By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

Update: We’ve added Super Mario Odyssey to our list of best co-op titles! Time to fight over who plays Mario and who plays his hat. 

While gaming makes for a great solo hobby, there are some titles that are actually improved by playing with someone else. Not against them, with them. 

Whether you’re teaming up to take down zombies, or solve puzzles or square up to another team of real-life gamers, co-op games are a great opportunity to create some lasting memories.

The best thing about co-op play these days is that more often than not you have the choice between local and co-op play. Getting all your friends gathered round the one TV is great, but if that’s not possible you at least have the opportunity to round them up online.

Here are 20 awesome co-op games that you should be playing now locally or online with your buddies at hand.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Never Alone is a game that’s genuinely improved when a friend joins you. Though there’s a single-player mode, the companion AI leaves a lot to be desired so having a reliable friend alongside you makes this game’s story all the more meaningful. 

The game puts one player in control of a young Iñupiat girl called Nuna who is seeking to stop the terrible blizzards that are battering her village. Player two takes up the role of the small white fox that accompanies her. This is a local co-op experience that requires two controllers.

Never Alone is available on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. 

On paper, Overcooked is a simple game that asks you and a group of friends to work together as chefs to prepare, cook and serve meals in a busy restaurant in a certain amount of time. In practice, though, it’s so much more complicated than that and will make you understand the truth of the phrase “too many cooks spoil a broth.” 

Up to four people can play together locally in Overcooked and it’s amazing just how tricky things can get. It’s some of the most frantic fun you can have in a game and it’s amazing how quickly even the most tight-knit friendships can start to melt when subjected to a hot kitchen. 

Overcooked is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. 

Rocket League is one of the best co-op and multiplayer games to be released in many years. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, it’s basically football/soccer with cars instead of people which is fantastic. Secondly, it’s got an excellent physics system. And finally, it’s incredibly easy to just pick up and play a short game with friends no matter where they are.

Rocket League supports both local and online co-operative play, allowing you to play with a team of strangers or friends against another team of players. You’ll find yourself cheering as you score goals together and heaping blame on one another when one of you lets an easy shot slide through your goal. All in all, it’s an exhilarating co-op experience. 

Rocket League is available on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and it’s coming to Nintendo Switch. 

Whether you’re fighting off Brutes with a shotgun or cruising around in a Warthog taking out Grunts, the Halo series is undeniably leagues more enjoyable with friends. And while the latest entry in the franchise, Halo 5: Guardians, notably omits couch co-op functionality in favor of a central online focus.

Nevertheless, you can experience co-op both locally and over broadband in the Halo archives, lovingly packaged as The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. It compiles Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, along with all of their respective DLC on a single disc or download.

What’s more, a 1080p upscale of the fantastic Halo 3: ODST can be added on for 5 bucks as if $35 wasn’t enough of a bargain already for nearly an entire blockbuster game series.

This was originally launched on the PC back in 2012 by Blizzard Entertainment, but it’s now also offered on the two Xbox and PlayStation consoles with the Reaper of Souls expansion pack included.

It’s an action-packed role-playing game (RPG), allowing players to choose from six different classes – the Witch Doctor, the Barbarian, the Wizard, the Monk, the Demon Hunter and the newly-added Crusader – and embark on an adventure spanning five Acts to defeat both Diablo (Acts I to IV) and Malthael (Act V), the Angel of Death.

The game includes an adventure mode outside the main campaign that allows players to roam through every available region in the game to collect loot. On the consoles, Diablo III is playable with friends both online and offline, whereas the PC version is online only (a sore spot with many PC gamers).

Oh, and you can kill armed, sentient cows in the game – ’nuff said.

At its heart, Borderlands 2 is a shooter, but it offers RPG elements such as gaining experience and leveling up your character. Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, players set out on a quest to take down Handsome Jack, the president of the Hyperion Corporation who is controlling a new resource called Eridium in order to rule over Pandora.

Six playable characters are offered in the game, two of which can be obtained by purchasing downloadable content. The game is a riot overall, and provides plenty of virtual territory for exploration with friends. Players can pick up randomly generated loot from fallen enemies, purchase gear from local shops, and so on.

The game allows up to four friends via invites, or up to four random players via the matchmaker, in a single game. Borderlands 2 is available on multiple gaming platforms.

Here’s another co-op multiplayer shooter, this time from Valve Software. Available on the PC, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, and Linux, players team up with three other gamers to plow through zombies infesting the city. The main objective for each round is to fight your way to the campaign’s end, stopping along the way at safe houses that serve as checkpoints.

There are five campaigns in all spanning across Savannah, Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the gameplay will supposedly adjust itself to match the players’ overall performance. There are four characters to choose from that have their own unique set of traits: Coach, Nick, Rochelle, and Ellis.

There’s also an overall story offered in Left 4 Dead, but when you’re playing alongside friends, it tends to take a backseat as you fight to stay alive. This is a massively fun shooter that can be played with friends locally or online.

This is another of Valve Software’s first-person shooters, although you’re really not shooting anything alive. Instead of a laser rifle, players equip a portal gun that shoots wormhole-connected openings, or portals, on flat surfaces.

It’s a puzzle platformer game at heart, requiring the player to think about how to move onto the next room using these portals. That said, this may be an ideal experience for multiple players as they talk out where a portal should go and when.

In the multiplayer mode, which takes place after the single-player campaign, two players assume bipedal robots named Atlas and P-Body that have their own portal guns. The object is to locate The Vault, which contains humans stored in stasis.

Naturally, the artificial intelligence GLaDOS keeps them busy, testing their puzzle skills along the way. Portal 2 is available on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, the PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360.

Even if you’re not the type to rack up headshots every evening after work in Call of Duty, don’t be so quick to write off Rainbow Six Siege as “just another competitive first-person shooter.” It’s not. Ubisoft has come a long way in realizing the Rainbow Six series’ potential. With the advent of online gaming, the publisher was able to take teamwork to an entirely new level with Siege.

As our friends at PC Gamer said in their review, Rainbow Six Siege is “more dating sim than twitch test.” While the game is mostly about cultivating brief yet unforgettable relationships with other players in fully destructible environments, it also requires a fair share of planning. Because of the limited resources you’re given in each mission, it’s essential to keep communication purely tactical in order to take down the opposing side.

