Hey all, thought Iíd blow off a little steam by being creative instead of my usual smashing up of household items with various pellet guns and fire (just found out I didnít get a job I was really banking on), so Iíd like to discuss some really rad multiplayer trends Iíve noticed cropping up recently.
My first blog on this website was about how disappointed I am with the PS3ís neglect of multiplayer prospects in this generation of games. Few games for the console have any form of multiplayer, and the ones that do usually lack a local option and/or simply arenít fun. But since writing that, Iíve played a few titles that have actually given me a great deal of hope for where multiplayer aspects are headed in the near future.
For starters Ėsince it is probably on everyoneís minds and consoles at the moment Ė there is the Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta. If youíve played it, you probably think itís awesome, if you havenít you probably need to. And if youíve played it and donít think itís awesome, well, maybe you will after this.
(Customization is the icing on the murder cake)
When talking about the new multiplayer in Uncharted 3 Naughty Dog expressed their hopes that it would set the new standard for multiplayer Ė that it would take the lead and provide an unsurpassed experience to satisfy all kinds. Hearing this I was a bit skeptical. The multiplayer in 2 was fun, and most other games donít support the vertical platforming element that this series does so thatís a fun new twist. But certainly I still preferred Bad Company 2 to sate my ass-kicking needs.
But I have got to say, Naughty Dog really delivered on this one. Iím not saying it will definitely be everyoneís future go-to, but it has managed to satisfy a surprising number of demands for an online shooter. It has similar weapon modifications to Battlefield, movement capability and fluidity that surpasses MGO, and perks, kill streaks, and level voting reminiscent of CoD.
Top that off with character customization and Iíd say youíve got a solid sale. Of course this is only a beta and you have the selection of about 3 characters total (none of which are female..?) and only two levels to play through, but even this early selection shows promise. Small changes Iíd like to see before the full release are more treasure drops (fewer repeats), better melee detection (no more throwing an elbow after youíve been killed), and fixing the unfairness of starting on the trucks in the Air Strip level Ė lord knows the heroes have an advantage defending two doors from a bunch of dudes trying to leap through them from moving vehicles.
(I shouted "bullshit!" so many times I started to forget what it meant)
Not only is the multiplayer fun and varied, but you can play with your friend on the same system. I played with two of my friends in the same house with two of us sharing a screen and we were all able to party up and be on the same team in every game, it was great. The only complaint I have about the split screen is the utilization of about 40% of it to display our player icons, which is entirely unnecessary.
So I will certainly be purchasing Uncharted 3 in November, and canít wait for the full multiplayer to drop with that Subway deal (keep your eyes peeled people). The other title that re-instilled a little hope in my heart was actually Motorstorm Apocalypse. My friend and I rented it from GameFly because I had fun with the other Motorstorm demos and Apocalypse looked tense and exciting.
(^^When Yachts don't wait for the drawbridge)
After cursing my lips off through the ball-blistering difficulty that often characterized the single-player campaign (which surprisingly had an actual story to accompany it, and a decent one at that) I messed around with the multiplayer for a long while after discovering how fun it was. You get to customize every single vehicle available Ė and quite thoroughly at that, down to how much weathering your car shows Ė even moreso after you unlock more of the available parts and designs. This adds a certain pride and distinct flavor to your repertoire of destruction cruising speed-demons Ė a feature really lacking in many other racers.
Unfortunately you only get to choose from an arbitrary selection of vehicles depending on the level, which doesnít even seem to hinge on what would be appropriate (i.e. mud vs. concrete) so you may not get to use the Superbike you just customized in several races for no reason at all. But this at least forces players to become versatile in their skills and learn to appreciate every vehicle the developers included, as they all do have a certain usefulness.
On top of that, the game also includes a level voting system like Uncharted and even a ďRivalĒ system in which you select one player to bet that you will finish ahead of, which creates a second level of tension and an opportunity to earn even more experience and accolades. There are even perks that players can select loadouts of to help them gain an extra edge against opponents in their own unique way.
(Level voting is sexy, and so can you)
All of this from a racing game? Surprising I thought. And to top it all off, it also has the local/online multiplayer combination which allows you to play with one friend next to you as you compete with others online. This is a great aspect that has really been missing from games in general, even dropped from games it used to be in like the Burnout series. Thank you Motorstorm for bringing this back.
So there you have it, at least two reasons why a small shred of my faith has been restored in the future of console multiplayer. Not to say I didnít have fun with Killzone 3 or wasnít looking forward to Battlefield 3, but those are different, and if weíre being honest Ė less versatile. Iím just glad that developers are remembering that friends donít always want to just sit on the couch and watch us have fun with a bunch of strangers. Cheers Naughty Dog, Evolution Studios, may your financial futures be bright.