Lunchtime Discussion: Alone

Internet connectivity in the UK generally sucks, so unless you’ve got a bunch of friends you can have around for a gaming evening, multiplayer isn’t the best idea. On the other hand it seems that the majority of games these days are trying to be built around a multiplayer experience, and not one you can play locally.That’s not to say that single player games are a dying breed, but games that seem like single player only experience, for example Bioshock 2 and Uncharted 2, are getting multiplayer content added to what seems like a solo experience. That’s not to say this is always a bad thing, Uncharted 2’s multiplayer mode seems to be considered amazing.

The question is what do we really want? Are you buying games for the single player, or the multiplayer? I upped my Xbox Live account to gold a few months ago, but I don’t actually use it all that regularly. Maybe that’s a waste of money, but it’s nicer to have it and not worry if I feel like playing a title online for once.

Perhaps it’s just because I’m not all that great at the majority of games. Anyone who’s played Halo, Gears of War 2 or FIFA against me can verify that I’m not exactly great and it probably doesn’t help that I’m not the world’s most competitive person. Playing co-op appeals a lot more to me, particularly in a title like Gears of War where the co-op is built right into the story.

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That’s probably what really pushes me towards single player, the story. Story is the reason I play games, read comics or watch films. I love a good, well paced story even if the execution isn’t great. I enjoy Dan Brown novels and games from Epic but they’re hardly Shakespeare. There have been very, very few multiplayer modes in games that have the story from single player flow into the multiplayer. The only two examples I can think of are MAG, where they only have the online play to tell their story, and the upcoming Brink, where the single and multiplayer are melded into one experience.

What’s your preference? Can you not stand the social side of gaming, do you like to keep your playing a solo activity? Or do you dive full force into multiplayer modes, ignoring the single player campaign? Will you ignore a title that lacks multiplayer play?

Thanks to Roynaldo for giving me the idea for today’s discussion. If you’ve got your own ideas, why not throw them my way?

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