Like I always do when new themes for my favorite crates are revealed, I give the upcoming franchises a look to decide on what I will be writing next for The Daily Crate. This time around, Loot Gaming’s June GRUB Crate really jumped out at me, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it reminded me of my favorite co-op gaming experience ever: Halo!
I’ve been gaming for quite some time and I’ve got quite the list of favorite titles and experiences, but some of my all-time favorite gaming adventures was with a close friend by my side – either literally on the couch next to me, or thanks to the magic of the internet. So in honor of one of the greatest co-op games ever, I’m here to break down some of the greatest memories…
Halo 2: I’ve already mentioned the Halo franchise, so I might as well lead off with it! While I absolutely love the first journey I took as Master Chief, it was with the sequel that I had one of my most epic and exciting co-op adventures ever. It was winter, 2004, just a few weeks after Halo 2 came out, and I was on my way with a caravan of my friends to attend and cheer on our High School teams at the Girl’s Volleyball and Cheerleading State Championships. We had an apartment that we were staying in for the tournaments, and there was one day that we didn’t have any games or activities to attend, so one of my best friends and I decided to pop in Halo 2 and play it for a bit. The game was so good, and the co-op action so fun and engaging, that we didn’t even realize that nine hours has gone by until the credits rolled. I had a few fun co-op experiences before my Halo 2 adventure, and many more since, but this one may be one of the more iconic in my storied gaming career!
Divinity: Original Sin: I’ve mentioned the Divinity series in past articles, and I can’t sing its praises enough. I’ve recently really dived into the sequel, and while it is really incredible, it was D:OS 1 where I experienced one of my favorite co-op gameplays yet. I’m a huge fan of RPGs, and I love the more classic, strategic, top-down games like Baldur’s Gate or Icewind Dale. So when the gorgeous Divinity: Original Sin came out, I was pretty pumped. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I discovered that the 60+ hour story can be played, in its entirety, with a friend. You both create characters, choose their classes, and progress through the massive adventure, take part in the huge strategic battles, pick-pocket and steal from entire towns, and even take part in conversation and dialogue options with NPCs all over the world that are only improved by having a friend to bicker with along the way. I honestly can’t think of many co-op experiences that were more unique and fun, and if anyone out there is looking for a deep RPG to co-op with a friend or loved one, I couldn’t recommend Divinity: Original Sin or Divinity: Original Sin 2 more.
Portal 2: How could I not talk about one of the more unique and enjoyable co-op games ever made? Utilizing the atmosphere and gameplay of the original, Portal 2 expertly combines all of that into a game with an incredibly fun, and intuitive, first-person puzzle game with built-in co-op. If you liked playing the original Portal, and you have at least one friend out there, then you have probably played Portal 2 – and if you haven’t, you need to stop reading this right now and go play it! Portal 2 was a game designed to test your wits and intelligence by presenting you with overwhelming tasks and obstacles with little to no context of how to overcome it. Only by strategy, teamwork, and trial and error will and your buddy be able to get to the end of the game; fortunately, you will never feel too comfortable or confident, as the sadistic GLaDOS robot that is alongside you every step of the way will pepper you with things like “I’m not sure I can make the tests any easier for you”, which kept me and my partner adequately humble throughout the entire playthrough.
Until Dawn: Okay, okay, bear with me here, I know that Until Dawn isn’t a traditional co-op game in the sense that you and at least one friend play a game together. However… After playing Until Dawn solo, and then playing it with a group of friends, I can absolutely confirm that this game is significantly more enjoyable during the latter. Sure, I might be breaking the rules a bit here, but I guarantee if you try both approaches, you’ll much prefer the “cooperative” experience. The game is a cinematic horror experience where your decisions and actions have a direct impact on the rest of the world and the characters in it. Any or all of the characters you play as can meet an untimely demise based on your choices or everyone can make it the entire night. Many of the choices are timed, and almost all the choices (outside of the initial tutorial area) have massive butterfly effects on the whole game. So doing it solo has some stress and anxiety, but having a room of friends shouting loudly what choices they thought I should make, and swapping the controller around to let someone else take the wheel, made for one of the more enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve ever had.
Diablo 2: Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got one of the most impressive and successful cooperative games ever made: Blizzard’s critically acclaimed Diablo 2. The original Diablo was a great success, and Blizzard doubled down, and then some, with the sequel that saw an absolutely massive story campaign with an interesting and intriguing story that saw us actually making our way straight into Hell to vanquish the Lord of Terror himself on his home turf. We were also treated to way more classes to choose from, a seemingly limitless amount of item and skill variations, all within a gritty and (at the time) cutting-edge gorgeous world to quest in. How could you make that experience any better? Well, how about you can play with up to seven of your friends to take on the entire game with a party of eight! As more people join your game, the monsters and bosses in the world scale and become stronger and stronger, which means you don’t necessarily make the game easier with more people. Being able to build your perfect party with friends to progress all the way through the impressive Diablo 2, all the way until you strike the final blow against the titular big bad, makes it one of the best cooperative gaming adventures around – and one that’s still pretty stinking fun today!