Many of my friends enjoy heading to the movies with their significant others or binging Netflix after a hard day at work. While my husband and I enjoy these things as well, we spend most of free time gaming together. With that said, many of my favorite games are local or couch co-op. This means that my husband and I can play together at the same time on the same console and TV. Many games will say co-op on the back of the packaging, but they are not always "couch" co-op. Co-op stands for cooperative and just means that you may play that game with another individual. Couch co-ops mean that you may play with another individual on the same computer or console. We also enjoy just watching each other play if it is a solo game with a great story. For example, I do not enjoy playing solo scary games that much, but I like the stories. Therefore, I would not play Last of Us myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the couch working on an art project while my husband gamed beside me. He enjoys the company and I got to enjoy the story and art of the game without the stress of trying to survive.
I could not decide on a single top 5 list since it really depends on who, if anyone, I'm playing with and what type of mood I'm in. So, I created 2 categories of top fives below to list the games I have enjoyed. Some of these games are older, but they are just that fun. Also, there are many other games not on this list that I enjoy, but I wanted to start with a simple list to get started.
Playing With Friends
1. Elder Scroll Online - This is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Role Playing Game (RPG) that revolves around a fantasy world. The lore for this game is epic and the voice over talent is wonderful. Further down, you will see another associated game to the Elder Scrolls Universe. What makes this game so wonderful is the story, the art, and the community. This was the second MMO I have tried out and I have not moved on to anything else since I'm still enjoying this one so much. The game has a little bit for everyone. It has Player vs Player (PVP) that works a lot like capture the flag where players may attack Keeps with a group of fellow players and try to "flip" the flags inside the Keeps (Keeps are like baby castles). It has Player vs Environment (PVE), which is where you may go on quests and the story unfolds or explore dungeons with friends. It has housing, so you may save in-game money or spend crowns (which cost in real life (IRL) money) to purchase various homes and then find or create items to decorate the homes. There are so many different ways people may enjoy this game. I have chatted with people from all around the world and of all ages while playing and made some great new friends. Most of my gameplay examples on my YouTube channel will follow Elder Scrolls Online. Side note: YouTube Channel is coming soon.
2. Borderlands series - This is an action-adventure role playing first-person shooter. First-person shooter is a game where you do not see you entire character, but it is as if you are looking through the eyes of your character. Typically you just see your hands and/or guns as you play through the game. My husband and I tried out the first Borderlands because it was a couch co-op (which can be hard to find) and the artwork was really interesting. We fell in love immediately and every time the next one is announced, we are in line to pre-order. The story and non-playable characters (NPC)s in this game are amusing if not down right hilarious. Another great point about this game is the replay value. There are four characters, or toons, that a player may choose from and then within each of those toons, the player may build up different skills through something typically referred to as a "skill tree". Also, a player does not reach max level with just one play through (a play through is when you finish the main story for the game). It requires to second play through to get a character fully leveled with all the achievements earned. What I found fun with this game aside from the story is the collecting better weapons and loot (gold, skins, hats, etc) as well as finding hidden achievements throughout the game. For example, in Borderlands 2, there are hidden vault symbols in each world or zone you go into, you get an achievement for finding them all in each zone.
3. Little Big Planet series - This is a side scrolling puzzle platform adventure game that feels like a 3D game. It is great for a younger audience as well. When Little Big Planet 1 came out, our two daughters were getting old enough to be interested in what we were playing and we wanted something the family could play. Even when our daughters were not playing, however, my husband and I still enjoyed completing each of these games. In an world filled with yarn and plushies, you must solve puzzles as you adventure onward. Along the way you find stickers, which later open secret places. There are little mini games that may be unlocked as well where players may compete against a fellow player or players. This game is only available on the PlayStation and Little Big Planet 3 is the only one available on the PS4.
4. Diablo III - This is a hack-and-slash horror RPG. I enjoyed this game for the story and the loot. I loved the sound the gold makes when it drops and it is glittery...it's the small things sometimes. The cut scenes (these are short movie type scenes that help tell the story in between parts of the game play) had great graphics and the voice over is wonderful. This game also has great replay value in that there are six different classes of characters a player may choose to play and then each of those characters have a skill tree that may be leveled in different ways. Diablo IV has been announced, but there currently is not a release date at the time of this writing. I am looking forward to trying it out when it releases.
5. Civilization VI - This is a turn-based strategy game. I think of this game as a really complicated Risk. The player may choose to be a country leader and then you build settlements, cities, form alliances, start wars, end wars, build, trade, and everything else to establish your country. There are five ways to "win" the game. A player wins by being the first to obtain various requirements for the following: Science, Culture, Domination, Religion, and Score. This is the master game for replay value. There are various ways to win, there are multiple countries one may play with different attributes for each country and it can always go differently based on the map and decisions made since the map is also different for each game and country placement is random. This is the first game my husband and I ever played together on the computer. Our longest game lasted 3 months I think and then he made it to space first (there is an option to adjust the game speed and we like to play the "marathon" speed). This game has a lot going on, but just take your time and read all the pop-ups and you'll get the hang of it. This is also another game with fantastic voice over.
I must warn my readers here that I tend to prefer sneaking and sniping in my gameplay instead of the Rambo/guns blazing method, so having a choice to play my character how I like to play is awesome. Below are my top 5 solo games that I enjoy. Great story, art, and music also hold a lot of weight in my opinion.
1. Tomb Raider series - Tomb Raider has been around since October 1996 and has been made into two movies with another planned for 2021. The earlier games of Tomb Raider were a bit clunky, meaning the character did not always move the way you felt you were controlling her, but the story has always captured my curiosity and fascination. It has a nice balance of guns, sneaking, and finding things. I was not disappointed with the reboot. The graphics and voice over in the reboot are really well done. Replay value is like rereading a favorite book since the story or how the gameplay goes does not really change, but if you are a completionist (must find all the things and achievements), then there are definitely at least 2 good play throughs.
2. Skyrim - The is the latest chapter in the Elder Scrolls game series. I discovered Elder Scrolls through a recommend to play Oblivion and was immediately drawn into the story and freedom to do whatever I wanted in a game. It felt like playing a table top rpg in that I could just freely walk around and talk to NPCs to find quests. I can not gush enough about the lore and I love the amount of readable books in game. In addition, the soundtrack is amazing. I highly recommend this game and I am looking for Elder Scrolls VI, which is in the works, but no release date has been announced yet. The replay value of this game is also endless due to all the ways one may create and level a character.
3. Horizon Zero Dawn - Originally, this game was only available on PS4. However, it is now also available on PC! It is set in the distant future and is an action/adventure rpg that includes robot dinosaurs and an exciting open world. The play style allows for plenty of sneak options as well, which is right up my alley. I completely was attracted to this game since it relies on archery and...well...robot dinosaurs. I was pleasantly surprised that it is much more than that with an engaging story and stunning art.
4. Fall Out Series - This is a post-apocalyptic rpg with fantastic voice over and soundtrack. There is an option to play a radio station that is hosted by a buy named Three Dog and plays retro 1920s-1940s music. Listening to that music while exploring a creepy open world wasteland is crazy fun. The replay value is there again due to the multiple of ways to develop a character and his/her play style. There are also some really fun quirky characters you run across in this world...Looking at you Moira!
5. Dishonored Series - A steampunk action-adventure game that relies mostly on stealth. The stealth bit is what sold me to try out this game. The story is intriguing and the artwork has a nice dark Sweeney Todd type of feel to it. There is a decent amount of replay value for this game as well due to the skill tree and alternate endings. If you are more of a thief than a brawler in your gameplay, then this is a game you may want to have a go at.