The best co-op games on PC | PCGamesN

The best co-op games on PC

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What are the best co-op games on PC? Be it shooting aliens in Destiny 2 or looting in The Division, here are the biggest Steam games and best free games around, plus a few surprise entries.  

Co-op games can reward you like no other genre. Games offer up magic in lots of different guises, but working with a friend to achieve a goal is, arguably, where they really shine. But what are the titles that will really pull friends together and offer the best group-based thrills? 

Not feeling terribly sociable? Then check out the best PC games, which includes some of the finest solo experiences you'll ever find. 

The best co-op games are the ones that let you explore new worlds with a buddy by your side, triumph over evil as a team, introduce a novice to the wonder of the medium, or simply beat each other over the head with questionable weaponry for kicks. Single-player games can be a life-swallowing hoot, but those virtual victories taste all the sweeter when you share them with friends. So embrace companionship and say so long to playing solo. These are some of the very best co-op games for you to share with your favourite people. 

Here are the best co-op games:

Destiny 2

Best co-op games Destiny 2

If the PC launch of Destiny 2 has been your first introduction to Bungie’s colossal console game, then you may have initially been a bit confused. As you can read in our Destiny 2 PC review, its paper-thin plot fails to tell an interesting yarn, there aren't a huge amount of activities to do, and you will have seen pretty much everything it has to offer in around 30 hours. Think of the game as a social space for your buddies, though - the online equivalent of a bar where you can shoot aliens - and it all comes together as one of PC's best co-op games. 

Be it speeding across a planet surface on a Sparrow hoverbike, spelunking into a cave in search of powerful loot, or using our Destiny 2 raid guide to tackle the complexLeviathan mission, all of Destiny 2’s activities are tuned to work at their best when played with friends. Combining class skills, mastering Destiny 2's best PvP weapons, and achieving victory over a powerful Nightfall boss provides a genuine sense of achievement for your fireteam that few other games can match. With server resets every Tuesday offering new loot and challenges, Destiny 2 makes sense as your weekly virtual meet-up with the gang. 

Fortnite

Ditching the unbearably brown colour scheme Epic have loved so much in the past, Fornite instead favours a lurid and vibrant style that's brought to life by Unreal Engine 4. Though its battle royale mode may have taken over the world, Fornite's initial Save the World horde-style offering shouldn't be forgotten, and remains a brilliant shooter/builder hybrid. 

Banding together with up to three other people, you’ll combine your efforts to build an impenetrable fortress around a McGuffin in desperate need of protection. Once you've checked out our Fortnite: Save the World guide, you'll be ready to build defences and a variety of eccentric traps, before triggering the ‘go’ button to start a series of relentless waves of deadly-but-oddly-cute zombies. With an arsenal of weapons amassed from your never-ending drip-feed of loot boxes (containing Fortnite skins) you’ll hold the undead at bay and claim victory.

Its progression systems are over-engineered, but the core components of Fortnite are incredibly polished and, importantly, fun to play. If the building and tower defence-style gameplay don’t do it for you, the all-conquering last man standing mode can be played in duos or squads. Read our Fornite tips for Battle Royale to get the jump on your fellow survivors. 

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Best co-op games Divinity Original Sin 2

Unlike many co-op games that sacrifice depth to speed up conversation and inventory management, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a full-fat RPG adventure. The game chucks both players into a well of mechanics, then waits patiently for them to get their bearings. This Ultima-indebted adventure is more tactical, wordy, and comprehensively interactive than any other modern RPG you’d care to name, cooperative or single-player, and ranks as one of the best RPGs on PC

The plot revolves around outlawed magic and the impending end of everything, which you'll attempt to avert with the aid of a friend or three. You'll each take control of either a pre-made character complete with their own goals and backstory, or a blank slate on which you can project all your fantasy... fantasies. As you explore doom fortresses, trap-filled mazes, and ethereal realms, you'll soon discover that there's a unique and fun logic at play in everything you do. Work within those laws, and as our Divinity: Original Sin 2 PC review points out, you'll be treated to one of PC's most satisfying co-op games. 

