The early days of the PlayStation brand were rough in the co-op market. Sony released multitap peripherals that would hook into the PS1 and the PS2 so that players could team up in traditional multiplayer modes like Deathmatches. The introduction of the online modem and extra hard drive brought in even more multiplayer madness on the PS2 beyond the multitap.
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Then, starting on the PS3, it became easier than ever before to play with friends online. This was also the era wherein more co-op games were coming out, not that there weren’t any on the PS1 and PS2 prior. So, for fun, let’s take a peek at some Sony-published co-op games to see what they have offered over the years. When it comes to co-op games, these experiences go beyond things like review scores and rely heavily on the fun factor. Even bad games can be a blast with the right person which all boils down to personal taste in the end, but ultimately these games are sure to produce a good time.
Metacritic Score: 91
Twisted Metal: Black
- June 18, 2001
- Incognito Inc.
There’s no better car combat game series than the Twisted Metal franchise and Twisted Metal: Black was a high benchmark. Players could pick from a variety of characters to go through the story mode or other modes to wreak havoc on the AI. They could also team up with a friend on the couch for some local split-screen co-op.
Split-screen co-op was the most common type of this PS2 era which was challenging to get into thanks to the smaller TVs. However, it’s a bit easier to play Twisted Metal: Black in co-op now thanks to the PS4 port it received and because TVs are much better.
7 Resistance: Fall Of Man
Metacritic Score: 86
Resistance: Fall of Man
- November 17, 2006
Insomniac grew popular thanks to their platformer franchises like Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank. Those games were easier and were for everyone and Resistance: Fall of Man was their first big foray into the M-rated market. It was also brutally difficult alone as the invading aliens could drop players in seemingly an instant.
The campaign was made easier with a friend in split-screen co-op though. The sequel included co-op too but in a separate online mode while Resistance 3 brought back the classic split-screen co-op and is also worth checking out.
6 Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Metacritic Score: 70
Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One
- October 18, 2011
Speaking of Insomniac’s past platformer series, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One was a spinoff centered completely on co-op. Players could be one of the traditional heroes, Ratchet or Clank, but they could also jump into the roles of antagonists like Captain Qwark or Doctor Nefarious.
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The gameplay resembled other games in the series with plenty of platforming and shooting across a wild range of planets. However, this adventure was much more linear as the presentation was through levels. It wasn’t as celebrated as the main games and got some lower scores because of glitches but it still had plenty of fans thanks to both the four-player local and online co-op options. Plus patches helped it over time.
5 LittleBigPlanet 2
Metacritic Score: 91
- January 18, 2011
Another great platformer exclusive series for PlayStation consoles is LittleBigPlanet. It began supporting local co-op between four players and it pretty much ended that way too. Of the many games in this short-lived series, LittleBigPlanet 2 stands out as the one to beat.
The controls were improved, there was more variety in levels, the costume DLC was out of this world including Final Fantasy characters, the level creation was more in-depth and the list goes on. Since this game is a bit inaccessible now though, players may want to check out Sackboy: A Big Adventure on PS5 instead which added new perspectives and got rid of the building mechanics.
Metacritic Score: 79
- April 26, 2016
- Shooter , Action RPG
What if Halo was a top-down looter shooter game? Alienation is the answer to that question and it is one of the many smaller arcade-like indie games from Housemarque before they went big with Returnal.
Four players online and offline could join together to fight aliens with a wide variety of weapons from machine guns to flamethrowers. Armor upgrades could add specials to the combat as well and it was always an evolving arsenal in one way or another. It’s a bit like Helldivers, which is getting a sequel, but easier so maybe one day Alienation can get a sequel too.
Metacritic Score: 88
- February 7, 2017
- Action RPG
Sony has a lot of Soulslike games under their publishing arm. The obvious choice here might be to highlight Demon’s Souls or Bloodborne which do offer co-op. However, Nioh is often harder than those games which makes it almost necessary to team up with up to two other partners.
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Also, getting a party together in Nioh is simpler since the first game is structured around missions. Nioh is also great because it added variety to the genre by focusing on samurai and spiritual magic for some cool, flashy effects. The necessity and ease of use of co-op make it a fine candidate to highlight here even though, again, they are all great and challenging Soulslikes.
2 Champions Of Norrath
Metacritic Score: 85
Champions of Norrath
- February 10, 2004
The PS2 era was the golden age of top-down action RPGs with looting mechanics. PC players had Diablo in its many forms and console players had Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath.
Both of these games play very similarly and are worth checking out especially since both Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games have been remastered. They are not published by Sony though and unfortunately, Champions of Norrath and its sequel have yet to leave the PS2. Sony has to get on the ball and fix this or give fans what they really want: a sequel.
1 Final Fantasy 11
Metacritic Score: 85
Final Fantasy 11
- October 28, 2003
- Square Enix
Final Fantasy 11, and any MMO for that matter, are the ultimate co-op games. Final Fantasy 14 can be played relatively well solo but Final Fantasy 11 demanded players get a party of up to six together. It was almost impossible to beat otherwise unless players did the typical grind route for EXP for days which they probably already did because it was hard to level up.
The franchise’s first foray into MMOs may have started rough, but expansions helped ease the burden a bit. As challenging as Final Fantasy 11 was, fans still think fondly back to their epic multiplayer sessions.
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