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Week of Love: The Best Xbox Couch Co-op Games to Play With Your Valentine
Some call it couch co-op, others call it local. No matter what you call it, sharing a fun night in and a good game with your Valentine can be a blast. Last time, I provided some tips on how to get your significant other interested in gaming. If your skills in the game of love are as superb as your taste in gaming articles on the net, then you’re surely ready to put that love seat to work and get some quality gaming in with your darling. Nothing will make your heart race faster than snuggling up next to your sweetie-pie with with one or all of these great titles for some quality Valentine’s Day gaming.
- For those who love a noodle scratcher (Puzzle)
Portal 2: The best overall title on this list, Portal 2‘s co-op campaign tosses players back into the Aperture Science testing facilities as testing robots, P-body and ATLAS, for some friendly team-building exercises. Co-op players are treated to their own unique campaign with a plethora of unique puzzles and clever uses of portals from both players. The writing and dialogue here is hilarious and will keep you and your sweetheart entertained even if the puzzles prove too much for your sidekick to handle. This game is perfect for those longing to flex their brains for their special someone and prove that there’s more to you than just the good looks. Truly a must play title.
Ilomilo: Step into the shoes of bestest friends ilo and milo as they journey to hang out in the park together. Thats right, each day the park changes and warps making it more and more difficult for the buddies to meet. Co-op players will take turns navigating the twisting and turning world and solving puzzles to aid their cohort before throwing control over to their better half. Don’t let the cuteness fool you–the puzzles here are no joke and will test you and your partner’s ability to think as a team.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light: A downloadable gem for Xbox Live Arcade, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light pairs Lara the Tomb Raider with ancient Mayan warrior, Totec, for a booby-trap-dodging good time. Lara can use her grappling hook to allow Totec to rappel and tightrope walk while Totec throws spears for Lara to climb and avoid traps. You and your co-op lover will be doing your best Indy Jones impersonations for hours. Thrifty gamers that grabbed this title for free as last month’s Games with Gold offering are in for an awesomely cheap date!
- For those with Red Bull in hand (Action-Adventure)
Gears of War series: Does your Valentine like it bit rough? This violent, cover-based, third-person shooter series will satisfy your lover in ways you only wish you could. Each title in this series (4 in all) casts players in the role of the beefcakes of Delta Squad. All games offer full co-op campaigns with split screen play to enjoy together. Horde mode, introduced in Gears 2 and refined in 3, lets players team up to take on wave after wave of Locust while earning cash for power-ups, weapons, and other heart-warming treats. Take your Valentine’s date online for some of the best action-heavy and intense multiplayer around.
Resident Evil 5: While Resident Evil 6 may have been a disappointment for many gamers, its predecessor did a great job in adapting the tight controls and fun gunplay from Resident Evil 4 to create a great co-op experience for two players. Players take control of the familiar and studly Chris Redfield and sexy newcomer Sheva Alomar as they attempt to quell a bio-terrorist threat in Africa. Pull your darling close to you as you’re both in for some chills and thrills with this one.
Lego series: Developer TT Games has a good thing going with its super popular Lego series of video games. Based on mega-popular franchises such as Marvel Superheroes, Harry Potter, Star Wars and even the new Lego movie, these action-adventure games give co-op players the chance to re-live any number of their favorite movie story lines with an unbelievable number of playable franchise favorite characters. You and your significant other can battle baddies, collect currency (often in the form of Lego brick pieces), and erect equipment as you relive your favorite big-screen moments.
- For those that like to jump and run on solid surfaces (Platformer)
Rayman Legends: The follow-up to 2011’s excellent Rayman Origins, another fantastic co-op title, Rayman Legends is a fast-paced beautiful looking game that all platform-loving duos should play. The beautiful and goofy hand-drawn character and backgrounds will give your Valentine the giggles even if the games difficulty makes him or her weepy. The addition of the awesome music-based levels make this already must play series even better. It’s speedy Mario with fantastic visuals, tight controls and awesome music.