Unfortunately there’s no real story or local co-op element to speak of here, but if you’re interested in joining up with a few buddies online for countless hours’ worth of strategy-focused competitive gaming, Rainbow Six Siege is a safe bet.

This is an open-world shooter developed and published by Ubisoft and launched in 2014. The main setting is a fictional Himalayan country called Kyrat and centers on Ajay Ghale, who is caught in the middle of a war between the Golden Path rebel movement and Kyrat’s Royal Army.

Thus, players are not only faced with fighting off the local wildlife, but enemy soldiers as they explore the surrounding mountains and forests. The co-op multiplayer portion, called “Guns For Hire,” supports two players, and is not part of the main campaign.

However, the two players can roam the countryside and raid outposts they discover. Players take on the role of a Golden Path member or a Rakshasa, the former of which can carry explosives and drive armored vehicles while the latter can teleport and summon wildlife. Far Cry 4 is available for the PC, the Xbox consoles, and the PlayStation consoles.

You knew this would make the list, right? It’s the ultimate co-op experience, allowing players to grab blocks and build worlds together that are only limited by imagination. The beauty of Minecraft is that it can be played co-operatively across different platforms, such as the main world residing on Windows 10 and others jumping in using an Android or iOS device.

Of course, you can go hardcore and join the numerous PC-based Minecraft servers seeded on the Internet using the original Java-based version of the game. And the creations you can find are simply mind-boggling, ranging from the reconstructing of actual cities to a full-scale Starship Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If you don’t know what Minecraft is all about, then get out from under that rock. However, in its simplest terms, Minecraft is a block-building simulator that seemingly has no limits. You can get Minecraft for the PC, the Windows 10 Edition, the Pocket Edition for mobile, and versions for the Xbox consoles, the PlayStation consoles, the Wii U, the PlayStation Vita and more.

Back in 2013, Rockstar promised online Heists as a highlight launch feature for its mega blockbuster, somehow still bestselling week-by-week Grand Theft Auto V. Unfortunately, in the modern games industry, “launch feature” is a loose term in a world where any developer can just patch stuff in later.

When the Heist missions finally did arrive in GTA Online in 2015, however, they were undoubtedly welcomed by an otherwise frustrated community. Mostly consisting of four-player cooperative multi-part tasks, Heists were not only a blast to play with a small group of buddies, but it was also quite lucrative with its virtual compensation.

Gnabbing some in-game cash without it feeling like a chore? Who woulda thunk it.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to pair up with a friend and deflect shots from sentient robots with a friend, Raw Data is a game to write home about. Obviously, being a VR game, you’ll need an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive (or two) to take advantage of the first-person sci-fi shooter title, but once you have a VR-ready setup, you’re good to go.

Sure, VR is an expensive barrier to entry, but Raw Data is also one of the best games out there right now to show off the tech. It’s a bit repetitive considering the only thing you really do in the game is shoot hordes of robots with laser guns or slice ’em open with a totally-not-a-lightsaber branded laser katana.

On the upside, however, Raw Data is also not a full-price game, and even as an immersive tech demo, it’s totally worth the money if only for the novelty. Just keep in mind that despite being room scale, the scale of the rooms in-game are a lot bigger, which makes for a wonky teleportation system that takes some getting used to. Other than that, Raw Data is one of the best co-op games around!

There are few things more delightful than a well-animated 2D platformer and Guacamelee! is one such game.

The story and visuals are inspired by Mexican folklore, taking you between the worlds of the living and the dead. Two people can play the game together locally, with one player controlling a farmer called Juan Aguacate while a second player takes up the role of a female luchador called Tostada. Together you must fight through undead enemies to stop the villain Calos Calaca from sacrificing the president’s beautiful daughter. 

As well as combat there’s puzzle solving elements which involve moving between the living and dead worlds to find the best means of defeating enemies and moving onto the next level. It can be immensely frustrating but when you get through it together it makes for some satisfying gameplay. 

Guacamelee! can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Linux, Mac OS.

You can’t really talk about great co-operative games without giving a mention to Little Big Planet. This game is a creative, adorable and extremely fun way to play with friends. 

Allowing up to four people to join together either online or locally (or a mix of the two), each of you plays a character with unique abilities and characteristics. Combining the skills of each character opens up new and fun ways to solve puzzles across a variety of levels and defeat enemies. You can even create your very own levels which adds a whole new dimension to play.

Little Big Planet 3 is available on PlayStation 4 and Playstation 3. 

Super Mario Odyssey is, first and foremost, a single-player sandbox adventure but it can also be played in co-op mode. In co-op mode, one player takes control of Mario and one player takes control of his sentient hat companion called Cappy. 

While the player taking control of Mario will, of course, do the majority of the enemy bashing and platform, the player in control of Cappy still has a good degree of involvement; they’re able to perform the standard item collection, but they can also interact with the environment, remove harmful hazards from the ground, and boost Mario’s jump. 

Super Mario Odyssey is available on the Nintendo Switch. 

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

At the Final Cut Pro X Creative Summit which took place over the weekend in Cupertino, Apple again showed off the incoming iMac Pro, allowing folks to take some fresh snaps of the space gray all-in-one (with matching accessories) ahead of its launch in December.

The iMac Pro has the same chassis as the standard (consumer-targeted) iMac, but Apple has differentiated this much more powerful model by giving it a space gray color scheme.

9 to 5 Mac captured a number of snaps of the new iMac, which isn’t quite the same space gray that you’ll find on the MacBook Pro. In fact, it’s a little bit darker than that shade, which we rather appreciate.

Naturally, the partner peripherals – the Magic Mouse, Keyboard and Trackpad – are the same matching darker space gray. These will only be available with the iMac Pro (at least to begin with, anyway).

Image credit: 9 to 5 Mac

Paying the price

The new all-in-one won’t come cheap, and would-be buyers will have to prepare their wallets for quite a beating when it comes to the price tag: the souped-up all-in-one starts at $4,999 (around £4,949, about AU$6,520).

Image credit: 9 to 5 Mac

Even the entry-level model has a good amount of power under the bonnet, as you might expect, running with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, AMD Radeon Vega graphics, 32GB of ECC system memory and a 1TB SSD. You also get a 27-inch Retina 5K display.

For further details on available specifications and models, check out our full roundup of all the latest iMac Pro news and features.

Lead image credit: 9 to 5 Mac

  • These are the best Macs you can buy right now

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

eBay deals on Black Friday 2017 may not be here for a few more weeks, but the retail site is getting into the savings spirit early with some scary good sales the day after Halloween. And that’s just the beginning. 

