With the PS5 soon to arrive, many of us find ourselves staring at our beloved PS4 with the longing, contemplative eye of an owner gazing at a terminally ill family pet. You know the clock’s ticking, and despite the many, many years of time it’s just time. Luckily, there is still plenty of fun to be had on the console that served us well, and plenty of games yet for you, your friend, or your significant other to enjoy for a few last hurrahs before the year is out and the flame of PS4 forever extinguished.
A Way Out
- Released: 23 March 2018
- Developer: Hazelight
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Price: $29.99
In an era where split-screen has become the exception rather than the norm, A Way Out is literally designed for 2 players only. That’s right, you literally can’t play it solo, even if you wanted to. You actually need a friend in order to play the game.
A Way Out follows two convicted criminals, Leo and Vincent, as they break their way out of prison and go on the run from authorities. Every step of the game depends on teamwork and coordination — and is one of the best ways to strengthen (or finally destroy) a relationship with a friend or partner.
Overcooked 1 & 2
- Released: 7 August 2018
- Developer: Team17
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux
- Price: $16.99 and $24.99
Overcooked and its sequel are the Dark Souls of restaurant simulators. In a genre where most of the titles are cutesy, easy-mode games that cater to children, Overcooked does its absolute best to deep fry the brains of children and adults alike. The game puts players in charge of running numerous kitchens and serving orders, all of which require impeccable time and resource management to keep running.
The game replicates the chaos of a bustling kitchen in a way that is simultaneously gratifying and completely overwhelming, and has a Monopoly-level ability to instill lasting familial rifts and reduce longstanding friendships to smithereens. It just so happens to be so much fun, though. Both Overcooked and its sequel, Overcooked 2, can host up to four players in the sweltering heat of its outlandish and highly inexplicable kitchens.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
- Released: 24 March 2015
- Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Price: $38.99
Something like Mad Max meets Far Cry meets… well, space, Borderlands is the definitive Looter-Shooter, with a wealth of solid gunplay, gear, and a unique charm that makes it not only one of the most fun franchises to experience but one of the better adventures to go on with a friend. The Handsome Collection combines Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel along with all of their DLC in one seamless package for a great deal.
The series tells the story of the titular Handsome Jack from a variety of angles, with him being the main boss and antagonist of Borderlands 2 and then a central character in the Pre-Sequel. Fans of looter-shooters and ARPGs who missed the Borderlands train find the perfect opportunity to hop aboard the luxury car with the Handsome Collection.
- Released: 15 May 2012
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Classic Mac OS, Microsoft Windows
- Price: $59.99
Diablo is the top-dog of the dungeon crawler and though Diablo 3 might be the source of significant controversy among the die-hard playerbase, the mainstream gaming audience can only love the undisputed leader in hacking and slashing.
The game offers players a chance to play as one of seven classes, each coming with their own distinct playstyles, and sets them off into the vast world of Diablo on a quest to defeat the eponymous Lord Diablo. The game has an extensive loot and skill system and is great for any pair of buddies ready to embrace the grind and traverse an open world together.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
- Released: 9 September 2015
- Developer: Asteroid Base
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS
- Price: $14.99
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a uniquely charming arcade-style space shooter that hides intense and frantic gameplay in a cutesy, disarming visual package. The game can be played with up to four players, and puts players in the roles of a crew in charge of running a spaceship’s many critical functions.
Players have to manage protection, upkeep, defense, and navigation all at once, often having to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously in order to keep the ship intact and oxygen inside their lungs. It’s an excellent party game, the more the merrier, and is highly recommended for fans of quickly ramping difficulty like Overcooked.
Ark: Survival Evolved
- Released: 2 June 2015
- Developer: Studio Wildcard
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
- Price: $49.99
Ark: Survival Evolved is the quintessential bloodthirsty psychopath simulator. Oh, and it also has dinosaurs. In fact, that’s a pretty big part of the game. In Ark: Survival Evolved, players awaken on an island that has gone full Jurassic Park and are tasked with building themselves a shelter from scratch and learning the basic survival skills to stay warm, stay full, and stay uneaten/unmurdered by dinosaurs and other players.
As players settle down, they progressively unlock new skills and technology, gradually working their way out of the stone age all the way to something like our own modern era and beyond. But, the reptiles aren’t the only homicidal maniacs on the map. No, your main concern — if you choose to play PvP — is other players, who can at any time murder you and send everything you’ve ever built into oblivion. It’s rough, but the thrill and the agony always goes better with a friend and Ark is one of the biggest AAA games to have splits-screen built right in.
7 Days to Die
- Released: 13 December 2013
- Developer: The Fun Pimps
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
- Price: $24.99
7 Days to Die is another open-world survivalcraft that is something like Rust meets the Walking Dead. Set in the aftermath of a cataclysmic nuclear war, players assume the role of a survivor doing their best to fend for themselves in the zombie-infested Arizona wilderness.
Players are forced to contend with not only the ever-present threat of the undead, but the basic necessities of survival and a majority of your time is spent preparing a makeshift fortress to defend against the undead hordes — collecting supplies, utilizing the extensive crafting system, harvesting resources. The game is terrifying, and can support up to two players couch co-op via split-screen and benefits immensely from having a shoulder to cry on. Because you will cry.
- Released: 29 August 2013
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Microsoft Windows
- Price: $29.99
Rayman Legends is the final installment in the resurrection of the platformer hall-of-famer, Rayman, that brought with it newly updated graphics that bring the franchise’s unique art style to renewed life. The game gives up to four players control of Rayman and his companions and releases them into a dazzling and exquisitely detailed universe.
