Welcome To LCOM

Also known as Local Co-op Month, or The Best Acronym I Could Think Of For August.

The last month of our Australian winter, which starts tomorrow, is rarely the domain of many exciting videogame launches. It’s traditionally the last moment of quiet before the likes of FIFA begin to ring in the year’s most gigantic holiday releases. However, if you happen to be a fan of getting a bunch of mates round for some good old fashioned couch co-operative sessions on your favourite gaming system, you have plenty of reasons to be excited for this August. There are more local friendship-destroyers launching in 2013’s eighth month than you can shake a pair of controllers at, which comes as quite a lovely lump sum following the relative drought of such titles throughout the first half of the year. I’ve listed the promising eight I know of in this very article.

This probably isn’t even all of them; I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a Steam game or two.
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New Super Luigi U
This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve cheated on a list like this, but Luigi U actually came out on a retail disc a couple of days ago, and as a downloadable expansion to New Super Mario Bros U all the way back in June. But that limited edition green case releases close enough to August, says I, so damned if I’m not putting it here. I’ve already played through to the end (well the “normal” end anyway) of the super frantic, super slidey level rush with two other players and I finished having used something close to 50 Continues. Yeah, it’s frustrating, but great value for some laughs.

Cloudberry Kingdom
The buzz word for this downloadable title, which hits this week on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U, is “difficult”. Four player co-op platforming action throughout randomly generated levels is the name of the game, allowing for a setup that should prove extremely, and potentially endlessly, addictive for the most hardcore fans of old school hard-as-nails gameplay. Celebrate every little victory, people.

Dragon’s Crown
Of all the games on this list, Sony console exclusive Dragon’s Crown is probably the one most purposefully built for a deep co-op experience. The side-scrolling beat-em-up with heavy RPG elements looks and supposedly plays like a more serious Castle Crashers, and any comparison to that couch co-op king can only be a good thing. There is no Australian release date for this complex gem as of yet, but the beauty of the PS3’s lack of region locking can easily fix that. Import away!

Tales of Xillia
Australian fans of the third most popular JRPG series on the planet (after Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, for the curious) will likely be squeeing in delight at the news that not only is another critically lauded entry in the Tales franchise little more than a week away from release, but we don’t even have to import it this time! That’s right, we’re getting Tales of Xillia a mere two days after the States does. August 8th. Mark it. Another 60+ hour, four player saga awaits.

Pokemon Rumble U
There is unfortunately still no word whatsoever on whether Australia will in fact get this fully-fledged proper sequel to one of the original Wii’s very best downloadable titles, but Europe and the US have August launch dates so it will be a crying shame if we don’t follow suit down here. A. Crying. Shame.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Sure, Sam Fisher’s latest stealthy adventure only supports two players in its co-op mission mode, but that mode is set to be a real corker. Ubisoft’s last notable modern technology based co-op effort, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, had a fantastically well executed set of missions that delivered on catharsis in a big way, so expecting as much from the latest Splinter Cell title is perhaps natural.

Disney Infinity
Hey, it counts. The ambitious, Skylanders-inspired, platform-wide release from the cashed-up Disney mega corporation will feature a two player co-op mode (much like Skylanders, actually). If you’ve ever wanted to play as Sully from Monsters Inc while your mate galavants about as Captain Jack Sparrow in the same colour-saturated world, you won’t have to wait long for the chance.

The Wonderful 101
Rounding out the month with an extravaganza of Japanese craziness, The Wonderful 101 promises to be another Platinum Games action classic. The zany campaign of the superhero swarming Wii U exclusive can be played with up to five players, and while it remains to be seen how this will play out on an already chaotic screen, if any Japanese company has earned the trust of action gamers of late, it’s Platinum.

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And then… then there’s September… and Rayman…

Oh yes, Rayman.

Finally.

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