You see, eBay wants you to be a “first-minute” shopper this year by saving big as soon as the calendar flips to November. To that end, eBay is opening up impressive early holiday deals on a range of products beginning November 1, followed by another batch of bargains on November 6.

These early savings mean that when the Black Friday date of November 24 rolls around, you’ll be in prime position to finish off your gift list way ahead of the holidays. And then you can really rub it in the faces of your family and friends who are scrambling to find last-minute gifts. 

Without further ado, here are our picks for the top eBay tech deals you’ll find available beginning at 5am PT / 8am ET on Wednesday, November 1 and at the same time on Monday, November 6. Check out the eBay daily deals page for even more savings.

eBay deals on November 1

Put away your Halloween costume and have a few pieces of candy because the early bird gets the bargain with eBay deals beginning November 1.

Here are the top electronics deals you’ll find once the clock strikes 5am PT / 8am ET this Wednesday. Remember, these deals won’t go live until then. 

eBay deals on November 6

Set a reminder for November 6 as you’ll want to check back at eBay for even more before-Black Friday savings. Just like the earlier deals, these savings go into effect at 5am PT / 8am ET one week from today. The deals listed here are not currently live.

eBay Black Friday deals to come

It’s not even officially November yet and already we’re seeing eBay deals for the holidays. This bodes well for the rest of the month, and especially the biggest shopping day of the year, better known as Black Friday. 

We’ll keep this page updated as more eBay deals surely roll in and on Black Friday 2017 itself. Plus, we’ll be sure to update you as soon as Cyber Monday deals start to poke their head out. 

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

We’re almost ready to say Black Friday 2017 deals in the US are this month, with just a few hours left in October and days in advance of the November 24 date.

The best Black Friday deals are actually coming even sooner, with discounts on technology and everything else through online deals. Your timing is important.

You’re going to need a list of what’s on sale for Black Friday and know where to shop. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Newegg and Best Buy will all be competing for your attention on November 24.

Today, we’re really looking out for Black Friday ad leaks, which make their way online a few weeks in advance of the actual date. We’re expecting to see big-screen 4K TVs, laptops, toys and PS4 and Xbox One bundles.

The hardest gifts to find will be the iPhone X and SNES Classic, which will be too rare to finding in stock. We’ll still post about them here – our expert thinking is that US retailers will use them to lure your to their stores and websites.

A total of $3.45 billion was spent online alone for last year’s Black Friday deals period, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Retailers efforts in 2017, just less than month away from today, could top that. That has everyone excited.

This is the US Black Friday 2017 page. For UK deals please visit our UK Black Friday 2017 page

When is Black Friday 2017?

Black Friday November 24, 2017, the Friday immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday, and that’s one month from today.

It’s the official start to the holiday shopping season, and it’s famous for what retailers call “doorbusters”: deals so good that shoppers will try and break down the front doors to get at them. Inevitably that means it’s also famous for shoppers battling one another, with each Black Friday bringing a new bunch of YouTube clips showing people fighting over flat-screen TVs.

Despite the chaos, Black Friday continues at just about all the major US retailers every year. Many even open start the bargains on Thanksgiving to give shoppers a chance to grab the best deals even earlier. Last year, $1.9 billion was spent online on Thanksgiving Day, bringing the two-day Thanksgiving and Black Friday total to over $5 billion.

Why Black Friday matters

Black Friday has transformed the holiday shopping season, for better and for worse. James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, told the BBC that “there is little doubt Black Friday has dramatically changed the way people shop in the run-up to Christmas and has created an expectation of deep discounts that arguably did not exist before,” while a report by LCP Consulting found that nearly one-third of US retailers believe Black Friday is “unprofitable and unsustainable.”

Before Black Friday became a big deal, the run-up to the holidays was a great period for retailers: we’d buy loads of presents for others and for ourselves, and retailers would make huge piles of money. Then Black Friday happened, and all of a sudden many of us were browsing the bargains for the presents to put in Santa’s sack. Money spent on deeply discounted products in November is money that won’t be spent on more profitable products in December.

According to research by Verdict Retail, there is “no evidence” that Black Friday “stimulated demand”: Black Friday is essentially a black hole that sucks in a big part of people’s pre-Christmas shopping. We buy more but pay less for it.

The National Retail Federation has numbers to back that up; according to the group, shoppers spent less on average over the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, though that was largely because items were so deeply discounted. Amazon led the way with an average of 42% off items available on its digital storefront, according to Reuters

“It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “In fact, over one third of shoppers said 100% of their purchases were on sale.”

As online shopping overtakes in-store shopping on Black Friday, mobile is playing an increasingly important role. Many retailers reported significant leaps in mobile shopping last year, and it was the first-time ever shopping via phones and tablets topped $1 billion in the US. That’s a 33% increase in mobile shopping over Black Friday 2015.

Black Friday 2017 won’t be so crazy

While Black Friday of years’ past may have spelled mayhem, with more people shopping online than in stores, the main thing you’ll have to worry about on Black Friday 2017 is whether stock will run out, not whether you’ll be bowled over by a shopping cart.  

Retailers, too, will have to be prepared for an increase in online shoppers on Black Friday 2017. Macy’s wasn’t prepared for the traffic that came to its website on Black Friday 2016, and shoppers were kept off the site at several points during the day. Not good. 

This year, expect major retails to be well prepared for even higher online traffic, especially on mobile. 

What’s more, just like Black Friday 2016, there will likely be lots of savings spread out over the week, not just on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Last year, many big-name retailers spread their sales over an entire week from the Monday before Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2017, the Monday immediately after. 

Cyber Monday used to be a separate event, the day everybody panicked that they hadn’t bought any presents before visiting Amazon on their work computers. But in 2016, it was just another part of Black Friday Deals Week.

“There is no question that heavy discounting early in the holiday sales season, both online and in stores, along with retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day have cut into Black Friday sales,’’ NRF spokesperson Ana Serafin Smith told USA Today. “However, Black Friday remains the official kick-off to the holidays and an important tradition for millions of shoppers across the country. There is no indication that will change in the foreseeable future.’’

During what some call the Cyber Five weekend (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday), Internet Retailer (via CommerceHub) estimated Amazon sold more than $4.7 billion. That’s a lot of Amazon Echo speakers, GoPro cameras, and other goods!

