Over the last decade, there has been a massive growth in online gaming. As a result, it seems like games where you can play alongside friends in the same room as you are few and far between. That said, there are still many games/series that provide these kind of experiences. Here are my five top choices for couch co-ops you can play on PS4 and PS5.
Slaving away in a kitchen may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of good times with your friends. But, the Overcooked series of games succeed in making it work!
Overcooked is about working together as a small team of chefs to complete food orders as best you can. This lends itself to co-op very well as you'll need to work together to succeed . It’s very satisfying to get in sync with your team and figure out a system that fits the challenges you're facing.
And that brings me on to what makes Overcooked shine – its levels are bonkers! One level has you cooking across two buses, throwing ingredients from one bus to another. Another level has you cooking in a volcano that's destroying your kitchen as you work. Not only are these scenarios over the top and hilarious but they keep the gameplay fresh. To succeed, players will need to adopt different team strategies to overcome each stage's unique conditions.
The Borderlands series follows a simple but timeless formula. To start, you and your team pick unique characters with special stats and special skills. These skills include going invisible, deploying a customizable mech suit and using space magic! Next, you get thrown into a dystopian landscape on a far-off planet. There, you'll learn of some big bad person with an endless supply of minions that need taking down. Then, you get yourself acquainted with the game’s generous cache of weapons. 87 Bazillion according to the original Borderlands promotional media! After that, it’s a case of fighting enemies, levelling up, getting better weapons, fighting tougher enemies and so on!
If you’re used to First Person shooters, the basics of the controls are easy to master. There are a lot of detailed RPG elements allowing you and your teammates to build up your character how you want.
While the story isn’t the game’s selling point, it’s engaging enough to keep you going. It also contains many memorable characters to interact with. The game’s twisted sense of humour is also a big part of the experience that you can enjoy alone or shared with others.
I’ve recently been playing Wonderlands with my partner. This is a recent spin-off set in the fantasy world of fan favourite character, Tiny Tina. While the setting is quite different, the classic Borderlands formula is still there. On top of that, getting to create your own character provides a whole new level of customization. Also, the wealth of nerdy jokes and references about all things fantasy and role playing games have been very enjoyable!
3. XCOM Series
Ok, so I’m kind of cheating here on this list of couch co-ops. The XCOM games aren’t technically multiplayer games. But, as a turn-based strategy game, it has a unique feature that lends itself to multiplayer.
The XCOM series is set around a full-scale alien invasion of Earth. The way you're supposed to play this game is to assemble and command your squad to complete missions. But, as you can have squads of 4-6 soldiers, who's to say you have to command them all? Why not gather 3-5 friends and have them look after the other soldiers in your squad? All you need to do is swap the controller around when it's their character's turn to move.
There are many ways this way of playing is so engaging. Being able to coordinate ambushes make for some very satisfying teamwork moments. The steaks are high for your soldiers, because if they reach 0 health, there’s a good chance that they’ll die and never come back. This can make the in-game drama very real! This drama is intensified when you play on Ironman Mode where you cannot reload saves. This way, there’s no going back when a decision doesn’t go as expected.
Final thing I’ll say that makes XCOM such a joy to play with friends is the character creation. You can create your own unique characters, but there is a lot of joy in designig soldiers based on well know characters. What other game can you have Beyoncé fighting alongside the Milkybar Kid and the cast of Red Dwarf against an alien invasion?
Resident Evil 6 was released on PS3 around 10 years ago and was one of the least popular games of the series. As a result, the game and its action-packed co-op campaigns are often overlooked.
The game features 4 campaigns allowing players to team up as two of the games’ protagonists. Each campaign involves different journeys that intersect and provide different view points.
It seemed part of the reason for its poor reception was that it felt too much like a military shooter. As someone who didn’t play much Resident Evil before, I didn’t mind that. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed was that each campaign felt very distinct from each other. You can still have classic zombie survival missions, but you can also go all Call of Duty too! Plus I'm a sucker for a good chase scene and any game that lets you use a military jet!
You can play through the campaigns on your own with AI help, but the game lends itself to play through with a buddy! Fighting alongside each other in this game makes it feel like you’re in an action movie. On top of that, the game has been cleverly designed to put in obstacles that are better solved with two people.
5. A Way Out
A Way Out presented me and my partner with the greatest co-op campaign we've ever experienced. The game puts you in the role of two prisoners, Vincent and Leo. Your goal; to escape from prison and hunt down a mutual enemy on the outside.
It is a short campaign, taking roughly 8-10 hours to complete but it was a very full and varied experience, which is good for couch co-ops.
Unlike the other games on this list, there is no way you can play A Way Out without another player. You’ll need someone to be on lookout while you’re making a hole in the back of your cell. You'll need someone to catch you when you miss a jump. You'll need someone to accompany you on banjo in the impromptu band you’ve started. Yes, even though it’s a serious crime drama, there’s plenty of room for silly mini games too!
There’s even branching sequences where you and your teammate need to agree on which option to take. This forces you into figuring things out together.
Sometimes split-screen can be a barrier to an immersive gaming experience. But A Way Out incorporates it with great style. During certain sequences, the panels shift to focus on the action like you’re watching a con movie.
So there you have it. Five great couch co-ops to play if you have a PS4 or PS5. Are there any couch co-ops I missed out? Let us know on our social media!