Highlights

  • Long co-op campaigns with friends are hard to find in today’s multiplayer market dominated by one-off matches and non-story missions.
  • Fortunately, there are some recent releases that offer story-heavy campaigns and replayable stories, with the added bonus of cross-play and cross-progression.
  • Games like Dokapon Kingdom: Connect, Stranger of Paradise, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora provide long-term, enjoyable co-op experiences with characters to build up and stories to enjoy.


There’s no denying that there are a ton of active multiplayer games in the market. However, the most popular options tend to involve one-off matches, non-story missions, or gameplay that discourages replays. Finding recent games with long, story-heavy campaigns or replayable stories can be a bit of a challenge.

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Luckily, these releases accommodate players who want a nice, long-term campaign with friends, or enjoyable replays with something new to unlock in every run. Almost every entry enables cross-play, which means players are not restricted to one platform for their game of choice. Some even allow players to carry over their co-op progress to their solo game, and vice versa.

Updated on January 23, 2024 by Rie Takumi: Great games with long co-op campaigns often come in two flavors. The first kind has narrative-heavy campaigns or gameplay meant to feel like a long journey. The second often confines the story in the environment or tells it passively over a long, gameplay-first campaign. Either way, gamers typically value these games as consistent ways to bond with their friends. Games with long co-op campaigns allow players to build up characters, enjoy the story, or master mechanics they enjoy repeating with friends. The implementation of cross-progression also expands player options, as it allows players to take their game to any platform.


18 Dokapon Kingdom: Connect

Metascore: 63

 thronefall dokapon kingdom disgaea 7

Dokapon Kingdom: Connect
Platform(s)
Nintendo Switch , Microsoft Windows

Released
April 13, 2023

Developer
Sting Entertainment, Compile Heart, Idea Factory

How Long To Beat
31 hours

Dokapon Kingdom was notorious during the sixth generation of consoles for being a more combative form of Monopoly. Classes, weapons, spells, and items are important for gaining assets as players need to fight monsters to win towns. Good strategy and a combat advantage could also help players make alliances or fend off foes, even in co-op.

In its current inception, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect preserves this chaotic energy in its new form. Thanks to its online functionality, players can pass character controls to the computer so their friends can continue their co-op campaign. But if players prefer a full party, they can always switch over to other game modes.

17 Stranger Of Paradise

Metascore: 72

Ending shot of Jack and his friends from Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Released
March 18, 2022

Genre(s)
Action RPG

How Long To Beat
18 Hours

Stranger of Paradise allows up to three players to team up once the host finishes the prologue. Players take charge of Jack and his fellow “Warriors of Light,” Ash, Jed, Neon, and Sophia. Though set in their background and models, parties can modify their appearance with powerful loot that is distributed evenly to all members.

While players can’t trade loot, they can make up for others’ weaknesses. SoP‘s 28 job classes have different synergies, and players can switch to any of them whenever they want to, provided they are already unlocked.

16 Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Metascore: 72

Avatar Frontiers of Pandora sky battle first person game with third person elements long co op campaign possible

Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
Released
December 7, 2023

Genre(s)
Action-Adventure

How Long To Beat
20 Hours

Like the movies, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a gorgeous romp through Pandora even on co-op. The co-op campaign is also just right, averaging a modest 20.5 hours. As a standard Ubisoft FPS, controls are nothing special, though its side quests and open map appeal to co-op explorers.

Co-op is unlocked after completing two tasks. Players must first meet Etuwa, then complete ”The Aranahe Clan” quest in Kinglor Forest. Cross-progression means progress is saved for the host and guest, who can continue their adventure in single-player mode.

15 Dead Island 2

Metascore: 73

dead island 2 co-op

Dead Island 2
Released
April 21, 2023

Genre(s)
Action RPG

How Long To Beat
15 Hours

The return of the silly zombie action RPG brings with it a co-op campaign that can let loose up to three players in a given time. Dead Island 2’s Campaign and Quick Play modes are available from the get-go to open up the world for private sessions with friends, and public rooms for strangers.

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Story-focused players are assured that they won’t be spoiled if they hop into a friend or stranger’s session. Players cannot join hosts who have progressed further along the story than they have. All the EXP and equipment they earn in co-op can also be carried over to solo play.

14 River City Girls 2

Metascore: 78

Misako and Kyoko Fighting Off Ruffians

River City Girls 2
Released
November 30, 2022

Genre(s)
Beat ‘Em Up

How Long To Beat
12 Hours

River City Girls 2 continues the story of Misako and Kyoko as they work together to save the city from organized crime. Up to four players can pick between the girls and returning cast members Kunio, Riki, Provie, and Marian to punch their way through the streets.

