Best Co-Op RPGs

RPGs are a significant genre in video games that allows players to dive into and explore vast new worlds. Whether it be exploring the frozen landscapes of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or soaking in the neon-lit streets in Shadowrun, video games allow players to explore different universes better than any other medium. RPGs are also great in just how many forms they can take, helping ensure that every player can find an RPG that suits their tastes. It is even better when RPGs let you jump in with a friend to adventure together, bringing a social element into the world that NPC characters can only otherwise emulate.

There are countless fantastic RPGs out there to play on any platform, including your phone. However, if you are looking to jump into a game with a friend, there are a lot fewer options. There are still quite a few to pick from, but this list is some of the very best to look at first. Whether you are looking to play with a significant other who doesn’t play games or need a new hardcore experience for enduring with a friend, there is something on this list for you.

Bottom Line Up Front: If you’re looking for a true co-op RPG, it is hard to do better than the phenomenal Divinity: Original Sin II. It offers full co-op up to four players and is easily played with fewer. It also has a ton of content to learn and explore; a great world and deep combat. It also caters well to fans of tabletop roleplaying games by allowing players to roleplay their characters in different directions and even oppose one another in quests.

Selection Criteria

Of course, the games on this list are primarily up to personal preference. While they all have solid review scores on Metacritic, I still chose based on my experience playing through them. I also attempted to bring a lot of diversity by including games from across the entire spectrum of RPGs. To do this, I tried only to have one game from each type and only include one game from each series, even though many on the list have sequels or prequels that are more than worth playing through.

#1 – Outward

Developer/Publisher: Nine Dots Studio/Deep Silver

Genre: Third-Person Action RPG/Survival

Metacritic Score: 71

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Outward has the lowest Metacritic score of any games on this list, and that is because it is a very niche title. You may find Outward to be far too punishing. Alongside brutal stamina-based combat, the game also demands that players manage their character’s hunger, thirst, temperature, and energy while not including any quest markers or precise levels to let you know what content is manageable.

However, if that doesn’t bother you or sounds like a fun way to add immersion, there isn’t any game out there that offers an experience like Outward. At first, you will likely feel very vulnerable, and with good reason. You will be hungry, die in one or two hits, probably contract a disease from a wolf, and won’t be able to afford anything. If you and your friend stick with the game, however, you will find an incredible open world that doesn’t hold your hand and instead lets you roam freely.

There are no classes to restrict your gear or equipment at any given time and no levels to limit what content you can play. You can go anywhere and do anything at any time as long as you have the skill and the careful preparation required for you to make it back home afterwards. Outward is also wholly playable in Co-Op both locally and online. You and a friend can make new characters from the start of the game and adventure together. Once you and your friend are camping in the forest ruins in light rain, cooking food, and preparing spells for the next day’s combat while idling chatter, I think you’ll definitely thank me for it.

Pros

  • Fun open world with a lot to discover
  • Rewarding combat mechanics
  • Challenging survival mechanics

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Very slow pacing
  • Maybe too punishing for some players

#2 – Monster Hunter World

Developer/Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Third-Person Action RPG

Metacritic Score: 90

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For the first time, Monster Hunter World and its Iceborne expansion brought the iconic series to modern hardware. While it is not the newest entry in the series, it is the most expansive and beautiful yet. As the title implies, the game revolves around players hunting a wide variety of monsters. After completing a hunt, you can harvest several resources from the remains to craft and upgrade different pieces of armor and weapons that each fit a particular playstyle and situation.

The game also has a story and an entire world to learn while you play, but that is far from the game’s focus. The real focus of Monster Hunter World is its combat mechanics. With how massive the monsters that players face are, it is no surprise that it takes some unique weaponry to bring them down, and that is where the mechanics genuinely shine. Fourteen different types of weapons have their own extensive trees of combos, different abilities, and unique playstyles for players to learn and pair with their friends. There is a giant horn that lets the player perform music to buff their teammates, an axe that comes apart into a sword and shield, or, my personal favorite, a lance that just so happens to also be a gun.

