Yesterday, we wrote up an opinionated editorial on five 2013 games that we feel will be ruined by multiplayer. While it may have seemed silly to come up with these accusations outright, we already had in mind a few past examples that support our theories on why this feature isn’t necessarily needed for every video game out today. Without further ado, I now present to you our list on four current gen games that were ruined by multiplayer.
Richard Bailey's Pick
4) Mass Effect 3
From the moment I played the first Mass Effect game, I was convinced that Bioware had created something special. Taking inspiration from many popular science fiction movies and books, the studio’s outstanding RPG proved that gaming narrative and player choices could both work hand-in-hand. It’s for this reason alone that this epic saga will forever be remembered as singlehandedly the best trilogy from this generation. However before hastily jumping to any conclusions, it’s important to note that this franchise has encountered just as many negatives as it has positives.
For one, the convoluted original ending to Mass Effect 3 ignited a firestorm of controversy and derailed the head creators’ hopes of ever wanting to come back to do another entry in the series. On top of all that, EA announced that the game would feature multiplayer, a tacked on co-op mode that had teams battling against generic enemies from one bad encounter to the next. For years, Electronic Arts has been implementing these online pass practices to charge gamers for accessing multiplayer content on used copies of their video games. However with this particular game, players were forced to play this mode just so they could build up their galactic readiness level for the single player campaign. Adding multiplayer to such a pivotal, and dramatic chapter in this series will forever ruin this sequel in my eyes.
David Jagneaux's Picks
3) Grand Theft Auto IV
This is easily one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world and gamers always look forward to the next entry in this blockbuster series. With GTA V coming this year, anticipation is as high as ever. However, I want to talk a bit about the last entry in the series: GTA IV. All of the games before this one had been about exploring a living, breathing, city and getting lost in the life of the main character. Sure, you could break that immersion by going on a killing spree for an hour or two for fun, but the city you played in was always just as important as the character you play as. This was most definitely the case in GTA IV, as it was the most immersive GTA game up to that point.
What happens then, when you add in half-concocted multiplayer with a nearly un-usable interface? Annoyances happen. The city was too large to have fun when playing with just two or three other players (it didn't allow for any more than that really) and the other "game modes" weren't thought out enough to really offer anything meaningful. You could race from point A to point B or kill each other - but you could do that in the game already in a much more polished way offline. Not to mention the awful cell phone interface for navigating it all. Now the new GTA has three main characters. I hope deeply hoping that Rockstar doesn't try to force co-op or some other type of unfinished multiplayer into the game - I'd rather they focused on just making the game better.
2) Uncharted 3
The first Uncharted game was a bright spot in the early years of the PlayStation 3. It was far from a perfect game, but it showed that Naughty Dog were still at the top of their game when it came down to developing unique and exclusive franchises for Sony. With some of the best visuals, animations, voice acting and so much more, gamers knew to expect big things from the franchise in the following years.
Fast forward a bit and you have Uncharted 2, one of my personal favorite games of all-time and what is generally regarded as one of the best games this generation. It took everything that worked about the first game, fixed everything that didn't and even added more. They also added multiplayer - however I don't think the multiplayer in the second game hurt it much...it's the next game where things start to go down hill.
Here at The Koalition our writer that reviewed the game loved it, but you can't deny the fact that the series was stagnating a bit. They pushed forward on the multiplayer mode so much, that you could tell the single player was suffering. The quality gap between Uncharted 1 and 2 is astounding, but Uncharted 3 felt like more of the same in a lot of ways. It's still a great game, but a series that was built around grand adventures and storytelling and character development and so much more - it just felt out of place having a "hardcore" competitive multiplayer mode with so many perks and unlocks and features. I would have preferred a more unique single player experience.
1) Spec Ops: The Line
This is the textbook example of how multiplayer can ruin the overall package of a game. Spec Ops: The Line is one of the most underrated games of not just 2012, but of this entire console generation. The narrative is extremely powerful and it tackles issues that most other games stay far away from. By the end of the game, you not only question the actions of the main character, but you question the actions of yourself as a person. Becuase of this strong personal narrative, besides the gameplay mechanics, literally nothing else can be effectively translated into a competitive multiplayer mode without sacrificing the game's original vision - which is exactly what happened.
In an interview with Polygon (with sections referenced in an article here from VG24/7,) lead designer Corey Davis reveals some rather shocking (but brutally honest) details about the game's development process. He commends 2K for allowing them to craft the single player experience that they had in mind, stating that, “they took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take.” However, they also forced them to include a multiplayer component as a requirement for the game - Davis was not happy. He calls it, "another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”
This concludes our list on four current gen games that we feel were ruined by multiplayer. While some may take issues with our picks, it’s hard to deny the fact that every game on this list had at least one negative aspect about it. Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Can you think of any better examples to support our theories? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.