At It’s Best When You Are Ruining Someone’s Day: Some Games Thrive With Friends

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You see that picture? That’s me when playing a lot of multiplayer games, I’m the guy on the far left who isn’t smiling because everyone is colluding to bring me down. It rarely works of course but I don’t always appreciate how little it took for a free for all to turn into a “he is better, let’s get him” scenario. However I put up with it for good reasons, one of which is that I’m just a superb person but that isn’t what I wanted to talk, I want to write a post not a memoir. No I put up with it often because the game just isn’t all that great without friends.

I’ve had issues with the recent incarnation of Smash Bros. that I won’t bore you with but I do believe I could overcome it if I had the glaring positive of being able to play with my buddies. Shame that the online is a heavily reliant on good internet and getting a local match together is kinda hard when one or two people in the group live a good couple of hours away. It is clear the focus of the game was to have rip roaring multi-player fun with your friends, a shame then that only some of us can accommodate the optimal gaming environment.

I really have been digging the Monster Hunter 4 demo despite deciding I’m not a huge fan of some of the changes, it really shows how a killer game experience at its best can keep you coming, especially with an online experience that usually improves the experience….nah I’m just kidding it improves the experience like every 1 in 20 matches, people are pretty damn dumb most of the time and lose the match for us. I blame Capcom though for developing a system of pooled lives, it really can make one or two people the problem.

Be it co-op or against each other playing with others brings in a more tangible opponent, even if it is across the Internet. Yes I can beat a computer AI but they are hard to imagine on the other end apart from maybe a GPU with a grumpy face. Human beings however have a more distinct feel to them as opponents, the mere knowledge you are up against another mind can change so much. On top of that is the fact that humans can be a lot more…malleable, yes a CPU may have patterns but humans can be relied upon to make mistakes, eventually at least.

This is all fine and dandy….as long as those people exist in your life or the online service allows it to work. Unfortunately we don’t all have friends within simple reach like myself, we don’t always get the good service we need to have as lag-less matches as possible. Perhaps we might even get terrible matchmaking with our new Halo games that keep skewing things in favour of other teams, maybe we get the one teammate who decides to ignore everyone and do his own thing….oh look he died, shame I don’t have enough energy to muster up my shock and awe.

With the incredibly circumstantial times when some games shine, I feel like it is trying to recommend a rogue-like. For those who don’t know they are games often characterized by permanent death and a lot of throwing the dice to get randomly generated “insert mcguffins here” to decide their fate. You could have your first try be awful, an experience I’d never be able to approve of for anyone. On the other hand, you might get just the right mix of starting luck to laugh at the challenges, a empowering experience of dominating dangerous enemies with surreal prejudice.

For these reasons I’m often very wary of games that rely or are at their best when in multi-player, there is simply too many variables that need to comply, the damn planets need to align nowadays for me to not be paired with someone who doesn’t even speak my language IN THE ENGLISH SERVER. It’s enough to drive you mad, which I clearly am and personally I’d rather not dive any deeper into the madness, I’m at a comfortable equilibrium thank you very much.

Despite an interest in the MOBA scene I always come back to my brothers and the high frequency of bad games. I’m the kind of person who can take a loss as long as I know it was a good game, a silly slip up at the end will drive that knife into my side something fierce though. I don’t think I have the tolerance to put up with the possibility of 4 other people who I might just rely upon to have any fun fighting the good fight. Without the multiplayer, what is the point of the game? I don’t really wanna an OBA, there isn’t any campaign for me to just play, only bot matches who are either dumb as rocks or frame perfect surgeons.

The concept of games that decide to go multi-player only rather than have it be an inherent part of their genre has always confused me. I get it, you wanna focus on one mode and the chances of someone actually caring about the campaign isn’t likely…except it’s only that way because you keep half-assing the campaign. You won’t do it well because nobody will care, nobody cares because you never do it well. You are your worst enemy here. It even goes back to my previous post about Internet connectivity, some people simply cannot enjoy a game at all because they have no access to a decent service, it’s either get high speeds or go home for some of these games.

Stop being so optimistic about human interaction and just make a solid experience for the solo player. I don’t expect it to happen a lot nor do I expect it to happen soon, I just need it to happen. Some games find the balance, let’s find the damn recipe for those games and find out what they are doing right. I’d like to play more games, if only I could play them without reliance on the human element. The human element doesn’t speak my language, doesn’t accept help and calls people names. The human element sucks.

What games do you play that can’t really work without multiple players? Know any games that you can enjoy both the single player and multi-player in? Are there are any games you don’t approach because they just don’t include a good way to play alone? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.

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  1. #1 by haleylynnjo on April 3, 2015 - 6:17 pm

    I feel like there are a couple of different things to consider here. You’ve got party games (as I call them, essentially, all Nintendo games that encourage playing with friends), MMOs/MOBAs, and then everything else (is it fair to lump everything else together like that? Probably not, but I’m going for it).

