Letís talk about borderlands
On the surface it seems to be everything I'd want in a game, a crazy colorful yet gritty sci fi world, unique visual style, quirky characters, lots of guns and shooty action...[i]and/[i] the ability to play as a woman. Whatís not to love?
And yes...it certainly has its apeal, but theres one problem...
Itís dull as fuck.
after a while the novelty of Pandora wears off...after Iíve switched my gun around for the 100th time and killed a boss (who has respawned) itís getting old....some old quests..Same old monsters and psychos to kill. NPC's don't talk to me thereís just a big menu that pops up in my face with some text (not bad by any means...but certainly not all that engaging)
If youíre familiar with Borderlands then you already know what I did wrong, I was on my own...solo...a lone wolf....
I was playing it as a single player game
In reality itís more like an MMO, respawning bosses and enemies, a "grind" feel to it, and characters that give you a quest with some text and send you on your way. I have a kind of loathing for the MMO genre (but I'll get to that later)
Now I'm sure borderlands is an absolute blast to play with others and I'm sure thatís certainly what was in mind when they made it. Is it really fair of me to criticize Borderlands for this? Is it fair of me to expect a decent single player? I mentioned the voice acting thing, maybe that amount of dialogue just wasnít in the budget, I don't know.
But how hard would it have been to make things a little more single player friendly? itís not like they were far off....the opening is great, the world of Pandora interesting, there's certainly something
going on story wise (even if they do say it was an anti-climax...I never got that far) one thing I remember was collecting audio logs of some scientist lady who was going insane over her obsession with "the vault", and later told me to go "apply blunt trauma to my head with a rock until I forget"..That was great
Perhaps it would have been more immersive if charactersí spoke to me in person rather than (literally) through a wall of text. Perhaps it would have felt less monotonous had Boss's actually stayed dead
after I killed them, and maybe a little less lonely if I didn't get dropped off by the bus and never see my buddies again (because their spots were meant to me taken by others players)
But then maybe such changed are kind of "breaking" it ...perhaps this is all nitpicking...and perhaps I'm just a bad "Gamer" for not being satisfyed with shooty action alone
I don't think Borderlands is a bad game for what it is, and after reading up on Borderlands 2 Iím even temped to give it another chance. But I mention borderlands because while itís a good game...its "a game that you can play on your own but is really meant to be played with others'
And this is my main point...in this day and age its hard not to feel like the "single player experience" we know and love is under threat
LEAVE ME ALLOOOOOONE!!
Some time ago if someone mentioned Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 to me I would have scoffed at the Idea "multiplayer? In ME3?! Such a notion is preposterous good sir! Now off with you! I have no time for such folly!"
Fast forward a year or two and oh look....ME3 multiplayer. What about dead space? That game that thought it was scary? And was trying so hard people were like "ohh! dead space you scared me so much!" but it was an act because no one wanted to hurt Dead Spaces feelings....well Dead Space 2 comes along and it has competitive multiplayer....at least Dead space 1 was making an effort, and now thereís Co-op in Dead space 3 because no doubt someone over at EA decided it was a must...along with "cover" based shooting..Probably the same with ME3
Or even non-EA games...Assassins Creed, Uncharted games you wouldnít think need multiplayer...but its there
Multiplayer has now become "standard" like a tutorial or having the system requirements on the back of the box (you know...box's...PC games still exist in those)
I'm not anti multiplayer...though my relationship with online gaming is love/hate (much like Anime).As much as I was (and still kind of am) against multiplayer in ME3 I still played it...quite a bit actually. I find multiplayer is really fun for a while but gets old quickly, I also have an internet cap I have to think about, which I admit has seriously limited my dive into multiplayer. Thatís just me of course.
And the examples of Assassins creed and Uncharted may be somewhat unfair since in those cases single player takes centre stage first and foremost.
Itís no big revelation that tacked on multiplayer sucks...just being there for the sake of being there, Why should I be bothered? I'm bothered because the very presence of multiplayer potentially takes away what they could have put into single player. Sure that sounds kind of paranoid, and you could argue thatís not the case in ME3 or even Dead space 2...aprently being as short as DS2 is acceptable for that genre of game.ME3's..."problems" may be due to other factors (rhymes with "bee" and "way"...together...in that order)
I have a kind of logic in regards to this thing. If a game (like Deus Ex:HR or Infamous 2) comes out without any multiplayer then that game is essentially saying "this single player is what you are paying for, therefore in theory it should be up to standard and worth your money"
Now I know in the real world is not exactly like that, BUT at least I know what I am getting for my money. The thing is multiplayer as a feature is completely useless to me, so I have to be sure I'm not getting a game and it turns out its only 6 hours long, Or even if you like multiplayer, the fact is if or when it eventually dies (this of course varies a lot)...what are you left with? Either way youíre left with half a game
But then maybe complaining that games like Battlefield and COD are not worth it in terms of single player is like going into a strip club and complaining that the women are being objectified...no oneís cares, thatís what everyone is there for.
