Co-op with friends makes every game better?


I was inspired by some of the posts in the Conan Exiles and Ghost Recon: Wildlands threads. Everyone knows co-op makes just about every game better. What may be a boring grind solo can become an hilarious explosion-filled lark when you’re playing with a buddy. For a general example, most survival crafting games are about 1000x more interesting and engaging when you have friends to muck about with in the world.

The question I have is how do you assess the game when co-op is a core part of the game’s DNA? If you only enjoy the game with a buddy, is it a bad game, or do you give the developers credit for giving you systems that encourage multiplayer shenanigans?


Ghost Recon Wildlands - Ghosts say no to drugs

It clearly doesn’t make it a bad game (even if I prefer games that don’t require coop to be fun). It would be absurd to label, say, Overcooked, bad on the basis that it’s not really playable solo. But at the same time the inherent fun of coop can be used (and often is) to paper over weak/boring game design and/or lack of content.



Nah, a co-op focused game isn’t a bad game, it’s just a co-op focused game. If you can’t play it with friends, then just don’t play it.

Take Helldivers as a case in point. It’s not a terrible game solo, but it’s a teensy fraction of the fun compared to playing with friends. That doesn’t make Helldivers bad, just co-op focused.



That’s not always true, is it? I’ve played games solo that were atrocious, but had a night of laughs and good times in the same game doing essentially the same stuff when I was partnered up with a buddy. Survival crafters are infamous for this.



Just because a game is more fun with friends does not mean it’s more fun than a better designed/functioning game with friends. That is, sure, if you enjoy spending time with your friends there is a baseline fun level - but you are mostly better off playing a good game with them than a bad one.



This thread reminds me I wanted to try Don’t Starve Together. I love Don’t Starve, it’s a fantastic game on its own merit, but playing with someone would be cool.



Oh, well if that’s the case than yeah, one should think less of a game, honestly. I hate games that half-ass single player for multiplayer, or vice versa. Just do one or the other really well, dammit.



I know no such thing. Outside of games designed specifically as multiplayer (i.e. MMOs), I prefer solo in almost every case, even if coop is available.



I don’t find most co-op games I’ve played all that fun. But when a game specifically has systems built in that are designed to make co-op fun, that makes a huge difference. So for example, Rocket Race in Halo 3? Soooooo good. Don’t Starve Together? I had a terrible time, even though I love the single player game, but the game mechanics are ideal for single player, it’s pretty tough to actually go against those single player instincts and work together.



Coop is awesome, i sant more games to reckonize this



I love co-op with friends, mostly on Xbox. Played a ton of Left 4 Dead, Division and various Halo and Gears iterations. My favorite though was Crackdown 2, just rampaging around the city with friends. You could get jet boots in that game, and getting above somebody and coming down on their head with your jet boots would set them on fire - so we improvised a new version of Joust within the Crackdown game world.



Co-op games are awesome, well good ones anyway. A bad game is a bad game whether it’s co-op or not. Just because I would never play Left 4 Dead or Borderlands solo doesn’t mean they were weak games. I just prefer them co-op. When I played Don’t Starve and thought oh my god this would be awesome co-op, and they finally delivered Don’t Starve Together, that made it a better game for me… but Don’t Starve is enjoyed by many solo.

For me, pretty much any game is better if I can share it with my friends, but that’s a personal preference I am well aware of and know that not everyone shares that POV.



I feel the same way, but I’ve been told I’m a moron by big mean jerks like @BrianRubin. :)



No no no, it’s the royal “you.”



I would rather play a bad game with friends than a good game alone.




Been there and played quite a bit with it. Definitely a good experience, especially once people start getting their own roles in order to survive. I never tried with randoms, only with friends I knew, and it was a fulfilling and wholly engaging experience, especially because none of us knew all of the mechanics behind the game. If you do get a group of like minded people together, definitely try it out.

Yes and no. It depends on the people you are with more likely. Part of the trouble going co-op is if there is a friend who wants to race through content while another friend wants to take a more scenic route so to speak. Finding a middle ground is tough. Examples include Diablo and Borderlands, and I found I had a better time solo as opposed to sharing with others.



Agreed, and games that especially relies on story and atmosphere are better solo.



Divinity Original Sin would disagree with you. It’s really about how well the game incorporates co-op and how much control someone feels they have to have.

Also, I dislike games that throw all the loot on the floor. I have one person in my core co-op group… total loot whore.



In the PS2 days, my friend and I played the Heroes of Norrath (and other earlier games - can’t remember their names) in co-op and had a blast. A big part of the fun came from the rush to grab loot first after killing bad guys. At some point, systems seemed to change so that everybody automatically got a share of the gold when it fell. That ruined a lot of the fun for us.

These days, I play co-op games with my kids and it’s awesome. We finished Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and some Rayman games. Currently playing some Overcooked. Minecraft split screen on the PS4 is awesome, too, as is Spelunky.



I think there needs to be some love shown for competitive games as well. When you are playing some games with friends that are honest and don’t cheat competitive PvP is a ton of fun - especially when you can make up your own additional rules like “Cops V Robbers” play as children. Problem is this can only be had on private servers with friends or people you have come to know online and can trust within the game space.

One place to start I think is asking how does the game scale when another player comes with you? Is the game experience easier, or different. Obviously WOW raids were built for coop, and the benefits of such are greater than solo play. I know right now they are working on 7 Days to Die scaling differently as far as number of zombies based on the collection of players in proximity and their levels.

I think some games like Minecraft do have a “natural scaling” aspect to them and so are more subtle within the design - where as a team you can build something better than alone, because time to task is a component. “I will build the road while you work on the bus stop”.