February 18, 2009

Single Player or Multiplayer: Most of the Time You Can’t Get Both

Kube00 Says: Very few games that published within the last few years have done both single player and multiplayer well.

So-So Multiplayer; Great Single Player
GTA IV has a decent, although long, single player experience; but the multiplayer is so-so. Another example is Metal Gear Solid 4, it has a great story and is easily one of the better games I played this year. The multiplayer is okay, and better than I expected, but there is nothing there to keep me interested. The new Resident Evil is another fine example. I don’t want to play through the game with an NPC or another human. I want to experience the creepiness and scariness of the RE series by myself. Basically, the game is designed for multiplayer with single player stuff woven into the game in the form of NPCs. Even the oldie but goodie Diablo II is like this, for multiplayer you play through the same areas as you do in single player mode.

And for some games it feels like the multiplayer was tossed in at the last second to make the game more appealing to the masses and/or to drive up the sales numbers or review scores. Condemned 2 falls victim to this, as I figured out the multiplayer was useless, something that could be passed over and felt rushed. Even one of my all time favorite games, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas suffers from this, known as “I-need-to-make more money” syndrome. It has basic multiplayer, two players work together to kill as many people as possible. Sure it makes the game more fun, but it doesn’t really add anything to the longevity of the game.

Great Multiplayer; So-so Single Player
Mario Kart Wii is great for multiplayer, like Unreal Tournament, but it is useless for single player. The games have no story, nor do I want an explanation of why I am playing so many games of Capture the Flag or race for the Flower Cup.

Best of Both Worlds
There are some games floating out there that have the both of best worlds: namely, Halo. All of the Halo games have a pretty robust single player story starring Master Chief; along with a very strong multiplayer aspect. And then there’s the Jedi Knight Series. All of those games had a great story that was sure to hook gamers. The Jedi Knight series also had decent multiplayer.

In Need of Multiplayer
Some games could use a little multiplayer love. For example, Bioshock, is a great game worth its cheap $19.99 price tag could use a touch of multiplayer. Or how about Mass Effect, multiplayer would only serve to enhance the game, just think of the possibilities.

So in today’s gaming world you get one or the other 90% of the time. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. So readers what do you think? Has the gaming industry become focused on one or the other?