Republished from www.twocanplayblog.com on 02/19/2009
With the new generation of consoles install base growing, our ability to play across the world wide web with friends from any locale has become incredibly simple. As of late, a hot topic around podcasts and interviews has been the necessity of multiplayer. Does everything we do in the industry have to revolve around the concept of online gaming or is it possible to have the same if not equally better experience just playing by yourself? Personally, I am not a huge multiplayer fan. Mostly because I lack the time necessary to enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I once had a lvl 55 Hunter in WOW, and I used to play Halo 2 'til my fingers ached, but lately I have been turned off to the whole multiplayer experience. While maybe for me, it is just the saturation of games with multiplayer, Pete Wanat (producer of the new Wanted game) in a interview expressed a frustration with how the press and marketers push to simply have multiplayer to spice up the box or add one more feature, regardless how useless it is (play The Darkness; great game, terrible multiplayer). He certainly makes a good point, and it is easily justified by seeing how many FPS games have multiplayer. Most FPS games now are pushing for a more team oriented structure (IE: Team Fortress 2, Resistance 2, and soon Killzone 2), but accessibility is an issue, because most games now require individual accounts per player and a maximum of 2 players per system for online play, it is demanding for even gamers to get friends together and play online when everyone has to have their own system and sometimes own account. COD 4 has done a good job of keep the LAN alive and providing a 4 player split screen for you and your friends, but I was confused when I rented Quantum of Solace and could only play one player online, no split screen, no guest options. I mean, a Bond game should always have 4 player split screen. Goldeneye anyone?
And there will be more FPS games coming out that stress the same multiplayer available in previous games we already have, each with there own twists. So is there a silver lining? Funny you should ask, because it is coming from an unlikely hero, Capcom. Here is a quick look at 2 games coming out, which have unique ways to multiplay. Street Fighter 4 Got it last night! Play for like 6 hours straight because I just had to have every character unlocked... but lets talk about the online play. Simply put, its perfect. First of all, I played for like 1 hour online and experienced no lag, latency, or drops and not only can I just quick match and fight somebody on the fly, but I can build custom matches, send friend requests and build up my battle points to flex my muscle online. On top of all of this, the coolest option has to be playing the Arcade mode, but leaving the online mode running, so random challengers can pop in every couple rounds for a wallop. I don't think it could get any better unless I had a cabinet in my living room, but for the price of $150, the Mad Catz Tournament stick can bring the arcade to you. Mad props to Capcom for bringing the spirit of 1 on 1 competition to next gen consoles. Resident Evil 5 Granted I have only played the demo, but was able to test the co-op with a friend. Another very near perfect multiplayer experience. The entire game is built around you controlling one of two characters as you make your way through the levels. At times you will have to separate to unlock certain areas or defend one another from an elevated position. A human counterpart tends to be much better than AI, so first they enabled co-op on the same machine via split screen, which is great and hopefully will be a seem less process, meaning a 2 nd player may jump in and out at any time. Not only that, but then you can go online and invite or join friends to play through the story co-op. Which is perfect because it helps build the tension when you have to protect your buddy from chainsaw wielding zombies, instead of a AI partner, who can't give you shit about it later. Watch for this game to drop on March 13 th.
All pictures provided by www.google.com/image and http://www.penny-arcade.com/