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Best two-player and co-op PlayStation 4 games (multiplayer)
Team up for the take-down with these buddy-focused PS4 games.
Friends who slay together, stay together. This is gaming's greatest truth, so we've collected a meaty list of some of the best PS4 two-player games to play co-operatively with your friends.
If you're looking for the best PS4 co-op games on a budget, consider trawling through the indie-produced section of the PlayStation Store. A lot of these games capture the spirit of the old days of split-screen co-op.
Historically speaking, or perhaps that should be "alt-historically speaking", the rebooted Wolfenstein series has been a roaring success. Blasting your way through a twisted "what if the Nazis had won" version of the world is equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Even better, the mute lantern-jawed hero from the 1990s games has somehow been fleshed out into a thoughtful and poetic pulveriser of fascists. These qualities, along with an itchy trigger finger, have subsequently been passed down to his twin daughters, the dual protagonists of Youngblood.
Yes, for the first time in this storied series, we have a spin-off allows you and a buddy to gun down the goose-stepping hordes in tandem. Jess and Soph Blazkowicz are the newest members of the Global Resistance, fighting against the Nazis and searching for their AWOL old man. Excuse the pun, but using ridiculously OP boomsticks to shred the SS in a weird alt-80s version of Paris is an absolute blast. The only downshot: it doesn't support split-screen local play. It's a small price to pay for the most slaughter-tastic co-op shooter in ages.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Though many of you will be rusty as hell after a 15-year hiatus, expect to experience euphoria when you find that old familiar groove with Crash Team Racing's powersliding mechanic. It's an artform. Holding down R1 to start that awkward hop and steering hard into the apex of the corner while boosting thrice is what separates the wheat from the chaff in this race.
The only other things that can nudge you ahead? Crafty foreknowledge of shortcuts or just a shrewd killer instinct when it comes to using the randomised weapons you get. Don't let the new lick of paint fool you – this is brutal OG gaming to the max.
Though the kart racing genre has been going the way of the dodo for years, CTR and a few other titles from the days of yore have recently been brought up to modern standards. All of a sudden you're spoiled for choice, and this madcap marsupial marathon ought to be at the top of your "to buy" list. Get some friends around, order a couple of pizzas and I guarantee that you'll be playing this four-player split-screen sensation all night, like it's 1999.
Mortal Kombat 11
Up until this point, I've tried kept this list of PS4 two-player games as friendly as possible – co-op centric, live and let live. But you know what? Every once in a while, you just need to haul off and establish the pecking order with a good player v player beat down. Mortal Kombat 11 is the place to do it best as it's currently the undisputed king of fighting games. Also, gore. Nobody, including your local abattoir, does the red stuff better than this.
The fighting itself has evolved pleasingly, though not massively. Fan-service brutalities and fatalities return to put your nana off her knitting, and the X-ray moves of yore and gore have been repackaged as Krushing Blows and Fatal Blows. The former are showier and nastier versions of your kombatant's bog-standard special moves. Each fighter has roughly half a dozen of them and the interesting wrinkle is that they're condition-based attacks. For example, one might trigger if you counter hit or punish a certain behaviour that's being spammed by your buddy. All told, being able to read your opponent like a book and lure them into these specific beatdowns is incredibly gratifying.
Team Sonic Racing
You're about to turn on the ignition for a new version of 2012's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, just without the fancy reconfigurable vehicles. The roster here draws solely from Sonic canon rather than Sega's entire back catalogue. Team Sonic Racing is a game obsessed with threes, too. Teams of three characters – who themselves are divided into three classes – race and work together to reach the checkered flag by sharing and caring as much as possible. Try to lone wolf these races (either online or in story mode) and you'll go home with the wooden spoon. Yep, you're gonna need some co-op buddies.
Driving skillfully, busting stunts, collecting rings and running over boost pads soon take a major backseat to just helping your pals earn Team Ultimate energy. Skim Boost and Slingshot Draft well enough, and you can table-turn a race with the resulting berserker speed burst. Sating one's need for speed aside, what we have here is one heck of a good split-screen racer, and certainly more pick-up-and-win than Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. In a party scenario, that's more than enough for a podium finish.
Red Dead Online
Ever since Red Dead Online launched, I've been home, home on the range. Where my dudes and the angry dopes play. Where seldom is slurred an encouraging word. And the teabags are delivered all day.
Honestly, it still blows my mind that Red Dead Online, a fully fledged online world, has been provided to players free of charge as a companion piece to a whopping 60-hour solo experience. What we have here represents triple digit hours of cowboying.
For starters, you and a posse of (presumably magnificent) seven friends can follow a narrative that's apart from the solo side of RDR2. It forks with morality, too. Straight-shooters who have played honourably will find themselves deputised into helping Marshall Tom Davies root out a gang of Valentine-based varmints.
