A key part of the Destiny experience is going to be your three-person Fireteam. Working in this tight group, you’ll be expected to take on all the challenges the galaxy can throw at you. If playing in a co-operative style doesn’t come naturally, then Destiny will still have plenty to offer you, but some tasks will just be more fun in a company of three. Your Fireteam will need you to be in peak condition so warm up with some of these team-building co-op experiences.
We’ve been blessed with great co-op experiences on Xbox 360, but one of the most recent was also one of the most empowering and exciting. Despite average graphics, this multiplayer heist simulator delivered moment to moment gaming as gripping as anything else you might have played this year. With three friends by your side and plenty of open communication between you, Payday 2 becomes so much more than the sum of its parts. The small variations in missions each time you play keeps you on your toes and means you can never presume to know how the next heist will play out.
An odd pick you may think, but is there a better example of a game that teaches you about working in harmony to complete the challenge in front of you? Getting to play as a band on Xbox 360, either in person or via Xbox Live, was a dream we weren’t sure was going to work in reality, but Harmonix really knocked it out of the park. Rock Band was a sublime multiplayer experience that got us – with our team band The Hot Potato Firework Show – specialising and working together to put on the best possible rock performance. A Fireteam well trained in Rock Band is likely to go a long way in Destiny.
There was something gloriously simple in the perfection of Left 4 Dead that made imagining a sequel a challenge. The key to L4D2 wasn’t that it went that much bigger or more varied, but that it actually kept things nice and tight. As you warily attempt to navigate its zombie-infested maps, the need to work together as a team is constantly reinforced. What keeps things fresh though is the AI Director, which controls when the horde appears, where and in what numbers. This unpredictable element keeps L4D2 fresh again and again, no matter how blood spattered you get.
As if the unbridled joy of playing Portal 2’s story wasn’t enough, Valve went and added in a co-op campaign. We’re surprised by how many people still haven’t gotten around to enjoying this aspect of one of the Xbox 360’s greatest games, but for a two-player spin, it can’t be beat. As if the space-bending antics of Portal weren’t enjoyable enough to begin with, having the extra complexity of another set of portals to throw around added a great new layer of challenge to the game. More importantly, being able to share all of that with a friend, drop hints and wave to each other was wonderful too.
Expansive, epic and bonkers, there’s no small amount of MMO in Borderlands, much as it exists in spades in Destiny. While Gearbox’s game makes allowances for solo play, both only really reach the heights of their appeal when you have other players joining you. With massive worlds to explore, emerging quests and the need to balance your abilities and armoury with your squad, there’s much we can learn from Borderlands 2 for Bungie’s online opus. What we won’t get is the same quantities of ridiculous, randomly-generated loot, so Borderlands is still the place to go for that.
Rainbow Six: Vegas was one of the first breakout co-op games we enjoyed on the Xbox 360. Working in a small, three-man team, taking out tangos and generally being badasses, it delivered a grown-up, tactical experience that felt unique for its time. This stripped-down, focused experience would go on to influence the likes of Left 4 Dead and Payday 2, but we hope it will also see itself reflected in Destiny. The Fireteam setup in particular with its three-man maximum hints at a similar level of cohesive interplay needed in your squad.
A clash of the old gaming world meeting the technology of the new, Castle Crashers was a deserved phenomenon when it landed on XBLA. The side-scrolling actioner brought back memories of Golden Axe or Streets Of Rage, but the stumpy character design and animation almost made it feel like South Park. Packed with humour and a variety of enemies, Castle Crashers was most fun when the experience was shared with up to four players. As you levelled up, adding new abilities or unlocking new skins for your warrior, it just got better and better.
As the first instance of Horde mode, a multiplayer game style that would spawn a thousand imitators, Gears Of War 2 has to stand as one of the best in the series. In a last-man-standing co-op battle, you simply had to survive for as long as you could against increasingly challenging odds. Paired with the finely balanced gameplay and weapons of Gears Of War, Horde mode was a great example of frantic, engaging and exhausting co-op gaming. Working together you might just make it for a little longer, but it always felt like you were fighting down to the wire.
We could have picked from any of the co-op modes in the more recent Call Of Duty games, but the high level of challenge offered by Extinction in Ghosts, not to mention the alien nature of the threat you face, makes it ideal preparation for Destiny. With a small team and a range of tech at your disposal, it’s imperative that you band together as tightly as you can to survive wave after wave of unearthly terror that’s thrown at you. It’s not unlike a sophisticated Horde situation, but it’s exactly the kind of high-intensity combat that will help your team bond before Destiny.
Another slightly odd pick perhaps. We could haven chosen one of the more traditional Halo games, even going so far as to suggest one that Bungie made, like Halo 3. However, the lighter, entertaining gameplay of Halo: Spartan Assault makes it an easy recommendation here. As you team up with one other player, this twin-stick shooter keeps moving and second guessing in style. It’s a simple enough game to master, but the variety of weapons and the addition of co-op just gives it that extra layer of class it needs. Well worth a little of your time to conquer.