Though combat is turn-based, it requires close communication if you’re to have any hope of besting enemies. The best strategies lie in experimenting with Divinity: Orginal Sin 2 builds; combining the elements to explosive or paralysing effect; having your mage open the clouds so that your comrade can zap the resulting puddle with lightning, or breaking open a barrel of oil for a friend to light on fire. It’ll leave you glowing.

The Division

best co-op games The Division

Ubisoft's apocalyptic smash may have everything you’d expect – hundreds of collectables, repetitive side quests, absurdly detailed buildings – but The Divison has one important addition that changes the dynamic entirely: co-op. In fact, this snow-caked hit doesn’t just have co-op bolted on, it’s designed for it. You and up to three pals can join forces to take down gangs of looters, pyromaniacs, and PMC soldiers who are out to claim a disease-ridden NYC for themselves. Along the way, you’ll experiment with The Division's best character builds, as you stumble upon a gazillion different guns and armour loot drops. 

The missions are exciting and clearly designed for multiple players to make the most of them: labyrinth-like office blocks and department stores offer plenty of flanking opportunities for well-coordinated teams, and the classless RPG character system lets you respec at any time so your group can equip a balanced selection of skills. Taking down the game’s most challenging bosses together is a super rewarding experience - don't forget to read our Division Dark Zone survival guide - and the world is perfect for a sightseeing trip with friends. Check out our The Division PC review for more details on why this doomsday shooter is one of the most must-own co-op games around. 

Overcooked

Best Co-Op Games Overcooked

Without a doubt, Overcooked is the most insane, stressful, and joyful game on this list. Tasking four players with making food may sound simple, but as anyone who’s ever worked in catering will tell you, a kitchen is the devil’s own workhouse. As timers tick down you’ll need to coordinate on veg chopping, burger frying, soup stirring, and dishwashing. Each subsequent level introduces a more varied menu and increasingly complex dishes.

A set of incredibly designed levels only add to the challenge; sometimes your restaurant will be broken in two by an earthquake, meaning you’ll have to not only cooperate in separate halves, but time things so you can pass them to the right side of the kitchen when the opportunity arises. It’s this chaos that creates Overcooked’s best moments. Like the best strategy games on PC, this charming cook 'em up demands constant thought and communication. Shield your ear as screams cross the living room as you gleefully panic your way to victory.  

Rainbow Six Siege

You’ll find Rainbow Six Siege over in our round-up of the best multiplayer games, thanks to its award-worthy PvP mode. However, while it's not talked about as much, this shooter's co-op terrorist hunts are also superb. Incredibly tense, tactical affairs, they insert a squad of buddies into a map with the intention of wiping out a few dozen bad guys. 

Akin to the competitive modes, terrorist hunt has a couple of guises. You can go in as attackers, which requires you to methodically prowl the corridors of the map to hunt down every last hockey-masked villain or defend a McGuffin against waves of assaulters. Both are beautifully executed, requiring you to make good use of the best Rainbow Six Siege operators and their varied skills. They’re also generally much longer sessions than the speedy multiplayer rounds, meaning Siege really does have an equivalent to the intense, careful room clearing seen in classic Rainbow Six games.  

Left 4 Dead 2

best co-op games Left 4 Dead 2

We're currently waiting with bated breath for any news of Left 4 Dead 3, which Valve have teased before.  But until that day comes, we've still got Left 4 Dead 2 to satiate our ravenous undead appetites. 

One of Valve’s true classics, Left 4 Dead 2 puts the focus on tight teamwork against the backdrop of an exceptionally gruesome zombie outbreak. Thanks to the sheer number of undead, it’s vital to stick together and assess threats at each turn of the campaign’s sprawling maps. You'll need to make sure there’s always someone ready to save you from a surprise special infected attack, or to help thin the horde so you can make your escape. 

It’s best played with friends equipped with headsets as the frantic pace means you need to be able to re-plan and alert your friends within seconds of things happening. But playing with strangers isn’t impossible, especially if they’re willing to teach you a few tricks. Try to keep away from filling spaces up with bots though: they’re barely capable with a gun, and won’t help you respawn should you die.

Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide

Best Co-Op Games Vermintide

Taking a cue from the frantic skirmishes of the best zombie games, Vermintide turns to the Warhammer universe and pits you against a tide of rat men. Turns out, the Skaven are the perfect analogue for a tide of zombies, scuttling across the roofs and cobbles of old-timey Europe. 