The deeper players go into the game, the more combos they unlock. These combos are where the game truly shines, as these inputs define each character’s archetypes and create depth in the initially barebones combat system.

13 Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

Metascore: 78

Collage

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader
Released
December 7, 2023

Developer(s)
Owlcat Games

How Long To Beat
90 Hours

As expected of its pedigree, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader delivers unique twists to isometric RPGs. Its unique alignment system allows players to make choices with consequences in its over 80-hour campaign that flesh out their character and relationship with the world.

Dogmatic choices show unshakeable loyalty to the Emperor of Mankind, Heretics embody the logicless mayhem of the Chaos Gods they worship, while Iconoclast-aligned choices provide a middle ground.

Companions have default alignments, but player characters change alignment according to their choices. To compensate for possibly locking players out of certain choices, picking an alignment gives them bonuses. Dogmatic bonuses are defensive, heretical bonuses are attack-related, and iconoclast bonuses provide party support.

12 Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy

Metascore: 79

Trine 5 A Clockwork Conspiracy opening screen screenshot with quick boss giant hedgehog

Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy
Released
August 31, 2023

Developer(s)
Frozenbyte

Genre(s)
Platformer , Puzzle

How Long To Beat
16 Hours

Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy allows up to three players to make their way through 2.5D puzzles, platforms, and foes. Amadeus the Wizard, Zoya the Thief, and Pontius the Knight make their return with their stock abilities. Players can use any of the three to navigate 20 levels and defeat multi-phase bosses, which are new to the series.

Local and online multiplayer are supported on all platforms. Four-player co-op is also possible though Switch players will need four pairs of Joy-Cons to play locally. Also, the rest of the franchise’s games are all generally great co-op options, with Trine 2 and Trine 4 being particularly highly regarded. Outside of the third entry, players cannot go wrong with this series.

11 Wild Hearts

Metascore: 79

Wild Hearts - Close Up On Player Using Juggernaut Blade Against Training Dummy Bear

Wild Hearts
Released
February 16, 2023

Genre(s)
Action RPG

How Long To Beat
46 Hours

Omega Force’s answer to Monster Hunter has feudal Japan styling and a seamless multiplayer experience. Up to three players can team up to take down giant Kemono using ancient Japanese-style weapons and tools called Karakuri. As the main narrative campaign takes over 40 hours to beat, teams have time to get familiar with Kemono.

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Wild Hearts’ multiplayer session starts by placing down a campfire and selecting “create a session”. Closed sessions involve setting up a password for friends, while an open session lets strangers join the host.

10 Borderlands 3

Metascore: 81

borderlands-3-four-main-characters-bug-battle

Borderlands 3
Released
September 13, 2019

How Long To Beat
25 Hours

The Borderlands series is a co-op staple. Combat is frenetic and opens players to a lot of threats, which makes having backup great. Having multiple partners also makes farming for weapons and experience easier, if not enjoyable.

Coordinating builds and action skills adds an extra layer of cooperation. Synergizing party builds clear mobs faster and makes tough bosses less of a pain to deal with. Playing the game a different way, or with other characters, also offers a refreshing new take on familiar experiences.

9 Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Metascore: 81

wo long fallen dynasty

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Released
March 3, 2023

Genre(s)
Action RPG

How Long To Beat
27 Hours

While it shares the Team Ninja pedigree as Stranger of Paradise and Nioh 2, Wo Long’s three-person multiplayer mode has a distinguishing feature. Whereas SoP and Nioh 2 only have pre-made characters for co-op partners, Wo Long allows players to make their own characters in solo play before joining their friends.

The game’s co-op mode allows players to create a secure lobby and specify missions they would like to play together. Players can stay in a session even after they are defeated and may move on to another mission with their party in this mode.

8 Remnant 2

Metascore: 82

Remnant 2 - Challenger Using Skill

Remnant 2
Released
July 25, 2023

Genre(s)
Soulslike , Third-Person Shooter

How Long To Beat
20 Hours

Remnant 2 may not offer cross-play, but it does offer multiple ways to set up a session. Multiplayer session type can also be set per character. This makes it easier for players to distinguish which character is for co-op campaigns only.

However, multiplayer is only accessible after the tutorial. Players need only touch the World Stone after the tutorial concludes to unlock co-op. They can invite up to two players to experience the full Story campaign or try out the Adventure mode. Multiplayer sessions are jump-in and jump-out and players keep whatever loot they find. Host progress determines where the party ends up, though host lag also affects other players.

