While most people are talking about the fate of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, I think it's a good idea to switch gears and explore the idea of a whole new frontier. Hideo Kojima is no longer shackled to pumping out MGS games, where does he go now?
Sharing the Couch: The Best Downloadable Co-Op Games
I like placing a bullet into the back of my friend’s head from 350 yards as much as anybody, but sometimes I get tired of the conflict. Sometimes you want to take it easy, lay back on the couch and work towards a collective goal other than gathering money for pizza. With the explosion of internet-enabled consoles, you don’t even need to leave the house to get games. Here are a few of our favorite games to help you bond. Seriously, it’s better than catch.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Like everything involving Scott Pilgrim, his Ubisoft developed game was awesome. Rendered in an beautiful pixel art style and featuring one of the most delightful, yet nostalgic, soundtracks around, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of the best licensed video games around. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun to play. When you add four-player simultaneous co-op to the mix, it’s downright addicting. The lack of online co-op is disappointing, but if you can wrangle three other players up to cruise the streets of Canada with you, you won’t even care. Some well-implemented RPG-lite mechanics and interesting characters give Scott Pilgrim some long legs as well, but the retro-level difficulty may be a barrier for some.
Castle Crashers: No way this list would be complete without this celebrated cooperative title. Drop-in/drop-out play is implemented flawlessly, and the hilarious action, tight gameplay and colorful, easy on the eyes art style make it pleasure to come back to, again and again. While slaying a dragon with the help of your friends is exhilarating, Castle Crashers makes screwing over said friends almost as fun. Every boss fight ends with the four of you turning on each other and fighting for a princess’s kiss. Just like Game of Thrones, except with less incest.
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition: PC gamers may have the overall leg up on consolers when it comes to Minecraft, but the co-op crown easily goes to Minecraft. Multiplayer is as simple as can be, and with up to four people to a screen hacking away at a forest, the hours can slip by dangerously fast. It’s not uncommon to be digging through the Earth, only to plop down into a well-lit tunnel that your buddy had built days ago. The feeling of exploration and creation are incredible in Minecraft, and experiencing that with a friend is true magic.
Assault Heroes 2: While not as high-profile as some of the other games on this list, Assault Heroes 2 nonetheless gets a nod for its sweet shooter gameplay, varied weaponry and empowering the player with the excellent feeling of being an unstoppable juggernaut. While unfortunately only two-player, the cool teammate abilities, like boosting each other’s weapons while in proximity, make it a destination multiplayer game.
The Simpsons Arcade Game: One of the most essential arcade games ever made a perfect transition to consoles, and the multiplayer of the Simpsons hasn’t lost a single step with age. The unique team-up attacks and faithful Simpsons visuals are a true treat, and with the ability to roll four-deep through the streets of Springfield, The Simpsons Arcade Game has a little bit to offer everybody. Of course playing as the titular family is the draw to most, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m Lisa all the way.
The Baconing: Another overlooked multiplayer gem, The Baconing is a great game to experience with a friend. I repeat, WITH A FRIEND. Trust me, that game is infuriating if played by yourself. But with four unique (and awesome) sidekicks to choose from, an interesting art style, laugh out loud humor and slick combat, it can be a good weekend diversion for two people to play through. A fully fleshed out arena, hundreds of weapons (most with unique and devastating effects) and more sidequests than you can shake a thong at are a few additional bullet points to look forward to.
Trine 2: It’s hard to find good co-op puzzle games, perhaps because of their nature, but Trine 2 presents a gorgeous cerebral adventure that mixes in just enough action to keep things interesting for everybody. Up to three people can take control of the thief, knight and the warrior and attempt to make their way through the beautiful but deadly world of Trine 2. And if you can’t resist the temptation to throw the wizard off the ledge, well, go ahead. A nifty respawn system joins the rest of the game’s fun mechanics to create a polished cooperative venture to enjoy.
There are our choices, what are yours? Have a great downloadable co-op game that flew under our radar? Let us know about it!