SLIDESHOW

11 great PC co-op games to play with your buddies

Shooting aliens, robbing banks, and hopscotching wormholes are all more fun with friends. Load up a co-op game, and start making memories.

Best friends forever

Need some time to bond with your buds? It’s been a busy summer, you haven’t been around, and you want to get back in their good graces. Here's my solution: play some co-op games!

What brings people together more than blowing up aliens, robbing banks, or trapping each other in physics-defying infinite wormholes? Nothing I can think of.

We’ll start with some robbery hijinks that are guaranteed to lead to playful yelling and uncontrollable laughter.

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine

The best thieves stick together, even when the heist goes south.

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine pairs you with up to three friends as you attempt bold and daring robberies. Be prepared for alarms and armed guards, because someone will inevitably get sloppy.

Players adopt the persona of one of eight crooks, each with a specialized skill: There's the Lookout, who can spot guards from a great distance. The Locksmith, who can quickly open doors and safes. The Pickpocket, who can purloin cash without getting caught, and several others.

But beware: Some of the later levels are fiendishly difficult.

Arma III

Are you prepared to test the limits of your friendships? War is hell, and the battlefield game Arma III will strain the loyalty, comradery, and trust of your closest friends. You might think of it as the gaming equivalent of the summer-camp trust exercise.

Get into position, focus on your target, and pray your buddy has your back when the enemy tries to outflank you.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can fire up the in-game editor and create custom missions. It’s like being the Dungeon Master for a D&D game, except with firearms, snipers, and military-grade vehicles.

Trine 2

Trine 2 takes place in a mystical world where physics is king.

You and two friends will choose to play one of three heroes, each of which has different abilities to help the team avoid traps and solve puzzles. Pontius the Knight is a strong fighter, Amadeus the Wizard can conjure platforms and magically move them about, and Zoya the Thief is equipped with a grappling hook that lets her scale walls and climb onto rooftops.

Good communication and precise timing are the keys to success in this game. But you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid the temptation to prank your friends by “accidentally” dropping them into a pool of acid now and again, just for laughs.

Minecraft

Solitarily mining, harvesting, and building in Minecraft can be a lonesome experience. Why toil in isolation when you can collaborate with some of your friends?

Whether you’re creating a small outpost or rendering a block-by-block replica of the Game of Thrones kingdoms, I guarantee it will be more fun—and come together much faster—if you collaborate with a few good friends.

One suggestion: Keep an eye on any acquaintance who has an appetite for destruction. TNT exists in the Minecraft universe, and it’s highly effective.

Left 4 Dead 2

You've seen World War Z, right? You know that Brad Pitt could never have survived the zombie apocalypse on his own. Well, neither will you, so grab your closest pals, fire up Left 4 Dead 2, and start training.

This game revolves around four survivors struggling to find safety in a world infested with undead creatures hungry for fresh human flesh. The keys to surviving this game are firepower, keen situational awareness, watching each other’s backs, and healing each other’s injuries.

Play this game with people you trust.

Payday 2

Zombies aren’t for everybody. Their compulsion for devouring human brains can be annoying.

Maybe you’re more of a Point Break or Oceans 11 fan? Then Payday 2’s well thought-out bank heists are for you. You and your accomplices will case the joint, determine your plan of attack, and then don disguises to start the action.

You’ll need to be quick, organized, and prepared for anything—because the cops are on their way.

Make sure everyone knows their role. You don’t want the caper unraveling because one bumbling butterfingers can’t handle a pistol.

SimCity

No city exists alone. You need neighbors to cooperate, trade, and exchange resources in order for your metropolis to thrive—and survive the occasional meteor strike or nuclear meltdown.

Enlist your most budget-conscious friends to help you run one of SimCity's regions to its full potential. Each person on the team should focus on a specialty: Education, mining, or building a robust population to fill jobs.

Communicate and plan for the future, and you'll be on your way to completing those coveted Great Works projects.

Borderlands 2

Madness is a condition best shared with friends. And Borderlands 2 has plenty of insanity to go around.

Kill heaps of bad guys, robots, and vicious beasts with an unimaginable array of weapons and powers that will shock and awe. Collect more loot, become more powerful, and be sure to share!

You can play with up to three friends, and there's a ton of DLC (that's downloadable content) to expand the game’s story, weapons, character classes, and more.

Coordinate your classes so that everyone fills a role and uses their special skills to the team’s advantage. Or you can selfishly blow stuff up and steal all the loot for yourself (just don’t expect to be invited to the next session).

Saints Row 4

As President of the United States, it's your solemn duty to take on the alien invaders that have kidnapped your crew and trapped you inside a computer simulation. Don't worry, your superpowers will get you through the ordeal.

If that sounds like a crazy good time, you're spot-on. Saints Row 4 is manic, ridiculous, and all you'd expect from an installment in this absolutely bonkers series.

Jump tall buildings, run at near-supersonic speeds, glide like a flying squirrel, and explore the open world.

It’s a raunchy, inappropriate, and completely offensive experience best enjoyed with a friend in co-op mode.

Portal 2

Portal 2 boasts some of the most brain-busting puzzles you and a friend will ever encounter. And if you're not good at puzzles, you can just make your friend do all the work.

Each player is responsible for two portals that you'll use to move through the game world. Things can get hairy quickly, so be sure to make wise use of the game's communication gestures.

Or if you're the devious type, you can trap your partner in an endless wormhole and laugh as he or she struggles to escape.

Orcs Must Die! 2

Sure, you could take on the orcan horde all by yourself, but an extra pair of hands will take some of the pressure off.

Saving the world from masses of monsters won't be easy, but it will be fun in Orcs Must Die! 2. You can set up all manner of traps, such as springboards to acid pits, and decimate orcs as they run through your deadly obstacle course.

One player takes the role of the blunderbuss-wielding hero, and the other is a spell-wielding sorceress who can zap or charm monsters to death.

Prevent your enemies from reaching the portal to your world and you win! If you fail, just yell at your partner for not pulling his or her weight.

10 awesome PC games that are completely free

Craving more entertainment, but short on cash? We have just the thing:

These multiplayer games are amazingly fun and cost absolutely nothing. Check 'em out here!