It seems that the world post-Halo has a bit of an online obsession. One of the first questions anyone ever has about a first-person shooter, strategy, or even minigame compilation always seems to be: "Does it play online?" In a way, this is a good thing, as online multiplayer allows gamers to play and interact in ways that weren't possible before. But the rush to get online may have cost gamers something that has been a staple of the industry since its inception: local co-op. This feature has been included in fewer and fewer titles in lieu of more online modes. But you shouldn't abandon local co-op completely, and here are five reasons why.
5. It's a Gaming Staple
I can't be the only one who has fond memories of playing the Mario series with friends and family huddled around a TV screen, amongst shouts of "Can I have a turn?" Local co-op is something that used to be so ingrained in the old school gaming experience that consoles used to be sold with two controllers each. Now? Just one, thanks. Having a "Player 2" was a huge part of the video game experience in past console cycles, and is something that has been lost in recent years. I don't want to sound all curmudgeonly, but losing something that has been around 20 years to the Internet is just sad.
4. What's Gonna Work? Teamwork!
Look, you can voice chat all you want with faceless strangers over the Internet, but nothing beats having someone right there with you to strategize with. Whether you are playing something as complicated as the latest Call of Duty or as simple as Viva Piñata, it always helps to have someone by your side to work with. The online experience is great in its own right, but the local experience always has that little something extra that just can't be duplicated in online lobbies and matchmaking lists. Being able to point at the screen and yell "Right there, right there!" or high-five your partner after a great match is something that makes local co-op great.
3. Technology is Out of the Way
I'm sure we can all relate to this scenario: You're doing a great job outpacing the enemy team when all of a sudden a team member drops out suddenly. No explanation is given; you can only assume that a bolt of lightning hit his or her Internet cable and fried it completely. Then another team member starts stuttering around the screen and lagging. This guy must still be using dial-up. Though we would all like to pretend that technology works all the time, the fact is that simple connection issues can absolutely ruin a co-op match. And when you are really dedicated to a game, the time you spend wasted on a match lost due to technical difficulty can be frustrating.