Extra Punctuation: Mixing Single and Multiplayer

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hm I wonder what Yahtzee's feelings are regarding the Legacy of Kain series, I consider it to be some of the most fantastic storytelling in game and other media... on top of being just great games anyway.

OT: i've never really played any multiplayer that had a compelling story. I played a few Tom Clancy's with my brothers but always quit before half-way through out of boredom. the only multiplayers i get any real joy from are the fighting ones like Bloody Roar, Marvel: rise of the imperfects etc.... cause its nice to be able to beat my 2 older brothers in-game ^^

Yahtzee Croshaw:
It's like being stuck at some excruciating wedding reception with a lot of extremely drunk and raucous relatives who are trying to get you to join in the conga. I do not have the same concepts of fun as you. I would not have a good time if I just let my hair down. Having to share physical space with squawking maiden aunts who still forward lolcats to each other makes me want to spit up my kidneys. Now bugger off and leave me to my cake.

I've always wondered what it is about wedding cake that sets it on a level far above any other cake. Almost makes me wish I'd get invited to more weddings just for the cake.

Actually, that's rather unfair. I'd go for the wine/champagne as well.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Fear 3 also wants to have a story?

What game did you play? Fear 3 barely had a story. The number of plotlines from previous games that were dropped was epic.

Good gameplay, but they should have put co-op in another campaign.

Yeah, it was pretty pathetic. Fear2:Reborn dropped, Fear:Perseus Mandate was dropped before and was silly so I didn't care, Fear:Extraction Point dropped. Along with various story lines from the first Fear game, what ever happened to Jankowski?

Also, if you play single player the cutscenes are always from the POV of Pointman. The second person is never there though it acts like they are. It was just a mess. Did anyone else get sick too while playing as Pointman? The motion blur that they used was just ridiculous and I don't get sick while playing games.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Mixing Single and Multiplayer

Are you a game developer thinking about adding multiplayer elements to your single player game? Well stop it, it's stupid.

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Hey Yahtzee, check this out! I bet it won't piss you off even a little! :P
Also, my god Valve what are you thinking?

I've been saying it forever. Forced Co-Op always sucks. Even forgetting the story aspect yahtzee was harping on, until AI gets way better the gameplay is hideous.

Either your computer partner is a moronic liability who the game engine is forcing you to drag around or they are better than you are at which point why bother to play?

In my opinion Halo 1 has the perfect balance. Full single player campaign, multiplayer allowed if you want. The only thing they missed is the ability for the 2nd player to jump in and out at anytime. Timesplitters 3 also got it right where there is a computer controlled partner but they can't die and they don't do any damage. That way they are effectively part of the atmosphere of the level. Borderlands worked fine also because the monsters were re-balanced for multiplayer and it really isn't story driven anyway.


Trust me my friend, as long as things like my post above continue to happen, that grey and dull day will never come.

I agree that not every game should have a co-op mode. Some game ideas simply don't work with it, and trying to bolt such a mode on is just a waste of resources.

I think part of the mentality of constantly bolting on these additions that don't work is because the broken review scoring system used for games keeps impressing this idea that a game can't be good or doesn't have sufficient replay-value without these additional bolt-ons. Games lacking these additions(regardless if it truly makes sense for the game), consequently, receive lower scores, and publishing companies, putting way too much value in an invalid scoring system(I've voiced my opinion regarding the invalidity of the current review scoring system in other posts), adjust their funding of future games accordingly. However, it is not just the publishers who put too much value in the system; we gamers also put too much value in it to guide our purchase decisions, feeding the rationale of the publishers and their actions.

Of course, this is all just my opinion on the matter; so take it with a grain of salt.

ADDENDUM: Looking over my own first statement again, I can see that it may cause confusion to think that I am agreeing with Yahtzee 100%. The truth is I only agree partially. My real intent is to say that it really depends on the game itself. Some games work well as a combination of multiplayer and single, some games only work well as multiplayer, and some games only work well as single-player. Where I most agree with Yahtzee is the blind mentality to simply add multiplayer to a game without considering whether multiplayer is truly appropriate for the game, but, instead, it is being added for marketing or review scoring reasons.

It's not a rigid box, as Yahtzee seems to paint it. Very few things in reality are rigid boxes.

I just never buy AAA games that don't have a proper SP mode.

I think all I have to say to counter this entire argument is "Demons Souls".

