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Is Online Multiplayer Ruining the Single-Player Portion of Games?

By Furious Francis

Action-adventure games have always had a special place in my heart. Before I knew Super Mario Bros 3 was a platformer, I considered it an action-adventure game. You were jumping on enemies heads, traveling to distant lands, and wearing different suits to unleash new powers. It had all the make up of a current action game. My brother and I would take turns playing as Mario and Luigi in the game’s “sudo” co-op mode. Playing Mario Bros 3 on my NES, was a fun event in our household. The interactions between my  brother and I, in person,  were enough for us back then. So what has changed so much from early 90′s? Why are classic single-player franchise’s getting force-fed online multiplayer?

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God of War Ascension is currently sitting at a 80 total review score on Metacritic.com. A full 12 points below God of War III. Why is God of War Ascension’s score so much lower than its predecessor? Now before I get into this, I want to state that Metecritic doesn’t prove God of War Ascension is worse than God of War III, or any other game in the God of War franchise. However, it does give us a feel of why a game in a franchise, might not be as good as a previous game in the same franchise. I was very suspicious of Sony’s decision to add multiplayer into God of War Ascension. I felt it might take away resources from the main game. There is no way a team can make an epic 20+ hour campaign, having to add in multiple multiplayer modes, balancing, tweaking, net code stability, and co-op play. It’s just too difficult, to provide everything in both areas.

After having a chance to play through God of War Ascension myself, I have to say, this game did cut corners in the single-player. While the game is perfectly enjoyable and fun. There is an alarming lack of new ideas, weapons, or gameplay mechanics thrown in to make the single player feel fresh.  But if you play the multiplayer, there are all sorts of unique ideas in there. So it seems, like the creative teams put more time into providing new experiences for the multiplayer, instead of looking at what they can do in the single-player to innovate the God of War formula. God of War Ascension is a good game, however, it could have been a lot better if Sony devoted 100% of the developers time to making the best single-player campaign possible.

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Ninja Gaiden 3 was a game where I completely didn’t see multiplayer coming. I remember saying to myself “why the f*ck does this game need multiplayer?” Ninja Gaiden 2 already had problems in the single-player campaign. It’s a far less polished game than God of War. Team Ninja needs to focus on the camera in Ninja Gaiden, the combo system needs refinement, the controls and frame rate could use some stabilization as well. Instead of those improvements, we get a watered down single-player, that’s super easy, with no upgrades. And a multiplayer, that’s worse than the single-player. Team Ninja is not a huge development team, nor are they use to making online games. I think they felt that people who wanted upgrades and multiple weapons would gravitate toward the multiplayer, while the fans who always complained about the difficulty in Ninja Gaiden would like the reduced challenge, and simple play of the single-player. Team Ninja couldn’t have been more wrong.

The multiplayer was horrible. Playing as a generic ninja in a battle system that was not meant for multiplayer was awful. Team Ninja got the  picture later with the release of Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge, adding in extra single-player content for the fans. Hopefully, Team Ninja and Tecmo learned their lesson. Ninja Gaiden fans don’t give a damn about multiplayer. Save your time and money to create the best single-player experience you can.

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Even in Mass Effect 3, multiplayer, played a part into the debacle that game’s ending. It really seemed like Bioware either ran out of time, or were too busy doing other things to make a proper ending to their epic franchise. If multiplayer wasn’t in Mass Effect 3, we could have received the DLC endings the first time. Either way, I think EA has learned their lesson with Mass Effect 3, as many retailers were issuing refunds for the game. The bad press hurt sales as well. EA needs to realize every game is not going to sell as well as Battlefield. Making multiplayer in games that make sense should be the top priority, not just adding multiplayer in an attempt to make more sales.

Do developers think gamer’s won’t buy games if there isn’t multiplayer? That must be it, otherwise they wouldn’t be wasting their time adding multiplayer to games that don’t need it. Action games like God of War and Ninja Gaiden should stick to creating rock solid single-player campaigns, with the possibility for co-op modes. Online-competitive multiplayer takes too much time and resources to make in-conjunction with a fully fleshed out single-player.

What do you guy’s think? Is online multiplayer ruining action games? Or am I jumping the gun here. Put your thoughts in the comments below.

