The fine folks over at Gamasutra have posted an article examining two of the best co-op games to come out in some time, Left 4 Dead and Gears of War 2. In fact, we gave both games a perfect score in their co-op reviews. (Gears and Left 4)
With two fine games there's got to be a clear winner, right? Well actually the article examines how each one approaches co-op in a different way. While Gears of War 2 is a bit more traditional, a story based cooperative experience that both players can enjoy, as well as an added incentive co-op only mode in Horde.
On the other hand Left 4 Dead approached things differently, and actually went a bit outside the box. It create an experience that was naturally cooperative, the situation requires co-op - not the game mechanics. In fact, the author brings up a pretty interesting point that really helps make Left 4 Dead "realistic"
Because in Left 4 Dead, you will often need to play with random players, which is what would likely happen if a terrible disaster like a zombie infection were to occur. They may or may not cooperate, they may wish to lead or to follow, they may wish to go first or last, they may be gung-ho or too cowardly.
I simply find that fascinating when you think about it, and in some sense it's very true. Players quickly learn while playing with complete strangers that to get anywhere in the game you must communicate and work together, otherwise it's game over man...game over.
So while there's no clear cut winner in this "battle" - I think we can all appreciate both games and be glad co-op gaming is starting to break new grounds.