Single-console households have been getting the short end of the stick in recent years when it comes to multiplayer gaming. More and more companies are moving to an online multiplayer model. If you’re not yet ready to take the plunge and purchase multiple systems and multiple Xbox Live subscriptions, consider checking out these amazing split screen games for the Xbox 360 console.
1. Halo Reach
The cannon of Halo games have been providing fans with compelling first-person shooter mechanics, dramatic and engaging story lines, and multiplayer campaigns for more than a decade now, and Halo Reach is no exception. Even people who dislike first-person shooters can find something to love about Halo Reach—a prequel to the events that take place in the Master Chief arc . If you haven’t yet fallen in love with the Halo games or skipped this one because it was a diversion from the main arc, take time to find a used copy. It’s a great starting point for new fans of the series and a wonderful addition to the series for long-time fans.
Borderlands is unique in that it combines the best elements of a first-person shooter with the more engaging elements of an RPG. While you battle enemies by shooting them and collect more and more rare and exciting guns throughout the game, you also engage in leveling up your character, discover treasure while exploring the land, and fulfill a nearly endless number of missions.
3. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Diablo III is a perfect game for people who enjoy a little more action and a little less story in their RPGs. While it has a lot of elements of an RPG—a storyline, loot, and item/weapon/armor crafting and upgrading—Diablo III requires less grinding than your typical RPG. And while it has a storyline, it’s minimal, so you spend much more time exploring and destroying your enemies than watching mini-movies. The Ultimate Evil Edition version of the game includes the original Diablo 3 game as well as the Reaper of Souls expansion. Read our review.
4. Portal 2
Portal 2 is a puzzle game that can be played by two players. Players must cooperate to solve puzzles by moving things around and using portals to move themselves and objects through walls. It’s a really difficult game, but the robot guide who helps you out has plenty of sarcastic and funny comments for you along the way that diffuse the tension of being stuck.
Terraria is a creation and adventure game that combines the crafting elements of Minecraft with hack and slash adventure. In Terraria, you can explore a huge world, find and collect treasure, battle enemies and bosses, craft new weapons, armor, and items, and create your dream home. Progressing levels of difficulty and randomly generated maps also add to the experience by ensuring that there’s always something to do in the game even after months of playing it. Read our review.
6. Fable II
Multiplayer RPGs are incredibly difficult to find, and when you do find one, it’s hit or miss as to whether the game will be good or not. Fable II got this one right. Just as in the first Fable game that was released on the original Xbox, the choices you make as your character have consequences, but with the addition of multiplayer, the choices your partner makes also have consequences. Players can play through the storyline or choose to roam freely through the world doing as they please, making for an unlimited number of experiences for people who choose to play the game more than one time through.
7. Dynasty Warriors 8
After releasing a series of several not-so-great titles, Dynasty Warriors got back on track with the release of Dynasty Warriors 8. While the game retains its appeal to hack and slash genre fans, reworked character strengths, larger maps, and a better story make this game more than just button-smashing, enemy-destroying fun.
8. Earth Defense Force 2025
Pair up with a partner and take one of four classes of soldiers on a mission to save the world from aliens and giant insects. This third-person shooter has the elements of a shooter combined with the destructiveness of a hack and slash. You’ll blow up buildings, wreak havoc with grenade launchers, and mow through your enemies. It’s a great game for people who don’t take shooters too seriously.
9. Gears of War
The Gears of War series is designed for people who like shooting games. Unlike Earth Defense, you won’t be plowing your way through enemies and blowing up towns; instead, you spend a good deal of time looking for a strategic position to shoot from and trying to avoid being sniped. The sounds of the game are immersive—not only do they make you feel like you’re a part of what’s happening, they also clue you in to where damage is coming from.
10. Left 4 Dead
If you like horror games, you’ll love Left 4 Dead. Left 4 Dead is truly creepy—everything from the design of the enemies to the lighting. Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter that pits you against zombies—not massive floods of zombies, but quick and vengeful ones. As such, it’s not hack-and-slash like many zombie games; it’s a shooter with good controls and horror themes.
11. Rayman Origins
Rayman Origins is a platforming game (think Mario mechanics) that is great for playing with younger children. Its controls are simple, it’s not scary or gory, and it’s fun for kids and adults alike. If you enjoy Origins, make sure to follow it up with Rayman Legends—the second installment of the platforming game that also offers local multiplayer.
12. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas
Another great first-person shooter to make the list, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas combines the mechanics of a shooter with character and weapon customization options more alike what you’d find in an RPG. It’s one of the few games in the Tom Clancy series where you can play through the entire campaign in split screen multiplayer, so it’s a good introduction to the franchise for people who prefer playing with spouses or kids over playing alone.
13. BattleBlock Theater
BattleBlock Theater is a hilarious platforming game where you fight to save yourself and your friends from imprisonment by teaming up with a partner, solving puzzles, and conquering levels of increasing difficulty. In story mode, both players must collaborate to move forward, so you’re never doing separate things in different parts of the game—you’re always playing together. Because the game doesn’t require uninterrupted attention, it’s great for playing a game while still visiting each other and having conversations. Read our review.
14. Child of Light
Another in the rare multiplayer RPG cannon, Child of Light is both visually stunning and highly engaging. Two players can guide Aurora and her companion, Igniculus, on a quest to save Aurora’s father. Along the way, you battle enemies using a system that combines elements of both a turn-based and real-time combat system, all while collecting treasures and conquering mini bosses and side quests. It’s a great game for any RPG fan, and an even better game for those who enjoy gaming with a partner.
15. Castle Crashers
Castle Crashers is a cartoon hack-and-slash game where you battle waves of enemies, collect coins, and rescue princesses. Though the controls for the game are simple and include a lot of button-mashing, the game also includes a lot of classic RPG elements like being able to upgrade and customize characters to progress through the game in more powerful forms.