Games are [for me at least] 100x more fun when played with friends, we regularly say to eachother how more games need co op campaign, and we even stoop to bad games just because they have a co op focus [LP2 and L4d]
I understand that games should have single player, and not mix up the mechanics by forcing you to see the co op, but co op is just more fun.
Surely the primary focus of a game is the 'game' aspect? And aren't most games just more fun when played with other people? If you want story you read a book, if you want a good time you play, if you want a really good time you play with friends. If you have good friends they don't get in the way of the story, you make fun of it but still retain the ability to follow along what's happening.
Yes companies are struggling to divide the two effectively, but I must just be one of those weird people who would prefer Fallout or Crysis if you could play through the story with some friends.

highly agree

gears of war 1,2, (and hopefully 3) are 1000000x more fun and re playable due to the co-op, which is DONE RIGHT, they don't force co-op at all on you, but it is easier/fun as hell when a friend jumps in to play, especially when you can do it on the campaign, instead of stupid ass little missions to the side that mean nothing and constantly stop/start, and you can do it split-screen or over the internet, and even on top of that they did it 100% right with horde mode and bots...

so yeah on some points i agree, but others i highly do not, some people either just have zero fun friends or they are the party poopers themselves when it comes to good ole co-op

Speaking of Monolith and Condemned, where's the third game? I know they got kind of stupid in the second game with hyper voice powers, but they still left a whole bunch of stuff unresolved and I want to know what happens.

It's kind of disappointing that Yahtzee didn't discuss Demons Souls any: a game that really successfully mixed single and multiplayer (I am always eager to give DS a quickie).

Yeah, it mixed them so successfully that you had to either commit suicide after every boss or play offline just to stop trolls from coming in and killing you while you're trying to play. And don't forget all the helpful messages people leave on the floor to warn you about traps! Let's see what this one says. "Help! I'm in trouble!" ...Okay. What about this one? "Help! I'm in trouble!" ...Maybe the next one is useful? "Help! I'm in trouble!" Ah yes, that's right, now I remember. It was all just a bunch of spam, because you don't get enough of that in your PSN inbox. Oh but the little clips showing how people died will be nothing but useful, right? This guy rolled off a cliff like an idiot and these 5 guys died in combat. Nope, that wasn't helpful either.

Demon's Souls is another perfect example of a game that should not have shoehorned multiplayer into its single player. All you get from it are trolls trying to kill you while you just want to play by yourself, a bunch of spam messages, and short clips of people who really suck at the game getting killed by enemies that are easy to defeat. Its mixture of SP and MP was only successful in being a pain in everyone's ass, but beyond that it failed miserably.

Well, considering I'm currently unable to play half of my Portal 2 because I can't find a friend who'll play co-op with me (doesn't have the game or capable PC, or lives in an inconvenient time zone) I am forced to agree with Yahtzee. I am not a fan of forced Co-Op. No, I won't play with strangers, I've never found that fun. I trully miss the days of LANs. Goddamnit, give me back my LAN capabilities!!! Starcraft (Bless you Spawn copy!!), Unreal 2k4, quake 2, the original call of duty, Age of Empires, Worms World Party. Come on, those are some of my fondest gaming memories. Local Co-Op works fine for a while, but not if you're to get more than 2 players to play. I'm currently replaying x-Men Legend 2 in local Co-Op and it's been great fun. However, getting the four players to play on my PC get's kind of crowded really fast.

I think your views on multiplayer do nothing by stifle creativity and innovation for multiplayer Yahtzee.

Did anyone else have an ungodly horrific mental image of Yahtzee in a wedding dress by the end of this column?

A pregnant yahtzee wearing a wedding dress, I believe.

XD, not really.

On topic: I agree entirely with Yahtzee. Yet again. Go figure, lol

I actually have to say I disagree with Yahtzee here. For example, the campaign modes in the Halo series have always been a little dry and uninteresting, but it's always been a blast to play through with a friend, especially when Bungie added the ability to have 4 players play at once. While I agree that a co-op mode should never be forced, a game is never less for including an optional co-op mode, and if you don't like the co-op mode when it's not mandatory, don't play it.

And this is why I don't buy current gen games until after I playthrough them once and only if them have replayability. I refuse to waste money on the sub-par trash and bullshit gimmicks that are passed off as 'games' nowadays.

I dont mind a co-op game in the spirit of L4D(2) and Killing Floor (unless there are non-cooperative fucktards just there to ruin the game for everyone), but the screeching, over-competitive, jerkoffs that just love ruining the competitive gaming experience can keep their Call of Mediocrity: Generic Combat Reprints.