Your team of Warhammer heroes battle in a very different way to their L4D counterparts. It’s all flaming swords and blasting powder muskets, leading to a more frantic melee focus with the odd hint of desperate shooting. Combined with cinematic end goals for each map, it’s one of the best Warhammer games ever made, and perfect for a team of four friends with a keen eye for pest control. 

Orcs Must Die! 2

best co-op games Orcs Must Die 2

 Serving up virtual murder at its most gleeful, Orcs Must Die! 2 is one of the best co-op games on PC. Limbs fly high as blades swing out from wall traps triggered by the hordes that storm your castle’s corridors, and flesh melts as acid rains down. The cartoon chaos almost disguises the vast number of tactics that Orcs Must Die! 2 demands. 

There’s a lot to think about. Before each wave of orcs stampedes through your halls, you have time to set up your traps and purchase new machines of death. With a second player involved you essentially have two inventories, as each player can purchase different traps to create two complementary load-outs. 

Orcs Must Die! 2 doesn’t ease up with two players though, as it forces you to split up as enemies swarm from two entry points; a great move to ensure that both players are integral to achieving victory. 

Diablo 3

best co-op games Diablo 3

Playing this utterly absorbing RPG as a team makes tremendous sense. With two players working through  Diablo 3, you can compliment each other's classes, such as combining the long-range Wizard with a melee Barbarian. Teaming up and playing around with Diablo 3 builds also allows you to be a bit braver with your skills; playing solo as a Wizard would require you to think about shields and defence, but with a close-quarters friend acting as a tank you can focus on all-out firepower; the “glass cannon” approach. 

The Reaper of Souls expansion and constant patch work have improved Diablo a lot since its iffy launch, and 'Loot 2.0' ensures that you’re constantly filling your pockets with treasure. But it's Adventure Mode that does the most for co-op play, allowing you to undertake missions anywhere in the world of Sanctuary without being tied to a plot. It means you can continue to play even without a pal around, and you won’t have to wait for them to catch up or replay areas when they’re next online. Combined with the continual seasons system, Diablo 3 should be a mainstay of your co-op shelf. 

Portal 2

best co-op games Portal 2

Valve's hugely clever, genuinely funny puzzler is frequently cited as the king of co-op. And with good reason. Success in Portal 2 requires genuine teamwork to solve conundrums, preventing that frequent co-op problem of one player running off and impatiently doing everything before the other has a chance to even move the mouse. A microphone and a good friend are recommended, but Portal 2 has a neat voiceless chat system that uses emotes and pointing to make co-op with strangers easier. 

While the original Portal is rightly heralded as one of the best PC games of all time, there’s no denying this sequel's dedicated co-op campaign is also a work of genius. And Portal 2 is rarely more clever than when it throws up puzzles that require both players to work together simultaneously. More than the amazing noodle-scratchers though, it's the addition of Steam Workshop features that makes Portal 2's co-op a must-play. The range of user-created puzzle chambers is vast, with phenomenally well-designed challenges that can make Valve’s work seem like preschool logic toys. 

Borderlands 2

best co-op games Borderlands 2

Gearbox's anarchic, loot-obsessed adventure is a seriously good shooter. In fact, we love Borderlands 2 so much, we're absolutely salivating over the prospect of Borderlands 3's release. Its Diablo-influenced approach to loot means there are literally uncountable numbers of weapons to find, and the discovery and sharing of these guns is half the charm of the game's co-op play. 

The harsh truth about Borderlands 2, though, is it can actually be a little bit boring, meaning it can't quite be considered one of the best FPS games on PC.  It’s a long game, the quests are mostly of the ‘go fetch’ variety, and there’s a lot of fairly mindless grinding involved. Bring a second player to the party, though (or a third and fourth), and Borderlands suddenly becomes the best game on the planet. Taking down swarms of mobs feels heroic rather than tedious, you can assign MMO-style roles to each player for tactical advantage, and the game’s comedy is simply funnier when enjoyed with others. Exploring Pandora becomes an epic adventure rather than a time-consuming slog, and half your skill tree suddenly becomes useful.