With deals spread out over several days, Black Friday has lost some of its influence as the biggest shopping day of the year. Still, retailers reserve some of their best bargains for Black Friday, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on the day.

The best Black Friday deals from last year

Every year, we load up with pizza and energy drinks to scour the entire internet for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. These were some of our favorite deals from Black Friday from a year ago.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for $0 + gift card
Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may have been new but that didn’t mean you couldn’t get a Black Friday deal. T-Mobile was selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for $0 and giving away  $250 gift cards when shoppers signed up for a two-year contract.

$50 off PS4 with Uncharted 4 bundle
The PS4 is a brilliant console, and last Black Friday it was a brilliant bargain too: the best-selling console bundle was $50 off for the PS4 500GB with Uncharted 4 at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and more, bringing its price to $249.

$150 off iPad Pro 9.7
There were lots of iPad bargains on Black Friday 2017 including $150 off the iPad Pro 9.7 and $70 off the iPad mini 2. Apple wasn’t offering those discounts, but it did bundle gift cards with various products.

$1,301 off Sony Ultra HD 4K TV
How’s this for a discount: Black Friday meant a massive $1,301 off the Sony 65″ XBR Ultra 4K LED Smart HDTV, bringing its price down to a much less scary $998. There was also $400 off Samsung 4K TVs and over $200 off LG 4K OLED TVs. 

Huge savings on Xbox One bundles
The Xbox One S was just $299 with Battlefield 1 or Gears of War 4 thrown in, or an even cheaper $249 for a non-special edition console. Prices were slashed all over the place for every conceivable combination of console, controllers and games. There were good deals to be had on accessories too.

What to expect from Black Friday 2017

Last Black Friday had some of the most ambitious deals we’ve seen to date, so expect even deeper discounts in 2017. In addition to greater markdowns on Black Friday, retailers will try to beat their own savings – and each other – with better deals even earlier. What started as Black Friday weekend has become Black Friday week, and this year we expect some big-name retailers to start discounting long before that.

That makes sense for many reasons: it spreads the load on their websites and stores, and more importantly it means the news of their deals won’t be buried amid the avalanche of Black Friday announcements. So keep your eyes peeled – and keep visiting our deals page – from early November, and maybe even earlier than that.

Something we saw a lot of in 2016 and expect to see even more of in 2017 is a sliding scale of discounting: we noticed deals got bigger and better as the month progressed. That’s likely to happen again in 2017, with reasonable deals at the beginning of the Black Friday period and more exciting but limited quantity deals on Black Friday itself. The emphasis will be on the more expensive products where retailers can cut prices but still make a decent profit.

Best Black Friday deal 2017 predictions

iPhone 8 and iPhone X deals
By Black Friday, both the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X will be available. And anyone that’s waiting that long to get the latest and greatest iPhones should expect to see some kind of deals popping up for the devices. You’ll have to act fast though, as these will be some of the most popular deals of the shopping day, and iPhone X supplies are likely to be very limited. Expect deals similar to 2016’s $100 price cut and gift cards included with the purchase. iPad deals will probably pop up alongside iPhone deals.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 deals
We’ve already seen loads of crazy deals for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Now the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Active have joined the family, and when Black Friday 2017 rolls around, there will undoubtedly be huge deals on the whole lot. We’ll just have to wait and see if those deals are sweeping discounts, freebies like wireless charging docks and 360 cameras or buy-one-get-one offers.

Google Pixel 2 deals
This is a bit up in the air, but rumor has it that Google may have a Pixel 2 in the works with a launch possible in early October. While the release is expected in late 2017, that could still see a release in time for some slick Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to make the new flagship an affordable one.

PS4 Pro deals
Black Friday 2016 was all about the PS4 Slim, and Black Friday 2017 will be all about the PS4 Pro. As with 2016 we’d expect the very best deals to be on bundles, with some of them costing only a little more than the PS4 Pro itself, so start working on your game wish list: a bundle’s only a good deal if it includes the games you actually want to play. Up to now, the PS4 Pro is holding its MSRP but you can expect that to change later this year, particularly when Microsoft has launched the Xbox One X…

Xbox One X deals
Microsoft’s got a pro console too, and unless something goes wrong with the release schedule it will be on sale long on November 7  – right in time for Black Friday 2017. As with the Xbox One in 2016 we’d expect to see the very best deals on bundles, rather than on the console itself: there’s more wiggle room for the retailer there, so they can afford to be more daring with the discounts.

4K HDR OLED TV deals
Black Friday 2016 was positively packed with TV deals, including nearly half-price deals on select TVs. High-end sets are where the really expensive MSPRs are, and the ever-advancing world of TV tech means those prices can only be sustained for a fairly short time. If you’re in the market for the kind of TV with a price tag that wouldn’t look out of place on a car, Black Friday 2017 could be a very good day for you indeed.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players deals
4K Ultra HD is in an upswing, as more affordable 4K TVs hit the market. While streaming services offer 4K content, the best experience comes from 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays. Come Black Friday, and you can expect to see plenty of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players sitting alongside high-end TVs with the best discounts on both.

Black Friday 2017 FAQ: what it is, when it happens and where to get the best deals

What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving. It’s a day when retailers offer big discounts to kick-start the holiday shopping season.

When is Black Friday 2017?
Black Friday 2017 will be Friday, November 24. What is Cyber Monday? Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately after Black Friday. 

When is Cyber Monday 2017?
Cyber Monday 2017 will be on Monday, November 27. What is Black Friday deals week? It’s the week that includes Black Friday. Retailers are increasingly offering deals before and after Black Friday itself so they stand out from the crowd.

Are Black Friday deals real?
Yes, although in some cases the discounts have been negotiated well in advance with suppliers. As with any sales you’ll see a mix of genuine bargains, discounted end-of-line stock and mysterious things found in the back of a warehouse somewhere. In other words, alongside all those shiny new consoles, you’ll also see deals on random items like cheese graters and shaving razors.

Where can I find the best Black Friday deals?
Right here on TechRadar of course! We scour all the top retailers’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals so that you don’t have to – and we tell you whether the deals are worth getting excited about too. Whether it’s a 4K HDR OLED TV or an Xbox One controller, if it’s discounted we’ll have the details here.

