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7:11 PM on 05.16.2011

Is Multiplayer Necessary?

I've been getting ragged on by a lot of my friends, being such a huge survival horror buff, about not having Dead Space 2. I absolutely loved the first one but felt like I missed the boat (or spaceship) on the second one. After some pondering I decided to pick it up and see what I was missing. The first thing that threw me off about Dead Space 2 was the fact there was a multiplayer feature. I was pretty dumb founded, but partially excited about thwarting undead foes with the plasma cutter online. What I experienced was some of the worst multiplayer content I have ever played. The maps were lame and the gameplay sucked. Disappointed I decided to switch over to single player, the main reason I bought the game in the first place, and to my surprise it was amazing! Now I'm left wondering, why on earth did Visceral Games decide to shoe horn a tacky multiplayer experience onto an already amazing game? This is where the topic of the blog came from, is multiplayer necessary for this generation of gaming?

Replayability is a huge factor in modern day gaming. Keeping your consumers tunnel visioned on your individual product and stretching out the life of the game is a major key element in what makes a game successful or not in the long run. The problem was created when successful titles such as Halo and Call of Duty have such a huge cult following due to their multiplayer experience. The online components in those games have created entire communities dedicated to just that one particular game, and game developers want a piece of that action. There has been such a huge success in most multiplayer games, developers feel that creating a game without multiplayer is going to shorten their profits and in turn shorten the life span of the game(or they might even trade it in! oh no!). Multiplayer experiences have gone from an additional bonus to a requirement in the eyes of gaming industries, which is why a lot of games have this tacked on online feature that normally isn't very good. Multiplayer shouldn't be an after thought, you should develop a game ideally knowing if you want to have more then one person playing it with each other. If you decide to just shoe horn in some multiplayer content to increase the games overall packaged value your going to be taking away at least 20% of the effort from single player in order to create some lame multiplayer feature, which in essence would leave you with a mediocre game with shitty online play. Look at classic games where they were severely limited to what they can and cannot do. The single player games of our past are down right amazing, why? Because developers were focusing strongly on the single player aspect of the game and how to improve it. There are also, though, great classic games that feature some sort of ability to play with others that are awesomesauce. What kind of games were those? Normally racing, sports or some sort of fighting, so genre's are another factor if a game needs multiplayer or not.

If you play a fighting game that doesn't offer multiplayer, it's really fucking weird, but a mutltiplayer option in God of War 3 doesn't make sense either. Why is that? Probably because we've grown up understand that certain games have multiplayer and certain games don't. The problem is the fine line between genres is becoming very blurry and were seeing developers trying new ideas, which in the most part isn't a bad idea if it's rightfully executed. Games get better reviews if they are "feature-rich". So adding more content must be a formula to a better review, and a better overall game? Right? Wrong. Focusing on the wrong areas can create a lackluster feeling for gamers and leave them with a bunch of tacky content. Companies are becoming more and more aggressive in approaching a broader audience and are hoping people will hold onto their games and not trade them in. Unfortunately you can't have your cake and eat it too.

So what's your guys opinions on this? Leave a comment and please critique my writing, it only helps me get better. Cheers!

/brofist   read

7:26 PM on 05.09.2011

DLC, Yay or nay?

Recently the internet has been a buzz about L.A. Noire, the game that has a shit ton of exclusive DLC to certain retailers and exclusive content on the PS3. It's kind of a annoying to unfortunately discover you are missing a portion of your game because you didn't shop at a particular store. Well, on the plus side, most exclusive DLC does become available later on online for a quick cash grab, but why should you pay for content that you should already have in the first place? Let's start by looking at the positives and the negatives of DLC and try to get a better understanding.


Revitalizes Games.

This is a good point. DLC does give people a reason to revisit their old games and start playing them again. It stops consumers from approaching a different title and keeps things interesting. That's the main goal of DLC, it's to keep gamers from getting bored until the next sequel comes out. Rarely do I ever, personally anyways, check the marketplace for DLC of an older game I enjoy. It's always the 1-2 month old titles I'll be looking through online for DLC.

Sometimes it's free! <3
No it's no old wives tale, sometimes a good game company will give out DLC for free. Which is pretty bitchin'. Did you get it with a preorder? Awesome! That's the beauty of exclusive DLC for different companies, it gets people excited for what their purchasing and helps create a separate image from other retail stores. Now there is certain types of DLC that should NEVER be exclusive, but we'll get back to that.

Easy to get.

Finding an expansion pack instores can sometimes be near impossible now thanks to DLC. It makes it good for such an occasion that your bored and you have your visa card near by. Normally it's just a couple of clicks and your already spending your hard earned cash on the next greatest content for your favorite games. Awesome.



