5 Video Games worth playing in Co-op

Trine Series (PC)

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A physics-based platformer, the trine series follows 3 unlikely heroes group together to save their unnamed kingdom from all kinds of evil. All three characters (a knight, a wizard and a thief) have unique abilities from the other two; the knight has the strength to move objects as well as a shield to block attacks whereas the thief has a bow and arrow to attack from afar and a grappling hook to swing to areas. Finally, the wizard has the ability to conjure planks and boxes but no hostile attacks. This ultimately gives the game its co-op magic, by implementing teamwork successfully, you and two friends will find yourselves having built a special bond between one another as you have all come to rely on one another as the game goes on.

Monaco (PC/XBox)

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Ever thought to yourself you would make a great thief? Thought about performing your own heist with your friends but scared of the repercussions? Then Monaco is the game for you. Playing from a bird’s eye view, Monaco allows for up to 4 players to take part in cunning missions to perform heists and avoid guards (similar to the 1990’s arcade game Bonanza Bros). Each player can choose from a group of trained professionals to control, each with their own specialties such as the pickpocket who uses his pet monkey to collect coins, the lookout who can see every NPC in the level when not running despite everyone only seeing through line of sight and the mole who can eat through walls. What is most important about the game is talking to your team about how to go about the heist. Having each other’s back makes the level run smoothly and leaves you all believing you have what it takes to begin a life of crime.

Streets of Rage series (Mega Drive)

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Although these games may be difficult to play 2 player now as its console is out-dated, these beat ‘em up games were always a favourite of mine. You fight a crime syndicate on the streets pummelling the corruption out of the city until you reach the boss behind it all, Mr X. A fairly simple series, the games are easy to finish in a couple of hours but what makes it so enjoyable playing it in co-op is its simplicity; you do not have to worry about tactics or concentrating on what you are doing, giving you plenty of time to catch up with your friend.

Gain Ground (Mega Drive)

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Another Mega Drive game, Gain Ground is worth playing. The game centres on a simulating system that goes berserk and holds heroes captive, three characters decide to enter the simulator in order to free the hostages. Players must complete each stage by either reaching the exit zone with all their characters or killing all enemies. However, you can also save hostages by collecting them and exiting the stage with that character, this will give you another hero to play with on the next stage with their own unique ability. This game is made interesting as players can use co-op tactics to kill enemies and save hostages as well as aid each other out when an enemy has one of you pinned. Additionally, an element of sacrifice is added as only one player can save and use a hostage so one will miss out on a ‘life’. As an arcade game, Gain Ground can keep you and a friend occupied for an entire day and you will only realise once it’s dark outside.

Lego Series (Playstation/Xbox)

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Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Marvel, DC, Jurassic Park… Lego, is there anything it can’t do? These games allow fans to geek out with one another and the best thing is you don’t have to be an avid gamer to play as you don’t stay dead for long. Simply put, Lego games are simple; build and destroy! When I play with my good friend Bry we spend less time following the story and more times completely obliterating Hogwarts – and they thought Voldemort was evil! This is what makes the games so fun, although I love video games; you don’t have to, to enjoy the game. Just pick up a controller (and a cocktail or two), choose the character you always wanted to play as and let rip.

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5 Beautiful yet Deadly Game Locations

Skyrim (Elder Scrolls Series)

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If you’d take snow over a beach and plenty of sun then Skyrim is the place for you. Skyrim is set in the northern most province of Tamriel and holds natural beauties that can’t be seen anywhere else; the Northern Lights, the Dwarven built Markarth and a mammoth frozen in ice are all sights that no pilgrim would want to miss. But be warned that Skyrim also holds many dangers lurking between its snowy peaked mountains. Most people live in squalor, scraping out a living mining in caves or hunting game both of which can lead to death. The caves are infested with giant man-eating spiders and hunters can find themselves hunted by big bears and trolls. However, the biggest hazard is the dragons which have, with very little warning, woken up from their slumber. Revel in the knowledge that, unlike the locals, you can fully enjoy the sights of Skyrim without living in squalor.

Archylte Steppe (Final Fantasy XIII)

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Underneath the artificial world of Cocoon lies a large expanse of untamed wilderness on Gran Pulse that hasn’t been destroyed by overpopulation. Yet, since humanity hasn’t made much of an effect over the land, the Archylte Steppe has kept its harsh evolutionary nature; survival of the fittest. Large beasts such as the Behemoth King fiercely roam the area as do other beasts such as flans and giant wolf-like creatures named Megistotherian. However, the largest creature that roams the Archylte Steppe is the titan that lunches on the herding Adamantoises; gigantic creatures that’s size give them little reason to fear the more ferocious creatures on the plains. Despite the threat of wild, aggressive animals, the large expanse of land remains a beautiful untouched area where Cocoon can be seen in the sky. This otherworldly image adds to the splendour of just one area of the remarkable Gran Pulse.

