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Co-op Evolved: 5 E3 games that put a fresh face on cooperative multiplayer

Is is just us or is co-op becoming the big thing in next-gen gaming?

E3 is wrapping itself up, but if there’s one thing that seemed to appear over and over at the four-day convention, it’s games that focus on cooperative multiplayer. Every one of the major press events had some sort of game with co-op play, and many featured a unique twist of some sort. We’ve taken the time to highlight five such games that take the co-op we know and liven it up with something different. 

Just Dance Now wants to start a flash mob

Just Dance 2015

As we saw at Ubisoft’s big press event, Just Dance is making a breakout from consoles. To make it a truly ‘anywhere’ game, Just Dance Now is a mobile version of the rhythm game that works anywhere you have your smartphone, a big screen, and an Internet connection. It supports multiple players so long as everyone has their own smartphone to dance along with and track their movements. In theory, the game should work for dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of people in a close enough space with a view on a really big screen. We’re betting Ubisoft has plans to attempt a Guinness World Record at some point. Either way, Just Dance Now shows cooperative play at an immense scale.

Fable Legends uses Villain mode as a top-down co-op twist

Fable Legends Screen 3

Fable is already widely known for its choose-your-own-destiny theme. The next installment, Fable Legends retains that emphasis on the power of player decisions, but is built around a unique multiplayer model. In Villain mode, one player can opt to play against four other cooperative players, taking on a top-down view of the game and acting as a dungeon master of sorts. The villain can spawn traps, minions, and whatever else is in their arsenal to help put the pressure on the heroes and fight back their attempts to win the dungeon’s treasure. This certainly brings a new twist to the traditional hack-and-slash, making the enemies a lot smarter than they used to be (depending on the intelligence of your friends).

Far Cry 4 co-op comes with friends for free

farcry

Most co-op shooters offer nothing more than a beefier, two-player version of the singe player experience. Far Cry 4 isn’t a shooter that simply drags your friend along for the ride; instead, your buddy can explore and engage enemies with you in all sorts of unique instances on the game’s expansive map. What’s more impressive though is how much your friend will have to pay to join the fun: nothing; zip; zero. If you already own Far Cry 4 for PS3 or PS4, your friends will be able to join the co-op experience for free. This makes cooperative play a possibility for frugal gamers, and could help Ubisoft convince others to pay up  for the full game later on. 

Evolve pits your team against a human-controlled beast

Evolve - Feb Screenshot (10)

Turtle Rock Studios, the experts behind the popular Left 4 Dead series, are returning to the world of cooperative gameplay with Evolve, a 4 vs. 1 game that’s been under development for years. The game pits a team of class-based hunters against an epic evolutionary monster controlled by a fifth player. We don’t precisely know what powers and abilities this monster will have, but the name suggests an Alien vs. Predator-esque evolutionary aspect, where the monster becomes stronger over time.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity matches more players with more opportunities

Assassins Creed Unity

Assassin’s Creed wasn’t an entirely singleplayer game. Now its latest edition, Assassin’s Creed: Unity focuses on teamwork right in the name. The game’s live gameplay trailer revealed a ton of opportunities to come in Paris at the height of the French Revolution, and it appears these many opportunistic quests and events are only matched by the total of four new players to the game. Typically, games with co-op either beef up the monsters or require special teamwork to accomplish the task. Assassin’s Creed: Unity borrows from these aspects, incorporating tons of almost random-like quests that seem overwhelming for a single player, but for four players its a plethora of chances to, well, assassinate. There will surely be unique ways to utilize the four characters, but the lack of a single quest line and host of variety is a great way to address cooperative play.

There are others

These are just a few of the many games with a focus on co-op play. None of these innovations are completely new concepts, but it’s nice to see that the concepts often reserved for indie and low-budget games found their way to the AAA playground.

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