My wife Briana and I have been looking for a good couch co-op game for the xbox for a very long time. We had a few favorites when we had a playstation and we played them together quite often. The Baldurs’ Gate and Norrath games were particularly awesome.
For some demented reason, co-op games all became about an online connection or a split screen. I have yet to understand why, it’s like publishers don’t give a flip about couples who like to play together. Is it so much to ask for single screen local co-op? the closest we had been able to get was Plants Vs Zombies, but you can only play ONE game for so long before it loses its fun.
We tried almost every game that I could find, and we were always disappointed. The best we were able to find were games where the second character was little more than a sidekick. I’m sorry, don’t you think that the second player has a right to a strong character too? So we bought a lot of single player games and everyone watched me play. Sad state of affairs really.
So after quite a few years and many (bad) attempts, ONE game comes along with what we wanted. When I first saw the commercials, I paused the TV, turned to my wife and asked her “Do you see what I see?” I saw a game being advertised as single screen couch co-op. That game is Diablo 3 for consoles. At first I was worried that it would be for PS3 only, but a few minutes with google set my mind at ease.
I spent the next few days doing my homework. I read everything I could find about the features of this unreleased game. I had been desperate to find something for both of us for a loooong time. Many hours of research later (part of why I don’t write more ), I had concluded that Diablo 3 sounded like it had everything we wanted in a game for the two of us.
We got it the day it came out. We didn’t pre-order it, but in a pretty cool twist of fate I walked out of the store with a pre-order box (I have no idea, don’t ask). We played it that very evening, which is something I insist upon with new games. We wound up playing all evening and we’ve been hooked ever since.
So what has us so enamored with it? What features have we been looking for in a game for us as a couple? Here they are:
Same screen. No split screen, that leads to cheating, vision problems and insanity. Diablo 3 teleports you if you stray too far away so be careful during big fights!
Characters share XP. Oh Yeah! No kill stealing or worrying about who has killed or hit more! On a side note, there is a LOT of loot that grants extra xp. We have to avoid it so we can stay about equal. That is proving to be a serious pain in my ass.
We can give each other gold. That means that when we see a piece of kickass equipment for one of us at a merchant the other one can give us the money to buy it. I want my teammate to be kickass.
I have one character that is for co-op ONLY, but I can make another to play solo. You get 9 “slots” for characters. Think of each character as a save slot or a game in progress.
Our characters have a separate “stash” chest. So she can keep the bits and bobs she likes, and I can do the same.
Characters are saved separately from the game progress. You progress and character are saved to BOTH profiles, so always remember to have your other player(s) log in to their own profile! Create a character for co-op only when you start a new game and make sure you don’t play that character solo!
The game uses a checkpoint/autosave “feature” instead of save files. Not a major issue but sometimes I need to walk away from a game and continue right where I left off. Not going to happen with this one. You shut it off and EVERY area respawns (or re-configures with new random dungeons). On one side it could be seen as annoying as hell that the game sends you back to town and fills every shack, field and dungeon with monsters that you JUST killed. On the other hand, if you need more xp and loot you can do what I’ve done a few times already. Send yourself back to town, shut the game down, load it back up and commence the killin!
So all in all, Diablo 3 deserves ALL the rave reviews for its co-op. FINALLY couples have a decent game to play! Maybe the game industry will learn something from this and make more gems like this in the future! You listening developers? We want more couch co-op!