Do all good things have to come to an end?

19 01 2012

Hey guys, well, I’m afraid to say I don’t have much news for you today, having only woken up about an hour before writing this, and falling asleep after writing my two previous posts for you lovely readers yesterday, I’m afraid not much has happened. The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations has been put on the 3DS store today, so I shall hopefully be giving you my thoughts on that sometime soon.

Today however, I decided to stick with my emphasis on the games for the many, and move my way onto co-op gaming. Now, I’m going to a games night later on, and although there are options out there to play, for the most part, we are usually left with either having to play a competitive game, or all watch one person play on a game, taking it in turns to give everyone a go. What I really want to know, is what ever happened to co-op gaming and the world of local multiplayer. As always, please leave comments below on what your thoughts are on the state of ‘local’ gaming.

The death of the ‘games night in’?

As much fun as games can be whilst playing them in solitude til 5am in a dark room, there is no denying that when you get the right games, playing them with others can be a much more fun experience. Throughout all of my gaming life, I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun gaming than when me and mates have grabbed some junk food and energy drinks, and prepared for one hell of a games night. However, with the evolution of internet gaming, these experiences seem to be going out of fashion, playing the same games, with the same people, but in the comfort of your own home, without having to make any effort, it’s not difficult to see why people have chosen to go with the times and turn to a headset relationship with their friends.

However, is the future really the way forward? to this day, I have still never quite gotten the same experience from a headset as I have my friends, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. So, why don’t we all just stand up and rebel against this silly tradition? simple, because even the games industry is fighting against us.

With nearly everybody and their grandparents being connected to the internet in this day and age, developers are starting to feel like having online multiplayer in their games is a must. Even games which we didn’t really expect/want multiplayer options for (bioshock 2, dead space 2, mass effect 3…) have started putting it in their games, almost as if they feel they have to include it, or people won’t buy their game. In all of their excitement though, their vision seems to have become blurred, as many multiplayer offerings nowadays are online only, and some of them don’t even let you have a guest account play along with you.

remember this?

It’s rather odd really, the game series that kicked off the online multiplayer craze, Halo, let’s you play campaign, firefight, forge mode and multiplayer all with a friend or two sitting on your sofa next to you. This may make you think that developers would take a page from their book, but clearly not. Very few games out today let you play 4 player split-screen, and many others don’t even let you play with just one other friend locally. It seems everything must be done online in this day and age to ‘stay relevant’.

It’s not all bad though, some of the best multiplayer games of recent memory have still let you and your buddies play together, games like Gears of War 3, Halo: Reach and Left 4 Dead 2 all let you share the fun with at least one other member of the household, heck, even the Call of Duty games have 4 player split-screen, albeit without any AI bots to add to the mix.

How more games should be played

We also still have the option a having LAN parties, however, this still involves playing on multiple different monitors, so kind of takes away from the social experience. Also with these hard financial times going on, can we really expect every person who wants to play a game with their friends to have a copy of the game, a console to play it on and a spare TV or monitor to take to a mates house? not to mention the increased amount of effort involved, leaving even more people to just result to playing over the internet.

All of these problems and I haven’t even talked about the co-op side of things. Now, don’t get me wrong, with an emphasis on multiplayer in gaming right now, and the increased possibilities due to online gaming, there are actually more games embracing the co-op mode in recent years. My issue with them is that many of them feel like tacked-on afterthoughts, just like some of the multiplayer offerings of late. With many games simply re-using parts of the single player and adding a second player, or simply adding in a clone of player 1 into the single player (often ending up in a restricted experience), it’s fair to say that pickings are slim when looking for a fully fledged co-op experience.

Games like portal 2 have shown the world how to do co-op properly, offering us new locations, puzzles and story for us to enjoy along the way, portal 2’s offering is a near perfect co-op experience, making us truly need to work together to progress through, whilst giving us the opportunity to kill each other in imaginative ways every now and then, just for the giggles. Not to mention the other little touches they put in there, like having pointers and countdowns for you to utilize if words are failing you both. Plus, guess what, all of this is available to play split-screen, making this wonderful slice of portal cake even better.

get ready for some hardcore hugging.

Now really, I’m not saying I want any of this online nonsense to disappear, I think it’s a great thing to have. I would just like you developers out there to not forget about us gamers who like to socialize, and I’d like them to realise that a headset is really no substitute for having a few friends over to share the mayhem and laughter in person. There aren’t many bonding sessions that can claim to be quite as fun as a games night in, so what are you waiting for, call up your buddies and tell them to come round for a good old-fashioned gaming marathon.

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