Game companies love DLC. Why? Because they have a tendency to overcharge for it and it can be some of the most lamest shit in the world. If they have captivated a large enough audience, they can just create the same content but give it a different color and people will still buy it. But wait, theres more!
It gets even worse when a game company owns a large AND older franchise, because they'll try to sell you on content you have already played from previous games! How is it fair that they can overcharge you for transferring over older content? Activision I'm looking at you.

Exclusive storyline DLC

Imagine watching a really awesome tv series from start to finish on your channel of choosing. Wouldn't it suck to figure out that you could have seen another episode that went deeper into the storyline if you were watching it on another channel? Now don't think I'm saying that storyline DLC is terrible, because it's not. Giving me more story about a game I love is awesome, but when when you take chunks of the story out and give it to people that went to a different store then you, that shit sucks.

DLC is already on the disc

Damn it, this is one of the worst. Unlocking a portion of the game that's already on the disc you bought for more money? That's seriously terrible. No company no matter how big or small should be allowed to do this. It's like buying a car with a radio that only has AM. You can get FM radio if you pay a small fee and allow the man who sold you the car to simply press a certain button code to unlock the FM radio. Paying for something you already paid for is bullshit.

So the idea of DLC being good or not is up to you guys. In my opinion DLC is a good thing, only if it's done right. DLC keeps a good game from going stale, and gives newer games a lasting appeal. I'm never worried that I'll get bored of the latest game in the next couple of months, there will always be something available. DLC needs to remain downloadable content, not content on your disc that we will unlock, it's not what it stands for. Also if you have content available don't just put it aside to charge $13 dollars for DLC later. Please.

Thanks for reading guys, please critique my writing and leave a comment on what your opinion is.

/brofist   read

1:34 PM on 05.06.2011

Survival Horror, what happened to you?

Survival horror isn't as scary as it use to be. Yeah I said it. The problem being game developers choose not to attack the player on a subconscious level but on a physical one. The dawn of the current console generation has been pretty rough on the horror genre. The increase in demand of graphics and gameplay scare developers into trying anything different with the risk of it flopping. Developers want to create something that people will easily recognize and that their game will appeal to more consumers that currently play the latest and greatest. That's the biggest issue with survival horror these days, the fact that game developers will focus strongly on graphics. Games have high-definition lighting, bloom, etc, this causes horror games to lose their scariness and their overall fright factor. Each little detail needs to be bright and let the player know that they're there and fully rendered for your viewing pleasure.

The game above is Silent Hill Homecoming, an extremely disappointing game in general, but a good example of what's happening to horror games. Homecoming seemed more about fighting monsters, then running from them. You had a greater chance for success by challenging a monster to a fight to the death, then trying to avoid it. Monsters were also in great numbers at some points too, so approaching a situation with any monster the first thing that came to your head was "Can I take on these many?" not "What the fuck is that thing!?". Monsters become less and less scary the more times you see them. It's the mystery that delves into our inner souls wondering where is the creature, but more so what it looks like. This is what leads to my second point, survival horror games need mystery, god damn it.

Mystery is one of the key elements that scared us at the beginning of any horror game. When your dropped into a situation that makes you understand very little of your surroundings, and the game only drops vague demented hints about what's going on, your more compelled to continue to skulk through the shadows in order to understand why you were put here in the first place. The number one problem of horror games losing their mystery is franchises. The more and more sequels we have of the same game, the less it's about mystery but more about action. We understand what's going on already when we play a sequel, and don't want to learn more, we just want to kill the bad guys. Game studio's constantly milk out the same franchise again and again, because they understand they have the audience that will continue to buy them, and they constantly put mechanics into games that will appeal to a broader audience.

Now do mind you there are several studios out there that still understand the key elements on which good horror games are made upon. Frictional Game is one of them. Amnesia: The Dark Descent has to be on of the scariest games I have played in years. Why? Because it thrives on the players lack of knowledge. The enemies are constantly hiding around corners, and there are points where you 'think' theres some demonic hulking beast, but it's just a book falling off the table. Everything about Amnesia: The Dark Descent is amazing, the atmosphere, the enemy design, the gameplay, the story, just about everything capitalizes on key components that make the game scary or not.

So how can survival horror games come from from the dead? That might be harder then reviving the actual dead. We would have to let game studios know what the survival horror genre has done for us in the past, and what could be done in the future. Horror games are about letting the imagination run wild, so much that it actually causes us to shut down the game without even considering there might have been nothing there in the first place. Now I understand also in the past games were scarier because of the limitations of the consoles then, and now we can do about almost anything. Games developers need to recognize that even though they have the ability to create bright colorful detailed settings, doesn't mean they always have too. Hopefully somewhere in the future, the survival horror genre will reclaim it's rightful throne in the gaming world, but for now we will have to make do with what we have.

Thanks for reading my first blog on Destructoid, please critique it and leave a comment on areas I can improve. I know my writing can be a bit iffy at times, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Thanks doods,

/brofist   read

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