Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Trolling and lolling

Griefing happens a lot in competitive multiplayer games. Whether it’s the enemy team spawn killing or friendlies destroying the plane you want to use, all gamers will eventually experience something that inconveniences them for the sake of another person’s entertainment. Yes, it’s frustrating, but have you seen how fun it can be?

Before I go any further I will make it clear that I am not endorsing spawn killing or destroying friendly equipment. That’s mean and doesn’t make the game fun for a lot of people. However, doing things like this in co-op games with friends adds an entirely new play dimension.

This week I finally got around to reviewing the very brilliant Trine 2 for Critical Gamer. It’s a fantastic game, made even better in my eyes for providing local multiplayer on a PC with support for multiple mice and keyboards. This aspect alone definitely made it one of the more entertaining reviews I have had to do lately.

For those not familiar with the game, the wizard character is capable of materialising cubes and planks to help negotiate tricky areas. These can also be used to block the jumping path of a fellow teammate, box them into a corner or direct them into danger. The real beauty of the game though is how naturally these griefing opportunities appear.

You will accidently knock friends off of ledges, put a cube out of place or delete essential platforms that cause everyone to drop into whatever hazardous chasm you are trying to negotiate. The infinite lives and regular checkpoint system just mean you all respawn just before this obstacle with no ill feelings and still giggling at the hilarious logistics cock up.

Portal 2 is another co-op adventure crammed with such lol-worthy pitfalls. The chaotic nature of four portals flinging robots and matter around an arena opens up several particularly evil applications. It’s funny to drop a portal at your partner’s feet and watch them plummet into whatever trap you set the exit portal over. What’s even funnier is when they respawn metres away and then do something similar to you. A random trap arena specifically made to kill your partner in various ways should definitely become an official map.

I do like to eventually get around to completing objectives, but when you can poke light-hearted fun at each other like this it just makes games better. Of course, this is preferably done with mates rather than random people you meet online, but I won’t say the infuriated ranting of random people isn’t funny. It’s just a bit mean after the third time.

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