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When it comes to cooperative campaign gaming, many of the most popular titles are loot grinders. From the recently refined Loot 2.0 version of Diablo III to the shoot-and-loot wastelands of Borderlands 2, you’ve got more than enough great choices if that’s your thing.
If, however, you’re tired of playing Backpack Organizer 2014, there are plenty of great co-op campaigns that won’t have you comparing and swapping gear every 10 minutes. Check out these awesome games with full cooperative campaigns that take you off the well-worn treasure collecting path.
With its zoomed out perspective, and the familiar Tomb Raider name nowhere to be seen in the title, Guardian of Light is an odd but welcome game in Lara Croft’s career. You’ll explore ruins and jungles of Central America in an adventure that’s part arcade-style shooter, part environmental puzzle solver. The game has over a dozen levels, and each one has several different challenges that reward you with power ups for your combat abilities.
You can play Guardian of Light solo if you want, but it’s best experienced with a friend. One of you plays as Lara, while the other plays a spear wielding warrior named Totec. In cooperative play, the environmental puzzles are remixed so that they require both players to coordinate to solve them. Solving puzzles with company is way more fun than pondering them alone, so make sure to bounce ideas off of each other to speed up the process.
If you’re a fan of geek culture, you’re likely familiar with this game’s plucky Canadian hero and his video game inspired daydreams. Scott Pilgrim’s game turns the graphic novel’s story of his quest to defeat Ramona Flowers’ 7 evil exes into a arcade style beat ’em up with gameplay inspiration from River City Ransom, and awesome chiptune music by Anamanaguchi.
The game supports up to four players fighting side by side through the armies of rockers, skaters, and punks, and you’ll welcome the company as the game gets pretty challenging. Watch each other’s backs to keep enemies from sneaking up, revive one another when someone gets knocked out, and even team up for special combo super moves. Co-op here is local only though, so make space on your couch for your three best friends.
High Moon Studios’ two Cybertron games were the best official Transformers games of the last hardware generation. War for Cybertron has you fighting your way through the complexes of the Transformers’ robotic home world one minute, and racing down the roads or flying through the sky in vehicle form the next. These aren’t scripted moments; you can shift back and forth between forms at the push of a button.
War for Cybertron may be the only one of the two games that offers co-op campaign play, but the implementation is impressive. Every level is built for a team of three characters fighting together. If you play alone, the other two characters are controlled by the AI, so bring two of your friends along instead. You’ll be able to plan and pull off flanking tactics, make sure power ups go to the players who need them most, and concentrate fire on the toughest enemies to make victory that much easier.
The PS3 version of this game is not available digitally. Used game outlets are your friend!
In a word, Magicka is mayhem. This goofy adventure of accident prone apprentice wizards and definitely-not-vampires from Arrowhead Game Studios is full of slapstick humor, ridiculous bosses, and big explosions. At the core of the game is a collection of eight different elements of magic that you can mix and match as you choose to cast your spells. Mix fire and earth to make fireballs. Water and fire create jets of steam. You have an incredible variety of spells at your fingertips, as long as you can quickly type in the right combinations while dozens of fast moving enemies breathe down your neck.
Up to four players can take on Magicka’s campaign online, and every player you add multiplies the chaos. There’s no way to turn off friendly fire here, so when your friend lays out a line of magical mines or sends a massive boulder rocketing across the screen, you’d better hope you can scamper clear of the impact zone before you’re unceremoniously (and hilariously) obliterated. Life is cheap in Magicka, and with the right spell, one of your allies can revive you just as quickly as you were killed, but that doesn’t make the game any easier by any stretch. Be prepared to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as your spells collide, combine, and ricochet across the battlefield. They’re as dangerous to you as they are to your enemies!
It’s dangerous to go alone, so don’t be a hermit! Invite your friends to pick up these games with you, or maybe gift them some of your favorites so they can join you on a grand adventure. There’s nothing quite like coordinating that perfect victory with teamwork, tactics, or even just blind, stunning luck.
Is this list missing the under appreciated co-op campaign of a lifetime? Set the record straight for our community in the comments below.