Not all problems can be solved by charging headlong into battle by yourself and trying to punch the problem into dust. Sometimes, you need to work together in order to succeed, as a problem shared is a problem halved. Thankfully, so long as you have a friend, you’ll be able to have some fun with the best Xbox Series X | S co-op games on the market.
Better still, the majority of the games mentioned on this list are optimised for the Xbox Series X | S, meaning friends with an Xbox One will still be able to join in on most of the fun. Sure, you might load into the game quicker, allowing you to laud your console purchase over your friends, but you can still play games with them. That’s the main thing, right? Here’s the best co-op games that are available right now for the Xbox Series X | S, ranked so you know which one is the best.
The Best Xbox Series X & S Co-Op Games
13. Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Developer: Fatshark Publisher: Fatshark
It would appear that the co-op formula naturally lends itself to the idea of taking on massive hordes of enemies. Just you and your friends versus the entire world. It’s a concept arguably perfected by Left 4 Dead, and it would appear that Fatshark also knows the value of this formula, as they’ve proved with Warhammer: Vermintide 2.
Set during the sword, shields and fantasy version of Warhammer, not the space marine fascists 40K version of Warhammer, players control one of several characters, each with their own upgradeable loadouts and abilities, as they travel across the world trying to put a stop to the hordes of Skaven that are murdering everything in their sight.
12. Back 4 Blood
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
With Vermintide 2 already being featured on this list, it’s no secret that Left 4 Dead inspired works are still big business when it comes to co-op games. Naturally, it would make sense for the original developers to try and return and reclaim their throne, by following the same formula, but Turtle Rock’s Back 4 Blood is more than just a retread.
While it channels the same 4 vs all horde shooter mentality, Back 4 Blood adds more wrinkles to the formula with its card system, which allows players to build a deck of perks that can radically alter how proficient you are during your campaign run. Plenty of missions, lots of cards and a versus mode to boot ensures Back 4 Blood has a lot of replayability.
11. Destiny 2
Developer: Bungie Publisher: Bungie
Looter shooters often make good fodder for co-op games as you work together with friends to try and obtain better weapons and armour. There’s plenty of these games on offer on the Xbox Series X | S, but perhaps the most complete experience of its kind right now is Destiny 2, especially if you’re a Game Pass subscriber. While Destiny 2 is free to play, Game Pass includes the expansion content for additional reasons to play.
Like most co-op games, Destiny 2 does allow you to experience a decent amount of the game on your own, but if you want to get the most out of the core experience, you’ll need to recruit friends. The high level PvE missions, like Nightfalls and Raids, require 3 and 6 players respectively, so you’ll have to make some friends quickly if you want all the best loot.
10. Borderlands 3
Developer: Gearbox Publisher: 2K Games
The other premier looter shooter available on the Xbox Series X | S, Borderlands 3 forgoes the more “games-as-a-service”, all-in-one approach of Destiny 2 and shoots for a more straight-laced co-op RPG. Players pick from one of four characters, each with their own distinctive skill trees, and take on the hordes of bandits and rapscallions that plague not just the planet of Pandora, but other planets as well.
The great thing about Borderlands 3 as a co-op game on the Xbox Series X | S is that it supports four-player co-op in both local and online forms, with the optimisations of the Xbox Series X | S providing better resolution and performance. Whether you’re playing in the same room or across the world from each other, Borderlands 3 finds a way for you to come together. Just consider muting the dialogue at least, though.
Developer: Obsidian Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Co-op survival games are often a great way for players to connect with each other via gaming, and one of the best offerings is Obsidian’s Grounded. The premise is small in scale, but large in ambition, as you control a kid who’s been shrunk down to the size of an ant, and must contend with everything that you’d find in an ordinary back garden.
If you’re looking for a 4-player co-op survival game (that regrettably also features spiders), then Grounded is the game for you. Better still, the game is still technically part of Xbox Game Preview, along with Xbox Game Pass, so it’ll be receiving plenty of updates over the coming months.
8. Dying Light 2
Developer: Techland Publisher: Techland
Many games in the past have proven the notion that slaying hordes of zombies together with your friends is one of the most fun ways to spend your time, and Dying Light 2 certainly no exception to this. You could try to take on the various story quests surrounding one of humanity’s last cities, or you could grapple hook zombies into your friend’s dropkicks. Both are incredibly fun.
Dying Light 2’s vision of the future sees you trying to survive in a world of hostile human factions and the endless zombie hordes, which sounds like it’s more depressing than it is fun. However, with up to four players parkouring about this urban, post-apocalyptic playground, there’s hours of fun to be had. Bring your friends and your baseball bat, you’ll be here for a while.
7. Elden Ring
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Few things in gaming are as satisfying as working together to take down some kind of overwhelming foe. FromSoftware understand this more so than most, as the Soulslike genre has been built off the idea that you can summon your high level friends in to batter a challenging boss for you, but Elden Ring is perhaps their best vision of a co-op multiplayer game yet.
