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The best split screen PS4 games in 2020

The best split screen PS4 games
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The best split screen PS4 games are a perfect choice for gaming with a friend or family member. While plenty of great PS4 games offer multiplayer components, games that offer split screen functionality in particular are a little bit rarer. There are plenty of good reasons for this, including the fact that split screen multiplayer modes are difficult to program, and their utility is limited in a world that seems to prefer online gaming to couch co-op anyway.

Nevertheless, split screen games offer a special kind of cooperative or competitive experience, as you can go anywhere you want and do anything you want, while letting your partner on the couch do the same thing. It’s all the best parts of a multiplayer experience without the restrictions that often go along with local multiplayer.

There are many genres represented among the best split screen PS4 games. Whether you want to play first-person shooters, racing games, RPGs, action games or even horror games, there should be something here to suit your tastes. Just be sure to pick up an extra controller first.

What are the best split screen PS4 games?

Naturally, the best split screen PS4 games will vary, depending on what exactly you want to play. And remember: When you start up a split screen game, it’s not just about you; your partner’s preferences come into play, too. If you want to blast each other in a competitive shooter and your friend wants to cooperate to solve puzzles and advance a story, you’re not going to find much common ground. As such, your first question should be what kind of game you both want to play — or, at least what kind of game you both wouldn’t mind playing.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is a relatively safe bet, particularly since you can play with up to four people. Not many split screen games offer that kind of functionality. But the Borderlands games combine a lot of disparate elements into something that will please almost any kind of gamer. The core of the experience is an FPS, but it’s an FPS that’s dependent on leveling up, improving your skills and finding better equipment over time. There are also lots of quests to complete and areas to explore, meaning that it’s not just about shooting.

A Way Out is one of the more interesting games on the list, in that it’s one of the few asymmetrical titles. You and your partner won’t be controlling the same kind of characters, doing the same kinds of activities. Leo and Vincent, the game’s two protagonists, each have different skills and roles in the story, so playing as each one confers a pretty different experience. You may want to tackle the game twice.

The best split screen PS4 games you can buy today

The best split screen PS4 games: ark survival evolved

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1. Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved was an early-access game on Steam for a long time, but it finally got a full release on the PC, the Xbox One and, of course, the PS4. The game is all about surviving in a harsh wilderness, crafting tools, clothes, food, shelter and whatever else you may need to thrive in a challenging environment. And in order to get those resources, you’ll need to battle the native wildlife.

Where Ark sets itself apart from the rest of the genre, though, is that its world is populated primarily by enormous dinosaurs. Whereas most survival games pit you against humans or mundane animals, things can get a little more outlandish in Ark. If you want to mount a T-rex and strap laser cannons to the beast, you're more than welcome, and it's even more fun with a friend.

The best split screen PS4 games: borderlands the handsome collection

(Image credit: 2K Games)

2. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

In case you've never played it, Borderlands is a series of compulsively playable FPS/RPGs that cast you as a treasure hunter on a harsh planet, full of dangers both human and alien. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on PS4 collects both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and both of them allow two, three or four players to share a local split screen.

In fact, this is arguably the best way to play the game, since each player can choose a different character class, and co-op partners will make relatively short work of the game's myriad challenges. But even if you only have two players at your disposal, you’ll both enjoy the game’s addictive mix of gunning down foes and gathering new gear. It’s somewhat twitch-based and somewhat strategic, and doesn’t require too much training to pick up.

The best split screen PS4 games: call of duty wwii

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3. Call of Duty: WWII

While you can't experience the cinematic campaign in Call of Duty: WWII with another player, it’s one of the best split screen PS4 games for every other mode. Whether you want to oppose each other or team up in multiplayer matches, you can do it from a split screen perspective. You can hone your skills against one another, against bots, or against other players online. While it’s a little challenging without the full screen at your disposal, it’s arguably better than playing alone.

Even better: You can collaborate in the game's zombie mode, which lets you and a friend experience a campy, imaginative horror story with the tried-and-true Call of Duty control scheme. If you have fond memories of playing split screen Halo with friends after school, this isn't terribly different; just a little more grounded in 1940s technology.

