Co-op multiplayers are the best picks from a game library to be played with friends. These titles allow gamers to team up online or with two or more controllers to enjoy a game with others.
Using some platform for voice chat or simply getting their friends on call, users can have a fun time with their friends and test their synergy in such games.
Co-op multiplayer titles started as two-player offerings in the early 90s, which saw nearly all home consoles come packed with two controllers. Many of those games at the time supported co-op multiplayer, and some famous examples would be platformer products like Super Mario Bros. or Contra.
Across the 2010s, co-op multiplayers were still quite the rage, as they are today. Lots of titles in the modern era also include the option to play with others locally or online.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s opinions.
Ten most popular co-op multiplayer titles from each year in 2010s
1) Halo: Reach – 2010
Halo is well known for its co-op multiplayer experience, and Bungie’s final take on this series was no different. It was released on September 14, 2010, as an exclusive for the Xbox 360 and later for Windows and Xbox One via the Master Chief Collection on December 3, 2019.
Offering a four-player co-op, the game can only be played on split-screen by two players and the Xbox. As an FPS, they battle the forces of the covenant on the planet Reach and do not play as the Master Chief for the first time in Halo history.
In this title, users take on the role of Noble Team, a group of Spartan III super soldiers led by one Spartan II commando. Set before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, its story sees the fall of planet Reach and the lead-up to how the Pillar of Autumn spacecraft came upon the Installation 04 Halo ring.
2) Portal 2 – 2011
A sequel to the original game, Portal 2, was developed and published by Valve on April 18, 2011. It was the first time the series introduced a co-op multiplayer mode, allowing two gamers to play it together. This was done through a second campaign, set after the single-player campaign, following Chell’s story.
Players take on the role of two bipedal robots, going by ATLAS and P-Body, as they navigate the various test chambers of the Aperture Science Facility. Instructed by the AI personality core GLaDOS, the robots are sent on multiple assignments and are the focus of the DLC known as “Peer Review” as well.
As the two robots, users must work cooperatively to solve various puzzles to complete each test chamber. Each robot is equipped with a complete portal gun and can use each other’s portals. Gamers can play on split-screen on the same device or using two different devices online.
3) Borderlands 2 – 2012
Borderlands 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It was released on September 18, 2012, for Windows PCs, PS3, and Xbox 360.
This was the second title in Gearbox’s Borderlands series, whose story took place five years after the events of the first one.
Borderlands 2 offers players the option to play the main story, as well as side missions and objectives in single-player, offline split-screen, or online for co-op multiplayer. Set on the planet of Pandora, users control one of four new Vault Hunters and take on the forces of Handsome Jack.
The game features a few RPG elements, as its four playable characters constitute the four different classes, each having various powers and abilities. The world is divided into several sections, each with an explorable open map.
At the start, gamers have access to only one area; as the story progresses, more areas get unlocked.
4) Dota 2 – 2013
Dota 2 is a co-op multiplayer online battle arena game available for PCs. It is another title developed and published by Valve on July 9, 2013, which has since seen quite the surge in popularity. It is played from a top-down perspective in a 5v5 tactical battle format.
Players can choose from many heroes available to play as and in a team, although careful consideration must be taken to pick ones that can complement their companions the most. The gameplay occurs across a large map, with primary areas being the lanes across which users can direct their troops and heroes.
Destroying enemy structures and their base Ancient earns the team a win, with matches lasting up to an hour. Dota has been popular enough even to receive an anime adaptation consisting of many of its heroes.
Through all this fame, however, Dota’s actual full name: Defenders of the Ancients, has been somewhat forgotten, possibly because it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. Maybe switching it to Death of the Angels, which sounds way more metal and cooler, might help?
5) Dark Souls 3 – 2014
It might surprise many that the Dark Souls series can be played in co-op multiplayer. And it wouldn’t be their fault either, since developer FromSoftware never really markets that aspect of the game properly. And yet, most of their games have a co-op multiplayer aspect, except Sekiro.
Dark Souls 3, initially released in April 2016 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, also follows this example. At various locations in the title, gamers may see golden glowing summon signs left behind by others. These can be used to summon them into the player’s world, gaining them an ally in this otherwise bleak setting.
