Though online multiplayer is highly favored in the gaming industry, we’re always on the lookout for the best local multiplayer games. We’ve come a long way since the days of the original PlayStation, and not without a few sacrifices. Chiefly among them; local multiplayer. Remember the tension in the air when a game of Tekken 3 between two friends reached the Final Round? Sure, there were casualties – controllers, TV screens, framed pictures – but the experience is one a lot of gamers remember fondly.
Alas, couch co-op in the PS4 era may be a fading pastime, but it isn’t dead. Here, in no particular order, are 10 PS4 games that you and a friend can still play sunken into the same couch until that fateful rage quit puts an end the night.
Rocket League | 1-4 Players
Rocket League is every bit as fun as it sounds. It’s a soccer game where competitors maneuver around the field and control the ball from within an acrobatic automobile. Despite a somewhat complex system of trick-shots, the core mechanics are simple enough, stripped of the confines of traditional rules like sidelines and, well, not being able to drive a car on the field. A match between unseasoned players is sure to be a frantic, hilarious time, but a more competitive match-up can get really intense due to a considerable learning curve.
Pulling off a bicycle kick or upside-down corner shot is a deservedly gratifying feeling, and refraining from a victory taunt is near irresistible. There are 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 game modes to choose from, depending on how chaotic a game you’re looking for. Check out GameRevolution’s Review for Rocket League here.
Minecraft | 1-4 Players
If you haven’t heard of Minecraft, I’m not sure there’s much that can be done for you. Nonetheless, we don’t discriminate – not even against people who live under a rock. For the uninitiated, Minecraft is a massive open-world sandbox where you build and dig in order to protect yourself and others from zombies. That’s about as basic an explanation as I could muster, so for the full rundown check out GameRevolution’s Minecraft archive for the full story.
Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has seen a console port for just about every modern system and has had a sweeping cultural impact. Boasting almost limitless creative possibility, it’s a thrill of a time-sink whether you’re playing solo or with a group of friends using the game’s 4-player split-screen mode. An eight-player game is possible if you’re playing online, but given the USB port limitations of the PS4, the per-console player limit caps out at four.
Diablo III | 1-4 Players
The third Diablo in the long-running dungeon-crawler series easily ranks up there with the historically popular original and its sequel. While we’re still waiting in futility for a true “non-consensual” PvP system, running around beating up monsters and demons with a group of friends has never been more engaging.
The PS4 console port is incredibly well-optimized and syncing up four players and their respective characters is painless and intuitive. The sole PS4 port is the Ultimate Evil Edition, which features a dungeon inspired by Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, complete with Stalkers, Clickers and Bloaters, plus a themed visual style. You’ll also get the ‘Guise of the Colossi’ Unique Armor and most importantly, the Reaper of Souls expansion set. Check out our review of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition here.
Rayman Legends | 1-4 Players
This hidden gem first debuted on the Wii U back in 2013, sadly slipping under the radar. Thankfully, Rayman Legends wasn’t exclusive to the Switch’s predecessor for long, with ports now available for every modern console and PC. Fans of side-scrolling platformers would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful, well-made, and surprisingly challenging multiplayer experience.
I can’t stress this enough – Rayman Legends is a really hard game. Recurrent failure is inevitable, but that only makes success that much more satisfying, especially when it’s a group effort. Head on over to our review of the original Rayman Legends Wii U release to find out if it’s your style.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection | 1-4 Players
Borderlands is a rare treasure in 2018, not just because it offers a split-screen mode, but because it’s optimized specifically for local co-op play. Borderlands encourages you to invite over a friend, order a pizza, and play until the sun comes up – just like the old days. The single player mode is entertaining enough, but split-screen is where this first-person shooter RPG really shines. The Handsome Collection includes the definitive versions of Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, the latter of which takes you through the events occurring between the first and second game.
Blending a first-person perspective with an RPG-inspired loot mechanic and skill point system, both Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel offer superb couch co-op experiences in an era of gaming characterized by anything but. One minor gripe with The Pre-Sequel is that because it’s a newer game than Borderlands 2, you’ll see a notable performance drop when playing four-player split-screen when compared to Borderlands 2, which runs flawlessly across the board.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 | 1-2 Players
2005’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 is classic couch co-op material. It wasn’t until 2014 that EA pulled the plug on its online services for the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox, a real testament to the game’s success. 2017’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 hasn’t yet garnered the same status, but that’s mostly the fault of controversy around EA’s decision to implement microtransactions in the form of loot boxes.
Beneath the noise, there’s a lot of good fun to be had with Battlefront 2, especially in the split-screen Custom Arcade modes. The two multiplayer modes currently available are Versus, essentially team deathmatch and co-op, where you team up against AI. Boasting an in-depth customization system and formidable AI, Battlefront 2‘s local multiplayer recaptures some of the same magic that made the original Battlefront games so popular.
TowerFall Ascension| 1-4 Players
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play a 16-bit Smash Bros, TowerFall may give you a good idea. In the multiplayer mode, up to four players face off in a battle royale, each controlling an archer with limited arrows battling to be the last one standing. As arrows whiz across the arena, players can either collect spent arrows or catch their opponent’s to replenish their supply. A kill happens when a well-timed arrow meets its target or by way of the classic head stomp. The Ascension update standard on the PS4 version brings with it Quest Mode, essentially a co-op version of the same game where you advance through stages either solo or with a friend.
Overcooked | 2-4 Players
Overcooked is a coordinated team-building exercise in the form of a cooking simulation game. The game tasks you and up to three friends with preparing as many complete meals as possible within a given time frame. Each team member contributes by completing an isolated task, like cleaning dishes, chopping vegetables, cooking soup and serving the finished dish.
The process can quickly turn chaotic when one component of the meal isn’t ready for the next, like a burning pot of stew without a clean bowl to inhabit. One thing leads to the next and blame games ensue and friendships are ruined. Kidding aside, Overcooked can be a legitimately stressful game to play. But just when everything starts to fall apart and everyone’s screaming, it’s hard not to laugh as the entire kitchen goes up in flames.
Crawl | 1-4 Players
Crawl presents an innovative take on the dungeon crawler genre, pitting players against each other to gain control of the hero and defeat the boss of that stage. Throughout the match, one player controls the hero while the others control spirits whose goal it is to strike the finishing blow on the hero, thereby becoming the hero and having a chance to reach the necessary experience level to reach and defeat the boss. Whoever ends up prevailing through the spirits, traps, and monsters placed about the stage is the victor of that match. The hack-and-slash mechanics and stripped-down presentation create an effect vaguely reminiscent of the early days of Runescape, but the concept’s ingenuity save Crawl from being another run-of-the-mill dungeon crawler.
Don’t Starve Together: Console Edition | 1-2 Players
In this cooperative wilderness survival game, you and one other local player struggle to persevere against the threat of starvation, insanity, and various night-dwelling monsters by gathering supplies during the day and finding shelter during the night. Any light source, such as a fire or light plant, will keep you safe from the Night Monster. Also known as Charlie, the Night Monster attacks when a character is in complete darkness and continues until they drop dead or find a light source.
There are two modes; one that automatically revives dead players at the original spawn point and one where dying turns players into ghosts, their revival dependent on the survivor(s) ability and willingness to craft a certain item. The two-player split-screen mode can be played offline or online with up to four other players.