As for Co-Op, Monster Hunter World supports up to four players online, except for a few story-related missions. The sheer number of different monsters and weapon types makes it easy for players to spend hundreds of hours on just one entry of the series as they grind hunts to get the crafting materials they need to complete the most punishing hunts. However, if you don’t like grinding or replaying content, you may want to avoid this one, as most of its appeal is in the endgame experience.

Pros

  • Wide selection of weapon types that each offer a unique approach to combat
  • It can be played for hundreds of hours
  • An easy drop-in co-op that doesn’t require you to play with friends the entire playthrough

Cons

  • Endgame content is very grindy
  • Controls can take some time to get used to for new players
  • Little focus on story or worldbuilding

#3 – Divinity: Original Sin II

Developer/Publisher: Larian Studios/BANDAI NAMCO

Genre: Tactical CRPG

Metacritic Score: 93

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One

The first Divinity: Original Sin was a crowdfunded success that surprised RPG fans with its impressive depth, world, and mechanics. It was widely regarded as a revival of the computer roleplaying game genre and used to be hailed as one of the best ever. That was until Larian Studios released its sequel. Somehow, Divinity: Original Sin II manages to improve every aspect of the original.

The world is more enjoyable while its quests and writing are more engaging. Its combat is more nuanced, with various classes that are meaningfully different from each other. The game’s Co-Op was expanded to allow for four players at once and even allows players to diverge from one another if it is what their character would do. Divinity: Original Sin II is also the game on this list that is the most faithful to traditional tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. Combat is segmented in turns that only allow one character to move and use their abilities simultaneously. Just as much of the gameplay experience is spent exploring and talking to NPCs as it is spent fighting cool monsters.

But you shouldn’t let any of that intimidate you. Divinity: Original Sin II is a massive game that can be as punishing as intriguing and rewarding, but it has plenty of options for players to tailor the experience to their preferences. Not only are there several difficulty settings, but you can also use pre-made character profiles that take some of the burdens of roleplaying off you by giving you an entire backstory complete with private motivations to incorporate while you play. Players who can’t get enough of the game also include a Game Master mode that allows you to create your own adventures and play through them with a fifth player acting as the computer.

Pros

  • Fully playable campaign with up to four players
  • Great roleplaying opportunities
  • Interesting and engaging combat with a variety of classes

Cons

  • Combat can be difficult on normal or higher difficulties
  • World navigation and pacing can be slow
  • It can be overwhelming for players that aren’t used to CRPGs

#4 – Torchlight II

Developer/Publisher: Runic Games/Panic Button Games

Genre: Action RPG

Metacritic Score: 88

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One

Torchlight II is an RPG for people who really like making numbers get bigger. An action RPG, the game plays similarly to the Diablo series, with a top-down perspective and players battling through seemingly endless hordes of monsters with an array of abilities depending on their chosen class. As you play through the game, you will constantly acquire new pieces of gear used to optimize your build and allow you to take on more challenging and tougher baddies.

However, one of the best aspects of Torchlight II is its insane amount of polish. The game runs incredibly well regardless of what platform you choose. It has a vibrant color palette that is always pleasant to look at, and it all is presented in a fun and approachable tone. Suppose you are looking for an RPG to play through with someone that may not be very into video games. The game’s normal difficulty can be forgiving, and each class is built to be playable and practical without putting a lot of effort into understanding its mechanics and building options.

For those looking for a more intense experience, Torchlight II’s harder difficulty settings require intricately balanced builds to survive. At the same time, its endgame can keep you playing for dozens of hours after you finish the main storyline. Torchlight II also has an extensive modding community that has produced various new classes, stories, and features to help you customize or expand your time with the game. The game also supports full online co-op for up to four players on all platforms.

