Aurain and I were having a discussion in the deep dark bowel of Destructoid, known as the forums, about whether single-player-centric games or Multiplayer-centric games are "better" or higher quality, I figured I would share my veiws on the topic with the toid community and see what you guys have to say on the subject.
Aurain: "Single Player games are consistently better than online focused ones.
Compare the quality of Red Dead Redemption to MAG, Warhawk, CoD6 or Battlefield Bad Company 2 and it's pretty apparent."
In my opinion, we all have our preferences, but personally I am ALL ABOUT multiplayer.
I'll take my latest (almost finished) single player experience: Red Dead Redemption and compare it to my current Multiplayer addiction, MAG:-
"I played perhaps, 20 hours tops of Red Dead single player, (more than that on multiplayer) and I'm bored, I just want to get it done and finished now. Whereas I'm currently at 100+ hours of MAG and STILL love every minute."
Don't get me wrong, Red Dead is a fantastic game! When the music played as I entered Mexico, it was pretty epic, and the story was excellent, with some great characters. But I KNEW it was still all scripted, all predetermined, I was literally just "along for the ride." If anything the addition of random encounters has really pushed Red Dead away from the "working through a scripted story" boredom i suffer from single player games, but just not quite enough.
When I'm playing MAG, barking orders to real people and they're replying and alerting the team to threats and such, suggesting attack routes, requesting support etc, it's just so much more natural and exciting, and for me, i would consider it on par with a good story.
In MAG when the enemy throws a whole squad at your AAA (again a decision made by another human in the game) and you're busy defending a bunker, that's not a situation designed by any developer, that's a situation where you need to make fast decisions based on what's actually happening and the info you have, not a situation that has been setup with a certain method for getting through it.
You might not even be able to get through it in MAG, you might take your whole squad to the AAA, lose the bunker, get killed and spawn miles away back in the base, or you could keep the bunker and slowly push back to the AAA while getting paratroopers dropped all over you and airstrikes etc. Creating the always difficult task of repairing an Anti Air gun, while having paratroopers landing right on it, all around you.
I just love how ad-hoc you have to be in Multiplayer games, especially games like MAG and to a lesser extent Battlefield Bad Company 2.
Many years ago, possibly about 10 years, I started playing Counter Strike on the PC, over a shoddy connection with horrible lag, but I loved it! Ever since that wonderful time, the whole "beating enemies that are simply AI, essentially designed to be beaten" lost all of it's appeal.
Multiplayer gaming is more like sport, it's a battle of skills between multiple humans. While a single player game feels like a movie with you making a lot of the decisions and controlling the actions of the protagonist.
Sure I enjoy blowing through a single player game for the story, kind of like I enjoy watching movies, but for me, it's infinitely more satisfying to kill/beat an enemy and to know there is someone on the other end thinking "GOD DAMN IT FOOLISHBEAN69 GOT ME!"
Sure, single player games tend to have better graphics and the obvious thing of a story, they often have more characters and those characters almost always have more depth to them, but multiplayer games, in my book, are a completely different animal. Something done for challenge, something in which I can dominate other real people, not something where I'm just going through the motions, getting stuff done and almost WORKING to get through to the end.
You may judge quality by graphics, story, characters etc - but i judge quality by FUN mostly, satisfaction, and also how many hours that it stays FUN.
I get far more dopamine released into my brain from playing online games than from trudging through a single player story, knowing every scenario has been designed to be played a certain way, with a certain (even if multiple) ways to get "past" that scenario and onto the next pre-scripted problem / challenge.