Typically following a ‘Praise the Sun’ emote, the two users may now head about the world in the nearby area, tackling this unforgiving game with a sense of camaraderie. While changing areas will need to be done in single-player, a summon sign in the new place is enough to solve that issue.
Gamers can even tackle boss fights together, leveling the playing field a little for some tough bosses.
6) Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – 2015
Nearly all Call of Duty games have the option of co-op multiplayer, and Black Ops 3 is no different. Developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, this title was released on November 6, 2015, for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.
The story takes place 40 years after the events of Black Ops 2, set in the year 2065. In an ongoing third Cold War between two global alliances, warfare via aerial missiles has become obsolete.
Instead, covert soldiers taking the fight behind enemy lines is how a faction carries out their tactics in wiping out essential targets. Players take control of an unnamed soldier who must undergo cybernetic surgery to survive after a mission goes wrong.
Like all COD offerings, this game is a first-person shooter, and the campaign can be played in up to four user co-op. Aside from the main story, they can also participate in a competitive multiplayer and a zombie mode.
As cybernetically enhanced individuals, gamers also have access to particular abilities and skills not seen before in the series.
7) Overwatch – 2016
Described as a “hero shooter,” Overwatch is a team-based game that sees PvP matches between two teams of six players. Developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, it was released on May 14, 2016, for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. It is a co-op multiplayer title that can only be played online.
Users can pick from a pool of 34 heroes, separated into three broad classes, and need to work cooperatively to battle the opposing team. The game is played as a first-person shooter, with each hero equipped with unique abilities and skills based on their class.
There are numerous game modes, ranging from zone control to escorting a payload. A sequel, Overwatch 2, is set to release on October 4, 2022, as a free-to-play title, featuring some game format changes.
8) PUBG: Battlegrounds – 2017
PUBG: Battlegrounds is the first battle royale to be widely available, starting life as a mod for a different title. It was officially released as a standalone title by PUBG Studios on December 20, 2017, for Windows PC and Xbox One.
At launch, it was a critical and commercial hit, with players rushing in to play this new concept of a video game.
PUBG offers the option to play in co-op multiplayer in the form of squad-based matches. These allow two or up to four people to team up and participate in a game of similarly numbered squads, where the winner is the last team standing, even if it is just one member that survives.
Gameplay occurs in a remote location like an island or a desert, initially uninhabited until the users drop down onto the map. They must quickly find weapons, ammunition, and armor and engage in combat with other teams nearby.
Gamers are required to stay within the play area, which will continually shrink as the game progresses.
9) A Way Out – 2018
Developed by Hazelight Studios and created by Josef Fares, well known for his co-op multiplayer games, A Way Out is an action-adventure title released on March 23, 2018. It can be played by a maximum of two players and supports couch co-op in split-screen and online multiplayer.
The story revolves around two prison inmates who decide to break out and go after the man responsible for their incarceration. Users can play as either Leo Caruso or Vincent Moretti as they work together to approach different scenarios and make decisions that impact both.
Played in a third-person perspective, the narrative switches things up by providing different ways gamers get to participate in this co-op multiplayer. Some sections involve generic cover-based shooting, while others might center around giving support to the second player.
Important decisions require both to agree on one option for the story to proceed.
10) Destiny 2: New Light – 2019
While Destiny 2 was initially released in 2017, it was a paid game back then. However, developer Bungie soon got the license to publish the game themselves and changed it to a free-to-play offering on October 1, 2019, re-releasing it with the title New Light.
This co-op multiplayer is primarily a PvE experience, as players can collectively participate in the story and expansion missions in groups of three. PvP elements also exist, letting different users or teams test their skills against each other in objective-based matches or direct arena combat.
They take control of a Guardian, partnered with an AI companion known as a Ghost. Gamers can customize their Guardian and ghost to give them a unique look and participate in the events of Destiny 2’s story.
Since its release, this game has received many updates and expansions regularly. The current ongoing story is titled the Witch Queen, and Lightfall is set to release later in 2023.
Q. Do you like playing co-op multiplayer video game?