There’s a problem with co-op in the gaming industry, we barely see it in use, more importantly, we barely see it ever used in a way that’s actually fun or impressive. This generation we have seen games every now and then implement a co-op in their game, most of the time it has simply been a game where someone can join in your campaign and be your shooting buddy and not really give you much of an advantage in any way, or you will see a game have “tacked-on” co-op that doesn’t relate in any way to the story. The issue is that co-op sucks now, and somebody needs to revive it, because it’s something that could be so incredible.
There are two games this generation in which I truly appreciated co-op, the first one is Rainbow Six Vegas (Also including Vegas 2 into this, they’re both basically one in the same). This was the first game I have personally ever played where co-op was so much fun to me, where it actually seemed to matter. How awesome it was to look under the door with a snake cam, target people in other rooms and then strategies with your co-op friends how you would breech a room, and what doors you would use, or if you would burst through the window with a rappel! Every corner had different possibilities and it was fun! For quite some time, no game’s co-op has ever touched me like the Rainbow Six Vegas series did, that was until Battlefield 3 released…
You’re probably saying, Battlefield 3? Didn’t that game have tacked-on co-op? That’s something that you were trashing earlier! Yes, it does have a tacked-on co-op, some of the co-op missions weren’t all that great and featured completely recycled maps and had basic objectives. There was this one mission though that was absolutely genius and pretty well done in my opinion – Drop ‘Em Like Liquid.
See, I’m what you would call a trophy whore, I was after all the trophies in this game because I really liked the whole thing, and I had a friend to help me with co-op, we made it to this mission, and little did we know that the trophy for this mission would be one of the hardest we had both encountered in our history of playing together, but it would also make for the most exciting co-op experience of my gaming career.
The trophy/achievement is called “Bullseye,” and the requirement for getting it is by saving all the hostages in the mission without alerting anyone - This trophy was hard as hell.
The mission starts off with you and your co-op friend descending down into the sewers in a midnight Paris, France with a task to free some hostages, first by silently taking out an enemy going through the sewer and then climbing a ladder to a courtyard in the center of a block of houses, there is where you start to take out two enemies standing next to each other, normally you could do this with your friend almost however you felt, as long as you got the job done but we could not alert anyone, so we had to take them both out at once, I can still remember saying “3… 2… 1″ over the headset to my friend as we each fired one bullet, each landing headshots in our two targets through our thermal scopes. Going forward through the courtyard to do the same to enemies up ahead.
“It’s erm… UPS! Open up!” – Quietly and quickly clearing the apartment room of enemies
Now we had to rush up some stairs through the back door of this Paris apartment, audio ambiance of televisions, people talking, and crying babies filled the stairway through the narrow apartment walls as we got up to the top level of the apartment, pistols drawn. Kicking open the door and quickly taking several enemies out in the apartment – followed by setting up our snipers on the window. This is where the real action began, our view was across an iconic Paris river with short bridges spanning across it, and two buses filled with hostages and enemies inside, it was up to us to lead our computer AI squad to the side of the buses and break the windows open to deploy tear gas while we were in the apartment windows focused on our own buses, my co-op friend said “I’ll take the right bus, you take the left” – from there we took out the enemies in the bus without hurting any civilians that were being taken captive.
That is the part we failed the most on our numerous replays to get the trophy, Battlefield 3 has bullet-drop due to gravity so we had to aim higher which made it so much more interesting, sometimes my co-op friend had to take some enemies out in my bus that I missed after he finished with his bus or vice-versa, resulting in being so close to failure but still barely out of reach of detection.
The perfect view for a sniper on a quiet, Paris night.
Now going back downstairs out the front door to be standing on the roadway on that side of the river, we walked along the roadway hiding behind the railings – each time we saw an enemy we made a quick strategy, picked out targets and said “3… 2… 1″ Boom! Most of the time resulting in successful kills but sometimes resulting in clumsy screw-ups that resulted us in getting detected and having to restart, each restart resulting in new strategies and knowledge to share with each-other on how to do it better next time.
The mission ended in having to pick off groups and groups of different enemies at different positions, and sometimes other snipers without getting detected, ending with clearing a house of enemies across a river from not killing hostages without getting detected.
Drop ‘Em Like Liquid was a co-op mission that was hard as hell, it required a friend who knew what they were doing, and required fun and skillful strategy, it’s weird because instead of getting pissed off each time we failed it (and we failed it what seems to be a good fifty times), I actually loved the mission more and more with each failure, because it was designed so well in my opinion! When finally getting the trophy, we both shouted in victory and then after a few seconds we said “lets play it again!” – We had fallen in love with such an amazing co-op experience, something I had truly never experienced before ever, not even Rainbow Six Vegas could match how amazing playing, and especially mastering this mission was.
Which is why I have asked myself over the years since getting that trophy, why doesn’t DICE make a serious sniper game that is as big on co-op strategy as this one mission is in Battlefield 3? The quiet, stealthy, quick, dark mood of this mission was nothing short of impressive and when it comes to setting up seriously amazing and believable environments and amazing moments, I have always loved DICE’s sense of art and immersion the greatest since I started playing their games, and this co-op mission proves even more how artistically and gameplay-wise how brilliant DICE is at making these experiences.
That’s why I’m throwing the idea out there, why doesn’t DICE make a serious, awesome, co-op heavy, sniper game with the same atmosphere and gameplay as Battlefield 3 but with an extremely heavy emphasis on the realism of the sniper, I think DICE would be the best studio to do it, and Drop ‘Em Like Liquid is a perfect example of where to start! If done absolutely right, they could do something that me, other editors on the DLB-Network, and many gamers have been wanting for years, they could make co-op a major deal in the gaming industry, and why not? Co-op experiences have the potential to be the next huge thing is someone, someone does it right, nobody really has though, so DICE, this is my challenge to you, make this game! Based off past games you’ve made in the past (I love Mirror’s Edge too!) and past decisions you guys have made, you guys have easily become one of my favorite developers and you also already have most of the tools ready to make this game quicker than any other developer would.
I want to see a major Renaissance of co-op innovation this next generation and really am interested to see what developer would pull it off first, would DICE be the one with a game like this? What co-op games do you all want to see? Drop a comment letting us know!
I highly recommend playing Drop ‘Em Like Liquid when you have time, or even trying to get the Bullseye trophy/achievement! If you don’t want to play it, I seriously recommend watching this video of these guys getting it, man are they excited to get the achievement at the end!