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Discussion > Video GamesFeb 16, 2024 8:00 am CT

What video games, new or old, have perfected the couch co-op experience?

Maybe it’s cold Midwest weather that has me thinking about cozy couch games, maybe it’s the recent sense that Love is in the Air — whatever the case, I’ve recently been musing on how few solid couch co-op games currently exist (at least in mainstream gaming). That’s not to say couch co-op games don’t exist at all nowadays; Diablo 4 offers a genuinely solid Diablo experience with its group play, and Baldur’s Gate 3 translates an immaculate single-player experience into a solid-if-buggy multiplayer journey that’s still impossible to put down.

Of course, to say either of those games has “perfected” the couch co-op experience might be a stretch. Diablo 4, while very consistent an experience, doesn’t offer a very different experience for couch co-op. And Baldur’s Gate 3, well… look, I love the game. I do. But I would not recommend couch co-op if you have two computers that can handle the game. Playing on console as a whole isn’t nearly as robust as on PC, but coupled with half a screen and several bugs, it’s just not the same by a large margin. (That said, who’s to say you can’t play side-by-side on laptops on a couch? There’s the ideal couch co-op experience for BG3!)

Mind you, I’ve been spoiled by 2021’s It Takes Two. The game is quite literally built as a co-op experience — to the point where it has effectively turned “couch co-op” into a genre of its own, rather than an adaptation of a game (regardless of genre). As such, it’s kind of at the top of my “perfect couch co-op video games” list.

But! I have to give shout-outs to the classics, which feel like a relic of an older time. Halo: CE and Halo 2? Few couch co-op experiences come close to eliciting the nostalgia I feel when I think about my time playing both of those back when they were each new. Likewise, Gauntlet Dark Legacy is, for a number of reasons, burned into my memory for all the right reasons.

How about you, though? What couch co-op games — regardless of release — have the perfect experience? What makes them so wonderful? Sound off below!

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