Sea of Thieves
Don’t fancy shooting your mates in the face to prove your superiority to them? A pirate’s life might be the one for you. So form a crew with three of your besties, man the rigging and set sail for adventure in in Sea of Thieves. An Xbox One exclusive that’s built around cooperation, treasure and a fair bit of plundering, it’s an absolute riot in the right hands. Especially when you’re just messing around getting drunk on grog, firing your mates out of cannons and generally wreaking havoc. Trouble is, it lacks the content right now to justify its full price status. Just as well Sea of Thieves is also available on the cheap via Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service.
Brimming with mayhem and potential, when Sea of Thieves is at its best it’s riotous fun
Local co-op (2 players)
Don’t let that cutesy artwork fool you – Cuphead is tough. Unfortunately, having a friend join you in your soul-collecting quest doesn’t make those brutal bosses any easier, as they get a double-helping of health in return, while you frequently get distracted trying to rescue your friend from the jaws of death.
Playing this 2D side-scrolling run and gun with your mate still improves the experience though. By spurring each other on you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel, and once you do overcome a particular gruelling brute, you’ll have someone to celebrate with. High-fives all-round!
This insanely difficult side-scroller is all the better with a partner in crime
Team-based shooters with personality were few and far between before Blizzard gave it a go. Overwatch is the result: a hectic and fiercely competitive 6v6 battle for supremacy where no two characters play the same.
Because each hero has a unique set of abilities and attacks (and you can only have one of each hero per team) you've got to balance your own skills with the needs of the group. Teamwork is key to victory, making this a great pick to play with friends. Voice chat is most definitely advised.
A frantic shooter that puts fun and friends ahead of sheer solo skill
Monster Hunter: World
Online co-op (2-4 players)
Getting bored of headshotting your mate on Call of Duty every weekend? Monster Hunter allows you to work together instead with online co-op available for every main and side quest. Here you’ll be taking down all sorts of fearsome beasts that range from a fire-breathing wyvern to a thunder-powered unicorn.
While you could take down these critters by yourself, fighting in a group of friend is much more fun, alleviating the repetitiveness of slaying a certain critter for the umpteenth time.
There’s no need to worry that bringing a friend to the hunt will take away the challenge either, as monsters get a health boost for every ally you have fighting alongside you. Plus there’s a never-ending supply of difficult challenges and events, even after you complete the 90-hour story.
Matchmaking can be fiddly, but all is forgiven thanks to challenging combat and an incredible amount of co-op content
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Local co-op (2 players), online co-op (2-4 players) and online multiplayer
Halo 5: Guardians was admittedly a bit of a letdown, and couldn't quite live up to the series' long-established brilliance. Not exactly the best place for Microsoft to leave Halo, but did you know you can play the first four games on Xbox One as well?
It's true – and it's really your best option for Halo shenanigans today. The Master Chief Collection is a veritable smorgasbord of multiplayer antics, packing in 100+ maps across the games, which are playable both online and off. True, the older games are a bit dated now, but the allure of Blood Gulch, Warthogs, and Needlers will never fade. Never.
It's all the sci-fi shooty fun you'll ever want (or need)