Festive Feature: Top 5 Co-op Games of 2009
Written Sunday, December 20, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
As we did last year – and we’ll continue to do every year from now until the end of time (fact) – in the build up to Christmas, we like to celebrate the year’s highlights through a series of Top 5 features. Our Game of the Year awards of course will run as they did last year (New Year’s Eve), but these Top 5’s allow us to step out of the rigid categories and focus on some of the cool and fun stuff from the year.
In the first of 5 Top 5’s – running everyday from now up until Christmas Eve – we take a look at a phenomenon that has taken the gaming world by storm; co-op. There’s nothing better than sitting down with a mate either in your front room or someone who’s on the other side of the world and experiencing some of the year’s best titles, because you know what they say about shared experiences, right? And I’m not talking threesomes here. 2009 was a good year for co-op titles, an exceptionally good year indeed.
Coming in at a respectable number 5 this year is Capcom’s well received Resident Evil 5. Throwing you into the shoes of Chris and Sheva, players must work together to capture and eliminate a new biological weapon in Africa or be eaten alive. Whilst the split-screen in Resi 5 wasn’t exactly ideal, playing it over Xbox Live was a proverbial blast. Having to work together, watch each other’s back, whilst all the time being chased by crazy infected locals, well, if this isn’t what co-op was designed for, I have no idea what is.
Quite easily the best addition to the Modern Warfare franchise this year came in the form of the fantastic “Spec-Ops” mode. A mode that bundled all the fun and frustration of the Mile High Club from Call of Duty 4 into one teamwork driven package. With 23 challenges in all, Spec-Ops mode is a barrel of laughs, a test of skill and something that adds another dimension to co-op. Unfortunately as we all know, the more the better when it comes to co-op and we wish that Infinity Ward would have adapted the mode to fit 4 players. Despite that, it contains hours and hours of goodness for you and a buddy.
As an overall package, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising was a decent game. A little glitchy at times, but the game’s selling point was quite easily its co-op. In fact, it saved the game from slipping into the abyss.
Being able to enter a sandbox world with up to 3 friends to execute some clinical military manoeuvres in one of the most realistic shooters we’ve ever played was a sheer joy. If there is one reason to play Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising in the coming months, it’s definitely got to be its co-op. The ally AI isn’t too smart, so bring friends.
The original to our number two spot was voted as the best co-op game in our Game of the Year awards last year. The sequel to that came as a shock to pretty much everyone when it was announced at E3 this year. Not only was this Valve’s shortest ever turnaround for a sequel, but it was coming out less than a year after the original.
When Left 4 Dead 2 shipped in November, the sequel built upon the foundations of its original and expanded the overall package. More game modes, new special infected, the inclusion of melee weapons, new guns, new items and more. The end outcome; one of the best console co-op experiences ever created. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to take our top spot... we saved that for something totally original and a little more innovative.
Borderlands takes our top spot this year and rightly so. Offering the chance for 4 players to hit the wastelands of Pandora and do something consoles players have never really been able to do together is a true success story. What’s this new thing I’m talking about? Looting of course! Proper hardcore looting! There’s nothing like rolling through a town full of bandits, making short work of them and looting their dead bodies and chests to take all you can. All you can do then is marvel at the lucky son-of-a-bitch that gets the rare weapon. Did I say marvel? I meant be supremely jealous.
The procedurally created weapons gives players an incentive to keep slugging on to find just one more and being able to do that with friends in a beautiful environment is what makes the game our number one. Played alone, Borderlands is a decent game. Played with friends, Borderlands is definitely the co-op experience of the year.
Check back tomorrow for the second of our five festive Top 5’s.