2010 was an amazing year for co-op gamers with over 150 games and plenty of news to boot. But amongst the masses of titles a few stood out as not only excellent cooperative but as excellent games. Here's our list of the best co-op titles of 2010.
Best PC Co-Op Title: Alien Swarm
They say the best things in life are those that come for free, and with 2010’s PC co-op title of the year we couldn’t agree more. Alien Swarm was an Unreal mod turned full release available for free via Valve’s Steam service. The game not only featured some intense four player co-op top down shooter action set in an alien world, but featured its own mod tools to add extensibility.
While Alien Swarm's game play was top notch, bringing even non traditional PC gamers in like our own Jim McLaughlin who said he "really enjoyed his time with the game," the game excelled in other areas as well. Most notably was its graphics, running on a version of the Source engine, the game immediately catches your eye.
There was some tough competition out there, most notably Star Craft 2, but with the lack of true campaign co-op Co-Optimus gives the 2010 PC Co-Op Game of the year to Alien Swarm.
Best Console Co-Op Title: Halo Reach
In Bungie’s final Halo game, the team pulled out all the stops in terms of co-op options. Not only does the game feature a full 4 player co-op campaign, split screen, and split-screen with online support - it also finally added the much needed matchmaking options to both campaign and Firefight. Firefight itself got revamped with nearly infinite play options thanks to an in depth customization tool. There’s a lot of legs here and nearly 5 months after release its a game many of us still fire up.
Halo Reach seems to fall closer to a formula that was found in the earlier Halo games as well, making the action simpler, more intense, and better with a buddy. Perhaps its because of this we found ourselves so addicted to it - Nick managed to put in a solid 75 hours into the game - the vast majority in Firefight and campaign.
The consoles saw some really great releases this year like Red Dead Redemption, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable 3 and many other big co-op titles - but hands down everyone on the staff mentioned Halo in their ballots, and thats why it gets our 2010 Console Co-Op Game of the Year.
Best Downloadable Co-Op Title: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
I think a lot of gamers were generally surprised by Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - surprised in a good way. The isometric two player co-op game took Lara out of her traditional 3rd person platforming/puzzle elements and replaced it with an isometric action/puzzler where players had to work together as Lara and her spear-toting pal Totec. The puzzles were challenging and fun, the weapon and item system were addictive, and killing dinosaurs never gets old with a pal. After being patched to support online play - the game offered something for everyone.
Co-Optimus' own Tally Callahan had this to say about the game - "my co-op game of the year was surprisingly Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for the sheer amount of fun I had with it." After all - fun is why we play games, isn't it?
Despite over 50 downloadable co-op titles coming out this year, I think the entire staff mentioned Lara Croft as their choice with a few passing glances at Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. In the end it was easy to see why Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light won our 2010 Downloadable Co-Op Game of the Year.
Best Portable Co-Op Title: SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3
It’s pretty surprising what Slant Six Games managed to cram into this portable version of SOCOM. The multiplayer options, customization and progression make it feel like a fully featured console title. With a four player co-op campaign and a myriad of custom mission options there’s a lot of meat here to keep you coming back with your buddies taking tangos down.
When Jim reviewed the game way back in February he was shocked not only by the visuals, but the sheer polish this handheld game possessed. In the day and age when Blu-Ray is required, this little 1.5GB game stood on its own.
This is the one category we had a hard time deciding a winner in - we had votes for Dragon Quest IX, Valkyria Chronicles II, and Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. In the end it game down to the flexibility and impressiveness that SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3 provided us - that and the really long title made it our 2010 Portable Co-Op Game of the Year.
Co-Op Game of the Year: Halo Reach
It’s simply hard to deny the power of Halo and its flexible co-op options. Once again the game is the most approachable, flexible and fun of the series for Spartans looking to game together. Its a game we kept coming back to, its a game we kept comparing others to, and its one we're sure to still be playing in 2011.
Here’s what the Co-Optimus Staff had to say as to why they chose Halo Reach.
Jim McLaughlin - “Even though it's not my favorite series by a long shot, Halo to me is the golden standard of co-op because it remains so accessible. Halo Reach continued the tradition of campaign co-op, splitscreen co-op, and splitscreen online co-op...then added in persistent character progression and Firefight matchmaking. If you were to create a Venn diagram of all types of co-op, Halo would be right in the middle where it all overlaps.”
Marc Allie - “Starcraft 2 was good enough to get me interested in PC gaming again, and co-op comp stomping is as fun as ever. Plants Vs. Zombies for XBLA added a fantastic dedicated co-op mode and co-op campaign to an already great casual game. Dungeon Defenders for iOS is among the best games I've ever played on a "handheld". But the cream of the crop for this year has got to be Halo Reach. Bungie really knows how to do co-op right; I hope the future of the series remains as focused on cooperative gameplay as the past has been.”
Congratulations to Bungie for making a kick-ass co-op game. That's why we chose Halo Reach as our 2010 Co-Op Game of the Year!
The Community Speaks
We ran a poll on our site over the course of December asking folks to vote on their favorite co-op game of 2010. With over 1000 responses it was a close race, one that actually surprised us, but in the end the readers agree that Halo Reach was the top co-op title of 2010.
Thanks for visiting Co-Optimus in 2010 and making it your Prime Source for Co-Op Gaming!