When I think of gaming, I picture myself sitting in a chair, or on the floor, holding my controller and staring at my TV. I’m either shooting bad guys, climbing a wall, racing a car, anything! And I’m being captivated by the narrative, letting it take me wherever it wants to.
My favorite part of gaming is experiencing the story. Maybe its because of when I grew up, but I just can’t get that same feeling when playing multiplayer games, even story driven ones. When I was a kid multiplayer meant when my character died, my brother or best friend then played Luigi. That was fine because the story was basic and easy to follow. Go through a few levels, hop over Bowser and get disappointed when the princess is in another castle. Simple.
Now most games offer a multiplayer option or are completely multiplayer from the start. That’s fine but a small part of me worries when it starts to creep up where it just doesn’t seem to fit. I can’t imagine a world without single player experiences. The popularity of multiplayer games, though, has skyrocketed over the past few years thanks in large part to Xbox live and with that, games and even genres have changed.
The most glaring example is the Resident Evil series. While Resident Evil 4 was the major departure from the original it still had a RE vibe to it and was fun to play. When Resident Evil 5 came out, things changed. You now had a constant partner that another human could control. Gone was the sense of being alone and survival was no longer a real worry in this survival horror series as your partner could heal you. A fun game, but not a Resident Evil in the traditional sense. The trend continued with Resident Evil 6 and the abysmal Operation Raccoon City. Leon’s campaign in RE6 was passable but overall the game just didn’t feel like it’s roots, it was no longer survival horror, it is a straight action game. Dead Space followed suit as well with Dead Space 3. After the first two games being so popular with a great single player formula, why did they have to add co-op? It breaks the tension and overall experience. Luckily it is only an option.
The other side of the story is when multiplayer games still let you go at it alone. I’ve recently been playing Warframe on the PS4 and got the chance to test out the new Destiny Alpha test. Both games are built around a multiplayer experience but allow you to play by yourself. First off, thanks to the developers for this. However it becomes very apparent it is not made for single players. Huge environments and a story that, while it moves the game along, is really only there to get you to the next area. Destiny had a more intimate story and I could see it being more like a Borderlands game as far as single player is concerned. Hell, I can see it being like Borderlands altogether. That’s not a bad thing.
The horizon looks good with single player games still at the forefront of what’s coming out but multiplayer is definitely beginning to gain more ground with every year. That’s fantastic for the community, I just hope we keep getting great games made to be played the traditional way. Here’s hoping Uncharted 4, The Order, Kingdom Hearts 3 and the next Tomb Raider offer up an unforgettable experience for one.