Battleblock Theater: Playing this quirky title from the makers of Castle Crashers may lead to heartbreak as co-op partners can quickly become enemies while making their way through the game’s adventure mode. Players can throw, boost, and smack their partners around as they navigate through each blocky stage. The game’s silly story and many unlockables will keep the both of you pining for more.
Spelunky: This brutally challenging game is not for the faint of heart. Up to four players can team up to hunt for treasure Super Pitfall style across four increasingly difficult worlds. The game looks and controls very simply, but it’s unforgiving difficulty can be a major turn-off for those without patience. On the flip side, those that stick with and conquer this game’s main quest will feel the type of gaming satisfaction that is increasingly hard to come by in modern games. If you are playing with a new or casual player, this one might be better tackled when you have a little ‘me time’.
- For those who support the Second Amendment (First Person Shooter)
Halo series: Halo is credited as the game that first introduced the First Person Shooter genre to consoles players back on the original Xbox. Today, it is a powerhouse franchise in gaming. Despite the rise of many other major titles in the genre, Halo still sets itself apart from the competition with great AI and an ever expanding arsenal of awesome gadgets and weapons. While can be a daunting task for gamers new to the genre to manage first-person controls, Halo‘s tight handles and make it a fine choice for co-op gamers both experienced and not. With 5 titles available for the 360 and the inevitable Xbox One release, there’s plenty of Master Chief to go around on V-day.
Left 4 Dead 2: The ultimate in co-op gameplay for the 360, Left 4 Dead 2 requires tight teamwork, quick aim and a lot of ammo. As wading into the undead horde on your own is almost certain death, you’ll definitely want to bring a special someone along with you through each playable campaign. Even though the game is only packaged with 5 playable scenarios, the AI Director dictates when and where enemies and weapon drops spawn based on player performance. Certain death or salvation could literally be around any corner which makes this game a blast to play again and again.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2: Vegas 2 was the last Rainbow Six title to come out for consoles way back in 2008. Despite its age, It’s still considered to be one of the best co-op experiences on the Xbox 360. Suit up as Bishop and Knight in the co-op supported campaign to stop a terrorist plot in Sin City. The many terrorist-filled rooms in the game have multiple points of entry providing some fun and inventive methods of taking out the enemy. Players are rewarded more heavily for scoring kills in different ways, so co-op pairs are urged to experiment with the vast number of tools and weapons found in the game.
- For those who can’t afford a second controller (Pass the Controller)
Beautiful Katamari: Easily the most unique game on the list, Katamari is a game quite unlike any other. Players use the twin sticks to navagate their katamari through the cluttered stages picking up most everything in the sticky ball’s path. While this game does feature a co-op mode in which two players share rolling responsibilities for the left and right side of a single katamari, the best times are had blowing through the score attack or campaign modes passing a single controller between you and a loved one.
Pac-Man DX Championship Edition: Pac-Man, a game everybody can play. This game doesn’t have a co-op mode of its own, but you can make your own by challenge your sweetie to best your high scores. This fast-paced version of the classic arcade game is perfect to play with any level of gamer.
Burnout Paradise (Party Pack DLC): Burnout relieves some of the stresses of the typical racing game by rewarding racers for smashing in to things. The Party Pack DLC allows you to set up challenges for up to eight players. Each player takes a turn at completing each selected challenge and a winner is annouced after all challenges have been completed. Gamers with the Vision camera will be able to take a photo for each racer adding a bit of personalized fun to each game.
- For those with character issues (RPG)
Borderlands 2: Part FPS, part RPG, you’ll have a VBG while you LOL with your BFF and get some XOXO, OMG! Borderlands 2 is for players looking for a deep, action-heavy gaming experience. The entire loot-heavy campaign can be played split screen with a co-op partner and is virtually endless. Borderlands 2 has 6 playable characters (4 on disc and 2 via DLC) each with their own unique special abilities and progression trees and an almost limitless number of guns to find. There is A LOT of game here in this must play title. If Borderlands tickles your fancy, then cast your joyful eyes towards Destiny, the upcoming pseudo-MMO from the makers of Halo.