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Author: Francis@PE (12891 Posts)


6 Responses to Is Online Multiplayer Ruining the Single-Player Portion of Games?

  1. Dusk says:

    I agree completely, some games are meant to be played single player and others are meant to be multi player. Lets take for instance Mario 64 (a favorite and classic I gotta say) is a masterpiece single player game. If you were to add a second player into the mix it would have been redundant and likely lowered the skill level for certain aspects of the game, like the areas with ground falling from under your feet, or running up a circular mountain with boulders rolling towards you. I had lots of fun playing that game with friends, but an old style of play with it. As in taking turns with lives and/or levels. Other games are more fun playing multi player, I'm gonna have to go ahead and say one of the original party games like bomberman. These are what the games were meant for and what they excelled at. There are only a few games that really excel at both aspects of both the single and multi player games that come to mind, old school contra/double dragon/bubble bobble and ice climbers. But what kept these games so well rounded in both aspects of play was their simplicity and general game design, these concepts in many ways are obsolete now days. The only games I can think of that I find are equally as good single player and multi player are probably the lego games, because they follow a similar concept to those old games.
    However with all that being said, my comparison of single and multi player games mostly relied on the idea of co-op gameplay, so it makes it even harder to create a game that concentrates on a single player campaign to the lengths of Assassins Creed or Ninja Gaiden then have to toss all the rules that were created for that scenario aside to make is PvP multi player. It essentially becomes two different and separate games all rolled into one, so either more money is spent on a second team to create the other gaming experience or a team has to cut corners and attempt to do twice as much work with half the people time and money they should, then have to deal with releasing what is likely an inferior product then what they had originally envisioned.

    BTW, new to your website, very much enjoy it, oh and as you stated in one of your videos, I wear lots of dark shirts cause it's cold where I'm from, no they aren't the same shirts either lol. Keep up the good work, it is nice hearing/reading news that is coherently put together, and you approach situations decisively and with dignity (not acting like an idiot to get hits).

  2. koopzilla says:

    I'd so it's having an effect. Personally, I enjoy single player games more. I do play online occasionally and it can be really fun (I had a lot of fun playing Mario Kart 7 online for instance), but the single player mode is always the most important for me. Usually when I do play a multiplayer game it's local multiplayer with friends or family at my house. I think developers are so pressured to get an online multiplayer mode into their games nowadays that the single player often takes a back seat. Story quality and single player campaign length take a hit because of this. Now you are getting analysts and the like saying single player games need to go and a single player game is not worth the price of an online multiplayer game. I would disagree, a good single player game is worth more to me.

  3. Ray01X says:

    This is a little tough to answer but I believe that Online Multiplayer does Cause Quality to be taken away from the Single player. :/
    Online Multiplayer can be a Plus for some games, but for others like LoZ, it's just not necessary. Personally, I think for Most Action/Adventure games, Online should Always take a back seat for the Single-Player Campaign.
    For example, I love the Bioshock Series, but I could tell that Bioshock 2's story (as well as its length) was lacking and it most likely had to do with them adding Multiplayer which was OK but it was NOT why I bought and liked the original game which resulted in me not liking it as much. ):

    • sergio111293 says:

      I bought it for it's Unique Setting, Story, and gameplay mechanics(I loved those Plasmids) as well as it's Art design. Though it had refined Gameplay(Which started to feel a bit too much like COD in that it was much more fast-paced & had less of a feeling of Exploration & immersion), and a similar setting(a bit too similar if U ask me), The Story element took the Biggest hit(Interesting but forgettable).
      No matter what any COD Fanboy says, All games DO NOT need Multiplayer to be good.
      In my Opinion, Single-Player(with or without co-op) should ALWAYS be the Developer's Main Focus (at least for the Action/Adventure Genre) :/

      P.S. Sorry for the long Comment. (;

      • Furious Francis says:

        You don't have to apologize. Like I said before, I like reading your comments, they can be as long as you want them to be. This isn't Twitter or MiiVerse, LOL!

        Yeah I agree with what your saying. Every game doesn't have to have online multiplayer. Skyrim is a perfect example of that. Single player game, with a ton of content, and sells millions.

    • luke says:

      I so totally agree I personally think multiplayer is so overrated game makers focus way too much on multiplayer and they put so many things into it like deatmatch freeforall and a a lot more all they add for single player is the campaign and that is it for most games wouldn't be pretty BA if they added bots or different game modes for battlefield or medal of honor (cause Battlefield is the prime example of force fed multiplayer which isn't fair if you don't have online) at least call of duty puts other things for single player besides the camoaign like bots spec ops survival zombies

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