“I get by with a little help from my friends…”

July 15, 2008

xbox-360-e3.jpgMicrosoft’s showcase of highly anticipated games for the Xbox 360 was mostly sequels of popular franchises, but all featured a new common element: cooperation.  Reuters games reporter Kemp Powers explains.

Cooperative play, in which several players work together to finish a single-player mission instead of blasting each other, seems to be the mode du jour these days.

It has already been announced that the next installment in the “Call of Duty” franchise, “Call of Duty: World at War,” will include a cooperative mode (the last game did not). “Halo 3,” the last installment of Microsoft’s flagship franchise, for the first time included the ability for up to four players to play the entire game cooperatively over Xbox Live.  

When online multiplayer play became popular on the Xbox Live service, it was driven by the strength of the multiplayer offerings in games like “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.” That usually meant some variation of deathmatch, in which individual players (or teams of players) competed against other individuals/teams over Xbox Live.

The new cooperative components of these Xbox 360 heavy hitters are sure to be highly anticipated additions:

“Resident Evil 5″ (March 13, 2009) is the newest installment in the popular Capcom horror/action franchise. “Resident Evil 4″ was a huge critical and commercial success on the Nintendo GameCube and Sony Playstation 2, and now this newest title makes an appearance on the Xbox 360. The cooperative mode means two players can shoot, punch and kick through the hordes of frightening enemies together. Online teammates will also have to help one another navigate environments by opening doors, offering boosts and other cooperative maneuvers.

“Gears of War” is one of the biggest hit franchises exclusive to the Xbox 360, and “Gears of War 2″ (November 7) seems to be picking up where its hit predecessor left off, with even more action and gore than the original. The first title in the series already allowed the entire game to be played cooperatively over Xbox Live, so the sequel ups the ante with “horde,” a new mode that allows up to five players to play cooperatively. Rather than play through the single campaign with five people, “horde” will task the teammates with surviving an onslaught of computer-controlled attackers.

“Fable 2″ (October) While cooperatively play is becoming a common feature in action games and first person shooters, it was more of a surprise to see a co-op feature added to “Fable 2,” the follow up to the unique role-playing game that debuted on the original Xbox. In the game, players start off as a young child and gradually build their character into a full-grown hero (or villain). This time out, players can also call one of their Xbox Live friends into the game so that they can fight, play and quest together.

(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

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