Do you have a friend? I don't ... but if you DO, then you may want to play games with them. I hear friends are good for that sort of thing. Thankfully, many of the best Xbox games are in fact, playable with friends. I wouldn't know of course, being the un-friendable wretch I am. But what I do know is what games I would play if I had any. So with that in mind, here are our picks for best 2 player games on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S!
Minecraft Dungeons - Xbox (opens in new tab)
Fancy yourself a heroic slayer of Minecraft baddies, but don't fancy building a blocky version of the Sistine Chapel? Minecraft Dungeons may be for you. Playable with up to four friends online or locally, Minecraft Dungeons is an addictive and satisfying action RPG dungeon crawler with accessible easy-to-learn, tough-to-master gameplay.
Build 'em up
No multiplayer compilation list is complete without an entry for the legend itself. Minecraft is an industry-leading co-op game where creativity and exploration flourish. Playable locally or online with up to ten friends, Minecraft is all about exploring gigantic randomized landscapes, discovering dungeons, crafting castles, and beyond. With Minecraft, you're limited only by your imagination.
In Monster Hunter: World, you and your friends stalk dense forests, bitter icy peaks, and spore-riddled caves for all manner of giant beasts that (supposedly) threaten the local ecosystems. In the name of research, you will slay them! And build a growing arsenal of badass weaponry to do the job. Monster Hunter has deep combat and an incredibly satisfying gameplay loop, which can last you and your friends dozens, and maybe hundreds, of hours.
State of Decay 2 is a great game for teams of up to four online, set in a dynamic and evolving zombie apocalypse. Players have to work together to scavenge food, gear, and defend a base from increasingly deadly undead hordes. On top of regular zombies, there are super mutant "freaks" that take the danger up a notch, summoning additional baddies.
Destiny 2 is a popular first-person online shooter, with co-op events for between 3 and 6 friends. In Destiny, you play as a super-human Guardian, who channels a mystical energy to defend the remnants of humanity from encroaching aliens, trans-dimensional beings, and angry robots. The game features an infectious loot-driven progression system, which lets players build up their champions to fit unique playstyles.
Gears 5 is the quintessential Gears of War experience, complete with couch co-op for up to two players, or co-op online for up to three players. Gears 5 continues the saga, where the humans of Sera battle a relentless subterranean race known as the Locust, reborn as the Swarm. Gears combat is as satisfying as it is violent, taking place in gorgeous arenas with plenty of variety, enveloped with a solid plot.
Minecraft with guns
What if you were a badass futuristic dwarven engineer with an obsession with shiny alien minerals and the procurement thereof? Then you might be in Deep Rock Galactic. For teams of up to four friends, Deep Rock Galactic gives you an arsenal of increasingly powerful weaponry and tools for mining deep space asteroids for riches. The only problem is they're also often swarming with angry aliens who want to murder you.
If you're old like me, then you'll probably remember the good old days of playing Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) games on a couch. At some point, Sega remembered too, and released this awesome gem of a game ideal for two friends in local or online co-op. Play as one of several iconic characters and smash, bash, and crash your way through a crime-infested city, on a quest to bring justice. Streets of Rage 4 is slick, fun, and satisfying in equal measure.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 and its predecessor are unique D&D-like games where teams of up to two players, either locally or online, can quest together in a sprawling and dynamic RPG world. With tactical turn-based combat, a winding story, great characters, and creative environments, Divinity Original Sin 2 is the Xbox's best answer to Dungeons and Dragons-style co-op fun.
A real challenge
Dark Souls III takes players to the war-torn kingdom of Lothric, where you and a friend can engage in jolly cooperation against challenging enemies, bosses, and even other players across several unique locations. Together, you can slash, stab, and dodge roll your way to victory. Make sure you acquire the White Sign Soapstone so you can play cooperatively.
Gears, with teeth
What if Gears of War had a bit more of an edge? That's what Remnant: From the Ashes looks like. Set across a variety of destroyed dimensions, Remnant: From the Ashes is a souls-like shooter with Gears of War-like third-person combat with deeper RPG progression and playstyle customization. This game can be incredibly tough, but also incredibly rewarding for co-op play.
Battle the undead
Want something like State of Decay, but less complicated? Take a look at Zombie Army 4: Dead War, which pits you and up to four friends in Left 4 Dead-style gauntlets against raging Nazi demons and undead. Using a variety of WW2-era weapons with a sci-fi slant, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a satisfying co-op shooter with a lot of variety, and heaps of delicious violence.
Can you escape?
A Way Out is a unique co-op experience that puts each player in control of a prison inmate, and together, you need to coordinate movements and actions to figure out how to break (and stay) out. A Way Out is incredibly charming and has many lighthearted moments to enjoy, but the game's story can also be very emotional and impactful at times as well. Overall, it's a fantastic co-op game.
Get back together
It Takes Two puts you in the shoes of a divorcing couple that magically get transported into the bodies of dolls that their daughter made to represent them. As you and a friend work together to traverse various environments and complete puzzles in order to get them back to their bodies, you'll experience a wonderfully complex narrative that involves the pair working through their problems and learning to love each other again.
The best two-player games on Xbox
Some of my favorite experiences on Xbox are in co-operative play with friends and family. When living in another country, being able to fire up Monster Hunter: World and jump on with my brother from across the world really slams home the benefits of modern internet-based gaming. Monster Hunter: World isn't for everyone, and it can be quite tough to get into, but we did write a beginner's guide for Monster Hunter: World to help you get started. If you and your friends can get into it, it'll remain rewarding for dozens, perhaps hundreds of hours as you grind through the large menagerie of monsters and obtainable loot.
Additionally, I've found myself spending a ton of time with Minecraft Dungeons lately, particularly since it was updated with more robust endgame systems. Minecraft Dungeons doesn't have a deep plot by any means, but it's all about jumping on and quickly smashing hundreds and thousands of mobs with your friends with a wide array of cool weapons and powers. Minecraft Dungeons' satisfying combat is supplemented with a wide variety of loot and environments, made further complex by a new endgame "Ancient Hunt" system, which lets you transform unwanted enchanted gear into portals to battle unique bosses for even more powerful loot.
If I had to personally recommend another game from this list, it would be Streets of Rage 4. The game represents the best of classic couch co-op gaming, with a dash of modern flair. Sega kept everything that was great about the original, with gorgeous comic book-style visuals and slick, classic beat 'em up combat, ideal for pairs of gamers who want to bash things together.