Co-Optimus has recently launched it's new classic game column, "Co-Op Classics." Well, that's not the only new column we are debuting. This week marks the debut of "This Week in Co-op," a sort of summary of my co-op exploits and experiences. This column will give the Co-Optimus fans a chance to see what is enjoyable about the co-op games through the eyes of a regular gamer, which is to say me. Each week, I will detail what I liked and or disliked about my co-op experience that week. Most weeks I'll play a variety of games, but this week I focused on one newly-released game. This week's game should be no surprise: GTA IV.
Our co-op review of Grand Theft Auto IV gives you a good idea of the basics of the co-op aspect of GTA IV. So what did I experience? I found, like the review states, that Hangman's NOOSE is pretty much the hardest of the three co-op modes. This is mainly due to the fact that you jump into the mission in a firefight between you and (at most) three of your allies against a dozen NOOSE (GTA IV's version of SWAT) agents. Throughout the mission, more and more NOOSE agents come, pinning you down, hoping that you cannot accomplish you goal of evacuating Petrovic.
Surprisingly, this mission can also be the quickest mission if you manage to wrangle a helicopter from the other side of the airport. In one instance, a mission lasted just over 2 and a half minutes, mainly due to some terrific piloting skills by one of my allies. However, if you are grounded in Hangman's NOOSE, the mission is very difficult, as getting all four guys to the extraction point in cars can be difficult. This is particularly true when you normally have a five-star wanted rating by the time you leave the airport. My experience has shown that evacuating Petrovic with a car will at least lead to a few blown-out tires.
Bomb da Base II is my least-favorite co-op mode, mostly because it seems to take too much time to set up. You must first hunt down the bombs, take them to the boat, and so forth. Granted, the set up is fun. Taking down an armored truck and then hijacking it is certainly fun, particuarly when you get the police involved. Once you get to the boat, things pick up. However, I often had trouble finding where to plant the two bombs. Also, one of the bombs is only accessible through a door that can be easily ignored or mistaken for a window. Still, I had a great deal of fun with the mode, particularly when I hijacked a chopper and crash-landed it on the boat.
I always have fun with Deal Breaker, my clear favorite mode. Part of what I like is the fact that it combines assault bits and chase bits (which all three modes have) the best. First you have to get to where the deal (you are hired to break up) takes place. Then the game turns into a shooting gallery, where you and your buddies face a few dozen enemies, both on the ground and on a multi-tiered building.
This mode also requires some strategy. The best strategy I found has having half the team stay on the ground floor and wipe out enemies there, and then send the other half of the team up the building, wiping out enemies as they go. After all the enemies are wiped out, the chase begins, by land and (as I shockingly found out) by sea. Again, the "split up" method works well here, sending a few guys on bikes/in cars to chase the excaping bikers, and one guy on a boat to take down the runaway speed boat. One of the funniest moments I've ever had in gaming came from playing the Deal Breaker mode, when I began wondering where my other teammate was. He appeared to be close on my radar, but I could not seem to find him. Two seconds later, the biker chilling to my right was rear-ended by my teammate. Suddenly (and hilariously) we were side-by-side, enjoying a quiet ride together.
By focusing on just one game this week, I learned a great deal about GTA IV's co-op modes. I do agree with our review, that the modes are short and really are not as meaty as other co-op modes. However, I really enjoy playing a round or two of GTA IV's co-op modes as a sort of relaxation exercise. These modes are a nice little break, and a nice addition to an already great game. I certainly will be playing more of GTA IV in the future, including its short-but-fun co-op modes.
Note: My experience is based on the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV.