We Don’t Need No Multi-Player

Courtesy Take 2

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.

5 Comments

  1. I haven’t cracked the Bioshock 2 MP yet —

    I do know that you could maybe do something great with co-op stuff in that game. Something either with two characters making their way through Rapture, or something that works with a tweaked LFD formula.

    — c.

  2. @Chuck: Maybe one of you plays the Little Sister? 😉

    I’m enjoying the game. My only complaint is how short the game is, and how annoying some of the Little Sister missions can be. :/ Nothing is quite the pain as dying repeatedly and having to do the same defense over and over again.

  3. My issues with multiplayer sections being tacked onto every single game these days (I’m exaggerating, but only just) is the same problem I have with “buddy” games that rely on AI for your partner character: Wasted opportunities for local co-op.

    I’m sick to death of having to play with aforementioned kids from Albuquerque when I cannot even play these games co-op with my husband who is sitting next to me on the couch, patiently awaiting his turn to play.

    Personal pet peeve, I know, but damn it, it’s not entirely invalid.

  4. What they should consider for a later game would be for co-op Plasmids. I know a friend of mine likes to design traps in game using the Cyclone plasmids, but what if you could pick someone up with telekinesis and have a friend set them on fire before you chuck them?

  5. Having played the multiplayer in Bioshock 2, I can safely say that while it is interesting it doesn’t quite achieve the same effect Bioshock has.

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