Players who opted for a more Billy the Kid route will find themselves shooting down lawdogs as they assist Samson Finch in a series of crimes that culminate in a daring Saint Denis Bank heist.
Whatever your moral preference, both paths lead back to further revelations in John Marston's old stomping ground of Blackwater. This plot, along with a bunch of structured team-based PVP modes, is just the beginning.
RDO offers a huge world filled with procedural shenanigans that jump out at you, not to mention a server chock full of human varmints who want to help, hinder or hogtie you and plop you in front of a train. Why? Because it's a Wild West out there...
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
Ah, two of my favourite things lashed together once more: killing Nazis and split-screen play that should never have gone extinct from gaming (but somehow did). If you've never played a Sniper Elite game, the concept is a bit different from your usual shooter – especially when you crank up the difficulty to "Sniper Elite". Standard run-and-gun tactics will get you and your split-screen cohort killed. You're going to have to put your murderous heads together in order to survive.
Stealth and silenced pistoleering is possible, but sniping, as you'd expect, is the way to go 90% of the time. It takes some skill, too – you'll need to coordinate your shots while you each consider bullet drop, wind and breath control, and moving targets need to be led correctly. Think of this as a game of tandem golf but with high-powered boomsticks instead of three-woods. Nailing that hole-in-one shot – the hole being somebody's eye socket – is as gratifying as it is ghoulish.
There are two things you should never underestimate in this game. One: the depth and challenge hiding beind the simplest of controls (accelerate, brake, lean forward on motorcycle, lean backward on motorcycle). Two: the primal, one-more-go addiction that comes from beating a mate's course time by two one-hundredths of a second. If the latter victory is achieved against their saved ghost, you'll be happy. If you do it in a real-time multiplayer race against three friends... Man, it's next-level endorphins.
It'd be a mistake to think that what's on offer is a straight point-to-point race, however. Trials Rising, for the uninitiated, whisks you all over the globe and asks you to ride ever-rightward on a 2D-plane obstacle course of increasing insanity. Remarkably pick-up-and-play, Trials Rising is howl-at-your-TV levels of hilarity with the right crew to ride against.
Helldivers is a hardcore, collaborative, twin-stick shooter that stands head, shoulders and metal pauldrons above all others in this oversaturated genre. As part of the elite titular unit, you'll need to work together in an intense intergalactic war to protect "Super Earth" from AI aliens and invading human players alike.
Even in solo play you'll find yourself hooked on the grind in this game. To succeed in Helldivers is to doggedly survive and unlock increasingly better perks, armor, grenades, boomsticks and stratagems. The latter are particularly cool as they include a wide variety of powerful ordnance and war matériel that may only be called down from HQ if you quickly tap in an OG unlock code on your dpad (think: Konami codes that wipe out entire screens' worth of baddies). Having three co-op pals coordinating and covering one another to do this is, well, sublime multiplayer gaming.
For games that spin virtually no dialogue, the original Unravel and its sequel sure do tell interesting little yarns. They're what I like to call new age platformers – stylish indie games woven together with waterlogged physics, detailed 2.5D worlds and a dash of charming weirdness. Yarny, the wool-doll protagonist of the first game, has been shipwrecked and he/she (it?) is now umbilically connected to a second yarn person.
The gameplay that follows is essentially Super Conjoined Twin Bros. All of the old mechanics from Unravel return – abseiling using your own thread, tying of a thread to use it as a mini-trampoline, etc – but now you have to do it all in tandem while maintaining a set distance apart (and working with limited screen real estate). The best new addition is a creature comfort mechanic for parents that should be in every platformer: at any time, you can make one Yarny merge into the other. Control is then relinquished to one player and this allows you to literally carry the other gamer to success. Trust me, it beats the heck out of playing your own patience Olympics as your eight-year-old buddy screws up a jump... for five minutes.
The Division 2
With the original The Division, Ubisoft caught our curiosity. Blasting through a post-pandemic Manhattan with three other like-minded sleeper agents was a fun and tactical experience. Sadly, though, bugs and design missteps caused us to move on to other things. That said, with their heavily reworked sequel – the imaginatively named The Division 2 – Ubisoft managed to seize our hearts and minds for keepsies. Building off the original's incredibly solid cover-to-cover gunplay, Ubisoft has managed to deepen an already addictive loot and crafting system in this part deux while also shifting the gunplay into the larger (and sunnier) setting of Washington. Fixing the worst government shutdown imaginable with three semi-socially responsible friends is sheer addiction.