Banoi Island (Dead Island)

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An island paradise off the coast of Papua New Guinea, the island is barely touched by civilization. Consisting of plenty of beaches, a delightful top of the range hotel, an untamed forest and a small local town to explore, Banoi has everything you could ask for in a holiday. However, if Banoi still sounds a bit too relaxing for you, never fear! There is still the taste of adventure in the shape of flesh eating zombies that would rather a taste of you. The living undead come in various shapes and sizes so why not pick up a paddle or create your own weapon and help replace the beautiful sun-soaked island with its own blood-soaked beaches. You might end up tore in two from a horde of walkers but at least the cocktails are free right?

Albion (Fable Series)

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Albion is a country filled with mystery and lore, where morality plays a huge part in its culture. Magic is evidently in its air and the smart are rewarded chests from huge talking stone faces called Demon Doors. Although Albion appears a nice place with scenic lakes, monuments and waterfalls, most places are extremely dangerous for the casual visitor. Paths are guarded by bandits to hijack passer-byes, the Silver Pines is overcrowded with balverines at night and hobbes have set camps in almost every cave. If that isn’t enough, Albion has found itself in the midst of revolution on several occasions and ultimately ruled by a mystically appointed Hero who has the power to massacre entire cities if they chose to. If one thing is clear, Albion is not a safe place for the common folk who have been unlucky enough not to have been chosen to be a hero by the blind seeress.

Unnamed Kingdom (Trine Series)

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This kingdom once stood as home to a great king who kept peace over the land. However, after his death, the residents all abandoned the area. It now lays untouched from human intervention. The flora has once again begun to creep its way back into the kingdom, entwining itself around the ruins of the once proud towers that stood watch over the kingdom. With locations such as the Astral Academy enveloped by the moon’s glow, the colourful crystal caverns and the mystical dragon Graveyard to discover, this unnamed Kingdom is positively gorgeous to look at. However, there is a reason the kingdom has been abandoned; a skeletal army has made it their home and they refuse to share it. Additionally, nature itself has also been affected by the dark presence of the undead; bats and spiders have begun to prey on the unaware and, perhaps most disturbing, plants have evolved to shoot fire. This ruin of a once great civilization remains beautiful to admire from a distance but enter into it and you will soon realise that its awe is just as dangerous as what lurks inside.

5 Most Emotional Book Character Deaths

Simon (Lord of the Flies – William Golding)

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A book about how a group of young boys would cope on a deserted island without parental supervision, Golding’s classic delves into the innate evil that lurks in everyone’s soul. Without societal authority, in this case parents, the young boys slowly digress into animalistic creatures with no sense of morality. The only characters who don’t allow themselves to become savages are Ralph, Piggy and Simon. It is the death of Simon which arguably begins all the children’s descent into savages as he is massacred by all the boys on the island who are too caught up in taking part in a tribal ‘hunt-dance’ to realise that the beast they are attacking is Simon. It is a tear-jerking moment as the only reason he got killed was for trying to tell the others that there is no beast. The only beast is savagery. In this sense, the ‘beast’ kills Simon before he can tell the others. As with all of the deaths in The Lord of the Flies, Simon’s death represents the loss of something, in his case it is truth, innocence, and common sense. His violent death is juxtaposed with the description of his body’s final resting place is depicted as beautiful; his body is gently picked up from the beach by the tide and calmly pulled out to sea with luminescent fish and plants lighting the area, adding to the horrific nature of the children actions compared to the nature of the island.

The Banderbear (Beyond the Deepwoods – Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell)

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While making his way through the Deepwoods, Twig, the protagonist, encountered the banderbear; (an enormous, hairy, tusked bear-like creature). Although fearsome in appearance, the banderbear was shy, timid and friendly; after Twig helped him with his toothache by pulling the rotten tooth out, the two became good friends and travelled through the Deepwoods together. However, the friendship was not to last when a group of wig-wigs (small, orange, fluffy creatures which act like piranhas) decided to hunt both Twig and the unnamed banderbear. Knowing that the wig-wigs would eventually catch up with them, the banderbear decided to lift Twig into a nearby tree to put him out of the wig-wig’s reach. In doing so, the wig-wigs were able to catch up with him and devour him in front of Twig. His last words were ‘T-wuh-g…Fr-uh-nz’. Perhaps not as emotional as it may sound, the book was advertised for 8 – 12 years and in such has always remained locked in my mind as one of the most traumatic deaths I have read.

