Even though gaming runs the gamut from solitary experiences to highly competitive titles, many have a soft spot for getting together with friends on a couch and working together toward some shared goal. Some games lend themselves to cooperation, and others still only truly shine when the player count increases.
These ten games made the cut for being some of the best cooperative multiplayer titles of 2013. Whether you are sharing the experience with somebody across the country or across the living room, these great games are even better with a buddy.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
There's plenty of fun and silliness to be had in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and obsessive fans will likely find the extra content, however fundamentally familiar, to be endearing and laudable. It's a good little game, but it's nowhere near as special as it used to be, and those hoping for more flexibility and interaction from their new political careers will feel let down by what is, ostensibly, just more goalpost shifting and further excuses to get you to shake bananas off trees.
For the thousands of gamers out there who feel duped by Diablo III on PC, it may be hard to justify buying the game all over again on consoles for a better experience -- especially since the announced expansion may come to the PS3 and 360 later than the PC. I know it's a bit hard to swallow feeling like you were beta testing a future iteration of the game, but so long as you're willing to return to the world of Diablo and vanquish its evil once again, this is the best way to do it.
Dragon's Crown is quite literally a crowning achievement in the beat 'em up genre. Utilizing some of the best design concepts of the past 20 years, Vanillaware succeeds in creating a captivating world that you just can't help but experience over and over. While it may not win over the hardiest of brawler haters, if you've even had an inkling of joy hacking and slashing at any time in your gaming career, you should probably be playing Dragon's Crown.
The game fully supports PS3/PS Vita crossplay, and you can use the Vita to control Tostada in 2P co-op on the PS3. The perks don't stop there either. Collectibles, a horde mode-style dungeon, side quests, a new difficulty mode upon completion, and plenty of other secrets help with the replay value. None of those bonuses would mean squat if the Guacamelee! didn't provide a fun world to mess around in, which it does.
Right from the start, Guacamelee! offers up a sugar skull-covered playground to delight in and devour with mucho gusto. It's a game I'll be playing and replaying again for some time to come.
Encountering monsters in Monster Hunter isn't like most other games. Monsters will take your breath away shortly before they take your life away. This is a game that will force you to learn from your mistakes, lest you repeat them and achieve the same failure as before. While the visuals are far from stunning and the online lacks any sort of host migration, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is one of the best and most rewarding experiences in a long time, and will certainly keep you busy for a while.
Multiplayer, on the other hand, is a fantastic ruckus with all sorts of unpredictability, both locally and online. Executing a multiple-person plan to perfection is easily one of the best "John Bender from The Breakfast Club fist-in-the-air" moments in all of videogames; many high tens were exchanged as well. On the flip side, having a seemingly genius plan blow up in your face because a stupid guard wasn't where you thought he would be creates such a frantic and chaotic situation which immediately becomes hilariously unpredictable.
PAYDAY 2 is undeniably rough and needs a couple of updates to fill in a few blanks, but the thrill of robbing banks, smashing jewel cases, and cooking meth is too great for the asking price not be returned to the player in spades. If you're willing to work with a team and get involved in some delightfully chaotic situations, the world of poorly made drills and unnecessary amounts of violence is one well worth investing in.
Rayman Legends is occasionally flustering, and sometimes seems to demand more than a conventional controller is capable of. The surprisingly slapdash jury-rigging of Wii U features on other systems is glaring in its inelegance, too. However, we're still left with an impressively designed platformer that proves itself a worthy followup to Rayman Origins, making a few notable omissions, but adding some excellent new ideas of its own.
Charming, funny, and only sometimes exasperating, Rayman Legends is the kind of game that makes this industry a better place for its existence.
Saints Row IV is, from start to finish, a pleasure. It's a pure pleasure to play. I was cynical, given my feeling let down by The Third, but Volition has worked hard to address almost everything wrong with its last outing, and provide something that delivers over and above expectations. What I love most about IV is how it puts the player first -- absolutely every new feature and ability gifted to the player seems designed purely to make the game more convenient to enjoy, and more fun to play.
There was a moment where I was taking in the beautiful soundtrack, hovering over a tricky jump as cat Peach, and watching the glistening water below where the game really came together. It was then that I realized that Super Mario 3D World had achieved a level of platforming design that's close to perfection, and there was almost never a moment where I didn't have a smile on my face. This is the unequivocally the best Mario game since Galaxy 2, and it shows up anything the "New" series has ever done, and then some.
[Image by Pitarou]
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