Better yet, The Division 2 stands out from all other third-person shooters thanks to its dedicated Dark Zone area, a player-versus-player competitive multiplayer mode. Anybody hoping to strike it rich in these merciless Thunderdome areas will need a dedicated posse watching their six. The risk is great but the rewards are huge: all of the best gear in the game exists only in these areas, but the threat of thievery and murder is through the roof. That said, make sure you trust your kidneys to somebody you trust completely. The Division 2 has the power to forge stronger friendship bonds or shatter them completely.
Too many cooks in the kitchen can be an awesome thing. Just ask any four-person posse that has digested the single-screen mania that was 2016's Overcooked. The concept in this sequel has changed very little and is as simple as it is addictive. Four players need to divide and conquer meal prep (and washing up) as customers demand increasingly complex dishes and your kitchen reconfigures like a highly flammable Rubik's cube.
Overcooked 2 serves up a heaped helping of more of the same, with a garnish of extra complexity sprinkled on after a few levels. You're still trying to avoid too much food poisoning from terribly made meals, awful tips, fires, fights over extinguishers and ruined real-life friendships, but this time you can also fling raw ingredients and be thwarted by kitchens that reconfigure, and it's pretty hard to dislike the new pun-tastic zombie plot. It's more or less "Night of the Walking Bread".
Far Cry 5
Cult smashin' with a fellow good ol' boy (or girl) is what's on offer in Far Cry 5. Due to a mixed means of religious fervor and hallucinogenic plant life, Hope County, Montana has been brought under control by one Joseph Seed. The only remedy is for you and a pal to dispense some bullet-based freedom as you rip around an expansive open-world sandbox to nail a plethora of main and side mission content.
Sparking the fires of resistance (and the odd unintentional blaze lit by too much C4 strapped to a quad bike) is darn good fun with a friend. Far Cry 5 offers a ton of guns to unlock and upgrade, not to mention you can unlock different perks to self improve yourselves in tactical ways. For example, a good way to dovetail together is to spec one of you as a gung-ho base stormer, while player two provides operational support from a far with a sniper rifle that installs blowholes in even the most armed opponent.
Full disclosure: Destiny 2 had a fantastic launch period, but the honeymoon didn't last when its first expansion came out. That's a long, sordid tale of lies and deception which I won't bore you with here.
Suffice to say the (space)ship has been righted and Bungie's MMO/first-person shooter hybrid is back to being more addictive than heroin pancakes.
Part of that appeal comes down to the most kinetic and rewarding gunplay in the genre, and another huge factor is the inescapable black hole that is Bungie's loot/progression system. Stitch these things together with a three-person fire team that amplifies the frequency of your flashy super powers, and Destiny 2's space magic is strong.
If you and your goons have only got a short window of time, you can link up to engage in a mixed entree of story missions, adventures or strikes. That said, if you become Destiny diehards, you can hook up a merry band of six guardians and go take on the elite raid content. Be warned, though: the level of coordination, skill and gear required to best these modes is considerable. However, beating your first Destiny raid is a true watershed moment in co-op gaming.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Decent four-person local play on a single TV is a rare commodity in the eighth generation of console gaming. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition flies the banner proud, and Blizzard's custom interface lets you and your buddies do some serious grinding without treading on each other's toes. Your only major concern will be who gets to pick which class: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Crusader or Necromancer.
PC folk will hunt me down for saying this, but this feels like the best version of the game one can spend their gold coins on. There's hours of dungeon-crawling and loot-coveting to be had, thanks to gift sending, kill-streak rewards, Nephalem "loot run" rifts and nemesis demons (demons that have murdered somebody on your friends list and now want to drop in to say "hi" and claim your skull, too). Don't let the age of this 2014-reissue of a 2012 game fool you. Mowing through hellspawn is a timeless and heavenly experience with the right party of miscreants.
Grand Theft Auto V
Nobody skewers the American zeitgeist or sculpts living, breathing open worlds like Rockstar Games. Played from either a first or third-person perspective, GTA V's online offerings will deliver you free-wheeling fun or some of the best scripted co-op missions in video gaming. Known as Heists, the latter are complex shenanigans – multi-part plots that can go sideways as much as they prove successful. They're basically miniature Michael Mann movies that are best attempted with a team of hardened killers with pro gamer hand-eye coordination.
Conversely, if these jobs keep going wrong and you want to mete out some punishment amongst your Reservoir Dogs, you can always drop everybody into PVP mode and sort out your differences in a number of adversarial modes. Failing that, you can all just hook up, hop into an A-Team-like van and let off some steam in one of the most detailed and realistically rendered Los Angeles sandboxes imaginable. Don't let its aged release date fool you – GTA V has been upgraded up the wazoo since its launch. It's still money.
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