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.
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.
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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