With the advent of video games, the medium has eventually allowed multiple players to engage together within virtual worlds via co-op.
Short for "co-operative," they can range from two-player campaign romps to 4-player or greater arcade-style missions. These are generally PvE (Player vs. Environment) titles, where players band up against waves of foes, either in dedicated levels or throughout the story campaign.
Regardless of the type of co-op game, fans can still get together and have fun. So here are some of the best picks available today across various platforms. Which one will you choose?
10 biggest co-op games over the past years that should be replayed
1) Portal 2
The classic first-person puzzler from the geniuses at Valve continues to be one of the best games ever made. As Chell, players return to the Aperture Science facility to find that the rogue AI GLaDOS continues to function — but that is for the single-player campaign.
A separate co-op campaign features brand new levels for two players to think their way through as each one is equipped with their own Portal Gun. It is available on PC and was also recently released for the Nintendo Switch as part of the Portal Companion Collection (which also includes the first game).
2) Borderlands 3
2019's entry in 2K' iconic Borderlands series of FPS/RPGs may have disappointed with regards to the narrative aspects, but it is still a worthy entry. For players who wish to experience the series' mainline goodness without dipping into the recent spin-off Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, Borderlands 3 boasts a ton of content that will leave participating Vault Hunters satisfied.
As a Vault Hunter, take down the threat of the Calypso twins in up to four-player co-op. Make sure to get the Ultimate Edition for the complete experience as it includes new skill trees, new bosses, 4 DLC story content, and more. It is available on PS4, PS5, XB1, XS X|S, and PC.
3) It Takes Two
This heartfelt two-player co-op adventure from Hazelight Studios is one of the most memorable entries in the genre so far. Players control Code and May, a couple who have been magically turned into dolls and must find a way back to normalcy.
The 3D platformer/third-person shooter gameplay is injected with a variety of set pieces to keep things fresh. Like with the studios' previous game A Way Out, there is no single-player element to this game — a second player is mandatory (whether online or local) to play. Grab it on PS4, PS5, XB1, XS X|S, and PC.
4) Divinity: Original Sin 2
Not many RPGs out there feature multiplayer elements, much less co-op. But Larian Studios' Divinity: Original SIn 2 is an exception to the norm.
Released first in 2017, players embark on a journey to ascend to godhood while stopping the influence of the evil Void. This requires forming a party of up to four players and the entirety of the game can be enjoyed in drop-in-and-out co-op.
With a deep narrative, complex RPG mechanics, and satisfying turn-based tactical combat at hand, the land of Rivellon is home to a score of secrets that beg to be discovered.
5) Dying Light
The acclaimed first-person survival-horror game from Techland is still a thrilling co-op journey seven years later. Explore the streets and rooftops of open-world Harran — which has been overrun by zombies — as Kyle Crane. Beware, however, for the night brings terrifying creatures called Volatiles out to hunt unsuspecting victims.
With up to four player co-op included, fans can endure the horror together. Grab the Definitive Edition out for PS4, XB1, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Note that owners of the Platinum Edition are eligible to upgrade to the Definitive Edition free of cost.
6) Left 4 Dead 2
Disappointed by Back 4 Blood? Good old Left 4 Dead 2 has your back. The 2009 title continues to be one of the most popular games on PC (via Steam) even more than a decade later.
Where its peers have muddled themselves with overly complex or unsatisfying mechanics, Valve's four-player co-op rush is still cherished. Players fight their way through a variety of maps. Each features unique objectives, an ageless atmosphere, attention to minute details, and a good level of challenge.
7) Deep Rock Galactic
The relatively newest kid on the co-op block, Ghost Ship Games brings a successful contender to the playing field. In the sci-fi FPS Deep Rock Galactic, players navigate treacherous cave systems in a group of up to four players. The objective is to harvest various resources and bring them back safely.
However, these dungeons are crawling with alien insectoids. Equip a desired class, each featuring fresh offensive and support capabilities against the threats. It is available on PS4, PS5, XB1 and PC.
8) Sea of Thieves
The most recent outing from Microsoft's acclaimed studio Rare is 2018's Sea of Thieves. This multiplayer action-adventure takes to the seas as players create their character and commandeer a vessel across waterscapes in a vast open world.
Live the life of pirates, as the game offers ample oppurtunities to plunder other ships, customize your own, and collect resources. The game can be played in a crew of up to four pirates.
9) Monster Hunter Rise
The latest entry in Capcom's acclaimed Monster Hunter series, Rise is slowly rising up as a fan favorite. As a Hunter of Kamura Village, players must stop the rampaging monster invasion.
Team up with three more players and set out on hunts to take down the ferocious and majestic beasts that roam the land. Acquire resources from fallen monsters, and craft new and more powerful weapons and armor.
The massive story expansion called Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is also available right now for purchase on PC and Nintendo Switch. It adds a new story, areas, monsters, and more for players to enjoy.
A household name in its own right, Minecraft has captured the hearts of all kinds of gamers. This open-world survival sandbox may seem simple, but looks are deceptive as it hides a robust crafting system underneath.
Players can face challenges together against threats in the Survival Mode, while the iconic Creative Mode grants them full freedom to do anything they desire. The only limits here are players' imaginations.