Monday, 11 April 2011

The state of multiplayer games today

I think I’m just about ready to give up on finding hope in multiplayer first-person shooters. The fun factor seems to fluctuate more than an indecisive metronome from round to round and it’s the little things that are really killing it for me.

For starters, where the hell has the frontline gone these days? Why are we randomly dropped around the map in a place where the game has decided is sensible? I really miss fixed spawn points because at least then you know the rough direction the enemy might be meandering his way to your position from.

Nine times out of eleven I am shot in the back, usually after chasing an enemy down in an attempt to kill them. Enemy placement is hellishly sporadic and so you just end up creeping slowly everywhere, like you’re on the lookout for the Predator’s tri-laser sight of doom to show up somewhere. Any mad sprint to re-unite with your team is usually met with an anti-social enemy sniper letting you know he has spotted you with punishing accuracy.

As there is no central “your team appears here” place, sticking together becomes a lot more challenging and very often more hassle than it is worth. Of course when you then decide to go lone wolf it’s a pair of hostile buddies you run into who merrily shoot your teeth into the back of your brain.

Personally I think it’s why Bad Company 2 works so well in multiplayer. You’re constantly in amongst your teammates because the game actually drops you into it together. You’re in the thick of action with fierce firefights over key areas allowing for more strategic play then the random carnage of Call of Duty. I think it’s a real shame that Crysis 2 went with the sprinkle spawning option.

I’m really trying to get into Crysis 2 multiplayer but there are so many things that have started to put me off. Focussing on the spawn problems alone, I rarely seem to end up anywhere near my fellow comrades. I actually spawned immediately behind an enemy the other day (and merrily bagged the cheapest kill of the week).

I really hate Call of Duty for what it seems to be doing to the industry. So many games these days have a multiplayer component tacked on that attempts to copy and paste the foundations of Modern Warfare rather than come up with something completely new. Maybe I’m just noticing it because I have the gaming prowess of a paralytic sloth at times, but the majority of deathmatch type games give you a lifespan of under two minutes, with all the grenades, rockets and random death that seems to fly around.

Take me back to the days of Counter-Strike, with tense waits, slow advances and reason to actually value the life of your virtual avatar. The pacing of that game just seems better than the hideous cluster mess that competitive multiplayer is these days.

I just hope that Battlefield 3 is planning to kill Call of Duty by going back to the days of Battlefield 2, Vietnam and 1942, and not jump into the same chud boat that the masses seem to like for some inexplicable reason. Oh yeah, and screw killstreaks as well!

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