Arran Harper (The Enemy – Charlie Higson)

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world where anyone over the age of 14 turn into cannibalistic zombies, it goes without saying that a lot of children die within the book. However, Arran’s death is the saddest and also the most surprising. Set out as the protagonist, it comes as a shock that he dies on the way to Buckingham Palace, early on in the book. He was the leader of the Waitrose survivors (children who have set up base inside a Waitrose) but early on gets bitten by a zombie that bared a striking resemblance to his mother at a swimming pool while serving as one of the scavenger party looking for food. However, the bite does not kill him but does begin to get infected, causing him to become ill and delirious. Nonetheless, the reader assumes that since he is the main character and it is still early in the book that he will survive or at least die near the end. His death comes when the children are ambushed by a group of zombies led by a smart zombie named St George at Camden. Having won the actual battle, the zombies retreat and Arran gives chase only to get shot with an arrow in the chest by another survivor; Sophie. In the confusion of the zombies running away in her direction, she mistook Arran as one. With such severe injuries, he dies there surrounded by the Waitrose crew, his last words are “I love you, Mom” reminding us that he was just a child.

The Unnamed Father (The Road – Cormac McCarthy)

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Another post-apocalyptic novel, The Road follows an unnamed father and his son on their journey to head south to survive the oncoming winter. With the constant threat of attack from cannibals, exposure, and starvation the father is constantly trying to prepare his son for the time when he will no longer be there to protect him. The father’s death comes after their journey to the sea where he has been shot with an arrow and realises that he will die soon. In an attempt to reassure his son the father tells the boy that he can continue to speak with him through prayer after he is gone. With the boy pleading for his father not to leave him, it is hard not to get a lump in your throat. Additionally, with the son unsure where to go now that his father has passed away, we feel a responsibility for this child to remain safe. That feeling is left shaken when a man who claims he has been tracking the pair convinces the boy that he is one of the “good guys” and takes him under his protection. With a sense of uncertainty as to whether the boy is safe, the reader feels powerless and even more depressed.

Brom Holcombsson (Eragon – Christopher Paolini)

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Ever since Eragon had to escape his home town of Carvahall with his dragon because the Evil lord Galbatorix felt threatened that he would overthrow him, Brom has been by his side, fighting and teaching him things such as the use of the magical powers bestowed upon a Dragon Rider and the art of swordsmanship, as well as teaching him how to read. When attempting to destroy the Ra’zac (an ancient race that feeds on humans as well as Galbatorix’s servants), the heroes are ambushed and attempt to escape. However, while escaping one of the Ra’zac threw a dagger at Eragon, but Brom moved into its path in order to save Eragon but leaves him mortally wounded. Before passing away, Brom confesses his past to Eragon claiming that he was once a dragon rider himself before his dragon was killed and he went into hiding as a storyteller in Carvahall. In order to give Brom a proper burial, Eragon created a tomb out of sandstone which Saphira turned to diamond with her magic in order to preserve his honour forever. Although sad, the death of Brom constantly hits home throughout the saga as more secrets that he kept are revealed such as Eragon’s parentage and the truth behind his sword Zar’roc.

5 Most Emotional Video Game Character Deaths

Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII)

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Originally released in 1997, she has one of the most recognised video game deaths of all time, showing just how emotional her demise truly is. She was a temporary playable character before leaving the party and later is found praying at an altar. However, the chance encounter is short lived as the moment she recognises Cloud Strife she is stabbed through the chest by the antagonist Sephiroth in front of their eyes. It is only revealed that she was killed because she was the only one to protect the planet from Sephiroth’s plan to use the ultimate destructive magic; Meteor. She succeeded in summoning the power of Holy just before her death. The scene is made more emotional when Cloud takes her body out into the lake in order to return her to the planet’s life force. In doing so, Aerith not only lives on through the planet ultimately enforcing the planet’s life stream against Sephiroth’s Meteor but also within our hearts as a purely beautiful tribute to her life.