Trine 2

best co-op games Trine 2

 Easily the strongest entry in this charming platformer/puzzle series, Trine 2 remains a delightful co-op game. This gorgeous side-scroller cast you as one of three fantasy archetypes: a warrior, a wizard, or a rogue. Naturally, each one offers different abilities, all offering solutions to puzzles. The entire game is designed to be tackled solo, but it’s when two players with two different abilities come together, essentially subverting the game, that Trine 2 really sings. Playing alone, there are plenty of areas that feel inaccessible, but in co-op, one player can cast a levitation spell as a wizard and lift a second player to where they need to be. Take that, game rules! 

Trine 2’s puzzles are never quite as demanding as Portal’s, but having extra help from friends is always useful, especially when things get fiddly and timings become crucial. Like Valve's masterpiece, discussing the problem and solving it with friends feels much more of a co-op victory than taking down a boss in a shooter ever will. 

Don't Starve Together

best co-op games Don't Starve Together

A game that lets you share moments you'll never want to speak of again. Example? In Don't Starve Together,  you can kill and eat your pigmen slaves while your chums watch. 

Klei’s Burton-esque open world remains open, and your pockets just as empty – but this time you’re joined by another player or three in an identical predicament. The standalone game currently features two modes. You can either spawn next to your fellow survivors and enjoy infinite lives, or be scattered randomly across the map and be subject to permadeath.

In the first, dead players can float about as ghosts and drive the rest of the gang mad. That’s not a figure of speech – a good haunting will lower their sanity and put their lives in even greater danger. Resurrection is easy, for a price: a piece of your max health.

Weird and unique, Don't Starve Together isn't just a great co-op game, it's also one of the best survival games on PC. While the isolation of the brilliant original was one of its strengths, fending off starvation together is simply a better way to live.

Those are our picks of the best co-op games. 2018 is going to be graced by some of the best upcoming PC games in recent memory, so to make the wait a little easier, embrace camaraderie, and pair together with a pal for the co-op treats above. Remember this, though: when it comes to solving complex robotic puzzles or shooting swarms of rat men, there truly is no 'I' in team.  Let the kickass co-op sessions commence! 

GOTW
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icheyne avatarjamesbinns avatarJezcentral avatarBelimawr avatarMatt Purslow avatarDog Pants avatar+12
Dog Pants Avatar
1389
4 Years ago

I have a problem with co-op games which have a requirement for players to be at a similar stage, be it because the game is linear or because you can level up to be more powerful. Unless I always play with the same people to the exclusion of all others, or exclusively play with random players at the same point as yourself, I just can't make it work.

Even games which will boost you or lower the other guy to allow you to play together will suffer from the most experienced player (or worse, everyone but a few new guys) blasting through the content before anyone who hasn't seen it before gets to appreciate it.

For that reason I would strike off Diablo III, Borderlands 2, and Path of Exile from my version of the list. However I would add Payday 2.

4
Belimawr Avatar
1284
4 Years ago

thats why I always liked L4D it made no difference how much people had played as everything was available from the start or unlocked over the course of a level instead of having to play a stupid amount to be on a similar footing to other players, so it all just came down to skill level.

6
James Binns Avatar
46
4 Years ago

I agree completely. L4D's winning point is that diversity of skill and temperament actually makes it more fun. A crew can include a gung-ho cavalier, a noob, a coward and a square-jawed hero. And it's all the better for it. Truly a rag tag group of survivors flung together after the zombie apocalypse.

2
AnAuldWolf Avatar
872
2 Years ago

That's narrow-minded of you! You can have different kinds of co-op experiences, you know! You can have the sort which are meant to be drop-in, drop-out with strangers if you have no friends, and then you have more personal co-op experiences which can be played with one's partner. I played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel with my partner and we loved every moment of it.

I'm guessing you don't have anyone YET. No matter what your gender identity or orientation, or your partner(s)'s, I'm sure you'll eventually have someone. And when you do you'll be able to introduce them to the things you play, at which point you'll be able to appreciate these co-op experiences more.

Honestly, since having found my partner (we've been together for over five years, now, even if sometimes together and sometimes on different continents), we've pretty much almost exclusively played this kind of content. We enjoy having games we can play together.

