The same night I picked up Mass Effect 2 for my wife, I also picked up BioShock 2. I’m a big fan of the first game, for a variety of reasons I covered in my review. I’ve put in a few hours already and am eager to play through more of it, but there’s an aspect of the game that strikes me as somewhat perplexing.
I don’t mind the notion of playing through scenarios set in the tumultuous civil war of Rapture that broke out on New Year’s in 1959. On the contrary, I think it’d be fascinating to see Rapture when it had more rational people in it than spliced-up foamy-mouth quasi-zombie Splicers. However, since this setting is being used for multi-player, it’s unlikely much time would be spent looking at Rapture since if you get distracted you’re likely to wind up face up on the ground with some kid from Albuquerque teabagging you while the respawn timer counts down. I still might try it out, but the inclusion of multiplayer into a shooter that was strictly single player up until now just strikes me as odd.
I know the BioShock games are powered by the Unreal engine and it’s developed for multi-player environments, and I have no objection to multi-player in and of itself. I used to play Counter Strike on a regular basis, and every once in a while I blow the dust off of Team Fortress 2 to make sure my skills haven’t atrophied entirely. But the multi-player of BioShock 2, at least on a concept level, feels a little tacked on. I’m not entirely sold on the idea, and I’d rather get back to playing through the story.
I think that if you want to really capitalize on a multi-player environment with an established single-player franchise, the best move is likely to spend the time and resources developing a separate game that focuses entirely on that experience rather than tacking it onto a single-player game. I mean, Mass Effect doesn’t have any arena or deathmatch play, but then again, if BioWare were to develop a multi-player environment for that universe, I’d pray to the gaming gods that it would be less like a multi-player shooter and more like an MMO.
Seriously. Think about it. A Mass Effect MMO.