Here we are in full on 2010 mode. Yep 2010 the far flung future as it were. The landscape of our interaction with video games have changed completely since we first began. I can personally vouch for this. When I first began playing games It was just me... me and the a mushroom hungry Plummer with a wicked mustache. Creepy as it is in retrospect, I still enjoyed my time in that mushroom kingdom. During that time in the late 80's - early 90's there wasn't much talk of multiplayer, or co-op for that matter.... nope just me, a controller, and a mushroom starved Plummer... yep the good ol days.
Multiplayer gaming has really come into the spotlight, in my belief largely due to the desire for the developer of any given game to address the staunch and enormous difficulty of the games of old, and replacing that extended time with the game with something more productive and social. As an after effect of competitive multiplayer becoming so popular, those of us who are simply not in to our digital heads being blown off by twelve year olds playing after their bedtime the concept of Co-Op gaming has become popular, and rightfully so, recently. However, this is where I get off of the bus. When I it down to play, I want any game that I plop down my $60 for to play every bit as well in single-player than it does in multiplayer. I want a game that is as accessible and entertaining to play while by myself as when I have another gamer gaming the same game with me. (Yep three times, count em.) Yes I know, I am talking about two completely separate experiences and how could I justify comparing the two when they are so different. Well, here is my case.
As this blog that you are lending your eyes to is named Working Gamer. I do have a full time job, that means that very often I do not have the ability to catch any of my friends on Xbox live or any of your other favorite social gaming mediums. So this conondrum brings me to a crossroads in play, I think games like Army of Two: The 40th Day or Borderlands are really cool titles, that lend themselves to a full play through. However in several games that are designed to be played with more than one person throughout the main campaign or story mode the game does not play as well in single player as opposed to co-op. Henceforth I present you with some of my suggestions for solving these issues.
More intelligent partners:
Whats Wrong; In my play-through of Army of Two: TFD I would consistently run into a situation wherein my AI partner would mindlessly get out of cover and run himself into the nearest Gatling gun or harpooning grenade. My partners less than smooth move usually resulted into me needing to quickly make my way over to him and stab him with a health pack (not a mistype). Often enough my stab of love would place my character into a cavalcade of gunfire, explosive blasts and a number of other things that hamper my intent to stay alive. Yes, I go through all of this to keep my partner alive... just to see him die again at what I assume was his easiest opportunity to do so.
Make it better: If you are going to strap a co-op partner to my heels, please have the courtesy to address any path-finding issues. Yes, I know it is difficult, if not near impossible to predict every path that I will go down at any point in time. So here is an easy fix, if you are going to strap a partner to me, make him indestructible. I realize that this suggestion may also seem unbalanced, but hear me out. Make him indestructible and do not allow him to do the brunt of the work. I can think of several great examples of this, such as Gears of War or the Rainbow Six: Vegas Series.
Scale your game:
In my opinion, Borderlands, Oblivion* and Fallout 3* are games that do such great jobs of this. If I am playing single-player in a dominantly multiplayer game, as one person I should not be expected to take on as many enemies in comparison to when I have three other guys with me. Example: In Borderlands, when I play single-player, and I run into a ferocious groups of Skaggs, there are three little Skaggs and one Alpha Skagg. However when in a group of two or more, there are six to eight little Skaggs and three Alpha Skaggs. This provides for a really seamless difficulty curve that was very fair, making each experience different and fun.
Give me my modes:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 gives the Co-Op hungry player a bone to chew on by offering the Special Ops mode. This mode allows for up to two players pit themselves against daunting odds in a really entertaining and intriguing game mode. By offering different modes the developer is not forced to add crazy balancing to their single player campaigns, but they are able to tweak the balance to properly suit each form of gameplay.
Just a few of my thoughts on where we are and where I think we should go with Co-op play. All in all, I believe that the enjoyment of a singleplayer campaign should not compromised by the addition of Co-op. Instead give each player the ability to choose how he or she is going to experience your game, and let the fun be had where it will.
First things first, thank you for checking out the blog yet again. Things are really going well and I have some ideas for updates in the near future.
