I'm a sucker for the underdog. For every huge blockbuster that sells millions of copies, there's always the lesser known, under-the-radar game that's a blast to play, but slips by everyone's gaze. A plus side to obscurity, however, is that generally the game's price goes down to bargain bin levels. I've come up with a list of games you can find on Amazon (and maybe in stores) for around $20 new with some fun co-op and maybe games you may never have heard of. All games are generally Xbox & PS3 unless otherwise noted. Also, for this blog post I'll be sticking with retail games. There's plenty of great downlaodable co-op games available, which I'll write about in another blog entry.
Army of Two: The 40th Day - A fairly solid 2 player 3rd person co-op shooter. Lots of action and bromance. It's like Michael Bay: The Game. Being able to customize your character and weapons is a definite plus.
Bulletstorm - Many Xbox gamers bought this solely for the Gears of War 3 Beta access, which is a shame. Lots of goofy humor and the excellent 4-player Anarchy Mode. It's a blast to try to outdo your friends' scores with skillshots. At the time of this writing Bulletstorm sits at $27.99 for X360 and only $14 for PS3!
EDF: Insect Armageddon - It gets regular mention as part of Locke's Good Co-op, Bad Co-op series here on Co-Optimus, but how many of you have actually played EDF: IA? It's a throwback to some of the crazy aracde titles of yesteryear. Infinite ammo and lots of action as you fight against alien bugs & mechs. With 3-player campaign co-op, 6-player Survival Mode, and a huge amount of upgrades & weapons to collect, there's a lot to do with this one.
F.E.A.R. 3 - Despite being a sequel to a well-known series, it felt like not many gamers played F.E.A.R. 3. It's certainly different than it's predecessors. New art style, and co-op has been added to the bloodbath. Point Man and Paxton Fettel return in 2 player campaign co-op and each character has a distinctly different playstyle from the other. Also added to the series is 4 player co-op modes Contractions, which is similar to Treyarch CoD's Nazi Zombies mode, and F**king Run, where you and 3 friends run the f**k away from a giant wall-O-death, while still fighting off enemies. Gore galore, and entertaining.
Lost Planet 2 - Until recently, I might have passed on this one. I had played LP2 solo quite a while back, and didn't care for it. When some Co-Optimus members brought it up, I figured I'd try it out again. Let me say LP2 in co-op is kickass times. The controls and setting up a co-op match are pretty awkward at first, but once you get going you won't want to stop playing.
N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights - I never played the first one, but I really like N3II. It's like Dynasty Warriors for gamers who don't like Dynasty Warriors. A medieval fantasy setting instead of ancient China or futuristic anime. I have yet to play the 2-player co-op mode but the solo campaign is quite enjoyable. It gets into the realm of button mashing sometimes but I still enjoy it.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising & Red River - A more hardcore style of military FPS. One bullet can easily kill you in both games. If you don't patch your wounds you're dead. Red River eases up a little more than Dragon Rising, but it's still fairly difficult for the unprepared. Luckily both games support 4-player campaign co-op, and Red River ditches PVP multiplayer in favor of 4 co-op modes. Red River also features customized classes for each player.
Rayman Origins - Yeah it's a new game, but I had to mention it. 4 player local co-op in an incredibly drawn 2D animated world of platforming. This is the best 2D platformer since the golden days of 2D Mario games, and as of this writing it's only $29.99 on Amazon for all platforms. It's challenging, but don't let that deter you. The difficulty curve is so gradual you won't even notice it, and besides, you and your couch buddies will probably be too busy slapping each other around to notice!
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel - Until Blizzard actually releases Diablo III on consoles, this is THE BEST action RPG on PS3 or Xbox. A massive world waiting to be explored and looted by 4 co-op players. The learning curve is a bit steep, and there's some fairly annoying technical issues, but it's an awesome experience.
Tenchu Z (X360 only) - If you can look past the crap visuals, and they are pretty bad, you've got a hugely fun 4 player ninja stealth game across 50 missions. Some nice customization is part of the experience as well.
Two Worlds II - Blame the horrid first game for this one being overlooked. A very engrossing single player campaign with a co-op Adventure Mode and Village Mode attached to it. You get a lot of content for your money on this one. Customization is the star of the show here. You can make lots of potions through Alchemy and make your own spells of all kinds. Not quite Bethesda or Bioware caliber, but a solid RPG nonetheless.