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The 15 top must-play co-op games

The best games to play side-by-side with friends

There's always a loser in multiplayer games where you face off against some poor unfortunate staring down the barrel of your gun, but co-op gaming is about making love, not war. You'll love your friends as they save you from the brink of death, puzzle through problems together, double your capacity for mindless slaughter and rack up a bodycount in the thousands. Okay, so they're sometimes about making war.

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1. Splinter Cell Conviction

Conviction's co-op nearly matches the size of Sam Fisher's adventure with a story about undercover Russian and American agents. It's about synchronising shots, distracting enemies, and defending your buddy, and a final ten minutes that forces you to break co-op gaming's one rule - you never betray your friends... do you?

2. Left 4 Dead 2

In every game of Left 4 Dead there's always one badass who thinks he can take on the world single-handed - but of course, he's the one who dies first when the zombies come running. It's a gamethat anyone who can aim agun can play, and when the panicsets in you stand together oryou die alone.

3. Dead Rising: Off The Record

Rudimentary as co-op gets, and it should be rubbish, but that mob of zombies we shredded with a strimmer and our buddy finished off with an axe, says otherwise.

4. FIFA 12

Everyone gets so caught up in crushing strangers on Live it's easy to forget you can team up with three friends and dominate the AI for a 'friendlier', more 'laid back' experience.

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5. Halo Wars

Halo Wars has a slapdash ghetto co-op mode where both players share the same base and draw from the same resource pool, but it's that very conflict that makes the game. Like playing with your big brother's action figures, you have to share and play nice or someone will take your toys away.

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