Winning is more fun when you’re in the same room
Historically, one of the best things about video game consoles was the ability to plug in a second controller, plop down on the couch with a friend, and have an absolute blast playing a game together on one screen. PC gamers had to put together a LAN party, which is awesome but requires a lot of preparation. Console gamers just had to, well, switch the console on.
Sadly, those days seem to be behind us when it comes to home consoles. Local multiplayer on a single console and screen is a rarity, even on the most popular console of this generation – the PS4. Honestly, it sometimes seems that the only reason to have a second controller for your PS4, is to swap it out when the controller battery dies.
Except, if you know where to look, there are some truly awesome Playstation 4 games that you can play with someone in the same room. Here are 10 (unranked) PS4 couch co-op games you can play with whoever you can convince to sit down and grab a controller.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection
The first Diablo revolutionized the computer role-playing world and it even got a console release on the PS1. However, until the advent of Diablo III on consoles, no one had really nailed this traditionally mouse-centric genre using a controller.
Diablo III not only manages to successfully bring the Diablo experience to the PS4, it manages to be the best version of the game to play. Yes, even better than the PC version! Best of all, Diablo III has a brilliant couch co-op mode. Up to four players can play on one screen, tearing through hordes of demons and other monsters with mind-bending attacks and powers.
The only issue with how this dark fantasy RPG handles local multiplayer is the lack of split-screen. All characters must remain close to each other and, worst of all, players have to take turns accessing menus.
Although there is a quick-equip system in place to help reduce how much this needs to happen. If you want a classic Diablo II experience on the PS4, with proper independent split screen, consider Titan Quest for PS4. It’s somewhat buggy and a little clunky to control, but still a heap of fun.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Borderlands 3 may already be out and it’s a decent game for Borderlands fans, but Borderlands 2 remains the peak of this addictive looter-shooter’s series. Borderlands 2, with all DLC, is included in this bundle along with Borderlands The Pre-Sequel.
With a wonderfully bent sense of humour, great first-person shooting and immensely fun split-screen mode this is a must-have for anyone looking to play something with their friends. The Pre-Sequel’s low-gravity gameplay may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but consider it a nice bonus in addition to the main course.
Explaining what Rocket League is can be difficult. Basically, you play soccer using RC cars. Sounds like a simple concept, right? However, in practice Rocket League is a game of extreme skill. Controlling your car and getting that ball into the goal is no simple feat. It’s addictive fun and playing online against skilled opponents can be incredibly rewarding.
You can also play with a friend in split screen couch co-op mode locally, which works incredibly well. Best of all, you can team up and play against other players as well. Rocket League is pretty inexpensive, but will provide you with hours of semi-frustrated joy and amazing moments of “did you see that?!”. Definitely deserving of a spot on this list.
Minecraft PS4 Edition
Minecraft is an absolute phenomenon and remains one of the most popular games to play online with a group of friends. In case you didn’t know, Minecraft is a unique game of survival and creativity. Players can freely build objects from in-game blocks in Creative mode or try their hand at surviving in the harsh, blocky wilderness in Survival mode. Where you need to craft everything you need before the critters of the Minecraft world get you.
Console versions of the game (with the exception of the Vita) have an exclusive split-screen mode. Which means you and a buddy can while away the hours running from creepers and building that perfect replica of the USS Enterprise from dirt cubes.
Don’t Starve Together
The original Don’t Starve offered us a quirky survival game, with an art style reminiscent of Tim Burton and a world strongly channeling Lovecraft. It’s built quite a following. The only thing fans really wanted for the game was multiplayer and the developers eventually delivered on that request. Except, they decided to package and sell it as a new game called Don’t Starve Together.
In the end this was justified, because the game had to be significantly redesigned for multiplayer balance. It’s not particularly expensive though, if you and a friend want to pit yourselves against the dark and brooding wilderness while maintaining your sanity.
It’s also available as part of a mega-pack, so if you don’t already own the original game, that’s the best deal around.
So-called “metroidvania” games are as popular as ever. The key gimmick of these games, named for Metroid and Castlevania, is that your progress is blocked by a lack of certain powers. So you’ll hit a brick wall, backtrack until you find the right power, and then use it to move forward again.
It’s a fun and addictive formula, but Guacamelee (and its sequel) are quite possibly the best modern take on this game genre.
Set in a unique, Luchador-centric world full of spicy South American charm, this game features great humour and tight action, when it comes to platforming and combat. You die, you are reborn as a luchador, you have to save the damsel.
It’s pretty straightforward as an elevator pitch, but you and a buddy will find Guacamelee offers a comedic trip like no other game of its type. It’s a must-have.
If you’re an older gamer, you may remember a game called The Lost Vikings. It was developed by a little studio called Silicon and Synapse, who would later go on to become Blizzard Entertainment. You probably haven’t heard of them.
In The Lost Vikings you take control of three characters, each with unique abilities. You have to use their unique powers to make it to the end of each level.
Now replace “The Lost Vikings” with “Trine” and you’ll have a pretty good idea about what this modern game is all about. Trine 1 came out way back in 2009, but both its sequels are also on the PS4. It’s filled with whimsical story-telling, neat gameplay and a solid couch co-op game mode where each player can take control of the thief, wizard or knight to solve the puzzle, beat the baddies and make it to the next section.
Even PS4 fans have to admit that Nintendo games have a certain charm and fun that’s hard to find outside of their walled garden. Overcooked is one of those games, which may very well have been a Nintendo game in another universe.
Overcooked is built around local co-op, which is why it shines when played with someone manning the other control. The idea is to work together to complete food orders. Dishes need specific ingredients put together in a certain order. The only way to get this done within the time limit is to work with the other person like a well-oiled machine.
It may have cutesy graphics, but make no mistake about how frantic and challenging this can get. At the time of writing there are two mainline Overcooked games, both of which are a blast to play on the couch with a friend.
Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil has received a lot of love on the PS4, especially with the remakes of the original games. However, Resident Evil 5 still has the best implementation of split-screen co-op in the entire series.
It also has a unique African setting and tense combat against interesting enemies. If you like excellent third-person action games and know someone else who also likes that sort of thing, you can’t go wrong with RE 5.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Widely considered to be one of the best video game RPGs of the modern day, Divinity: Original Sin II offers a story-rich, less frantic alternative to Diablo III. Combat is not the main focus of this game, although it is clearly very important. Instead, there’s a strong emphasis on role playing and exploration.
The game features a proper split-screen mode, with each player having independent control of their characters. This game is fantastic as a solo experience, but the addition of local co-op adds effectively unlimited hours to the already voluminous play time offered by the core single player game.
Sadly, there’s no cross-platform multiplayer here, but you and your local buddy can team up with two other players online to form a party of four, so it is quite flexible.
Divinity: Original Sin II has virtually universal acclaim among both professional reviewers and fans, so if you have any love for computer RPGs at all it should already be on your shopping list.