    I’ve never enjoyed a party game solo, so I completely understand why Smash isn’t fun for you right now. I wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t have friends who live five minutes away to play it with at times. I don’t think asking your players to rely on the Internet is fair and the matchmaking process is often a terrible one. Would it be awesome if party games started engaging gamers more in a solo campaign? Yup.

    MMOs/MOBAs are obviously designed to be completely multiplayer and have everything to do with the randomness of the universe unless you have real-life friends who decide to play the same time as you.

    Everything else. Here’s where it gets weird because games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age that used to be completely single-player are launching multi-player components. I ignore those. Primarily, those will be great single-player games for me and I want to leave them that way. On the other end of the spectrum, you have multiplayer-oriented games that put little effort into the single-player campaign content, and I completely understand being frustrated with that. The problem you describe is a real one!

    For me, it’s all about the JRPGs. Give me a Tales Of game any day and I know I will be getting a lengthy experience that was designed with my play style in mind. The best part? Local co-op. If I want to, I can grab a friend to pick up a controller and control one of the members in my party for battles, so that there’s one less AI on my team. If I don’t want to, no harm at all.

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    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on April 3, 2015 - 6:57 pm

      I’d have more fun with Smash if the single-player had AI that didn’t just make me so unenthusiastic about fighting.

      MOBAs really do need a single player campaign or something, something nice to play for scenarios as well as learn the game. Last hitting, how to build against certain teams, things like that could be eased into without having to go to youtube for “Da bestest plays for this hero”.

      I too like the Tales games ability to have local co-op, even if I rarely use it because of how the games often fiddle with the camera with more than one human player. With some of the recent ones implementing very precise mechanics to dodge attacks I wouldn’t want the camera on full zoom of the battle arena.

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  2. #3 by Elektra Kenway on April 3, 2015 - 2:09 pm

    I only play on single-player mode, multi-player is really annoying to me. It gets even worse when it’s also integrated and/or influencing the single-player mode, because I feel like it’s forcing me. I find it rude and intrusive.

    I also can’t help feeling like I’m wasting at least 30% of the game by completely ignoring the multi-player mode, but I still choose to risk that rather than having to waste time with potentially unbearable people.

    When I wanted to play on multi-player, I went straight to MMORPGs. But when I purchase a particular video game, I only care about the story/single-player mode.

    But in my personal experience, not all players turned out to be annoying, though. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve met one of my best friends through a MMORPG. Neither of us even plays those games anymore, but we’ve been friends for years now.

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    • #4 by Prof.mcstevie on April 3, 2015 - 3:09 pm

      It’s nice to find the good players to enjoy the multi-player experiences with, just a shame that they are usually hard to find, more so if you are restricted to people around you rank or what have you.

      Like

  3. #5 by rainawareness on April 2, 2015 - 11:11 pm

    What’s with the “pre-title” at the start of every title?

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    • #6 by Prof.mcstevie on April 3, 2015 - 12:03 am

      It both amuses me and helps me see it as a post rather than the jotting downs of a half sane person.

      It also allows me to have a clear representation of the content as well as a fun, attractive title simultaneously which is nice. I want to get people to notice it but I don’t want to title it in such a plain way, it’s my compromise.

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  4. #7 by Matt on April 2, 2015 - 11:05 pm

    Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate drives me mad sometimes. The life pool system is unfair. Why not reduce the life count down to two for every player to compensate for the extra help you are getting in the killing of the monster and just send the person who gets killed two times to the Gathering Hall while those who have not made any major mistakes can keep on battling?

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    • #8 by Prof.mcstevie on April 3, 2015 - 12:05 am

      I get mad at the concept of having to pool everyones lives together, I feel sad as a player and in some small way a designer knowing this singles out people who aren’t good and makes them the bad guy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #9 by Matt on April 3, 2015 - 12:23 am

      That’s precisely the problem.

      Like

  5. #10 by Kris P. on April 2, 2015 - 9:00 pm

    Mario Kart definitely comes to mind when it comes to trying to decide to play co-op or single player. I’m a lucky gamer in that I have a live-in sister who is as much of a video game loving geek as I am, so we tend to play together. The times when I do play by myself I do my best to figure out some way to heighten the challenge, such as putting the CPUs on the highest difficulty setting or picking out certain CPU characters as my “rivals” for matches. Thanks for the read, and I hope you find games you enjoy with both a single-player and a decent co-op mode! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • #11 by Prof.mcstevie on April 2, 2015 - 11:03 pm

      Screw picking out a certain CPU, the game always gives you one CPU just a bit better than the rest to nip at your ankles….damn Luigi.

      i sincerely do hope I find a game that fits my needs, I’ve got a lot of singleplayer focused games to play now which is good. I guess I’ve just been playing games recently that can’t be truly enjoyed unless you got a full house of gamers…and not the ones who hate losing.

      Like

    • #12 by Kris P. on April 3, 2015 - 12:34 am

      Haha, its always Baby Peach for us! Good luck on your game hunt! 🙂

      Like

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