0
Empire Avatar
4
3 Years ago

This list needs Payday 2. That game is better than a lot of these. There is nothing that can beat walking into a bank, dropping a bullet in the tellers head, and tying up your hostages while your buddy drills into the vault.

4
icheyne Avatar
223
4 Years ago

Great stuff. I have been looking to play a game with my brother and I'd forgotten I have Portal 2 and Orcs Must Die 2 in my Steam account.

3
AnAuldWolf Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Do try Portal 2. It's incredible. And it's pretty much an uplifting, affirming wave that continues through the Steam Workshop chambers. It's one of my best and most memorable co-op experiences.

1
TouristTam Avatar
18
4 Years ago

No L4D or L4D2 missing ? No Dungeon Defenders ? No Payday ?

I guess it is a matter of preferences

3
AnAuldWolf Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Yup, preferences. I'd put Battleborn in there but I know Battleborn isn't popular amongst the collective gaming yobs of the Internets. It's something I've had to accept even though I love it.

No other game has actually offered me the chance to play a flat-chested punk girl, an old man in a wheelchair, a disabled birdman, or such a kickass chubby and body positive lady before. So I've been having a blast with it. I appreciate its diversity and sense of fun.

I don't think they should have put The Algorithm as the first mission coming out of the tutorial, though. I can see how a piss-take of the Simulated Reality theory would go FWEEEEEeee~ over the heads of most people. Which is disappointing, but most certainly expected.

I'm genuinely of the opinion that Battleborn is just a bit too clever in certain ways for most people to appreciate, and that's despite it being an action game. Quite how they pulled that off...

So, yeah. Most people would rather blasting each other's brains out with contemporary weapons in military settings, or drooling over one-dimensional 'waifus.'

Everything is a matter of taste. Suffice it to say, I don't value the taste of many people very much, but they're entitled to it.

And that's why I didn't mention Battleborn in my post below. Like I said, I know it's not for most people. The majority wouldn't be interested in playing an old man in a wheelchair, or most of the rest of the cast. Evidenced by how Oscar Mike is the most played character, despite his status as a parody (very much revealed in his lore) and a big softie.

-2
Shoom Avatar
65
3 Years ago

Insurgency is a criminally underrated game. The community is great and loud, foul-mouthed trolls are really frowned upon. I was in a match a couple of weeks ago and one guy mentioned it was his birthday - both teams just stopped the play to sing Happy Birthday to him. It was awesome, a really lovely moment. You don't get that in COD.

2
JMiles2 Avatar
120
1 Year ago

The coop aspect of this game is rather limited, all you do is team up to kill the same predictable enemies on the same small maps without any story. I doesn't belong on this list.

1
NihlusGreen Avatar
662
3 Years ago

Far Cry 4, my experiences over Easter included crashing 8 out of 10 times while trying to join someone else's coop, getting into coop and someone team killing me, getting into another with someone who couldn't pull off a stealth assassination mission, and generally been expensive so most of my gaming pals don't have it yet. And most peeps don't play it coop. I cannot recommend it for coop at all, but it should be fun if / when it works, which is not often. I have raised a support ticket also.

2
NihlusGreen Avatar
662
2 Years ago

Still have Far Cry 4? Sirs I must protest, you get a better coop experience from GTA V and that is far from perfect

2
Empyre Avatar
268
1 Year ago

Vermintide.

2
ChefTicles Avatar
34
1 Year ago

Too right, where the fuck is Vermintide?

1
James Binns Avatar
46
4 Years ago

Obviously some misunderstanding here Matt, with the absence of the mighty Left 4 Dead?

1
Matt Purslow Avatar
93
4 Years ago

Left 4 Dead is indeed awesome, but I assumed everyone with even a vague interest in co-op would already have tasted its sweet terror.

If indeed anyone hasn't played L4D, please consider that your 'recommended reading' for this week.

4
Jezcentral Avatar
541
4 Years ago

Indeed. And don't forget the Valve games (and BL2, I think) are also LAN-able, not just online, if you still drive your PC round to a friend's house (or better yet, go to a LAN party, although that might be a bit of a baptism of fire, if we are talking about ways to introduce friends to videogames).

1
Belimawr Avatar
1284
4 Years ago

Left 4 Dead was epic for co-op more so on hard mode when you had that final push waiting for extraction.

