This week I’ve been playing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (which is ‘free’ via Xbox Game Pass) with my brother, in split screen, on a couch in a living room. Couch co-op is often something gamers reminisce about, a seemingly left behind method of playing video games. Even if more games offered split screen co-op, I wouldn’t get to experience it as I live 2,382 miles away from my brother and visit once a year. I’m glad to have the ability to play through games via the internet, but there’s certainly something about sitting together on a couch that makes gaming more fun.
There have been moments of hilarity, as one of us stupidly runs toward a group of enemies bullets flailing sloppily past them only to die at a boomer’s feet, and moments of triumph as we hunker down and methodically advance toward an enemy position. We’ve been having a blast playing through the campaign, and have played for longer than we probably would have had we been playing online.
I don’t think I ever played through the first Gears of War on the 360, so it’s been nice to finally experience the start of the franchise. I’ve enjoyed each mission so far, and it’s been incredibly satisfying to shoot the variety of weapons in the game.
Once we finish Gears we’ll probably dive into working through the Halo campaigns in Master Chief Collection (I’ve only ever finished Halo 3, Reach and ODST).
Unfortunately, there’s not as many opportunities to enjoy a local campaign as there used to be. I remember having a blast in Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games back on the N64 and first Xbox. I can’t think of many games on the current platforms that offer complete co-op experiences (Gears 4 is a notable stand out). On the bright side, during the 350 other days of the year there’s plenty to play together online, so I really can’t complain.