Playing games alone is fun. You know what’s more fun? Playing games with friends. You know what’s even more fun than that? Playing co-op action games with friends. And if that sounds like your brand of fun, boy do we have a list of games for you.
While “action” may be an extremely broad genre with hard to define edges, we were able to narrow our list down to games that deliver on that “action-packed” feel. Whether you’re facing off against intimidating bosses or fighting your way through twisting dungeons, it doesn’t matter as long as your having a great time with your friends.
We specifically focused on games that feature online multiplayer for this list, so if your friends are far away you can still have a great time together. We’ll also be mentioning whether each game has crossplay or not, so if you and your friends are spread across multiple platforms, you know what you’re getting into.
Behemoth Fighter: Monster Hunter World (PC/Xbox One/PS4)
Boss fights are a staple of video games; whittling down a giant enemy’s health bar is as exciting as it is tense. The Monster Hunter series has always done a great job of taking the concept of boss fights and creating an entire game around it, but 2018’s Monster Hunter World takes things a step further than its predecessors. Environments look better than ever, monsters are smarter and can perform new moves, and your own avatar has a few new tricks up its sleeve that weren’t seen in previous games (like a grappling hook).
The whole point of this game was to modernize the long-running series and make it more accessible to new players, which was definitely achieved. Regardless of whether you’re a brand new player or a seasoned Monster Hunter veteran, you can jump right in with your friends and experience some of the grandest boss battles you’ll ever encounter. They may take a long time (some of the harder fights in the game can take upwards of an hour), but the rewards make it all worth it when you can finally make that cool new electric sword.
Monster Chaser: Dauntless (PC/Xbox One/PS4/Switch)
Dauntless makes no attempt to hide that it’s inspired by the Monster Hunter series. You still fight epic bosses, craft new gear, and explore beautiful environments. While it would be easy to call Dauntless a simple clone, it’s hiding a few surprises and unique ideas to give it its own identity.
Of course, one of the biggest draws of Dauntless is that it’s free to play and has full cross-play between all platforms. This means you can play it will all your friends, regardless of their system of choice or budget. Add in some nice stylized graphics, and you’ve got a great time on your hands here. And, despite being free to play, it doesn’t try to extract to every cent out of you either—it’s pretty respectable of your time (well, some of the bosses still take a long time, but that’s the nature of the genre) and money.
Endless Loop: Risk of Rain 2 (PC/Xbox One/PS4/Switch)
The indie game scene has been heavily inundated with roguelikes (games where, typically, you restart after death while using your new knowledge and gear to get through the game faster and faster), but despite this, Risk of Rain 2 still manages to set itself apart.
Like other games in the genre, you spend most of Risk of Rain 2 fighting enemies and collecting items. These items do a wide range of things from simple speed boosts to creating heat-seeking fireworks every time you open a chest. The interesting part of Risk of Rain 2 comes in when you start collecting lots of items late into a run, as they can all be stacked indefinitely. You can create some crazy builds that make your character feel unstoppable (assuming you survive long enough). Throw in a varied cast of characters that all play different, and you can easily spend many hours hitting that new run button (because you will die a lot).
Risk of Rain 2 is still in development, with the 1.0 update coming sometime in August 2020 for PC. (Consoles will probably get it a few months later.) Still, the game has plenty of content and is extremely polished—no need to be wary of this one. You can even see a full roadmap for the game on its website.
Risk of Rain 2 is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and the Switch. As we hinted at earlier, the console versions are a few months behind PC as far as updates go. (To be clear though, the console versions will be receiving all the content PC has eventually.) You can play in up to four-player co-op, though crossplay is not supported.
Dungeon Crawler: Diablo 3 (PC/Xbox One/PS4/Switch)
Dungeon crawlers are all about looting and fighting your way through strongholds and labyrinths to build up your character’s power. Diablo is one of the most iconic series in the genre, and Diablo 3 is definitely the best option if you’re looking to play with friends—it ‘s the easiest to get your hands on (and is the most modern).
All your equipment is randomized in Diablo, which means each run is wildly different from the last. Collect increasingly powerful items for increasingly difficult stages all with a squad of friends by your side. The mechanics are deep and complex, and there’s plenty of choices to make, so you and your friends will have plenty to sink your teeth into here.
Blocky Dungeons: Minecraft Dungeons (PC/Xbox One/PS4/Switch)
Another dungeon crawler, this time taking place in the blocky world of Minecraft. Minecraft Dungeons aims to simplify the genre a bit to be friendlier to those new to the genre or younger players. The difficulty can be ramped up at your discretion though, so there is still something to work through for experienced players.
Like Diablo and most other games in the genre, you’ll come across randomized loot that power you up over time, while traversing these blocky landscapes. This means you and your friends can work together to build out your squad and make sure everyone has a role to play. If you’re new to this genre (or have friends who are), then Minecraft Dungeons is the perfect launching point.
Pirate Adventure: Sea of Thieves (PC/Xbox One)
Who hasn’t wanted to be a pirate? Heading out on the open seas plundering ships, discovering treasure, and having an all-around good time. Well, at least that’s how shows and movies portray them, and Sea of Thieves is no different, featuring a world of pirates that is bright, colorful, and full of secrets to uncover. You can sail the beautiful seas to the various islands to follow quests or hunt down other players.
While the game launched lacking content, the frequent updates from the developers have turned it into something worth playing. And, with it being a Microsoft game, it’s available on the Game Pass for both PC and Xbox One, which means it’s easy to give it a try without paying full price. So, grab your friends, form a crew, and try not to get sunk too quickly.
Dwarf Mining Spree: Deep Rock Galactic (PC/Xbox One)
If the fantasy genre has taught us anything, it’s that dwarfs are pretty good at mining, so why not inject some science fiction into that cliche and mine some crystal in space?
Deep Rock Galactic sees you and your friends playing as a small team of dwarfs exploring and excavating asteroids and planets in search of your next haul. This is not a path without dangers though, as many enemies will try to stop you from getting to your treasure. And if you succeed in getting the treasure, they’ll try to stop you from leaving alive. This means coordination is key because everyone will have a unique role to play from the movement-focused scout to the hard-hitting gunner.
Add in a comedic tone throughout and a unique low-poly art style, and you and your friends are sure to fall in love with these grimy space miners.
Iconic Collection: Halo: The Master Chief Collection (PC/Xbox One)
Is there a more iconic shooter than Halo? The series was fundamental for the development of the FPS genre, and now you can play the first six games in the series in this fantastic collection. With all six games sporting two-player co-op campaigns,you have a lot of content to work through. So, grab a friend by your side and enjoy blasting through aliens in this epic shooter franchise.
Loot and Shoot: The Borderland Series (Varies)
Borderlands was designed from the get-go for cooperative play, so it’s a perfect choice for fans of this genre to play together. All three games feature the same RPG-like mechanics where you find random loot and weapons to build up your character. It forms an addictive gameplay loop, and the unique visuals and diverse characters only further your desire to keep playing. With three games in the series, you’re sure to be spending a lot of time in the world of Borderlands.
Borderlands 1 and 2 are available in the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and the Switch. Borderlands 3 is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 currently. Crossplay is not supported for any of the games. You can play in up to four-player co-op.