So what about stuff like co-op? Thatís the best solution right? No, wrong, thatís even worse, as far as I'm concerned itís a bigger problem than tacked on multiplayer. Not saying Co-op is bad, it can be great...and games like Saints row have impletmented it without affecting the single player
going back to my Borderlands example, I fear that we may get more games that "can pass themselves off as single player" but in reality are meant to be played with someone else...like Diablo 3..well ok Diablo 3 wasn't even trying... Because "online is popular therefore we must have online"
for someone like me a game like that is already dead on arrival....
Next point, going back to my mention of COD and Battlefield and "getting value for money" leads into the issue of the current pricing system and all kinds of complicated stuff as to whether or not games are worth their $60 (well in my case $80-$100) release price
And itís no secret that there are "issues" in the industry with money...to put it lighly, even somone like me can see that (though I do not claim to know what I'm talking about in regards to that)
So with the $60 pricing model (and games as a single standalone product) in question they are looking at different ways to get our money...somtimes for better...and somtimes for worse. Stuff like Microtransations, subscriptions and ďFree to Play"
All of which lend themselves better to multiplayer
I get the impression in these tough times publishers see a heavily online focused game as a cash cow, and itís not hard what with WOW being....WOW. Everyone wants a slice of the sweet sweet MMO pie.
Is that the reason they made The Old Republic an MMO instead of making KOTOR 3? Ok maybe itís a bit cynical to think so, since they were at least trying to give us some kind of story (but then I wouldn't put it past EA to really really want a WOW killer)
[This is going to get ranty]
the thing is...I hate MMO's, so much it irritates me when people used to point to WOW's success (or the MMO being a mainly PC thing) as evidence of PC gaming "not" dying (if that was the case it would already be dead to me)
A while ago I tried "The Secret world" because it seemed interesting and I figured I might try the online/MMO thing...a certain itch I felt like scratching
And after playing a bit and making two charactersí (one for Dragon and one for Templar...because screw the illuminati) I thought it was really cool, I liked the world, the mystery and story, the setting...there was only one problem
It was an MMO
With the same MMO bullshit
Running around...questing, grinding with people running around dressed as wankers
It could have been a really cool single player RPG but instead it had to be an MMO...and ok, I admit its clear I'm just not an MMO person, I'm not saying MMO's are inherintly bad, obviously lots of people enjoy them
like these guys
MMO's just arenít for me, and I guess the reason I even bring them up is maybe I feel like they keep getting made because (as I said) everyone wants a cash cow...
The point to my rant is I feel like the single player RPG will turn into the "MMO". Does a Mass Effect MMO seem out of the question? (or a movie staring Sam Worthington directed by Micheal bay)
(I apologise to any MMO players)
.Then theres the "F2P" issue, even hardcore multiplayer (and MMO) types roll their eyes at the Idea, since F2P kind of has a stigma of "low" quality..But is also considered "pay to win". Games like Team fortress 2 and The Old republic have gone free to ploy (in TOR's case it seems rather embarrassing given how many times they said they wouldn't) and of coarse everyoneís expecting The Secret world to eventually go F2P...It does make you wonder when the people behind Crysis are talking about focusing on F2P
Not to mention subscription ďservices" in regards to "the big two" online first person shooters, COD and battlefield
It seems according to them online is where the money is
My final point is, when you add online to a game you have to make allowances for that...thatís why MMO's and games like borderlands have all that crap, respawning enemies/bosses, "post it note" quest givers with the usual fetch quests...they have to allow for the fact that there are other players..[i/]and thatís fine[i]
BUT you can't give the player the option to play on their own and call it a day (or still make them be online 24/7), that does not make for a good single player experience.
and at this point I admit I have not mentioned games like Journey or Dark Souls, where the online aspect is implemented in a creative way that enhances the experience...while I still don't like the Idea of having to be online when I'm essentially playing by myself I can't deny that maybe these games are a sign I don't have to fear the "scary" future of games and online..But that said forever journey thereís a game with tacked on multiplayer.
While I canít get angry at trends or blame everyone for following trends I do wish the industry would stop acting as if Multiplayer is somehow essential...or interchangable with (or better than) single player..They are completely different experiences. I wish they had more faith in the fact that some of us prefer single player and really don't need an arbitrary multiplayer mode to buy a game.
Sometimes I just want to play alone