02/01/2018

☆ The Joys of Local Co-op (and drinking Bourbon) ☆

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As well as reviewing video gaming gold for the mighty Games Freezer, I’m also in a couple of bands
(www.OldSamuel.com / www.recluseuk.co.uk) and the bassist (Chris) usually comes over once a week to rehearse* and also to play video games.
Whilst I do enjoy competitive video games such as Dynasty Feud, Nidhogg 2, Speedrunners etc. one of my absolute favourite things to do is to tuck into a tasty game with a  second player and work together… whilst having a few drinks.

I have to admit that I just flat-out (and other awesome PS2 racing games) don’t enjoy online gaming. I can see its appeal for others but playing any game with someone else next to you or a group of friends is just irreplaceable to me and so all of the games we play through in local co-op mode, shirking this new-fangled ‘online’ shash.
I thought I’d just comment on a few of the games that we’ve played over the last few years and thoroughly enjoyed along with a  brief rundown on each one so that you and a friend can work through it and hopefully have as much fun as we did.
(The games are listed in no particular order)

Dead Nation

This is the first game we smashed through and absolutely loved it. I think Chris got this for free when Sony had their infamous 2011 hack.
Dead Nation is a top-down twin-stick shooter with a barebones plot but gallons of bloody gameplay. For reasons we won’t go into here, Chris prefers to play games as a female character and so the male / female combo in Dead Nation was right up his proverbial Strasse and over a period of weeks we worked our way through the game.
It’s a very cool PlayStation exclusive (PS3, PS4 and Vita) that has relatively traditional gameplay reminiscent of the Hunter: The Reckoning series that has you blasting your way through thousands of zombies in a post-apocalyptic city. We loved this one so much that we replayed it through when it came out on the PS4.
Alienation

This is the spiritual sequel to Dead Nation and has similar gameplay although with a sci-fi theme as opposed to its predecessor’s horror angle.
Whilst I prefer Dead Nation to this due to my love of horror, Alien Nation is still a solid title in the same vein.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge

This game wasn’t particularly loved upon release and I think a lot of it was linked to the misleading marketing of the game as the co-operative action that Hunted delivers we found thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding, especially on hard mode(you can pick this up for a few quid now, one bonus of it not being well-received).
The game plays as a sort of fantasy version of Gears of War, the protagonists E’lara and Caddoc (just realised that AGAIN Chris got to be a woman) are mercenaries that have different weapon specialities. E’lara is an archer whereas Caddoc is melee focused. Whilst both characters can use other weapons, they are severely limited in their skills with them.
Whilst Hunted has its flaws, as a co-operative experience, it’s a really fun romp. When we first played it, we ran at the enemies assuming we’d carve our way through but got hacked to pieces in seconds. This is a game that DEMANDS that you work together in order to proceed. Caddoc is useless without E’lara proving cover fire against the orc archers that send torrents of arrows that will eventually smash through Caddoc’s shield and the same applies for E’lara whenever the orcs reach you and she needs to switch to close combat, relying on Caddoc’s heavy-hitting support.  A great game for two players that we know we will be replaying in a couple of years.
I can remember nothing of the plot beyond a really full-on final pre-boss cut-scene and some dubious camera angles whenever E’lara has to shimmy through a crevasse (possibly these erotically filmed set pieces were there to hide loading times, whose to say?)

Resident Evil 5

I was surprised by how much we enjoyed this one. I hadn’t played a Resident Evil game since the 2nd one on the PS1 which I really enjoyed and to this day remains my favourite in the series (I haven’t played 7 yet although Chris loved it) and so when we booted this up, I didn’t have an expectations (again….it just dawned on me that Chris played a woman in this game) but the slow and yet tense pace really clicked with me as I headshotted (definitely a word) my way through hundreds of zombies in a hot, dry setting which is unusual in itself for these sorts of games. The only downside I can remember was the odd screen-sizing in two player mode and the fact that you couldn’t move whilst shooting, which whilst adding tension to the game, does feel somewhat silly.

Sky Force

We have only just recently started playing this and I think Chris was drawn to it after whipping my 119000 score on 1942 with a whopping 180000.
Vertical shooters were definitely on his mind when this came up on the PS Plus monthly ‘freebie’ list. The game is somewhat unusual as it only has about 8 stages but in order to unlock the next stage, you have to obtain a certain amount of medals which you get for various achievements such as not getting hit in a level, collecting 100% of the stars or killing 100% of the enemies on the stage. The game starts off easy enough but soon gets quite full-on requiring some serious twitchy action. You end up replaying the same levels multiple times to unlock all the required medals but when the game is this much fun, it doesn’t matter. Sky Force is a game that folds its arms across its chest and refuses to budge until you improve your skills. A real ‘one more go’ title for the ‘shmups’ lovers out there.
Greedy Guns

We ADORED this game. I recently reviewed it for Games Freezer and decided to play through the game co-operatively as the developers suggested that it was designed as such. Greedy Guns is the first game from a Portuguese team that I will be keeping my peepers on.  
A cross between Contra and Super Metroid with a tongue-in-cheek approach to its humour, Greedy Guns is a game that I know we will be replaying soon.
These are the main games that we remember most fondly, it would be great to hear your co-operative golden games in the comments so that we can pick them up and have a crack ourselves.
I’m always on the lookout for more excuses to dust off that second controller and get hips deep in some couch gaming action.
Right, I’m off to try and beat 180000 in 1942…
By Britt
*drink bourbon and play games whilst instruments are in the same room