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Some games simply must have cooperative play. Gears of War, for example, was clearly designed with a co-op experience in mind – there are two main characters on the same mission with the same abilities with a strong personal bond. Blasting through the story with a friend lets you partake in that bond, which is a much more powerful experience than plain ol’ deathmatch or CTF. Just think – would Contra, Final Fight or Bubble Bobble be half as memorable if they were only one player?
Then there are games that were seemingly supposed to contain a multiplayer campaign but bafflingly omitted the feature. Collected here are the seven most glaringly obvious cases of “wait, there’s no co-op?”
Special contributions by Mikel Reparaz and Charlie Barratt
Needed co-op because: there are six people in your group of paranormally powered goth marines.
Above: Collect the whole set
The Hot Topic-approved Jericho squad begins its mission to kill God’s first creation as a unit, and stays that way until the final battle. Occasionally the team breaks into smaller groups, but then so do Marcus and Dom, so it’s a goddamn mystery why there’s no multiplayer, co-op or otherwise. Seriously, you’re going to make a game with six super-powered soldiers, each one with unique attributes and relationships with the other members, and not even include the option for co-op?
Above: Have fun fighting them alone
The standby excuse is something along the lines of “hurrr focus on single player durrrr more intense that way.” Bullshit. We loved swapping back and forth between the Jericho agents, and one of the game’s most crippling problems (terrible AI partners) could have been erased if it supported six player co-op. Then each player could concentrate on learning their character and putting their powers to constructive good use, like teaming up WoW-style to take down this sopping-wet sack of meat:
Above: Kind of hard to kill this when your AI teammates are off dying in a corner
Consider the review scores – this was an OK-to-good game hampered by a few terribly obnoxious issues. Everything’s more fun in groups, so we figure the addition of team play would have added at least a point to every single one of those reviews. Such wasted potential.
Needed co-op because: you’re accompanied by at least one ally at all times, and co-op has become so de rigueur in shooters that it’s weird to play one without it.
Above: None of those guys are player controlled?
Killzone 2 is part of a growing trend in shooters (particularly military shooters) that does away with the notion of the one-man army in favor of giving you a few buddies to watch your back. In fact, you’ll have at least one squadmate with you at nearly all times, and Garza, Rico and Natko do an excellent job of staying alive, boosting you over high obstacles, carrying on mostly one-sided conversations with you and generally making sure you view them as indispensable, if not endearing.
Above: Real men frag with a friend
The difference between Killzone 2 and other games that do this, however, is other games usually enable a real-life buddy to drop in and help you out for a while. As we pointed out in our review, KZ2 is completely devoid of co-op play, which is more than a little strange in a game that seems tailor-made for it. For a little while, rumors flew that this would be added in a patch, but sources at Sony have since told us that won’t be the case. Maybe we’ll see it in the inevitable sequel.