Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 PC Coop Game List

Coop Gaming 2015:

Welcome the the all conclusive listing of all the cooperative oriented PC video games for 2015!  This list will be continuously updated throughout the year.
Coop list for a different year 

The games on this list, must meet the following criteria:

  • PvE - Player vs Environment
  • Online, no split screens
  • Available/announced for PC
  • Involve 2 or more human players
  • Players must work along a progressive storyline, campaign, or various goals
  • Generic RTS Skirmishes and Team based game types like CTF and Deathmatch are not included
  • No MMOs (game must have a conclusion or set goal)
  • Greenlight & Early Access games are generally not listed
  • I'll be subjective with Survival/Horde modes as the genera has matured a bit. However, most are slapped-on after thoughts and not list worthy.

Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide - 4 player
Metacritic - 83 ]
Pick from 5 unique heroes and battle swams of rat men, called the Skaven.  Gameplay similar to L4D but in the Fantasy Warhammer Universe.

Dying Light  - Survival - 4 player
Metacritic - 79 ]
A New IP from the makers of Dead Island.  Follows the usual scavenge and survive game play, but with parkour elements.

Evolve - 4 player
Metacritic - 77 ]
This game is sold as a 4v1 game, however it does allow 4vE bot gameplay.  You're a group of hunters with unique abilities all trying to take out the monster thing that is slowly evolving.  AI is reportedly bad.

Rainbow 6 Siege - FPS/Tactical
[ Metacritic - 78 | video ]
A cross between SWAT 4 and Rainbow 6, this could be a huge win for coop gamers.  Even brings back the "lean" command.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 - 2 player 
[ Metacritic - 74 ]
This game is using a episodic release model, with 4 eps total.  Game will play out like RE5 coop, which was very much a classic shooter in the RE Universe.  Coop includes both campaign and Raid modes.

Clandestine - 2 player 
[ Metacritic - 74 ]
Looks a bit like watching an episode of Homeland.  You work for a spy agency where one players is on the field wielding the gun, while the other provides hackable distractions & intel.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III - 4 player
[ Metacritic - 73 ]
Seems like the CoD series will bring back the World at War formula and introduce a 4 player coop campaign.  Many applaud this, as it'll open up the corridors (shooter on rails).  Also returning is a more fleshed out zombie horde mode.

STAR WARS Battlefront - November
[ Metacritic - 72 ]
No campaign mode, but will have a series of object based missions against AI.

Battle of empires 1914-1918 - RTS - 4 player
Coop story mode. RTS that takes place during WWI, may have episodic releases as it progresses through history.

Card Hunter - card-RPG - 3 player
Metacritic - 80 ]
If you're looking for a coop card based RPG here it is. Has a retro board game look, pays its roots in D&D, and boast a fabulous AI.

Victor Vran - aRPG - 4 player
Metacritic - 75 ]
From Tropico Devs; a gothic-fantasy Diablo clone.

Magicka 2 -  aRPG - 4 player
[ Metacritic - 69 ]
Mostly the same mechanics, only now you can move while casting.  They have crippled some of the combos for easier gameplay.  All game modes have coop, including campaign.  Friendly fire is not your friend.

The Adventures of Van Helsing 3 - aRPG - 4 player
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut
[ Metacritic - 64 ]
Classic Diablo clone that seems to have surpased the others.
Classes: melee-specialist Protector, shooter the Bounty Hunter, weird science the Phlogistoneer, engineer as the Constructor, magical forces as the Elementalist, stealthy killer as the Umbralist.

D&D Sword Coast Legends - RPG - 4 player
[ Metacritic - 63 ]
This game is advertised as a 4v1 game, though also has a 4vE true coop experience. The problem is it fell has too much Diablo the the intended Balders Gate.

Bloodsports.TV - aRPG - 5 player
[ Metacritic - 69 ]
From the developers that brought us Krater, we get a top down hero defense game.

Overlord: Fellowship of Evil - aRPG - 4 player
Metacritic - 15 ] 
Overlord series gets a reboot, to a more streamlined action rpg puzzler.


Starcraft 2:Legacy of the Void - RTS - 2 player
Metacritic - 88 ]
A bit like the single player campaigns, without the story.  You pick a hero [Commander], and play object oriented mini scenarios with another player while facing similar challenges seen in the single player game.  Your hero will have level up options as you progress.

Deathtrap - Tower Defense
Metacritic - 77 ]
[ video ]
Tosses in some Action RPG elements. 3 classes available.

The Red Solstice - aRTS - 8 player
[ Metacritic - 74 ]
Isometric tactical shooter based on Warcraft 3 mod: Night of the Dead.  Time based object oriented horde modes with level and class progression.