How do I get the best Black Friday 2017 deals?
Know what you want, know what you can afford to spend and know the market: you’ll often see retailers charging higher than usual prices in October so they can offer amazing discounts on Black Friday. Pay particular attention to real prices, not MSRPs: TVs are notorious for this, with sets having a suggested retail price of several thousand dollars routinely selling for a few hundred. 

Sites such as CamelCamelCamel, PriceGrabber and Become and PriceSpy will help tell you if you’re looking at a legitimate bargain as well as track deals on items you want to buy.

It’s also a very good idea to be flexible: for example, if you want a Sony 4K TV then think about the features you want rather than a specific model number: the BRV123ABD54-88C-9218-B may not be discounted on Black Friday, but an almost identical set with the specification you want probably will be.

Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?
Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases, and sites such as Ebates offer cashback for customers of big-name online shops. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Black Friday but for any online shopping.

Am I protected when I buy on Black Friday?
Yes. In the US, anything you buy from a company online is covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation including the Fair Credit Billing Act. This bill lets you dispute a charge or stop payment under certain circumstances while the retailer is being investigated, according to the FTC

How can I stay safe on Black Friday?
Black Friday brings out the scammers as well as the sellers, so be wary of unsolicited emails or links to deals on social media no matter how legitimate they look: anything asking for credit card details or login details is a scam. Phishing sites do big business on Black Friday, so be extra suspicious – and if you’re on a PC, make sure your security software is up to date. Many suites automatically block known scam sites.

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

With the Steam Halloween Sale having kicked off and Destiny 2 out in the wild, there’s never been a more excitable time to buy the best gaming laptop 2017 has seen yet. Although you could hold out for the mobile counterparts to AMD’s Ryzen processors to touch down, there are way too many games that need to be played right now. And, we would argue that they have to be played by you first and foremost. 

  • Note that not all of the best laptops are meant for gaming

That’s right, now that you can personally step foot upon ancient Egypt’s sands of time in Assassin’s Creed Origins, you’re not going to want to do that on a console – even if it’s the fancy new Xbox One X. Plus, with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus available to play right now, what better way is there to shoot Nazis in the face than with the powerful and visually groundbreaking best gaming laptop 2017 has introduced.

It’s no doubt a riveting, albeit overwhelming, time to be a gamer. But, while you’re focused on all of the shiny new games on the shelf, time is spiraling out from underneath you. The solution is portability, which the best gaming laptops 2017 has to offer will surely provide you with. In the following paragraphs, we’ve gone hands on with all of the latest hardware in order to divulge our insider knowledge to you. You can read about, and even buy, the best gaming laptops below.

Kicking Nvidia’s Max-Q technology off right, the Asus Zephyrus GX501 combines the heralded thinness of an Ultrabook with the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both worlds to your feet. Despite exhibiting subpar times in our battery life benchmarks, this svelte powerhouse of a notebook is one for the books when it comes to both portability and style. Plus, it’s virtually silent if noise is a cause for distraction in your everyday routine.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

best gaming laptop

It may not play friendly with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update just yet, but your time with the Razer Blade will be as extensive as it is hasty. On top of boasting a battery life of over 7 and a half hours, it can handle up to 4K Ultra HD gaming with the help of a Razer Core V2 external graphics box and a spare monitor. Or you could opt for the more recently added integrated 4K display option. Either way, you’re in for a treat, we assure you.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best gaming laptops

The Asus Strix GL502 may not boast the most innovative design, swapping out the usual black and red color scheme for one that makes it feel like Halloween year-round. But, it’s undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to gaming in 1080p. In fact, we were able to crank the settings all the way up in Overwatch without taking a hit below 60fps. The battery life is janky, sure, but the screen, performance and onboard sound system more than make up for it.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GL502

Unlike most laptops its size, the Alienware 13 R3 bears a hinge-forward design. By moving the heat sinks behind the screen, the chassis is allowed to be thinner, at 0.81-inch (0.22cm). Unfortunately, this means you won’t find many 13-inch laptop bags that will actually suit the Alienware 13 R3. While you may be tempted by the inclusion of a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention. 

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

best gaming laptop

At long last, Razer has introduced a true desktop replacement that won’t weigh you down. Measuring in at only 0.88 inches thick with the option between a 17-inch 1080p display running at 120Hz or a G-Sync-laden 4K touchscreen, the Razer Blade Pro also introduces the company’s ultra-low-profile mechanical switches to a notebook for the first time ever. That’s a deal that’s only sweetened by an unusual trackpad placement that makes it comfier to boot.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Alienware 17 R4

For less than a grand and a half, you might not think it, but the Gigabyte SabrePro 15 is a bargain. In its price range, you won’t find a laptop with this level of performance. Although it’s only available in one configuration, the GTX 1060 is a nice change of pace considering most affordable gaming laptops struggle to run triple-A games beyond medium settings. That goes without mentioning the fantastic RGB keyboard and Microsoft Precision Touchpad.

Read the full review: Gigabyte SabrePro 15

Donning a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Pascal-series GPU and a screen resolution that soars above 1080p, this laptop is more affordable than a comparably specced Razer Blade or Alienware 13 R3. At the same time, it fails to compromise in terms of portability and performance. Factor in the a reasonable battery life and 190-degree hinge, and it’s easy to see why the Gigabyte Aero 14 made the cut.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 14

To be frank, Alienware hasn’t been a name typically associated with value. That seems to be changing with the Alienware 17 R4, which bears so many different customization options when it comes to specs that you can practically name your own price. Bespeckled with all of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the brand, such as RGB backlit-accents and tons of ventilation, our only real qualm with the Alienware 17 R4 is a disappointing battery life.

Read the full review: Alienware 17 R4

In a world full of overpriced (and overcompensating) gaming laptops, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is a breath of fresh air. An anomaly that ditches the Alienware moniker, Dell has crafted yet a gaming laptop that’s masked as one of its more productivity-centric machines. The discrete graphics options won’t blow you away, but the price certainly will. Plus with a battery life recorded at 7 hours and 38 minutes, it’s unparalleled in that department.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

best gaming laptops

While companies like Asus and Razer are going all out when it comes to gaming laptop performance, Medion – a company majority owned by Lenovo – has crafted a laptop donning economical components paired with a gorgeous design intended to appeal to the sensibilities of hardcore gamers. Though it’s not exactly a powerhouse on the inside, you won’t have to shell out an arm and a leg to enjoy the benefits of this mid-range monster.

