There’s an unusual trend in the gaming industry. Even though there’s a huge demand for co-op games, it’s a rarity when big AAA titles include a proper co-op campaign. Our list of top 2 player PS4 games (and xbox games) includes titles that have been out for years. This statement isn’t intended to discredit older games, but it proves that not many AAA games include such features any more. This is probably because there’s little monetary incentive to do so. Outside of making co-op players purchase two copies of the game, there’s little in the way of microtransactions you can force down co-op player’s throats. Instead, most games focus on competitive multiplayer modes where how you look and how you play can be influenced by the money you spend. It’s rare you’d want to show off your premium skins in a 2 player co-op game. But when you’re competing, you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s human nature, after all.
Fortunately, there are a couple of bright co-op games glistening on the horizon. Unfortunately, two of them, Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League are superhero games, and if that’s not your cup of tea, you and your friends only really have one choice for big-budget co-op games to get stuck into. That game is Saints Row.
Like most other games in the Saints Row series, you can play through the entire campaign of the newest title in co-op. You and a friend will make decisions, cause chaos and rule the world together. I believed that when GTA V’s mega-popular multiplayer mode was revealed, it was going to allow for co-op missions and the like. However, outside of online heists and other select missions, GTA V is lacking in cooperative content. Its online mode is nothing but a playground for you to muck about in with your friends. This intention is fine and obviously what a lot of people want, but there’s also a lot of players that want to enjoy a fully-fledged story and real campaign alongside a friend. This is where Saints Row will shine. But while just having a co-op campaign is almost enough to make the shortlist of best co-op games of the year, there are other reasons why Saints Row will likely be the best 2 player game of 2022.
Most games of Saints Row’s ilk include 2 player co-op modes after the fact. This ends up with an implementation where the second player is just a meaningless background character following the tail of the protagonist. With no agency and no importance, it can make the experience feel like a tacked-on feature. As if it was modded in. With all the behind-the-scenes looks we’ve got at Saints Row, it’s clear that this game has been designed with 2 player co-op in mind. While unfortunately both your characters don’t have a presence in cutscenes, you at least won’t be forced to watch your co-op partner’s character do all the talking while you seemingly phase out of reality. Story cutscenes will play with you as the pinnacle character. While it would’ve been much more impressive if both players had distinct characteristics in scripted events, this would require Saints Row to be a co-op only game, and that’s definitely not what developer Volition is going for.
Regardless, every single side-hustle, mission and activity is playable in 2 player co-op, and most likely benefits from it. You both belong in this shared world, and Saints Row makes sure each player knows this. Saints Row wants to be the best 2 player co-op game of 2022.
As a surprise additional mechanic, co-op players have the ability to prank each other. This goes beyond the usual chaos that you can cause in multiplayer. (Or the type of pranking I like - which just boils down to blowing up my friends’ favourite cars). Yes, this is an entirely separate mechanic. As you play the game you’ll build up a ‘prank meter’ which allows you to mess with your co-op buddy in multiple ways. The main one allowing you to turn them into an inanimate object. Apparently, these changes even persist in cutscenes. So you can fill your meter, bide your time and then just before the next cutscene, transform your ally into a mailbox or a bin. Then for the rest of the cutscene, their immaculately designed character will be out of place and hilarious. It’s admittedly a strange feature to have in the game, but it’s one that will no doubt bring endless laughs when used at the correct times. Now all you have to do is turn your ally into a mailbox and then blow up their car at the same time. That’s a real prank worthy of one of the best 2 player co-op games of 2022.
The vast majority of Saints Row’s missions are open-ended tasks that require you to be creative to complete them. When you’ve got a second player to rely on, that increases the amount of choices you have to carry out whatever plan you’ve concocted. Need to steal a moving vehicle? One of you can slow it down on the road while the other soars a chopper above and thins out the enemy. This type of gameplay allows you true freedom to tackle problems presented however you deem fit. Whether you end up participating in a cool and sleek heist, or if things turn into a warzone, it all comes down to the decisions you and your partner make in the moment. What weapons, vehicles and smarts you bring will make all the difference when playing in 2 player co-op.
We are well beyond the days where co-op partners have to stay together in a game world. Regardless, it has to be said that Saints Row allows you and your co-op friend to explore the map however you wish. Be that together or apart. There’s no limit on distance between friends, so one of you could be causing complete devastation on the other side of the map while the other sits back and enjoys the peaceful views. This is the true power of Saints Row’s 2 player co-op, allowing you and a friend to just do whatever you want wherever you want. You can get two jets, start them at each end of the map and then carry out a dogfight when you meet in the middle. Whatever floats your plane!
This is a personal playground for two of you, and you’ve each brought your own toys. This could easily make Saints Row the best 2 player co-op game in 2022.
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