Fable series: Fantasy lovers will feel right at home with any of the Fable games. Fable mixes swords and sorcery with human ethics and morality to give players a shapable story experience. Revel in your evil deeds and watch horns sprout from your character’s bastardly head. Spread good around the game’s land of Albion and your hero will walk in angelic light. Recruit your loved one as a henchman in your campaign to rule the world or rid it of evil. The recently released Fable Trilogy, which brings the original Fable to the 360 for the first time along with Fables 2 and 3, is a great place to start your journey.
Eternal Sonata: Set in the feverish deathbed dreams of legendary composer Frederic Chopin, Eternal Sonota is a beautiful-looking Japanese RPG with plenty of fantastic mood music for your day of romance. Co-op gameplay takes place during combat sequences. The secondary player takes the reigns of one of three battling characters while the main player controls the other two. While not the most involved co-op experience around, the wonderful music and graphics go a long way to hold both players attention.
- For those looking to get out some aggression (Hack and Slash/Beat em’ Up)
Castle Crashers: Castle Crashers is a great Xbox Live Arcade title reminiscent of the classic brawlers from the late 80’s and 90’s. It offers a slew of unlockable characters and weapons that give this title a ton of replayability. Jump online with your co-op partner to complete your foursome and tear through the opposition. It’s a simple and straight-forward fun adventure.
Diablo III: The first Blizzard title to reach consoles since the days of the N64, Diablo III brings the classic dungeon crawling gameplay into your living room. Choose from 5 different character classes and set out against the titular Lord of Terror, Diablo. Random loot drops and procedurally generated dungeons give this game a ton of replayability. While casting spells and disemboweling demons alongside your true love may seem like a dream come true, sharing screen space and menu time can be trying. Take it to Xbox Live on separate boxes for best results.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: With the recent onslaught of Marvel movies and jump in popularity, almost everyone is familiar with the core characters in the Marvel stable. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 lets you and your darling don the skin-tight outfit of your favorite hero and wield all of their awesome powers and gadgets. The Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, and even the crappy Fantastic Four are all here. Each combination of two characters can combine their special abilities to create devastating attacks called ‘fusions’. More suited for the comic book lover than the previously mentioned Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a great co-op gaming choice for you and the geek in your life.
- For those with formerly fat wallets (Xbox One)
Call of Duty: Ghosts: Call of Duty‘s major appeal as a online-multiplayer shooter helped make it the best-selling game for Microsoft’s new box. Ghosts provides endless hours of online enjoyment for you and a loved one via split-screen co-op. While online deathmatches are this franchises bread and butter, the real draw for co-op gamers comes from the title’s new survival mode, Extinction. Developers Infinity Ward have swapped one overused gaming cliche with another in taking gamers out of the zombie apocalypse from previous games and placing them at the head of an alien invasion in Ghosts. Character class selection provides players with different weapons and abilities with which to take out the aliens at their source. Be the Johnny Rico to your hunny’s Dizzy Flores in this fun, new co-op experience.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare: Hate zombies? Love vegetation? This upcoming tower-defense/third-person shooter is for you. Garden Warfare features tons of playable plant classes each with unique abilities and attacks. Compete in online versus mode as either plant or zombie or take the game offline in Xbox One’s exclusive offline local co-op play. Enjoy a ménage à trois of gaming in Boss mode where a third wheel can help you and your cohort via Kinect or Smarglass by scattering power-ups throughout the arena for your pleasure.
Angry Birds Star Wars: This game is 50 bucks. What are you thinking!? Buy it for 99 cents on your iPhone and take your Valentine out for some food.
- Honorable Mentions
Rockstar Table Tennis: There are many other, many better sports games out there to enjoy cooperatively or competitively, but none of them are ping-pong games made by the makers of Grand Theft Auto. A simple and awesome game to get your competitive juices flowing.
Shoot Many Robots: Another former Games with Gold freebie, this Contra wannabe teeters on the edge of being boringly repetitive but provides co-op with gamers enough fun unlockables and character customization to warrant a play.
*** For all things co-op gaming, check out Co-Optimus. It’s a fantastic site with a ton of information on multiplayer titles old and new.