Read the full review: Medion Erazer X6603

  • This product is only available in the UK as of this writing. US and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

  • Any one of these hardy notebooks could dominate our Black Friday deals

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

Just in time for the Steam Halloween Sale, Valve has introduced digital gift cards, allowing you to give the gift of PC gaming without leaving your home. 

There have been physical gift cards available for a while, but this would mean that you’d have to take your actual physical body to an actual physical store in order to provide your loved one with some Steam Store action.

Of course, with the Steam Halloween Sale, Black Friday Sale and Winter Sale on the way, it’s entirely possible that it’s you reading this that needs the gift voucher. If that’s the case, maybe you could send your loved one the link to the Steam Gift Card Page.

No wrapping required

With the Steam Halloween Sale starting tonight (if the rumors are anything to go by) you’ll have to act quick. You can only send a digital gift card to someone that you’ve been Steam Friends with for more than three days. 

The Halloween sale is supposed to run from the October 26 to November 1, so there’s still time to coerce your grandma to get a Steam account so she can send you that sweet, money-saving gift goodness. 

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If you’re holding out for an LTE version of the new Surface Pro, don’t lose hope just yet. Microsoft has issued a statement correcting its own apparent mistake that spurred reports of a Spring 2018 release date for the Surface Pro LTE.

“Surface Pro with LTE will be available later this year,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Neowin. “We will have more to share regarding specific timing and market availability in the coming months.”

Again, this statement comes following a report, based on information published on the online Microsoft Store, that the Surface Pro LTE release would not happen until spring 2018.

False alarm

Before this mistake was made, it was confirmed that Microsoft would launch the Surface Pro LTE on December 1. This new statement sheds no light on exactly when the new model of the Windows 10 tablet will ship, however.

So, we can’t say with confidence any longer that December 1 is the Surface Pro LTE release date but, at the very least, we can rest assured that we’ll see it before the end of the year. Granted, if pushed back any, it can’t go much further back than that – otherwise it’ll miss the heart of the Christmas shopping season.

When the Surface Pro LTE does launch, don’t expect it to come in any other variant than the Intel Core i5 edition. This is because of the room needed for the 40-band, Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem chip otherwise taken by the fan in the Core i7 models, according to Neowin.

At any rate, we’re likely to see Microsoft share “specific timing and market availability” come October 31, which marks the keynote during Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London, headed up by none other than Surface lead Panos Panay. We’ll be there to report next week, so keep it locked here for Surface Pro LTE updates.

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The best Newegg Black Friday deals 2017

Newegg’s Black Friday 2017 deals are still a month away, but we’re already anticipating amazing savings on some of the most expensive items you’ll ever buy: electronics. Come the Black Friday date of November 24, Newegg is one place where you’ll save big.

Newegg has earned its reputation as a trusted retailer of computers and components, dealing in everything from laptops and desktops to motherboards and liquid cooling systems. But Newegg’s price cuts don’t stop at PCs. On Black Friday 2017, it will offer massive savings on phones, drones, home goods, smartwatches and car tech, just to name a few.

How do we know? Because Newegg already has its Black Friday Sale page up. Though there are no deals listed right now, this gives us an early look at all the price cuts Newegg will offer this Black Friday, including on products like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and Asus Zenbook UX303.

If you’re keeping an eye out for Newegg Black Friday ad leaks and promo codes and are ready to click ‘Add To Cart’ at a moment’s notice, keep reading for the deals we anticipate at Newegg this holiday shopping season, plus products you can save on right now.

Black Friday deals quick link

Newegg Black Friday ad leaks

There currently aren’t any Newegg Black Friday ad leaks to be found, though we’ll add those to this page as soon as the ads begin to trickle out. These will give us an idea of what savings the retailer has planned for the big shopping day.

Save before Black Friday: Newegg deals right now

One of Newegg’s signature features is its Daily Deals page. It’s here you’ll find super savings that, as the page’s tagline says, are “Deal Today, Gone Tomorrow.” 

Since these deals repopulate daily, you’ll find savings every day leading up to Black Friday (and Cyber Monday, for that matter), but you have to act fast in order to get the deal you want before it disappears. 

Here are some of the top product deals available on Newegg right now. Just remember, many deals expire at the end of every day, so keep checking the Daily Deals page for the latest savings.

Acer Aspire E5-575G-728Q laptop costs $669.99 (was $799.99) This Acer laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB DDR4 memory is currently $110 off, however it’s another $20 off with promo code 17CTAUYG61. Snag this laptop now before the deal expires. 

Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube desktop with free Destiny 2: Phase 3 for $1,449.99 (was $1,999.99) On the hunt for a new desktop? Consider Lenovo’s Y710 Cube with Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB DDR4 memory and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. At $550 off and with a free Destiny 2 game thrown in, you’ll want to pat yourself on the back for scoring this great deal.  

Acer Aspire GX-785-UR16 desktop for $649.99 (was $899.99) A deal that’s almost too good to pass up. You save $250 on a desktop with Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB DDR4 memory and an AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU. Not bad! 

Acer GN276HL Black 27″ gaming monitor costs $279.99 (was $329.99) This Acer monitor offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a refresh rate of 144Hz, making images pop off the screen whether you’re working or gaming. With the price lowered by $50, now’s a great time to kick your old monitor to the curb. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with free wireless charger is $699.99 Why just buy a phone when you can get a freebie thrown in? This unlocked Galaxy S8 Plus can be yours for $699.99 and includes a Samsung Wireless charger at no extra charge.

Expected Newegg Black Friday deals

Newegg is already teasing its Black Friday deals on its dedicated sales page, so we have a great idea of what deals to expect on November 24.

You should be able to find stellar savings on just about any electronic device you could want, including PCs, laptops, components, peripherals, gaming consoles and drones. You really should check Newegg first before any other retailer to see what deals are available on Black Friday. You may save more on Newegg than anywhere else on some items.

PC & laptop Newegg Black Friday deals: No shock here. PCs and laptops deals from the likes of Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, MSI and many more are likely to get huge discounts at Newegg on Black Friday. Look for savings of between 5% – 15% in general, though some deals may take close to 50% off.

Desktop Newegg Black Friday deals: Black Friday will be a great time to save on a desktop at Newegg. Once again, top manufacturers like ABS, Acer, Cyberpower, and Dell will almost certainly put their best sales forward. You can look for deals that go up to 35% or higher.  