Thane Krios (Mass Effect 2 & 3)

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If you kept him alive through Mass Effect 2’s Suicide Mission then his death is even more so emotional. Sure you knew he was dying from Kepral’s syndrome since the very beginning but that doesn’t soften the loss of the religious drell assassin. While helping fight off the Cerberus attack on the Citadel, Thane is stabbed through the stomach by Kai Leng, an assassin sent to kill the Salarian councillor. Due to complications concerning his illness though he is told that he will die soon. Shepard can visit him in the Hospital where he will be joined by Thane’s son Kolyat. In this scene Shepard can join in a prayer Kolyat and Thane are reciting, it is only afterwards that the prayer was intended for Shepard and not Thane. Despite his violent and immoral job, Thane asks for forgiveness for each kill showing a sense of mercy which makes his death perfect for his deeply spiritual character as he dies surrounded by his family and friends with few regrets. The truth that Thane accepts his death only adds to the effect his death has on the audience. So much so that you can’t help but feel that justice has been served when Shepard stabs Kai-Leng with the omni-blade stating “that was for Thane, you son of a bitch”.

Angus “Grim” Grimaldi (Tomb Raider)

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Grimaldi is the helmsman of the expedition ship Lara was part of, The Endurance before its ultimate destruction by the supernatural storm. Using the skills he learnt while living in Gorbals, he manages to escape the clutches of the Solarii Brotherhood and find Lara. However, just as he does, the brotherhood catch up with him and attempt to use him as a hostage to get Lara to surrender. A man unwilling to be used as a hostage he lunges himself off the edge, falling to his untimely death but taking a number of Solarii men with him. Although his death is sad what truly made his death so emotional for me was that I was certain that he would turn against me at some point. Instead though, he was genuinely one of the most selfless characters in the game; going as far as to sacrifice his own life in the chance that Lara will survive just for a tiny bit longer and free the rest of her crew.

Cortana (Halo 4)

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She has been by your side throughout the entire Master Chief franchise, the artificial intelligence has assisted you with your objectives from the beginning and there is nothing you wouldn’t do for her as evident when she begins to malfunction. With no way to fix her AI issues she sacrifices herself in order to save you from the Didact by fragmenting her various personalities and uploading them into its computer; basically tearing herself apart. Although she is an AI and can therefore be replaced with one exactly the same, she won’t be the same Cortana we know and love. What truly makes her sacrifice even more moving is how she uses the last of her energy to manifest as a solid hologram in order to say her final goodbye to Master Chief but also to actually physically touch him for the very first time. My only comfort is that although she hasn’t a blue, humanoid figure, I can always find Cortana on my Windows Phone.

Serah Farron (Final Fantasy 13-2)

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A victim of fate, Serah Farron was at the wrong place at the wrong time; finding a door that lead into the Bodhum Vestige she was chosen by the Pulse fal’Cie, Anima, to become a l’Cie (a person cursed to fulfil a focus or become a monster). As if this wasn’t cruel enough, Serah was later chosen by her sister Lightning to help save the world from being destroyed by a man named Caius Ballad. With the new and sudden ability to glimpse into the future and the fact that every time the timeline is changed, the resulting shock may kill her, Serah and her friend Noel Kreiss persevere and ultimately defeats Caius. However, by changing the present so extremely the future is changed dramatically resulting in Serah’s death. Her sacrifice hits home as she has been the protagonist throughout the game and, unlike other games that result in the protagonist’s death’ Serah’s death takes place after the final battle when everything seems to be fixed. Noel’s desperate yet futile attempts to prevent Serah from seeing the future thus stopping her from dying and the happy music that plays (Charice New World) adds to the emotional impact of her death with her final words ringing in our ears ‘It’s the end of our journey…Thank You’

5 Most Underrated Marvel Characters of all Time

Squid-Boy (Sammy Paré) 

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A mutant who had the ability to speak and breathe underwater and the unfortunate appearance of a fish, Squid-Boy may not have had the most exciting mutant powers. However, what he lacked in powers he made up with his unquestioning belief that people can change as evidenced by his trust towards Juggernaut (Cain Marko). Squid-Boy arguably was the driving force behind Juggernaut’s sense of conscience and reformation after saving him from drowning and becoming friends. It was this friendship which led Marko to remain with the X-Men.

Squid-Boy only appeared in the X-Men from 2002 to 2004 due to his untimely death by the hands of Black Tom (Tom Cassidy), and the guilt Juggernaut feels for unwittingly leading him to his death is arguably one of the factors as to his decision to join the Thunderbolts.

However, what truly makes his death so saddening was that Sammy Paré died unaware that Juggernaut had neither betrayed him nor the X-men but was in fact tricking Black Tom. Squid-Boy dies hating Juggernaut for something he had not done.

