If there’s one thing that a lack of being able to see anyone for 18 months has done, it's make online multiplayer games all the more appealing, and even a mostly solitary loner like me has jumped back into games like Left 4 Dead 2 with friends. It would seem that the games industry have noticed this as there were a host of multiplayer player vs environment games like Left 4 Dead at E3 2021. What’s more, most of them are coming to Xbox Game Pass, so you can get your multiplayer shooting on for less.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is the big one, acting as a kind of spiritual sequel to the Left 4 Dead games. We had the alpha demo last year, which only had four playable characters, but the full game will have eight, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Adding to that is the card system that grants buffs to your characters and engineer them closer to your play style, but with the added concern of them being randomized. The open (tied to pre-orders, so not actually open) beta demo is coming shortly, with the full game landing on Oct. 12.
Rainbow Six Extraction
Kicking off what was a heavy emphasis on military shooters in Ubisoft Forward was Rainbow Six Extraction, the latest slice of co-operative alien bopping. Set in an alien-infested world in ruin, which just happens to be the United States, you and your friends pick your operative, each with their own perks and skills, and work together to fight through varying maps of monsters. The main similarity to Left 4 Dead here is with the different types of Archaen creatures, with tactics needing to be reworked on the fly to deal with ever-increasing threats.
Evil Dead: The Game
Even Bruce Campbell is getting in on the action, stepping in as Ash Williams and collaborating with other iconic characters from the franchise such as Kelly Maxwell and Pablo Simon Bolivar. Evil Dead: The Game is confirmed to have a variety of weapons, skill trees, and various maps based on locations from the franchise. What we don’t have is a set release date, with a nebulous window of 2021 for running around with a chainsaw for an arm.
Have you ever wanted to team up with your friends against waves of aliens in an 1950’s alternate universe? Well, you are in luck with The Anacrusis, revealed at Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest. As another spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead with a former writer working on it, the parallels with the former are abundant. However, this space station co-op shooter has a significantly more comical tone than several of the games on this list, so it seems like this will be the one to go to for a light-hearted romp through alien hordes. It’s due to land in autumn, and we can’t wait.
Possibly the quirkiest one on this list, but the co-op multiplayer mummy shooter Strange Brigade has something the others don’t seem to have as this point: puzzle solving! Of course there are waves of ancient Egyptian creatures to deal with, for which you’re granted the use of multiple weapons and a host of other tricks and traps to work through. But the true difficulty is going to be in those puzzles. After all, there’s nothing like trying to corral a group into solving puzzles for driving a wedge between friends, is there?
Strange Brigade released back in 2018 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, but it showed up at Nintendo's E3 2021 Direct and launched on the hybrid console. You can read our review here.
The latest game from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios, Redfall is a vampire hunting co-op title featuring four distinctive and, let’s be honest, awesome-looking characters. We don’t know too much about the game outside of a fraction of the story and the basic gameplay mechanics, one of which is the cool-as-all-hell purple elevator thing. With it due in 2022, we don’t have too long to wait, but it's long enough if you have a solemn desire to pretend that you’re Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
That’s it for all of the games like Left 4 Dead at E3 2021. It was a great showing, and there’s many more than just these if you’re a fan of multiplayer games from the event with games like The Ascent giving those with abundant friends ways to play online with one another. However, which is your favorite co-op kill-fest from E3 2021? Are you more of a zombie co-op purist with Back 4 Blood, or do you want to take on alien swarms in furthest space in The Anacrusis? Let us know!