7 Gloomhaven

Metascore: 82

Twilight Imperium + Unmatched + Gloomhaven Promo art

Gloomhaven
Released
October 20, 2021

Developer
Flaming Fowl Studios

How Long To Beat
82 Hours

Adopted from the tabletop game, Gloomhaven allows up to four players to explore dungeons and the original game’s campaign scenarios. Navigating these scenarios means taking on the game’s card- and turn-based tactical combat.

Unlike in single-player mode, the co-op host assigns one of four mercenaries to each player; however, the mercenary assignments are not changeable unless the party is playing Guildmaster mode. Gold is shared by the party unless the rule is changed at the start of the campaign. Campaigns are drop-in and drop-out, so the player group can continue campaigns even when missing a party member.

6 Roots Of Pacha

Metascore: 82

Roots of Pacha you can marry other players with wedding wreath

Roots of Pacha
Released
April 25, 2023

Developer(s)
Soda Den
Genre(s)
RPG , Simulation

How Long To Beat
31 Hours

Other than de-prioritizing combat, Roots of Pacha immediately stands out from other cozy farming sims because of its prehistoric setting. Set in the Stone Age, players help the Pachan Clan rebuild after their big move. Players need only share their Cave ID with friends to share their world.

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Roots of Pacha’s community-based gameplay means players are incentivized to set a chore roster. Cooking, farming, fishing, gathering, crafting, mining, ranching, trading, and trapping all play crucial parts in advancing the story and the clan’s quality of life.

5 Cassette Beasts

Metascore: 84

cassette beasts heal

Cassette Beasts
Released
April 26, 2023

Developer(s)
Bytten Studio

How Long To Beat
18 Hours

With a bit of progress in the single-game mode, players can play the rest of Cassette Beast’s campaign in co-op. Once they unlock co-op, players can explore the world together and help each other out in battles. Co-op partners have full control of their beasts in any fight, and can even swap out their beasts like in solo play.

Cassette Beast’s co-op mode is local-only by default and on Xbox and Switch. However, Steam’s Remote Play option and the desktop capturing app Parsec allow for online play.

4 Diablo 4

Metascore: 86

Diablo 4 Barbarian, Sorcerer, and Druid at campfire

Diablo 4
Released
June 6, 2023

Genre(s)
Action RPG , Hack and Slash

How Long To Beat
27 Hours

Diablo 4, the sequel to the almost 30-year-old series, allows players to couch co-op or form multiplayer parties by inviting friends through their BattleTag. Cross-play and cross-progression are fully supported in all versions of the game, which means players can use their hard-trained character in a friend’s session.

Newcomers or players with limited time can appreciate this feature, as their experienced friends can help them catch up more easily. They may also appreciate the ability to storm Capstone Dungeons with their friends. Clearing Capstone Dungeons is necessary to unlock higher World Tiers and better, endgame loot.

3 Astral Ascent

Metascore: 88

astral-ascent_gameplay

Astral Ascent
Released
April 12, 2022

Developer(s)
Hibernian Workshop

How Long To Beat
15 Hours

Astral Ascent features a two-player co-op mode. Though exclusive to local co-op, Steam’s Remote Play Together and Parsec can help online-only players connect. Either way, players must look out for each other once they’re on the quest to escape the Garden and the Zodiacs.

A pair of players team up to platform through gorgeous 2D environments using two of four available heroes. Dozens of spells are available for all heroes who have unique abilities. Learning how to wield these skills is critical to defeating the 12 Zodiacs and finishing a run.

2 Divinity: Original Sin 2

Metascore: 93

Divinity Original Sin 2 In Game Casting Lightning

Divinity: Original Sin 2
Released
September 14, 2017

How Long To Beat
60 Hours

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is almost always on lists for long co-op games. The game features an immersive co-op experience that feels like a high-production tabletop campaign. Players are naturally coached to work together to coordinate their builds, trade items and weapons, and accomplish missions as a team. Companion stories further invest players in their characters. They also encourage replays, so parties can play the characters they skipped in previous playthroughs.

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1 Baldur’s Gate 3

Metascore: 96

Baldur's Gate 3 co op campaign larian studios preview

Baldur’s Gate 3
Released
August 3, 2023

How Long To Beat
30 Hours

Larian’s epic successor to the storied RPG series has a first act that takes dozens of hours to complete. Baldur’s Gate 3‘s whopper of an opening act isn’t restricted to single-player campaigns. Multiplayer sessions cover the same grounds as solo runs, although they can only be played on one platform.

That means PC players can only form lobbies with other users on Windows, and the same goes for PS5 gamers. Despite that, Baldur’s Gate 3 has multiple ways to form lobbies. Players can form friends-only and invite-only sessions, or create and join public lobbies. PC players can even expand the multiplayer limit to 16 if they install mods.

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