The game has 120 well-crafted levels for players to traverse and places a heavy emphasis on cooperation. Rayman is fun, and its unique design lends itself well to a wide gaming audience, without much in the way of real violence but gameplay that is both accessible as well as progressively challenging.
Don’t Starve Together
- Released: 21 April 2016
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows
- Price: $14.99
Don’t Starve Together is something like Minecraft if the entire game took place in the backpage scrawlings of a wrinkled high-school chemistry notebook. Another open-world survivalcraft, the crux of the game is crafting and exploration in a gothic, hand-drawn world where players must contend with a variety of wicked enemies and supernatural threats.
The PS4 version comes with couch co-op support so that when you go chopping trees in the dark forest and the trees start chopping back, you’ll at least have someone with you to listen to your screams of terror.
- Released: 26 March 2019
- Developer: Nine Dots Studio
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux
- Price: $39.99
Outward is a difficult and uncompromising hybrid of survival games and traditional fantasy RPGs that does nothing to baby its players. The game follows the exploits of a shipwreck survivor recently washed ashore. A familial debt weighs upon their shoulders, and players are given 5 in-game days to either pay it off or have their home seized — after which they are primed to explore a dynamic open-world shaped by player choice and their interactions with the three warring factions.
Aside from traditional RPG skills, quests and leveling, players must contend with survival metrics like thirst, fatigue, hunger, diseases, and curses. Outward has an auto-save feature combined with permadeath that makes sure you think twice and thrice about every choice you make, because there’s no coming back. Outward has two-player local split-screen co-op and is best for hardcore gamers looking for an extra challenge.
Human: Fall Flat
- Released: 22 July 2016
- Developer: No Brakes Games
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Linux, Classic Mac OS
- Price: $14.99
Human Fall Flat is a charmingly awkward, ragdoll-physics based platformer that prides itself on its unpredictable hijinks and unwieldy gameplay mechanics. The game features a variety of puzzle-platformer levels for players to solve, each involving incredibly floaty controls and advanced physics that make even basic operations needlessly complex.
The game supports up to 2 player co-op, with up to 8 players online for unrivaled chaos and comes with a regular stream of new, free content and a wide library of user-generated content out of the Steam workshop. Gamers looking for lighthearted, humorous fun rather than a trying, or terrifying gaming experience should opt for Human: Fall Flat.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service
- Released: 24 June 2019
- Developer: We’re Five Games
- Platform: Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Macintosh operating systems
- Price: $5.99
Think Human: Fall Flat meets GTA. As strange as that sounds, Totally Reliable Delivery Service hits all the comedic and intentionally-bad-controls-hijinks that makes the former special and the open-world sandbox with a vehicular emphasis of the latter. In Totally Reliable Delivery Service, the objective is simple: deliver the package. But the ragdoll-physics engine and inane world make accomplishing said task anything but.
One of the best aspects of Totally Reliable Delivery service is it’s 4 player couch co-op that allows everyone to bumble the seemingly simple task of package delivery together.
- Released: 7 July 2015
- Developer: Psyonix
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Classic Mac OS
- Price: $19.99
What would soccer look like if it were invented by the writers of Fast and Furious for a climactic showdown scene?? Probably something like a high-octane, autosports game called Rocket League that does its best to do away with a pesky thing called realism in favor of something a little more awesome.
In Rocket League, players tear across an arena in nitro-rigged cars doing their best to smash a titanic soccer ball into the opposing team’s net. Yes, it’s just soccer, but with cars. And its arcade-style split-screen hearkens back to days of old when PS2 couch co-op was the gold standard of multiplayer gaming.
Divinity Original Sin II
- Released: 14 September 2017
- Developer: Larian Studios
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
Divinity: Original Sin II is the mouthwatering followup to the enhanced edition of the original Original Sin. The game plays as a relatively straightforward hack-and-slash RPG that finds distinction in just how well executed is. Players can choose from a variety of races and can customize their backstory to their liking before setting off for adventure in a world replete with all of the traditional, high-fantasy goodness you’d expect and then some.
The combat of the game is complex without being convoluted and the huge amount of gear and loot to collect make for many hours of interesting build-experimentation. The game has perfectly executed split-screen co-op with up to four players with drop-in/drop-out access that allows for extremely satisfying exploration with your friends. Highly recommended for people who want a wholesome, complete gaming experience they can sink many hours of cooperative gameplay into.
Dungeon Defenders 2
- Released: 20 June 2017
- Developer: Chromatic Games
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Macintosh operating systems
- Price: Free-to-play
A mashup of tower defense and standard-issue RPG games, Dungeon Defenders 2 is straightforward fun for fans of arcade-style gameplay and a fantasy motif. The game looks a little something vanilla WoW if it were made into a TD game, and plays like something similar.
In Dungeon Defenders 2, players create their party, set up numerous fortifications — everything from medieval booby traps to straight-up laser grips, and greet the onslaught head-on. Unlike most other Tower Defense games, however, players are able to freely dive into the chaos themselves with their playable characters, which is where things become significantly more RPG-ey. The PS4 version supports local split-screen co-op for you and up to three other friends.
What are you waiting for? Go grab a friend, dust off your trusty old PS4, and quickly get into a friendship-annihilating argument over your failure to slice mushrooms efficiently before it’s too late!
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