4KTV Newegg Black Friday deals: Oh yes, you’ll find plenty of 4KTV deals at Newegg this Black Friday. Samsung, LG and Vizio are just some of the names you’ll see with discounted high-res screens populating Newegg’s pages. The current trend of taking 28% – 35% off will likely carry over, though probably go even higher during the holiday shopping season.

Gaming Newegg Black Friday deals: Gaming deals and Black Friday go together like bread and cheese, and Newegg will undoubtedly partake with deals on systems like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Look for these popular consoles to get bundled with games for even more Black Friday savings.

More Newegg Black Friday deals to come

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Newegg Black Friday deals. The retailer is sure to go even bigger than it has in years past with savings to one-up the competition. 

And it won’t just be sales on the “usual suspects” like PCs, laptops, game consoles and components, but also home goods like coffee makers, vacuum cleaners and power tools

Newegg carries just about any kind of device you can plug into a wall or run on a battery, and Black Friday will see Newegg’s already good prices go to the lowest level they will all year. The retailer’s current Daily Deals give us a good idea of what we can expect on November 24, but just know prices are sure to plunge even further.

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Steam Sales are like busses, you wait ages for one, then three come along at once. And thanks to a leak on Reddit (that has now been deleted) we know the exact dates for the Steam sales that are coming up for the rest of the year. 

The Steam Halloween Sale is first up, starting in just a few days time, unsurprisingly straddling the Halloween weekend, so you can get your hands on some discounted games to play between trick or treaters and costume party preparations.

The Steam Halloween Sale is followed shortly after by the Black Friday sale, and the Winter sale. 

  • Steam Halloween Sale dates: October 26 – November 1
  • Steam Black Friday Sale dates: November 22 – November 28
  • Steam Winter Sale dates: December 21 – January 4

Double the discounts

The Reddit post was removed due to being unverified with no mention of a source, but you can rest assured that the information is accurate as it was  verified by Eurogamer.

What’s interesting is that the Halloween Sale is double the length it usually is, lasting a full seven days. Thankfully Valve has stopped doing flash sales so any bargain will be live the entire sale, but it’s still possible to miss good deals (and buy games that you shouldn’t). 

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, bookmark our Steam Sales page, and check back regularly to make sure you’re always making the most of the sales.

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

While gaming makes for a great solo hobby, there are some titles that are actually improved by playing with someone else. Not against them, with them. 

Whether you’re teaming up to take down zombies, or solve puzzles or square up to another team of real-life gamers, co-op games are a great opportunity to create some lasting memories.

The best thing about co-op play these days is that more often than not you have the choice between local and co-op play. Getting all your friends gathered round the one TV is great, but if that’s not possible you at least have the opportunity to round them up online.

Here are 20 awesome co-op games that you should be playing now locally or online with your buddies at hand.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Never Alone is a game that’s genuinely improved when a friend joins you. Though there’s a single-player mode, the companion AI leaves a lot to be desired so having a reliable friend alongside you makes this game’s story all the more meaningful. 

The game puts one player in control of a young Iñupiat girl called Nuna who is seeking to stop the terrible blizzards that are battering her village. Player two takes up the role of the small white fox that accompanies her. This is a local co-op experience that requires two controllers.

Never Alone is available on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. 

On paper, Overcooked is a simple game that asks you and a group of friends to work together as chefs to prepare, cook and serve meals in a busy restaurant in a certain amount of time. In practice, though, it’s so much more complicated than that and will make you understand the truth of the phrase “too many cooks spoil a broth.” 

Up to four people can play together locally in Overcooked and it’s amazing just how tricky things can get. It’s some of the most frantic fun you can have in a game and it’s amazing how quickly even the most tight-knit friendships can start to melt when subjected to a hot kitchen. 

Overcooked is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. 

Rocket League is one of the best co-op and multiplayer games to be released in many years. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, it’s basically football/soccer with cars instead of people which is fantastic. Secondly, it’s got an excellent physics system. And finally, it’s incredibly easy to just pick up and play a short game with friends no matter where they are.

Rocket League supports both local and online co-operative play, allowing you to play with a team of strangers or friends against another team of players. You’ll find yourself cheering as you score goals together and heaping blame on one another when one of you lets an easy shot slide through your goal. All in all, it’s an exhilarating co-op experience. 

Rocket League is available on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and it’s coming to Nintendo Switch. 

Whether you’re fighting off Brutes with a shotgun or cruising around in a Warthog taking out Grunts, the Halo series is undeniably leagues more enjoyable with friends. And while the latest entry in the franchise, Halo 5: Guardians, notably omits couch co-op functionality in favor of a central online focus.

Nevertheless, you can experience co-op both locally and over broadband in the Halo archives, lovingly packaged as The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. It compiles Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, along with all of their respective DLC on a single disc or download.

What’s more, a 1080p upscale of the fantastic Halo 3: ODST can be added on for 5 bucks as if $35 wasn’t enough of a bargain already for nearly an entire blockbuster game series.

This was originally launched on the PC back in 2012 by Blizzard Entertainment, but it’s now also offered on the two Xbox and PlayStation consoles with the Reaper of Souls expansion pack included.

It’s an action-packed role-playing game (RPG), allowing players to choose from six different classes – the Witch Doctor, the Barbarian, the Wizard, the Monk, the Demon Hunter and the newly-added Crusader – and embark on an adventure spanning five Acts to defeat both Diablo (Acts I to IV) and Malthael (Act V), the Angel of Death.

The game includes an adventure mode outside the main campaign that allows players to roam through every available region in the game to collect loot. On the consoles, Diablo III is playable with friends both online and offline, whereas the PC version is online only (a sore spot with many PC gamers).

Oh, and you can kill armed, sentient cows in the game – ’nuff said.

At its heart, Borderlands 2 is a shooter, but it offers RPG elements such as gaining experience and leveling up your character. Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, players set out on a quest to take down Handsome Jack, the president of the Hyperion Corporation who is controlling a new resource called Eridium in order to rule over Pandora.

Six playable characters are offered in the game, two of which can be obtained by purchasing downloadable content. The game is a riot overall, and provides plenty of virtual territory for exploration with friends. Players can pick up randomly generated loot from fallen enemies, purchase gear from local shops, and so on.

The game allows up to four friends via invites, or up to four random players via the matchmaker, in a single game. Borderlands 2 is available on multiple gaming platforms.

