Over the years we’ve seen cooperative elements in video games evolve and even transcend our wildest dreams. There is no doubt that this trajectory will continue, and gamers will be astounded time and time again with rich co-op features and ever elaborate game play modes.
For clarification: cooperative games are in and of themselves not going anywhere anytime soon, but rather we as gamers will be hard-pressed to actually enjoy cooperative games with friends simply due to the over-saturation of the co-op market.
Back in the day there were only a hand-full of games that were truly co-op games in my opinion. One of the favorite games was Call of Duty: World at War. What differentiated it from other games, and even continues to do so is the fact that the campaign was playable with a total of 4 players.
Left 4 Dead 1 and Left 4 Dead 2 where also two great games where you’re able to work together as a team with the added bonus of being able to create two separate teams of up to four players each to battle it out as survivors and infected.
Truth be told, my love of co-op games was infused by the occasional LAN party, and I think I somehow am always trying to relive the ‘glory days of gaming’ and I keep coming up empty handed. Back then I had time, but little money, and therefore purchasing a game was a big decision, one that my friends and I more or less did collectively when it game to multiplayer games.
Hell, even if the game sucked donkey nuts, (I’m looking at you Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising) we still had fun playing together.
Not everyone has had the opportunity to revel in the joys of a LAN party, which is understandable, but let me tell you, you’re missing out if you haven’t. Sure, it’s a lot of work setting it all up, and finding the right time for everybody and of course making sure that everyone brings their gear, and don’t end up forgetting to bring their mouse or a network cable, but after all the bullshit of setting it up is done, it’s pure enjoyment.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best FPS player, but there’s something about playing Gun Game in a room with 3 or 4 other dudes that really gets me motivated. So motivated in fact, that my KD spread is usually phenomenal. I reckon it’s the ability to see the look of despair on someone’s face, and being able to rub it in, RIGHT IN THEIR FACE, and laugh, yes, laugh at them, and see the wash of shame on their face. Am I an evil person? Perhaps, perhaps.
The new trend of cooperative gaming can be seen quite clearly in the latest Tom Clancy game iteration: The Division. In The Division, you can do cooperative missions with your buds over and over again, which is nice, but these are instances. You don’t have the epic feeling as if you as a group are actually achieving something, but rather simply going to a location and doin’ the grind. On the flip-side, there’s the Dark Zone which is free-for-all and you really have to work together in order to get out alive AND with the gear that you managed to score.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is however a game that is bringing back cooperative play, and I couldn’t be happier. Now this is a game that forces you to work together with your team. Communication is essential (Check out our tutorial here) and sign up for training here if you REALLY want to up your game. As with any multiplayer game, you can ‘lone wolf’ it if you want to, but you’re gonna have a bad time.
But I digress. Sure, over the years of LAN gaming, I took the odd punch in the shoulder for knifing somebody from behind, but it was worth it. Fuck Blood Sport, LAN gaming is where it’s at.