The best split screen PS4 games: divinity original sin

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4. Divinity: Original Sin

Old-school RPGs with couch co-op are pretty rare to begin with, but one with split screen functionality is almost unheard of. Divinity: Original Sin delivers a single-player experience that most other games in the genre would envy, then goes a little further by offering the entire thing in split screen co-op. That’s more than the old-school games could claim.

You and your friend/partner/sibling/person you grabbed off the street will each create a Source Hunter: a powerful warrior who can use both conventional weapons and magic to save the world from evil magicians known as Sourcerers. The turn-based combat manages to be both breezy and strategic, but you'll need to invest a long time to finish this adventure. If you don’t live with your co-op partner, that might be challenging — or it might be a good excuse to spend a few hours together every week.

The best split screen PS4 games: divinity original sin ii

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5. Divinity: Original Sin II

One of the best PS4 RPGs overall is also one of the best split screen PS4 games. The first Divinity: Original Sin had couch co-op; you didn't really think the developers would take that feature away, did you? This RPG sequel — which received even more critical and fan acclaim than the first — casts you once again as a "Sourcerer," who can channel divine magic in order to become better combatants or cast fantastical spells.

This time, the player is in contact with a mysterious entity known as the "Godwoken," who guides him or her on a perilous quest across a broken land. There's adventure, intrigue and friendship — which is appropriate, since you can play the whole thing, start-to-finish, with two players, each of whom has a customized character to control. Since you’re not tethered to each other, you can each complete quests in the way you see fit.

The best split screen PS4 games: don't starve together

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6. Don't Starve Together

Don't Starve is one of those games whose title is also its instruction manual. The premise is pretty straightforward: You're stuck in a harsh world, full of dangerous beasts, adverse weather conditions and unpredictable terrain, and you need to somehow find food, shelter and the weapons needed to take down hostile monsters.

Don't Starve Together lets you and one other person collaborate, as you share your resources and do your best to survive together. You'll double your output, sure, but remember: You'll also need twice as many supplies to survive. You can try your luck with other players online, or keep it to just the two of you. There are three different modes to try, including a standard Survival mode, a more open-ended Wilderness mode and an Endless mode that’s more about exploration than challenge. As survival titles go, it’s one of the best split screen PS4 games.

The best split screen PS4 games: gran turismo sport

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7. Gran Turismo Sport

You can't write a list of split screen games and not include a racing title. Gran Turismo Sport is, first and foremost, a stunningly gorgeous game, featuring meticulous re-creations of more than 160 real-life cars and 17 imaginative racecourses. You’ll be able to drive some of the fastest cars around from companies like Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and more. The racetracks will take you from California, to Belgium, to Austria, to Japan, to England and beyond.

Tight controls and a focus on realism should help racing-game aficionados and novices alike find something to suit their tastes. Beyond that, there's not too much to say; Gran Turismo Sport lets you race two digital cars against each other, very fast, just like you've been doing since the dawn of video games. And sometimes, that's all you need.

The best split screen PS4 games: plants vs. zombies garden warfare 2

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8. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

Finding something to play split screen with a younger audience can be a challenge, but Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 does a good job of appealing to kids and adults alike. You'll take control of the titular plants and zombies from the popular tower-defense game, but this time, you'll control them directly rather than play the role of an unseen tactician.

This third-person shooter is an easy way to play either competitively or cooperatively, and the more you play, the more characters and collectibles you'll unlock. There are plenty of roles available, whether you want to play as the time-traveling orange Citron, the beefy warrior Super Brainz or the mystical spellcaster Rose. Just be aware that the game has optional microtransactions, but most players attest that you don’t really need to spend money to gain a competitive advantage.

The best split screen PS4 games: rocket league

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9. Rocket League

Who could have imagined that "cars playing soccer" would have turned into one of the most popular video games of the last few years? (Well, The Simpsons anticipated it, but that show always knows the future.) Rocket League has turned a shockingly simple premise into one of the most beloved competitive sports(?) games on the market. There’s really not much to say about the gameplay: You drive cars and try to hit a ball into a net.

