So this time I'm going to be offering a few thoughts on multi player games. I can't say that I'm a massive fan of multi player gaming, at least not in competitive on-line modes. I used to play a lot of modern warfare and battlefield on-line and I have to admit that ~I really enjoyed those types of games at the time but deep down I always knew that it just wasn't doing anything for me. As time has progressed these feelings have grown a little bit stronger up to the fact that I hardly ever play battlefield or any other type of competitive on-line shooter anymore.
I think its the inherent fact that I suck at these types of games that ruin the whole experience for me. Show me a bit of co-op such as gears, left 4 dead, halo etc etc and I'm a happy man. At least then the pressure is off in some respects. Its the tension and the stress that often accompanies tight quarters FPS that make me nervous and throw off my whole game. Actually in retrospect I won't bad mouth Battlefield because at least if you suck at shooting you can still possibly win a match for your team just by acting as a support class. I tried my hand at Tribes ascend for PC lately, which is a free to play, arena based FPS stylised around the old unreal tournament games. The maps are massive. You have jet packs and can run at damn near the speed of sound if you build up enough momentum. All in all a fantastic experience but one at which I shit myself within the first five minutes of playing due to the fact that my trigger mouse just wasn't fast enough. Its a tough game because combine the speed with the size of the maps and you're often literally looking at a matter of pixels between connecting with your shot or completely missing your target altogether. Not fun if you've got a wobbly aim like me. Still it makes getting those kills extra rewarding when you do mange to clock someone but fuck me it's jsut too much effort.
Multiplayer gaming for me is the group experience. A lot of people revel in knowing that they are the best person out of a room of other players and as such can rack up the most points on a server etc. I never bought into that though, maybe because I hate professional sports with a passion? I don't know. Some of my fondest memories of on-line gaming was pissing around on crackdown or GTA 4 with a bunch of friends and just exploring and coming up with our own subset of games that we could create within that world. For example in Crackdown I remember me and a friend used to play a game where one of us would climb to the top of the agency tower. Then when he reaches the top the other player would have to climb up without getting blown into bits. If said player reaches the lofty heights of the towers peak then we would have a melee fight until one of us was knocked off. This could go on for hours but Christ was it fun. There was communication and a bit of craic. With the likes of modern warfare, if you are playing on-line with a friend you will hardly even talk to each other and just lose each other in the map. Hardly a fun experience at the best of times. You might as well be playing with strangers in that case.
Day Z has come along and blown everything out of the water in terms of on-line gaming though. It has taken the best parts of games like left 4 dead and combined them with the sheer freedom and openness of sandbox games like GTA. Day Z, for anyone who hasn't heard of it, is a mod for the warfare sim 'Arma 2.' The premise of the game is that you are dumped, at random by the way, into the 225 Sq Km map of 'Chernarus' a fictional Eastern European country. The terrain is incredibly massive and changes between rolling fields to coast lines to forests and hills. There are also a tonne of small villages, towns, farms and other facilities such as hospitals and military compounds scattered everywhere. Also there are zombies, lots and lots of zombies.
You start the game with one handgun, a handful of bullets ( which are removed in some newer versions of the game and you actually start with no weapons ) some painkillers and a water canteen. From then on in you are by yourself. No map, no way point, no nothing. You can decide to go it alone or team up with a group of friends. Communication is vital if you are running as a team due to the fact that if you can't find a map you have to directly rely on talking to your friends about where they are and how you want to meet up. You need to look out for landmarks, town names etc to get a rough bearing on just where abouts in the wilderness you are. Oh yeah other players can shoot you too! At first the mood in the community seemed to be one of helpfulness and trust but as the game has become increasingly difficult ( you can catch colds now and spread them around if your body temperature drops too low. Water is harder to find etc ) I have seen other players trust drop and drop up until the fact that on most servers know if you haven't specifically arranged to meet a friend in a certain place, then all other players are shot on sight. I've done it a few times myself ill admit but when you have no supplies left you get desperate and looting is the only way! I reckon in years to come the whole thing is going to be revealed as some sort of social experiment!