PC Gamer's Best Co-op Game of 2017 is Destiny 2. The game's definitely had some stumbling blocks this year—but it's still a phenomenally fun game to play with other people. See the rest of our GOTY awards here.
Phil Savage: What you think of Destiny likely depends on what you want from your lifestyle shooter. If you're looking for thousands of hours of distraction, it's not that (yet, at least). For me, though, it's the perfect Friday night game – something to play with friends until the small hours of the morning, usually after a couple of drinks. Do we attempt to complete the three-player Nightfall dungeon, shaving seconds off each attempt until we come in under the time limit? Or jump into competitive Crucible for a tense round of teamwork and coordination? Or just hang out in public event zones and quickplay Crucible, chatting shit? Destiny 2 scales well based on the amount of effort you want to put in, and Bungie's remarkable talent for creating satisfying gunplay keeps me—and my friends—coming back for more.
Tom Senior: I love a bit of drunk Destiny in the Crucible, and it's possible because it's just so easy to team up with people on your friends list, form a fireteam and drop into an activity. Destiny 2's equivalent of a lobby is a spot in orbit where you can see your mates' ships flying alongside yours, then you choose activities on a beautiful map of the solar system inspired by ancient sea charts. The game keeps you in its universe at every stage, and in doing so alleviates the boring admin that can frequently gum up the process of getting into a good co-op game.
If you want to take the game more seriously, Destiny 2 has some of the best elite co-op challenges you can enjoy in a shooter, whether you're charging into trials of the nine for some high-stakes competition or braving the ostentatious gold-plated combat puzzle that is the raid, Destiny 2 is a fantastic time with friends. For me it has captured some of the camaraderie that I used to enjoy in MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic, but without the high time investment requirements those games tend to demand.
Plus, thanks to the new clan system you can solo for a while and still contribute to your friends' fortunes. It's very satisfying to watch your clan XP contributions tick up as you knock down Destiny 2's weekly challenges.
Andy Kelly: I play Destiny 2 almost exclusively solo, but I love how the Guild Wars 2-style public events give lone players a feeling of occasionally co-operating with others. You’ll be making your way across the map to find a mission, only to see a gang of other Guardians in the distance tackling some huge boss. Then you dive in and help them, healing and buffing and making a difference, then disappear again like the Lone Ranger. It’s a neat way of bringing multiplayer elements into the game for us antisocial types.
James Davenport: Anyone watching a Destiny 2 raid without context would think they’re witnessing an arcane ritual. They’d be right. What other game asks six people to perform an intricate space gun dance, calling out strange symbols in a shadow dimension while shooting a swarm of skulls flying out of a phantasm’s disembodied head, while other teammates other pump bullets into a space tyrant in his gilded throne room, punching psionic ghosts between breaths? They’re incredible.
Tim Clark: I recused myself from writing the Destiny 2 review because, after 2500 hours in the original game, it's fair to say I could no longer see the wood for the Infinite Forest. Not that I think I'd have gone soft on it. I love experiencing Bungie's signature gunplay at high framerates and resolutions, but as Tom noted in his review the endgame dries up faster than I think most of us would have hoped. Regardless, I've been having a fine old time grinding for what gear there is across three characters, and feel hopeful that after some substantial mistakes made by the design team, 2018 will see Bungie fix the post-level cap loot chase.
For all that positivity, I don't want to pretend that the controversies that have dogged Destiny 2 in recent weeks—from the hidden XP throttling system to owners of the base game being locked out of swathes of content that they'd already paid for by the DLC—haven't soured the community somewhat. I've seen friends walk away from the game in something close to fury at how they feel Bungie has disrespected their time and dollars, and discussion around the Eververse store is perpetually on the brink of turning into a five alarm fire of Star Wars Battlefront 2 proportions.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that I like spending my time in this universe more than in any other game, and a huge part of that is the chance to spend time with the clan mates I run the raid and Nightfall every week with. The fact it's able to foster those sorts of friendships speaks to what a good co-op game Destiny 2 is, despite all the negative noise that continues to orbit it.
Check out our Destiny 2 review for more of our thoughts on the game.