Pros

  • Colorful art style and fun tone
  • Extremely well polished
  • Massive library of mods to expand the experience

Cons

  • Combat can become repetitive
  • It is not as mechanically complicated as other games in the genre
  • Have to spend a lot of time on menus

#5 – Borderlands 2

Developer/Publisher: Gearbox/2K Games

Genre: FPS RPG

Metacritic Score: 89

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The Borderlands series is about choosing a class, amassing an arsenal of crazy guns, and shooting tons of enemies. The games all have comedic tones, and none of them delivers a better experience than Borderlands 2. While it may have come out in 2012 and has had two sequels released with a third on the way, Borderlands 2 is lightning in the bottle that perfectly encapsulates what the series is all about.

Not only does all of its DLC bring the number of playable classes up to six, but it also dramatically expands its pool of loot, its absurd amount of content and does so with fantastic writing that makes one laugh almost as much as they pull the trigger. Borderlands 2 is perfect for players looking to have a good time that they don’t have to take too seriously, and it supports a full four-player Co-Op with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions being able to do so in split-screen. With guns that shoot flaming swords, abilities that have you breathing fire or summoning a giant robot, and a nearly infinite loot pool, Borderlands 2 has everything a fan of shooter RPGs could hope for.

Its nature as a shooter also makes it an excellent choice for players who aren’t interested in fantasy games or in a more traditional RPG. The game is straightforward to pick up and just play through it with a friend or partner without having to think much further than what skill you want to get next or which rocket launcher looks cooler. However, the game also has a serious endgame that pits you against massive raid bosses and challenging encounters that you will need a near-perfect build to make it out of alive.

Pros

  • Great sense of humor
  • It can be replayed numerous times
  • Exciting and unique pieces of gear to earn

Cons

  • Humor may not land with all players
  • Combat can become very chaotic and overwhelming
  • Endgame content can be incredibly difficult

#6 – Pit People

Developer/Publisher: The Behemoth

Genre: Turn-based RPG

Metacritic Score: 79

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

If you have always wished to play Fire Emblem with a friend, Pit People is the game for you. With wacky hand-drawn graphics and a hilarious story, it is much less stoic than many of its turn-based strategy peers, but that doesn’t mean that it skimps out on the strategy. Pit People allows up to two players locally or online to assemble squads of up to six characters to take on quests across the land.

To get new characters, you have to capture them at the end of battles, and there are dozens of different ones to chase down. From unicorns that shoot explosive horns to cupcakes with healing frosting, Pit People will constantly keep you discovering new characters that each bring a unique strategic approach to your squad. This allows you to frequently switch up your approach to the game, especially when playing with a friend that has all of their own considerations to account for and decisions to make as well. The turn-based structure and relatively big health pools of units on the standard difficulty also help the game be approachable for players who may not be familiar with strategy titles.

Pit People also features an insane difficulty for anyone looking for a challenge as well as a permadeath option that makes every match potentially punishing, especially if you are unlucky enough to let a story-centric character get killed in the line of duty. Either way, Pit People is the perfect RPG to jump into if you are looking for laughs and turn-based combat, no matter how difficult you want it to be.

Pros

  • Great sense of humor
  • Interesting spin on strategy gameplay
  • Very accessible

Cons

  • Playing in co-op makes battles take longer
  • Combat can be slow-paced
  • It might not be deep enough for strategy game enthusiasts

#7 – Warframe

Developer/Publisher: Digital Extremes/Panic Button Games

Genre: Third-Person Shooter MMORPG

Metacritic Score: 85

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

From the outside, Warframe looks like a pretty weird game. You play as a space ninja that equips one of many organic-looking suits that each comes with its own array of abilities. You then prepare yourself with a selection of different gear and weapons, from bows and arrows to machine guns. To add to it, you then complete missions while moving incredibly fast, complete with slides, flips, and air dashes that would make any freerunner jealous.