Bova Ayrshire

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Known as the Old Woman on the Hill, Bova is actually a genetically evolved Guernsey cow who is simply a nanny to the High Evolutionary (Herbert Edgar Wyndham) and his ‘New Men’ – other genetically evolved animals Wyndham has created. Originally situated on Wundagore Mountain, Bova helped a sanctuary seeker named Magda give birth to twins before the mother continued up the mountain and perished from the extreme weather. The twins were the mutants Quiksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). Trying to give the twins a normal life, she unsuccessfully attempted to give the children to Whizzer (Robert Frank) after his wife (Miss America) passes away giving birth (another woman that Bova was midwife for). Therefore Bova fosters the twins as her own until she is able to find a suitable foster family such as the Gypsy couple named Django and Marya Maximoff. Bova once again became a foster mother when Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) woke up on Wundagore with no memory of her past, looking after her until Hydra rescued her from a fleeing mob and brainwashed her into the Hydra agent Arachne.

Bova can be seen as a character that is neither good nor bad; she is simply a midwife and foster mother that looked after a number of future superheroes. She can be seen as a vital character to a number of Marvel heroes but is barely known because she doesn’t regularly appear in the Marvel world. Nonetheless, she is the key to a number of Marvel’s family connections, most significantly Quiksilver and Scarlet Witch’s father.

The Ghost

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A man who uses his ‘ghost-tech’ to turn himself and others he touches invisible or intangible, very little else is known about Ghost including his actual name as well as his true origin. Ghost claims that his boss’ capitalist greed led him to wearing the ‘ghost-tech’ when they killed his girlfriend (who he later found out was hired by the company to keep him working on new technology they could sell for their own profit). However, what makes the Ghost so dangerous is that his anti-Capitalist views added to his knack for computer science and his ghost-tech makes him the ultimate saboteur. He can easily enter high security areas and hack their computers to either gain its information or destroy it. Places such as the Pentagon would be vulnerable to attack as well as the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier (if not for its ability to fly). Additionally, he makes a threatening hit-man for the same reasons which is why so many shady businesses have hired him for corporate jobs (only to discover that their own corporation would be next).                 

In a country that is the epitome of capitalism, the Ghost is an intimidating enemy who is able to escape arrest time and time again. With very little way to defend against him, it is fortunate that the Ghost seems obsessed with Tony Stark (Iron Man), the one man who can protect against his attacks.

Doop

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The product of a Cold War era U.S. military experiment, Doop is the camera man for the celebrity mutant super team X-Statix. Despite this, he should not be underrated. Doop has the ability to access a nightmare dimension named ‘Doop-Land’ that exists insides himself as well as an untested level of energy projection that can prevent psychic attacks. Additionally, Doop has regenerative powers as well as several other abilities connected to time and space distortion. Although an ally to the X-Men (protecting students at the Jean Grey institute for higher learning) Doop is rather violent character showing no remorse or mercy in killing others as shown in the torture he puts Corkscrew (a mutant driven insane by his power) through before killing him with an axe while smiling. What also makes Doop underrated is the fact that he can hold his own against one of the Avengers’ powerhouses; Thor (Thor Odinson).

It is too easy to see the ‘Slimer-like’ appearance of Doop and assume from his appearance he is simply there to add comical effect but in truth he is more dangerous than most of his associates. An anti-hero in short, he has also been responsible in exposing scandals such as El Guapo’s (Robert Rodriguez) threesome with two models that led to his girlfriend leaving him and his sentient skateboard violently attacking him. It is evident that Doop should not be underrated as to how much damage or good he can ultimately do especially in connection with the amount of power he possesses.

Korvac (Michael Korvac)

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Originally a computer technician that welcomed the hostile invasion of the Badoon on Earth on a parallel universe (Earth-691), Korvac was ‘improved’ by the aliens and made into a cyborg to be a more efficient worker which led him to revolt. After a number of battles with various superheroes, Korvac found himself able to use his cyborg abilities to download Galactus’ central computer information evolving him into a God-like being. Using the Power Cosmic for himself, he gained the potential to wield almost infinite power. He could resuscitate life, time travel, disintegrate foes absorb power from any force and use a variety of mental powers. These skills ultimately made Korvac invincible and invisible to any scans. He was so powerful that the Avengers could not defeat him and most of them perished in the battle until he realised that his wife (Carina) began to doubt him. Korvac decided to commit suicide as he had done everything for Carina and resurrected all the Avengers that had died in the battle. Cheesy as it is, it proves love conquers all.

Despite holding ultimate power and doing the impossible; defeating all the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Korvac is almost forgotten today. In part this is due to the fact that Korvac was not evil but truly thought his powers could help mankind and was thought to be noble by Moondragon (Heather Douglas). However, if in some way he was resurrected and continued with his plan to conquer Earth, the Avengers would in fact find him a deadly nemesis.