The Best of the Rest
Vermintide was chosen through our yearly voting process. All staff members nominated three stand-out titles in cooperative gaming and the game with the most nominations is chosen as the winner. Obviously with ten folks on the Co-Opticrew, there's a lot of differing opinions. There are two games that round out the top three - and there was actually a tie in the number of nominations for them.
Without a new Dark Souls game this year, we saw Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of the original Dark Souls, try to expand on his already satisfying formula. Bloodborne doesn't do anything new with the way co-op is implemented compared to previous titles in the Souls franchise. The password feature and the laxer requirements for level difference in players made things easier for friends to find one another in the world of Yharnam, but the core purpose of summoning a friend or even a stranger to your game remains unchanged - and that's a good thing.
Often times, the inclusion of co-op feels like a tacked on experience where your friend is there to just be another gun or blade in the fight but Bloodborne (and its spiritual predecessors) always distinguish themselves by providing more. Cooperation extends beyond a couple of players that distract a boss so you can run up and stab it in the butt.
There's a sharing of knowledge that is reminiscent of earlier days when you talked with your friends about the things that happened or that you encountered in a game; there are tactics devised to overcome a particularly challenging enemy; and there's the shared elation when you finally manage to beat it. Few titles manage to implement co-op in such a way as that, which is why - despite the divisive nature that often arises over the mechanics, etc of the game itself - these games are always in the top ranks of our co-op GOTY.
Helldivers was released earlier this year on PlayStation 4 and then followed with a steady stream of content updates and expansions. Later in the year the game saw a release on the PC. The twin stick shooter focused on cooperative play on many different levels, including a large meta game that all players contributed to.
The game offered addictive gameplay set in a twin-stick shooter by keeping players coming back for weapon upgrades, dynamic missions, and of course mechs. Any game that lets you pilot a giant robot is worth a look in our book.