Easy Mode: Strength in Numbers

I have a hard time choosing games to play; I want to get the ones that appeal to me, but sometimes I know I just won’t be able to play it, and so I don’t even bother. I’ve given up or straight out avoided games in the past because I knew they would be way too hard for me. Mass Effect 2 is at a standstill right now for that reason, and as much as I know I’d love the story behind Dark Souls, I also know that I just won’t be able to get through the storyline alone.

One thing that I really see working for me, however, is the co-op campaign. I haven’t had much experience with this in the past except for World of Warcraft, so now that I have a few people on my PS3 friends list and a co-op friendly game is popular, the potential is there to play with others – and WOW does it make a difference for me.

Borderlands 2 was released last week (my review goes up tomorrow, so look for it!), and this game has been my chance to really understand how well a co-op campaign works for the unskilled gamer. I’ve played about 50% alone and 50% with friends, and the time with friends has made leaps and bounds in not only the progress that I’m able to make, but also the amount of fun I’m having.

I know what you might be thinking: “But Sarah, how can it be fun if you’re being carried through by friends? That’s pretty much cheating and coasting along!”

Well, no it’s not.

1. I don’t want to rage quit

I’m not a quitter, don’t get me wrong. I’ll die time and time again trying to get through a difficult boss, and spend an hour on a puzzle if need be. But sometimes I’m a rage quitter, and it’s all due to little irritating things that I just can’t do. Example: driving vehicles in games. Can’t do it. I’ve tried a thousand times. So when there’s a mission where you HAVE to drive and even *gasp* finish with a timer, the controller will end up through my T.V. guaranteed. In co-op, however, someone can help me and I can man the big guns atop my massive tanks in glee!

2. I’m getting better

I started off hiding in the back of my group and dying consistently through every encounter we met. I didn’t know how to use my Siren phaselock so I didn’t use it. I sucked. Now, after about 20 hours of gameplay (and counting) I know how to CC with my phaselock like a boss, and my accuracy in shooting, circle-strafing, and not getting killed all the time is way up. I never would have had the opportunity to practice as much and get better if I hadn’t been playing co-op with others, mostly for the reason above. But working in a team really gives you the chance to practice the skills you need for the game, without getting stuck on parts you can’t do, or dying all the time, or getting scared (which sometimes happens because I’m slightly a scaredy-cat).

I think that playing co-op is a great thing for those of us who aren’t that good at certain games, or need a real chance to get better without having rage blackouts at every turn (and not online multiplayer because, let’s face it – that’s a bad place to try to get better, and almost always leads to rage blackouts).

Are there any games that you play co-op that have helped you along, or you’ve helped others along in? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Easy Mode is a weekly Gaming Angels column that celebrates those who love the ideas, the gameplay, and the graphics of games but just don’t have the skills to master them, written by our beloved Sarah Ingram a/k/a Ceratopz.