However, Warframe is a massive free-to-play looter shooter MMORPG that has continued to grow ever since its initial release in 2013. There are tons of different activities to tackle with your friends in online co-op. The game has even had massive updates that added new open-world regions and spaceship combat on top of the more linear shooter missions that it launched with. Warframe also has an entire universe filled with characters, factions, and lore for you to explore and learn as you tackle objectives with friends.

The game also has many different classes to pick up and learn that each redefines how to play the game. Many of them cost real money, but the game’s community frequently praises Digital Extremes for how they approach the game’s monetization in a healthy, player-friendly way. It is a game that you could sink countless hours into, constantly improving your gear, trying new things, and always learning more and more about it, all with unique gameplay and gorgeous visual design.

Pros

  • Tons of content to go through
  • A lot of variety in gameplay styles and activities
  • Free to play with player-friendly monetization

Cons

  • The art style may not be for everyone
  • Movement mechanics take some time to get used to
  • It is difficult to discern where to start because of how much content there is

#8 – For The King

Developer/Publisher: IronOak Games/Warp Digital Entertainment

Genre: Roguelite RPG

Metacritic Score: 79

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One

For The King is an RPG Roguelite that can be played in local or online 3-player co-op. It sees players making a party of three heroes that embark on an adventure across a randomly generated world with gameplay that is highly reminiscent of traditional tabletop play. The game has also received numerous massive updates that have added to the free and included experience.

The game can be pretty punishing, and like any roguelite, you should expect to lose several times before you complete your adventure. That’s more than okay, though, as everything in your playthroughs is entirely randomized. Each time you will get different characters, find random gear, explore another map, embark on random quests, and even come across randomized events to mix things up. This helps keep you on your toes as you constantly adapt to what you are given to work with and keeps every playthrough fresh.

The randomness also helps make For the King an excellent option for co-op play as it forces you to work together with other players to devise successful strategies. Its rogue-lite structure also means that you can play it for as long as you’d like, as it will undoubtedly take multiple full playthroughs to see everything the game has to offer, especially with all of its massive updates.

Pros

  • A lot of variety across playthroughs
  • Strategic but accessible combat mechanics
  • Fun and unique art style

Cons

  • Rogue-lite structure is not for everyone
  • Having to adapt to randomness throughout a playthrough can be frustrating for some players
  • Only supports up to three-player co-op

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do I have to play the first games to fully enjoy Torchlight II, Divinity: Original Sin II, or Borderlands 2?

Answer: All three of those games can be thoroughly enjoyed without knowing much about the originals. Divinity: Original Sin II is set 1200 years after the first, so there are very few, if any, connections between the two games at all besides their settings. Both Borderlands 2 and Torchlight II also summarize what needs to be known from the first games at the start, so you shouldn’t have a problem just jumping in.

Question: Can these games be played solo?

Answer: All of the games on this list can be enjoyed entirely playing alone or, for most of them, through matchmaking with random players online. They all also have fantastic communities of supportive players to find someone to play with if you don’t want to do so alone or want to run through one of them a second time with someone else.

Question: What Co-Op RPG is easiest to pick up for a non-gamer?

Answer: The most accessible game to pick up to play with a non-gamer on this list would likely be either Torchlight II or Pit People. Both games aren’t as mechanically complicated as others on the list. Their more light-hearted tone helps keep them accessible for anyone interested in reading dozens of codex entries or learning about the entire world. However, suppose they want to try a more traditional RPG experience. In that case, the difficulty options in Divinity: Original Sin II help make it an excellent opportunity to experience a fantasy story without the game’s combat becoming an obstacle.

Conclusion

Which of these games would be the best for you to play is largely dependant on your personal preferences. Regardless of what type of setting, pacing, or complexity you are looking for, there are some robust Co-Op RPG options out there. However, if I had to pick one to be my biggest recommendation, I would pick Divinity: Original Sin II. The sheer scale of the game and how much the experience of playing the game is improved by Co-Op is challenging to find in another game. Its classes offer various ways to play, while the synergies of its combat system reward those who work together in a very satisfying way.

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