Granted, Elden Ring still has its typical FromSoftware quirks with regards to how its online co-op operates, which is why it’s not higher on this list. You’re still using summon signs to bring new players into your world to take out the big scary lads, and they disappear once the boss is gone, but with the use of passwords, you can more easily form groups to play co-op together more consistently.
Just don’t be surprised if the boss wipes the floor with you and all your friends.
6. State of Decay 2
Developer: Undead Labs Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Another game about laying waste to hordes of zombies, State of Decay 2 is less “in-your-face” with its approach to revenant slaughtering. Instead of tasking you with standing knee-deep in the dead, guns in each hand to shoot anything that moves, State of Decay 2 is a more survival-based affair. Try and take on too many zombies and you’ll be joining their ranks very quickly.
State of Decay 2 builds on the foundation of the previous game as you build a colony of survivors in the countryside of America. With up to 3 friends, you’ll have to explore the map, find resources, improve your weapons and skills and ultimately try to establish some kind of sustainability in a world where the only constant is the rotting corpses. No pressure or anything.
5. Overcooked: All You Can Eat
Developer: Ghost Town Games Publisher: Team17
It’s rare that a co-op game manages to make you hate the people you’re playing with more than a competitive game. Some of the co-op Mario games have managed to cultivate this reputation, and now the Overcooked series can also claim that mantle. If you’re not screaming bloody murder while trying to get certain recipes completed, you’re not playing Overcooked right.
Whether or not you’re a seasoned (pun intended) veteran of the culinary world of Overcooked or you’ve never played it before, the All You Can Eat edition is the definitive version of the series, combining together all the levels and features from both games, along with some exclusive content into one package. As long as you have the people to play with, Overcooked is immensely fun. Stressful, but fun.
4. Gears 5
Developer: The Coalition Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
We mentioned Gears 5 in our list of the best single-player games on Series X, and while Gears still offers a lot of fun for those who are lacking online friends (or if they’ve all clocked off for the night), Gears 5 really comes into its own once you have more friends to share the joy of killing the Swarm with. Seriously, there’s more than enough Swarm for you and your friends to murder to keep you occupied forever.
Aside from the campaign that supports 3 players, with one of those players taking on the role of the robot Jack, offering a variety of utility options that the other players don’t have, there’s also the Horde and Escape modes. Horde sticks 5 players into one of the game’s multiplayer maps and asks you to survive 50 escalating waves of torture, while Escape sees 3 players working together to fight through a series of room filled with Swarm, trying to, well, escape.
3. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Developer: Bungie, 343 Industries Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
The Halo series is often regarded as one of the best multiplayer games on the market, but for many, it’s the co-op parts of the game that many consider to be truly the highlight of the legendary franchise. The Master Chief Collection embodies that mantra beautifully as it’s one of the best co-op experiences of the entire series, largely because it features practically the entire series.
The Master Chief Collection includes the campaigns of Halo 1-4 as part of the base game, but if you’re a Game Pass subscriber (or own the relevant DLC), you’ll also be able to play Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, which also include their own campaigns and Firefight mode, which is arguably Halo’s most underrated mode.
There’s even Halo 4’s co-op Spartan Ops mode, which added to the story of the game and, well, it existed at least.
2. Sea Of Thieves
Developer: Rare Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Becoming part of a pirate crew is a fantasy most people often dream about, especially as a kid, but few games have offered the ability to actually live out those flights of fancy. Thankfully, Rare have given us an outlet in the form of Sea of Thieves, which might have been a bit barebones at launch, but since 2018, Sea of Thieves has received a swathe of updates, transforming it into a true world beater.
Up to four players form a band of pirates and take to the high seas in search of danger, treasure and a reason to lock your annoying mate up in the brig. While largely a co-op game, Sea of Thieves does dabble with some PvP elements because being a pirate doesn’t mean being a mate.
There are ways you can try to mitigate your PvP fights, but just because you’re sailing on the H.M.S. Friendship doesn’t mean everyone else is.
1. It Takes Two
Developer: Hazelight Publisher: EA
Cody and May’s relationship might very well be on the rocks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun with them/at their expense. It Takes Two comes from co-op specialists Hazelight, who were responsible for the excellent A Way Out, but It Takes Two ups the ante even further.
As Cody and May, who’ve been shrunken down into dolls via magic, you must navigate a series of levels where the mechanics and gameplay radically shift with alarming regularity. One minute you’re fighting off wasps, the next you’re controlling time or “persuading” an elephant doll to help. It’s a kitchen sink approach to co-op gameplay, but nearly all of it sticks the landing, and the fact it’s on EA Play (and by extension, Game Pass Ultimate), means it’s easier than ever to find someone to play with.
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