Here’s another co-op multiplayer shooter, this time from Valve Software. Available on the PC, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, and Linux, players team up with three other gamers to plow through zombies infesting the city. The main objective for each round is to fight your way to the campaign’s end, stopping along the way at safe houses that serve as checkpoints.

There are five campaigns in all spanning across Savannah, Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the gameplay will supposedly adjust itself to match the players’ overall performance. There are four characters to choose from that have their own unique set of traits: Coach, Nick, Rochelle, and Ellis.

There’s also an overall story offered in Left 4 Dead, but when you’re playing alongside friends, it tends to take a backseat as you fight to stay alive. This is a massively fun shooter that can be played with friends locally or online.

This is another of Valve Software’s first-person shooters, although you’re really not shooting anything alive. Instead of a laser rifle, players equip a portal gun that shoots wormhole-connected openings, or portals, on flat surfaces.

It’s a puzzle platformer game at heart, requiring the player to think about how to move onto the next room using these portals. That said, this may be an ideal experience for multiple players as they talk out where a portal should go and when.

In the multiplayer mode, which takes place after the single-player campaign, two players assume bipedal robots named Atlas and P-Body that have their own portal guns. The object is to locate The Vault, which contains humans stored in stasis.

Naturally, the artificial intelligence GLaDOS keeps them busy, testing their puzzle skills along the way. Portal 2 is available on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, the PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360.

Even if you’re not the type to rack up headshots every evening after work in Call of Duty, don’t be so quick to write off Rainbow Six Siege as “just another competitive first-person shooter.” It’s not. Ubisoft has come a long way in realizing the Rainbow Six series’ potential. With the advent of online gaming, the publisher was able to take teamwork to an entirely new level with Siege.

As our friends at PC Gamer said in their review, Rainbow Six Siege is “more dating sim than twitch test.” While the game is mostly about cultivating brief yet unforgettable relationships with other players in fully destructible environments, it also requires a fair share of planning. Because of the limited resources you’re given in each mission, it’s essential to keep communication purely tactical in order to take down the opposing side.

Unfortunately there’s no real story or local co-op element to speak of here, but if you’re interested in joining up with a few buddies online for countless hours’ worth of strategy-focused competitive gaming, Rainbow Six Siege is a safe bet.

This is an open-world shooter developed and published by Ubisoft and launched in 2014. The main setting is a fictional Himalayan country called Kyrat and centers on Ajay Ghale, who is caught in the middle of a war between the Golden Path rebel movement and Kyrat’s Royal Army.

Thus, players are not only faced with fighting off the local wildlife, but enemy soldiers as they explore the surrounding mountains and forests. The co-op multiplayer portion, called “Guns For Hire,” supports two players, and is not part of the main campaign.

However, the two players can roam the countryside and raid outposts they discover. Players take on the role of a Golden Path member or a Rakshasa, the former of which can carry explosives and drive armored vehicles while the latter can teleport and summon wildlife. Far Cry 4 is available for the PC, the Xbox consoles, and the PlayStation consoles.

You knew this would make the list, right? It’s the ultimate co-op experience, allowing players to grab blocks and build worlds together that are only limited by imagination. The beauty of Minecraft is that it can be played co-operatively across different platforms, such as the main world residing on Windows 10 and others jumping in using an Android or iOS device.

Of course, you can go hardcore and join the numerous PC-based Minecraft servers seeded on the Internet using the original Java-based version of the game. And the creations you can find are simply mind-boggling, ranging from the reconstructing of actual cities to a full-scale Starship Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If you don’t know what Minecraft is all about, then get out from under that rock. However, in its simplest terms, Minecraft is a block-building simulator that seemingly has no limits. You can get Minecraft for the PC, the Windows 10 Edition, the Pocket Edition for mobile, and versions for the Xbox consoles, the PlayStation consoles, the Wii U, the PlayStation Vita and more.

Back in 2013, Rockstar promised online Heists as a highlight launch feature for its mega blockbuster, somehow still bestselling week-by-week Grand Theft Auto V. Unfortunately, in the modern games industry, “launch feature” is a loose term in a world where any developer can just patch stuff in later.

When the Heist missions finally did arrive in GTA Online in 2015, however, they were undoubtedly welcomed by an otherwise frustrated community. Mostly consisting of four-player cooperative multi-part tasks, Heists were not only a blast to play with a small group of buddies, but it was also quite lucrative with its virtual compensation.

Gnabbing some in-game cash without it feeling like a chore? Who woulda thunk it.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to pair up with a friend and deflect shots from sentient robots with a friend, Raw Data is a game to write home about. Obviously, being a VR game, you’ll need an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive (or two) to take advantage of the first-person sci-fi shooter title, but once you have a VR-ready setup, you’re good to go.

Sure, VR is an expensive barrier to entry, but Raw Data is also one of the best games out there right now to show off the tech. It’s a bit repetitive considering the only thing you really do in the game is shoot hordes of robots with laser guns or slice ’em open with a totally-not-a-lightsaber branded laser katana.

On the upside, however, Raw Data is also not a full-price game, and even as an immersive tech demo, it’s totally worth the money if only for the novelty. Just keep in mind that despite being room scale, the scale of the rooms in-game are a lot bigger, which makes for a wonky teleportation system that takes some getting used to. Other than that, Raw Data is one of the best co-op games around!

There are few things more delightful than a well-animated 2D platformer and Guacamelee! is one such game.

The story and visuals are inspired by Mexican folklore, taking you between the worlds of the living and the dead. Two people can play the game together locally, with one player controlling a farmer called Juan Aguacate while a second player takes up the role of a female luchador called Tostada. Together you must fight through undead enemies to stop the villain Calos Calaca from sacrificing the president’s beautiful daughter. 

As well as combat there’s puzzle solving elements which involve moving between the living and dead worlds to find the best means of defeating enemies and moving onto the next level. It can be immensely frustrating but when you get through it together it makes for some satisfying gameplay. 

Guacamelee! can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Linux, Mac OS.

You can’t really talk about great co-operative games without giving a mention to Little Big Planet. This game is a creative, adorable and extremely fun way to play with friends. 

Allowing up to four people to join together either online or locally (or a mix of the two), each of you plays a character with unique abilities and characteristics. Combining the skills of each character opens up new and fun ways to solve puzzles across a variety of levels and defeat enemies. You can even create your very own levels which adds a whole new dimension to play.

Little Big Planet 3 is available on PlayStation 4 and Playstation 3. 

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