Games are more fun when you’re playing with a friend. That’s a fact that console games are known to use to their advantage. PC games, for some reason, are assumed to be largely solo experiences. Perhaps it’s because most people don’t play computer games from their couch. The thing is, it’s not true that PC games are largely meant to be played alone.
There is a plethora of co-op games available for the PC. They cover a wide variety of genres. You can play RPGs, shooters, strategy and more. Let’s have a look at some of the best recently released co-op games which can be purchased for $10 or less.
This Warhammer 40k strategy game includes a full co-op campaign that splits the normal loadout of four squads into two groups of two. There’s a lot of micro-management, so playing with a friend makes it easier to execute certain tactics.
You can also play the Last Stand mode, which pits you and up to two friends against an endless hoard of bad-guys. There’s several different characters to choose from, each with its own weapons and abilities.
Dawn Of War 2 has had two expansions. If you’re primary interested in co-op I suggest you just pick up Dawn Of War 2: Gold. This includes the Chaos Rising expansion that offers another co-op campaign and some additional Last Stand heroes.
If you’re into shoot-em ups, this quick but incredibly fun title is a great choice. It focuses on old-school vertical-scrolling action gameplay and pits up to four players against a huge numbers of enemies and fanatics bosses.
Jamestown is not a particularly long game when played at minimum difficulty, but its can become outlandishly hard when you ramp up the challenge. It’s also one of the few new games in this genre and, among them, the best.
Summing up the experience of Neverwinter Nights is difficult. That’s because there’s more to this game than the campaign it ships with, which is fine, but not outstanding. The real meat of this game comes from its player-base. This is a game that was meant to be modded, and the players have responded by creating thousands of “modules” which encompass different worlds and stories.
The fact that so much of this game comes from player-made content means you should not be opposed to shifting through mods in order to find the best ones. This can sometimes take time, and you may run across some not-so-great content, but that’s all part of the appeal for the game’s core audience.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is one of my personal favorites in the stealth genre. Chaos Theory added a co-op formula to the already successful formula, providing twice the thrills. You may think that stealth co-op wouldn’t work, but it surprisingly allows for more flexibility and new tactics. You can, for example, distract a guard while your buddy move behind to take him down.
Double Agent did not have a robust co-op mode, but a stand-alone co-op campaign was reintroduced to Conviction. Surprisingly, this relatively new title can be had for under $10 on the PC. The Conviction game is more action oriented and more violent than Chaos Theory but the basic tension and strategy still applies.
Trine is one of those games that proves indie titles aren’t always synonymous with low production values. This is a beautiful 3D puzzle-platformer which centers on the plight of three different characters, each with their own special abilities. These abilities have to be used creatively in order to navigate past daunting obstacles and solve puzzles, which often rely on physics and manipulating the game world.
The co-op features of Trine are bundled into a campaign. Unlike many co-op titles, Trine supports up to three players rather than two or four. And, unlike many other co-op PC games, all of these players can enjoy the game on the PC. You will need a controller for each player, however, so make sure you have some extra gamepads.
There are literally hundreds of co-op games available for the PC. The ones above are my personal favorites, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested, I highly recommend you check out Co-Optimus, a website dedicated entirely to co-op gameplay. They have a list of all the PC games ever released with co-op gameplay.