10 Best Couch Co-Op Games on PS4
The constant decline of couch co-op and split screen games means that console games that are actually worth inviting people round to play are few and far between. I tackled the library of the best couch co-op games for the PS4 (as well as split screen games) and made this list of the 10 co-op games worth playing with your friends, girlfriends, gender-fluid acquaintances of significance, or any intelligent pets you may happen to have.
PLANTS VERSUS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE 2
Did anybody actually expect this Plants Versus Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 to be good? I know I didn’t. Turning an iPhone tower defence game into a major third-person shooter felt like a classic Icarus story, only without any of the artistic significance of that legend. Put diplomatically, it was certainly a very… EA decision to make.
But it turns out that the couch co-op PS4 game PVZ:GW 2 is pretty good, a load of enjoyable nonsense that can be best appreciated with a friend, usually so you can try to think of stupid vegetable-based one-liners. “That death was a little CORNY.” “I shot that artichoke right through the HEART.” “I guess these guys have laid the SEEDS of conflict.”
Do you think you can do better? Well, you probably can, and this pretty much what comment boards were made for. So go nuts, frankly.
Wait, so is it a little planet or a big one? This is the same confusion I had with Fatboy Slim all over again.
Regardless, it’s not a coincidence that a lot of games with local co-op lean towards the childish. Kiddies need distractions to keep them from interacting with their parents during the drinking hours, and nothing catches the offspring’s attention like dolls bumping against each other in colourful environments. However, LBP3 managed also to work on the level of adults, with a highly extensive level creator that enabled a fair bit of content for people to enjoy afterwards, working together to enjoy a parade of absurd locations, that look like Monty Python animations made in an arts and crafts shop.
And yet it’s all pretty basic and accessible at the core. Jump around, swing on ropes, hit things and keep running to the right. It’s 2D platforming at its most simple, but brought up to snuff with cute presentation, vast imagination, great flexibility and the dulcet tones of my own personal man-crush Stephen Fry, speaking pure honey in the background.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III
Look, I won’t say that Black Ops 3 doesn’t have some issues. It does, no lie there. But when you can organically jetpack into the air, run along a wall firing a machine gun one-handed, kick off into the sky dropping grenades like bird’s eggs, and finally come down with a lethal shockwave that kills several people… Yeah, it’s doing something right. Because I did that yesterday and had to go have a lie down.
Black Ops III was the proper commitment to science fiction that the series needed after stagnating for so long, and went all in on the AI and cybernetic silliness. The story IS ridiculous, but Black Ops 3 allows you to pull the battery out of a robot’s chest like the priest in Temple Of Doom, so I can let that go for now. There’s a floaty feeling of freedom to using jet boosters to bounce around shooting at things. And nothing tests a friendship like some couch co-op fun fighting zombies in Bugsy Malone costumes, guaranteeing you’ll both come out of it as pals. Or eaten. Maybe both.
Play the story alone or go at it with a friend in split screen. You can’t really go wrong as you will have fun regardless of whether you are alone or with friends.
If Rocket League was a person, he would be a likeable idiot on a permanent sugar rush. He wouldn’t be able to watch a film without cheering from the audience. He wouldn’t be able to sit in a car without sticking his head out the window, trying to high-five any pedestrians he passed along the way. He wouldn’t be bothered to light fireworks one at a time, just drop a lit match into a box with all of them inside, and run to the other end of the garden. And every time he inevitably ends up the hospital, it’s always for a reason that would make Johnny Knoxville proud.
Yeah, Rocket League is a whole lot of bottled stupid, but in a good way. It is also one of the top rated PS4 video games of all time. It’s simply football (or soccer), but instead of players, there are RC cars covered in jet boosters. That’s a hell of an upgrade and makes for some shallow but ultimately fun gameplay that’ll have most people whooping at some point or another. Invite some friends over, have some drinks ready to make you think a little less seriously about it all, and enjoy the split screen mess of explosions and fast-paced action that makes a Michael Bay movie look restrained and dignified in this amazing new split screen PS4 game.
ANY LEGO GAME
It doesn’t really matter which one. Jurassic Park, Batman, Marvel, The Hobbit, Dimensions – build things, break things and smash little yellow figures like the Simpsons were made out of glass.
The Lego series is another franchise that works well for kids because it couldn’t be easier to comprehend (any of your friends can pick it up even if they are not gamers). Get frococom one place to another, break any jaundiced people who want to stop you getting there and build whatever will help you along the way. Again, it’s a little lacking in terms of depth, but the real heart and soul of any Lego game lies in the inherent wit and charm they all seem to have. Admittedly something was lost when they decided to begin voicing these Lego games, losing that silent-movie-sweetness that had easily carried them until then, but they never lost that lovable nature completely.
The Lego games have always worked as stress-relievers. The ultimate in casual, consequence-free gameplay, where nothing you do is ever a problem and you can just feel free to break, build and run around as much as you like. And with friends, that goes for double.
DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS – ULTIMATE EVIL EDITION
Look, I’m not big on this kind of gameplay, but I’ll sit down and shut my yap when I see it done well. A lot of people got snooty over the idea of a Diablo III port to the PS4, but Metacritic tells a different story: not a single reviewer marked it anything less than positive making this one of the top rated PS4 games ever.
Couch co-op is part of that appeal. Invite your most devilish friends and neighbours over to roll around, hack at enemies and scoop loot from the bodies of everything you kill in one of the most addictive co-op games for the PS4. The classes you pick will also certainly say something about your personality, leading to many interesting discussions. Maybe you chose the demon hunter because you idolise Van Helsing? Maybe your unwavering inner peace led you to become a monk? Or maybe you went to be a barbarian because you have a brain like chickpea and serious anger issues? We all have at least one friend like that, and if you can’t think of that person, it’s probably you.
BORDERLANDS: THE HANDSOME COLLECTION
Borderlands is the fast food of video game series. It’s not deep, not artful, it’s not adventurous, but you know what? It’s not trying to be. Because sometimes you don’t want to watch Schindler’s List, sometimes you want to watch some splashy superhero movie or something where Arnie Schwarzenegger punches people and burbles one-liners.
Borderlands is here to provide. Shoot villains, pick up the guns they drop and use those guns to shoot bigger villains. It’s like the circle of life, only without the life part. And Borderlands isn’t just accepting co-op, it’s actively encouraging it. More players means higher difficulty, but also higher loot quality. And don’t fear – the fact that four players can leap in at once should ensure that the arguments over the really good weapons will be more heated than ever. You can even duel for them in-game, if it really matters to you. Or you could use my method, and just hit the person sitting next to you until they hand out the contents of their inventory.
Hmm, I’m not familiar with this one. Tell me more, person who isn’t really there. Minecraft is a survival game set in a procedurally-generated universe? Minecraft is filled with innumerable layers of depth that’ll ensure fun for dozens of hours? Minecraft manages to be deeply challenging without becoming annoying? Minecraft allows for the opportunity to genuinely express yourself creatively with an extensive range of assets and proper freedom?
Oh, you all know Minecraft. Minecraft is like the real world, only bigger, more convenient to use and with considerably more exploding monsters. And speaking as somebody who used to play Minecraft with friends a LOT, there’s something great about the way the simplest of tasks is suddenly the most important thing in the world. Whether it’s assembling a small house or busting through dimensions to fight dragons, Minecraft is just a fun game that is twice as fun with a friend. Partly because you stab them to death, then make your escape on the back of a pig. Just like Sun Tzu intended. Just kidding! Minecraft is one of the best couch co-op games for kids and adults alike.
In 2011, nobody expected much from the Rayman series. We’d only been getting those Raving Rabbits games for years now, and the most of the other entries had just been remastered ports on newer consoles.
So the arrival of Rayman Origins suddenly made everyone sit up and take notice. “Wait a minute, this is good. REALLY good, as a matter of fact. It’s quirky, fun, attractive to look at, challenging without being unfair and ultimately very engaging.”
Oh, but Rayman Origins isn’t available on PS4. Damn. Guess we’ll have to do with Rayman Legends, which is… Even better! Yes! Score one for the little guy!
Rayman Legends has everything the original had, plus more. All the charm, all the exuberant joy, and even a bunch of musical levels, all set to the rhythm of classic songs. Basically, Rayman Legends is amazing fun. And with two people, this cooperative PS4 game is even better!
THE BINDING OF ISAAC: REBIRTH
Alright, so this one is a little less kiddy-friendly (odd, considering it has an infant protagonist), but The Binding Of Isaac is one of the best couch co-op games as well as one of the best indie games out there at the moment, and you’d be a fool not to try it. Everybody needs some trauma in their life, right? I got mine by playing Tales Of Zestiria, now it’s everyone else’s turn.
Oh god, how do I describe The Binding of Isaac? Um… Imagine if Rogue Legacy and Don’t Starve were imprisoned inside a church basement for several years, then told to kill each other. Rebirth would be the terrifying creation made with whatever body parts were left.
So The Binding of Isaac is pretty simple to play, but has a lot going on in terms of subtext and deeper meaning. But considering you’ll be playing it as a co-op game, you likely won’t notice that. Instead, you’ll be bombing around a series of increasingly gruesome labyrinths, using every bodily fluid you have to hold back some very strange and scary monsters in top-down, bullet-hell gameplay. But the sheer amount of randomised content means it’s a completely different experience every time, so no chance of getting bored this side of February.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is revolting, weird, frustrating and often ethically wrong. But that’s pretty similar most friendships I know of, so that makes it the ideal candidate for cementing those strange and surreal bonds of brotherhood. Bring your best straight jacket and jar of mysterious fluid, because it only gets darker from here.