I am a self confessed leveling junkie, I know it, I just can't help myself. Borderlands is a game that I have invested some significant time in, as of writing this blog I have beaten the entire main quest line (12-15 hours) and the B-Lands expansion "The Zombie Island of DR. Ned". I understand any qualms that you may have with Borderlands, heck, I would be the first to confess that B-lands is far from perfect. I have some issues with the general lack of story telling in the main quest line, there are a few technical nags (pop in) with the game engine, but overall I find borderlands to be a remarkably enjoyable experience.
After spending some more time in very own single playerWoW and just coming off of a hiatus involving myself and Mass Effect 2, I began my not so vacation within the Zombie island of Dr. Ned. The Zombie Island takes a serious turn from the original story line, adding more interaction with characters during gameplay and a completely new environment.
The core gameplay of Dr. Ned remains identical to the in's and outs that made the original campaign so addictive and successful. However there are several differences that I believe the Dr. Ned made for the better.
Improved Story Delivery:
story from the main game seemed a bit disjointed and not well delivered. In contrast, Dr. Ned delivers an inventive horror theme that permeates the entire experience. The player is allowed to jump around through some of the horror genres most popular baddies including zombies, werewolves, several frankenstein variants as well as the triumphant return of our dear Dr. Zed.. err I mean Ned. The focused theme allows Gearbox to deliver on a well delivered story that offers its plot while you are playing, not in cutscenes. During your play-through, you will run into audio logs that audibly depict the tragic and often hilarious fate of the characters turned monsters that the player interact with.
More Levels, Thats Right Levels:
My love of the leveling concept began with my curiosity of the MMO phenomenon. There is just something about that "DING", added strength or options that just really hooks me. At the beginning of my time with the Zombie island I was a level 40 soldier character, about 2 levels below the first enemies you encounter. As of this time I have completed the story-line of Dr. Ned and have advanced 6 levels. The coolest thing about the leveling process was that seemingly Gearbox was able to predict the timing of each players leveling because each time I leveled I had just surpassed a major part of the story-line or taken down a serious baddie.
In our next post I will discuss what I didn't like about my time with Dr. Ned.
I have made several attempts to start blogging. Most under the site-name of Highdefgamer.net, however, I was never able to strike my own internal blogging chord. I didn't know why.. just never got there, until now.
The problem was that, I like games... alot, and I also enjoy writing about them (a virtual outlet, discussing my favorite hobby). For the longest time I was convinced that I wanted to run a semi-large game site, and somehow attempt to crunch all of the numbers, and write all of the reviews about the newest and latest games. However I found, like I presume many that have gone before me have, that running a game site was a metric ton (if not two) of work, and I simply did not have the time for it. For goodness sakes (yep I said it) I have a full time job!
Really, the lead up for this game was way to much, yes, Dyak would have been best served to stay quiet. However the 10 year life cycle of this game and the wild publication of that fact really hurt the end product. If this was deemed as a 2 year development game I believe the reception would have been different. But seriously.... F@#$ Gamespot.
Alright, Holy Poooo!! ... (catches breathe*). So I was traveling to North Carolina on a business trip and as I got off of the plane and walked to the baggage claim I ran into Cliff Bleszinsk . So I immediatly ran over, showered him with praize for the very bloody Gears and asked for a picture.
Let it be known that this pic was taken after a four hour plane ride.
So, to get rolling on my first of hopefully many blogs I am just gonna get started on some general impressions of the site.
Thus far I am really enjoying the Giantbomb.com and I am really interested in the fact that we the community really are helping contribute and improve the site. It just seems crazy, for instance, I am a really big fan of games like Madden and NCAA football. I further understand that the editors of this site are simply not that big of sports gamers, thus I am going to be really focusing on those pages and making the available data for those games relevant and great. Again, I am just in awe that we are able to help create and invest in our own new game site. I think I am speaking for everyone at the bomb when I say goodbye Gamespot and that the bomb is my new gaming home.
Talk to you guys soon, ... same bat time, same bat channel... I hope.