1
ScytheMonkey Avatar
67
3 Years ago

Out of all of those my friends and I have enjoyed Orcs Must Die 2 co-op the most. It's just very well made and loads of fun.

1
MLG Blank Avatar
1
2 Years ago

Why is keep talking and nobody explodes not on here

1
DustyGerkin Avatar
198
2 Years ago

Really need more couch co-op gaming. Ideas?

1
KTMDirtFace Avatar
4
2 Years ago

How is Saints row 3 and 4 not on here? they are probably my favorite, friends can join on you at any time at any point in the game. Its great co-op.

1
AnAuldWolf Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Yay, Portal 2 is there!

Though, honestly, I'd put the Pre-Sequel above Borderlands 2. I never got the appeal of 2, it was trying so hard to be clever that it often came over as try-hard and pseudo-intellectual, which really isn't great for that series. I dunno, I'd rather see a talking gun named the boganella than have a psychopant stomping around quoting Shakespeare that someone looked up on the Internet.

The Pre-Sequel just felt more honest. It wanted to be fun. It wanted me to have fun. It gave me Claptrap, and jump pads, and quantities of Australian silliness I haven't seen since Crocodile Dundee. It was also far, far more supportive of the LGBTQQ audience, and women in general. It evolved Athena from a one-note character in the first Borderlands to being one of the vault hunters I connected with most in the Pre-Sequel.

Plus, the Pre-Sequel had a fantastic angle with its grey morality. You were working for Jack, and you were working to... save people? An amount of people? But at the same time, you were also working to put weapons of mass destruction in his hands, that would essentially allow him to wipe out all life in the Universe??? Ah. Um. Hm. It especially struck home when the Dahl soldiers would say "But I thought we were the good guys???"

Whereas Borderlands 2 felt like it was going through the motions just to go through the motions, the Pre-Sequel had heart, soul, and charisma in spades. And it wanted me to have fun. It wasn't going to push me into it by ramming things in my face, but it wanted to make me laugh and to get as much out of its company as I could. It was a much more selfless game than Borderlands 2, which was always so in my face and demanding of my appreciation it was exhausting.

I'd even go as far as to say that the jump pads allowed me to appreciate the level design more in the Pre-Sequel even though it might not necessarily have been as good. For me, though, when it comes to action games it's often the characters, the writing, and the overall story that wins out over gameplay. As in, I can enjoy the gameplay more or less based on those factors. And I enjoyed the Pre-Sequel so, so, so much more. It could actually be clever, rather than just 'IN YO FACE!!'

Hm. Not hating Claptraps may also have something to do with it. They seem like poor, innocent babies that most of the time just want to be helpful and look awesome while doing it. Except for barbot, most of them have a genuine desire to just be helpful to someone.

/shrug

Personal taste, I suppose!

But I am glad that Portal 2 is there. Portal 2 is just so lovely and clever, too. The first time we even began to understand what makes GLaDOS tick, and one of the most bittersweet endings in video game history. I mean, sure, Chell gets out okay but GLaDOS is hooked back up to the mainframe that was corrupting her personality and driving her insane. Which did exactly the same to Wheatley when he was hooked up to it. We now know that GLaDOS isn't exactly the problem, that mainframe is.

It sets up perfectly for a Portal 3. I'd actually love to rescue GLaDOS. I always felt so bad for her. Throughout much of the latter half of Portal 2 she sounds so sad, and that sadness continues into the co-op campaign. She knows what's up, she's intelligent enough to figure it out, she just can't exactly stop it.

And the gameplay of Portal 2 was appreciably cerebral. This was doubly true when some of the more difficult player made chambers came along.

A pretty good line-up, all in all.

Footnote: I'd honestly add ESO to that, though. It's an MMO, I know, but the way it actually plays feels more like a well made, co-op Elder Scrolls game than anything else. And it's the Elder Scrolls game I've enjoyed the most since Morrowind.

0
JMiles2 Avatar
120
2 Years ago

"The best co-op games on PC"

No, they're not, that's just just *your* opinion, just like I have the opinion 7 out of 10 should be replaced with games that are way more fun in coop, based on many hours of playing coop games with my son.

0