a Final Fantasy title’s rosters. When not being controlled by human players, your two partner characters would function as the standard A.I. seen in the series’ numbered installments.
From a mythos standpoint, having Disney characters outside of their “worlds” would be breaking the Kingdom Hearts’ take on the prime directive–and don’t even get me started on how this would work with the FMVs. Then again, at this point the story has taken so many left turns that it probably wouldn’t matter.