If you want to play some competitive split screen, simply load the game up on your PS4 and grab a second controller — and a third, and a fourth, if you want to make things really chaotic. Rocket League also has a robust esports scene, so who knows? Spend enough time practicing, and you may just get good enough to join the competitive ranks.

The best split screen PS4 games: star wars battlefront ii

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10. Star Wars Battlefront II

Star Wars Battlefront II is far from a perfect game. The campaign is thin, the multiplayer progression is all over the place and the game originally embraced annoying loot boxes. If you want split screen Star Wars action, though, the game can deliver that in spades. It’s one of the few Star Wars games that can, at the moment, since other Star Wars titles tend to be either single-player affairs or re-releases of classic games from the ‘90s and early 2000s.

You and one partner can load up the game's Arcade mode, and play cooperatively through a handful of the game's multiplayer maps, including a Rebel base on Yavin 4 and a First Order Star Destroyer. Arcade mode lets you unlock credits that can be used to unlock items in the game's online multiplayer mode, as a tempting extra incentive.

The best split screen PS4 games: resident evil 6

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11. Resident Evil 6

Full disclosure: Resident Evil 6 isn't a good game. In fact, it's kind of a bad game. But a) It's the kind of bad game that's entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way; b) It eschews the uncomfortable racism of Resident Evil 5; and c) It's one of the few ways to experience a cooperative split screen zombie-killing campaign on PS4. You’ll spend most of the game shooting zombies, exploring urban environments and solving a few rote puzzles, but at least it doesn’t take too much brainpower.

If you want something story-driven and action-packed, Resident Evil 6 (mostly) delivers, weaving together three stories about classic protagonists: Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy as well as newcomer Jake Muller. At the very least, it's better than suffering through the campaign alone. Bonus points if you laugh at the ridiculousness together, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style.

The best split screen PS4 games: lego dc super villains

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12. Lego DC Super-Villains

The Lego games are always a solid co-op bet, and as an added bonus, they're about as kid-friendly as they come. And while cooperative kids' games have a (somewhat deserved) bad reputation for being buggy and unimaginative, the Lego series almost always bucks the trend. Lego DC Super-Villains puts you in control of the greatest antagonists of the DC Universe, including Lex Luthor, the Joker, Solomon Grundy, Lobo and even Darkseid himself.

Along the way, you'll solve puzzles, fight off pesky superheroes and follow a totally original plot that pits you against a despotic, alternate-universe version of the Justice League. You can even make your own supervillain, if the game's massive cast doesn’t do it for you. It’s one of the best split screen PS4 games, if for no other reason than you get to play as a supervillain.

The best split screen PS4 games: a way out

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

13. A Way Out

A Way Out is unique in that it's the only game on this list that requires co-op play. In this title, you'll take control of either Leo or Vincent. Each one is a prisoner with one goal in mind: to stage an elaborate jailbreak and escape to the countryside. Players will have to cooperate to fend off enemies, sure, but the bigger draw of the game is that they'll have to collaborate to solve elaborate puzzles.

One player may need to act as a distraction while the other figures something out, or both players may need to set a bigger plan in motion. It's worth noting that A Way Out wasn't universally beloved by either fans or critics, but it's worth a look for sheer originality, if nothing else. And if you want, you can play it twice, so that both players can experience both perspectives.

How to choose the best split screen PS4 games for you

As mentioned above, the most effective way to pick the best split screen PS4 games for you and your partner is to consider what types of games you usually like to play. You should also consider how much time you have to spend together. Huge, sprawling games like Divinity: Original Sin can take dozens of hours, which is quite a commitment if you don’t live together — or if you have more pressing appointments in your gaming schedule. Other titles, like Call of Duty: WWII can be fun for about an hour at a time, meaning it won’t eat up your entire afternoon.

Beyond that, it’s also worth considering whether you and your partner want to work together or compete against each other. Titles like A Way Out pit both of you against the computer; titles like Gran Turismo Sport pit you directly against each other. Most titles have both competitive and cooperative aspects, however, so choose wisely.