Grand Theft Auto V - Sandbox/Action
Metacritic - 96 ]
Much like the last GTA, there will be no true campaign coop, but rather coop game modes and mini missions. Game setup must be "Crew or Friends-only" to guarantee coop.  A new mode is also being introduced called "Heist".  Its a 4 player, mini campaign with 5 strands composing of a total 20 missions.

Helldivers - Action Arcade - 4 player
Metacritic - 85 ]
A scifi take on Magika without the keyboard spell casting.  So really a top down shooter with lots of friendly fire.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes - Puzzle - 4 player
Metacritic - 84 ]
This game came out of nowhere and has seen a huge success:
"Find yourself trapped alone in a room with a ticking time bomb. Your friends have the manual to defuse it, but they can't see the bomb, so you're going to have to talk it out – fast"

BroForce - Arcade - 2 player
Metacritic - 82 ]
Contra-esque, throwback to early 90s side-scroller action gaming.  When you die, you are revived as a random new Bro with different abilities.

Trine 3 - Platformer
[ Metacritic - 68 ]
Continuing the beautiful side scrolling puzzler series.
Play as: Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the knight, and Zoya the thief

Shiftlings - Platformer - 2 player
[ Metacritic - 70 ]
A cartoony, light hearted game where you're an alien janitor that fart their way through various puzzles.

A Fistful of Gun - Arcade Action - 9 player
[ Metacritic - 64 [indie]
asymmetric coop arena shooter set in a pixellated land of heroic gunslingers.

2015 Summery 

While 2014 was a stellar year for coop gaming, 2015 slipped into a slouch.  Many games were criticized heavily for failing to innovate, move a series forward, and provide sufficient content with the time of release (blame DLC folks).   An amazing 35 games were defaulted to 2016 mostly due to games stuck in early access hell.  Indie games are now set to a higher level of expectations, while money-grabs become apparent from both indie and established developers.

8 shooter avg rating 76.  A 1 point decrease from 2014.
7 rpgs avg rating 62.  A significant drop, with a 15 rank dragging it down; 70 if omitting.
3 strategies, 80 average; an increase of 10.

The Winners:

Grand Theft Auto V  - The wait for PC gamers is unfortunate, but was was well worth it, as GTA delivers a very new enhanced experience to PC gamers and a next gen release for consoles.  PC gamers get to bypass all the coop woes of the original release and receive a fuller experience; avoiding the common complaint among games these days.  The result is an amazing sandbox coop experience with multiple gaming options and  a huge modding community to shake up the core ideas.  Its everything one can expect for coop gamers looking for a great sandbox experience.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes - This game gets the surprise of the year award as it encourages communication & teamwork while delivering a steady amount of pressure.  The game feels more like a college psych test, but as long as its entertaining, it'll get my vote.  A great party game that adds a unique flare to an overall mundane 2015 list.

Notable mentions:

Starcraft 2:Legacy of the Void - The final release of Starcraft 2 gets a notable mention for finally giving RTS coop players some attention.  Although not a new idea, this is a first for the Starcraft universe, breaking coop players out of the skirmish against AI setting into real campaigns and hero upgrades.

Rainbow 6 Siege - was a mixed bag.  It suffered from the shallow experience themed complaint resulting in low scores, however it did provide a solid experience for what it delivered.  If anything it may have given credit for a new SWAT game which is really the game FPS coop players would like to see.

Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide - This game channels the short intensity of Left 4 Dead series and places it in the Fantasy Warhammer universe.  Though panned as just another coop shooter with some license attached; whats notable is that it received the highest rating for all the coop shooters.  Shortcomings aside, it sounds like the devs continue to support the game after release.

The Losers:

Trine 3 - Trine was one of those indie success stories a few years back delivering an awesome coop platforming experience.  With its 3rd release though it became clear the developers had run dry of ideas and motivation; resulting in falling from the graces of its fanbase.

Early Access
Early access is the practice of releasing a release candidate, unfinished product for a fee (often full price) to the Steam Store.  Although there are a few exceptions to this; early access is the worst thing we have seen in the industry since DLCs.  35 games on the coop list had to be shifted to 2016, many of which were shifted from the 2014 list.  Its becoming a blatant money grab; where a developer has no accountability for the quality of their product.  Early access saturates the market with mediocre, buggy PC stereotypes.

Overlord: Fellowship of Evil - In all my years of writing these articles, I have never seen a 15 metacritic rating.  Make no mistake, this was no indie title, but rather makers of the excellent Overlord series.  May this be a lesson, don't expand you IP to a already over saturated aRPG realm when you still have plenty of room to expand and improve your flagship IP.

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