Borderlands is the original loot-shooter. It can be played alone but having up to three more friends drop into your game to find new weapons together is when the series is at its best.
The older games have recently been re-released, so you might be able to find other people to play with, but it’s probably best to wait a couple of months for Borderlands 3 to release.
With more missions to tackle, a new world to explore, and an incredible number of weapons to find, it’ll be a big step forward for the series, without losing the lighthearted side that made co-op in the original games so fun.
Whether you want to grind with friends to level up quickly, or just mess around in the game’s varied world, the Borderlands games are the pinnacle of co-op first-person shooters.
The Wolfenstein series made quite a change for its new spin-off. Instead of following the single-player, linear structure of the New Order and New Colossus, it has opted for a co-op focused experience that takes place in a semi-open world.
You play as either Jess or Soph, B.J Blazkowicz’s teenage daughters, as they search for the father in 1980s Nazi-occupied Paris. You can play alone if you want, with one of the sisters being controlled by the AI, but it’s best when played with a friend online.
You can co-ordinate your attacks, one blasting through enemies with the shotgun and the other blasting away enemy armor from further away with the Dieselkraftwerk, the sisters high-fiving their way through the destruction.
It may not have the strong character focus or a great sense of progression that made the previous games so great, but tearing Nazis apart at speed with a friend is undeniably fun.
Left 4 Dead
Probably the first games that come to mind when thinking about co-op shooters, especially four-player ones, would be the Left 4 Dead games.
With each player choosing one of the game’s unique characters and everyone coming together to take on missions that see you tackle hordes of zombies, there was so much fun to be had.
Each character had their own skills and weapons that needed to be used to not only kill the undead, but also help keep everyone on your team alive. Melee weapons, guns, healing items, and traps all came together to add variety to every mission and character.
Then, there were enemy types that needed to be approached in different ways. By working together, you and your friends needed to solve puzzles and work out how to take down particularly dangerous enemies.
It all had a lighthearted tone too, though, that made playing together and smashing zombies’ heads in a lot of fun.
Call of Duty Series
Since the beginning, or at least since the first Modern Warfare, Call of Duty has always been a multiplayer-focused series. Call of Duty 4 is one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time and last year’s Black Ops 4 ditched single player altogether to focus on a trio of multiplayer modes.
Not everything has been leaderboard and competition focused, though, with the likes of Zombies, Blackout, and Spec Ops giving fans a chance to test their shooting skills with a friend helping them out.
Zombies has changed hugely since its introduction in World at War. It now features fun characters, levels that change as you play, and full-fledged stories.
Spec Ops is due to return for this fall’s Modern Warfare reboot, but it was initially included in Modern Warfare 2 as a co-op variant of the single-player campaign in which you could see how quickly you could complete missions with friends.
Finally, there’s Blackout, Call of Duty’s answer to the battle royale craze. Taking inspiration from the Black Ops series’ maps, you battle it out to be the last man, or team, standing.
No matter which Call of Duty game from the last few years you pick up, there’s co-op modes in almost all of them.
Co-op has been a huge part of Halo since the series began on the original Xbox console. The first two games had two-player co-op in the campaign, while 3 and 4 both supported co-op play for up to four players.
Halo 5 ditched the local co-op compatibility, with online being the only option, but that didn’t make tackling the campaign with friends any less fun.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go back to the Xbox and Xbox 360 releases to play them either as all the mainline Halo games have been upgraded and re-released on the Xbox One and PC as part of the Master Chief Collection.
The collection had a rocky start, but it is now a great way to experience some of the best first-person shooter campaigns of the last couple of decades, especially if you’re looking to do so in co-op.
Far Cry 5
The Far Cry series has played around with multiplayer a lot. From the first game’s Call of Duty style competitive multiplayer modes to the separate co-op in 3 and 4, there’s almost always been a way of playing with a friend.
Far Cry 5, though, took it a step further by making it possible to play the entire campaign in online co-op. You could be playing through your story, as normal, but then invite a friend to join you in the action to take on the Seed family and their never-ending groups of henchmen.
You couldn’t play in local splitscreen, but endless fun could be had just messing around in Hope County. With all the rabid animals to hunt, silly side missions to complete, and secrets to find, sometimes just roaming the map looking for things to waste time with was more fun than actually playing the campaign’s missions.
While not a co-op first-person shooter in the strictly traditional sense, in which you and another friend help each other out in missions that have been designed with two characters in mind, all of Destiny 2 can be played with friends helping you out.
While you can play the main campaign with other people and roam the game’s planets together to cause chaos, it’s the post-game content that’s made for teams of seasoned players.
Strikes and Raids are the perfect places to test your first-person shooting and co-operative skills against high leveled enemies in an attempt to get the best loot in the game.
They can take hours to complete, so might be best for teams of seasoned loot-shooter players, but even just taking on the base game’s content can be fun with someone alongside you due to the quality of the game’s gunplay.
Also, with content still coming to the game all the time, it’s something that you and your friend can stick with for years, even if you’ve missed out on the last couple of years worth of content.