Two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to review Wolfenstein: Youngblood, a budget-priced, coop-focussed spin-off that retains several elements that made the prior games great, and had some serious story reveals. However, many of the structural changes made to support the cooperative gameplay made it a drag to play solo, despite the game description insisting it could be played either way. This got me thinking about several other IPs that transitioned from purely single-player experiences to coop.
I’m primarily a solo-player, looking to spend an hour or two every day pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist, but I’ll always make some time each week for coop sessions with mates (favouring PVE games over PVP, and preferably playing on the same couch with a beer in hand). As a result, I’ve always found myself conflicted when one of my favourite single-player games goes coop. I enjoyed most of my time with Youngblood but, after wrapping up the campaign, felt compelled to install Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Old Blood to relive the excellent, if dated, single-player action. This got me thinking about some other games that have progressed from single-player to coop - sometimes because it was the natural evolution of the formula, and sometimes because of publisher pressure.
One of my favourite examples is Tomb Raider, a massively-influential IP that redefined expectations, and was also the first game I picked up on the Sega Saturn, hooking me on gaming as my primary hobby ever since. As someone who loves the sense of isolation provided by the single-player titles, I still adore the playful chaos offered by the spin-offs Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light and Temple of Osiris, both isometric twin-stick shooters/puzzle-platformers. The story beats are simplistic at best, but each game offers up short and entertaining missions that require coordinated movement, switch-pulling, and combining player skills. Better still, they offer a solid single-player experience by changing up the stage geometry and puzzles as required.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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