Here my only thing with the whole co-op/multiplayer thing. It seems to be the trend to just put in the multiplayer separate from everything else in the game (which im totally fine with). It's just that when it comes to playing the game with friends I dont want to have to play in my own basement with no one else around. My friends and I specifically look for games that have split screen coop so when can go to a buddy house and play em together. It's just more fun for us, but the split screen era seems to be disappearing more and more which is sad for me.

I will say this. I do miss the days of Secret of Mana style single-player/co-op. You can play the entire game on your own, but if someone comes in and go "Hey! Can I play?", you don't have to stop playing either.

Demon's Souls is another perfect example of a game that should not have shoehorned multiplayer into its single player. All you get from it are trolls trying to kill you while you just want to play by yourself, a bunch of spam messages, and short clips of people who really suck at the game getting killed by enemies that are easy to defeat. Its mixture of SP and MP was only successful in being a pain in everyone's ass, but beyond that it failed miserably.

Hm, so I guess I totally imagined always summoning 1 to 2 blue phantoms, thus allowing me and my new found co-op buddies to easily dispatch any of those "trolls," since that invading troll is very much so outnumbered. You do know that the whole blue phantom co-op thing exists, right? That you can summon people (who don't have to be on your friend's list or anything) to help you through the level and help you defeat those invading "trolls"? I sure hope you do, since if you did, you probably wouldn't have bitched about having to always play in offline mode or get "trolled," because most black phantoms wouldn't stand a chance against three players. I mean, this addition OBLIVIOUSLY wasn't to give the host an advantage over invading black phantoms! That's just crazy talk!

By the way, someone isn't a trolling as a black phantom unless they are using the scrapping spear or something. How are they trolling by taking advantage of a game mechanic?

Oh, and all those messages saying "LIAR!" and "ATTACK!" around the liar who revives the boss until you kill him in 3-1 are TOTALLY useless, right? I mean, you would totally know he isn't lying his ass off when he begs for mercy if you never looked at a guide. Shit man, those messages are uselss!! Not to mention all the messages that tell you about traps, strong enemies ahead, and other useful information!!! Naw, let's totally judge the usefulness of the mechanic by people being stupid with it. Now THAT'S how you into logic!!

A great man once said Demons Souls is untrollable, because almost every single negative thing you can say about it can be attributed to being a casual nine times out of ten. I think that great man's point is well proven by your post. You TOTALLY AND ABSOLUTELY missed the ENTIRE POINT of SEVERAL mechanics in the game. Just because you CHOSE to never take advantage of the co-op feature or CHOSE to ignore all the useful and well-placed messages doesn't mean these mechanics are bad. Congrats on totally and absolutely missing the point of Demons Souls! I hope you feel accomplished.

Just because you're a bad slayer of demons who doesn't understand the game mean you can dismiss its successful merger of single and multiplayer. That's what your post amounts to really. I stand by my statement that DS successfully merged single and multiplayer, and anyone who fully understands the game's mechanics would agree. You just happen to be a bad.

Hey, Yahtzee, the 6 year old having a tantrum at the playground wants his ball back or he's going to call his mommy! How about you just accept the fact not all games are made for you? Or accept the fact that not all games are made for everyone?

People have tastes of great variety, and you know what, this was the first Fear game I ever even thinked about buying. CoOp is something people are starved for. But then again, you only seem to be buying games you know you want like for the funny ha-ha's at the show?


One important distinction that has to be made here, is that the player chooses not to play CoOp, he shouldn't have to control 2 characters. Nor should he have a retarded AI character climbing the walls off in some wrong direction. <---And this is a sane argument. "I want story based games to not have CoOp at all!!" however, is not. You'd be pissing all over someone's cheetos just like someone is pissing over yours when they force you to CoOp.

Sometimes, I feel like Yahtzee complains just for the sake of complaining..

..But this time, I'm totally on board with his points. Though, unlike him, I really enjoyed the original F.E.A.R., and thought it was very effective. I also enjoyed F.E.A.R. 2 well enough to want it to continue.

But F.E.A.R. 3 was just an incredible disappointment.. Now the series has officially reached the garbage point-of-no-return... a shadow of it's former self. But I blame Monolith for that mostly.

Stop dipping your Multiplayer into my Single Player... it tastes like shit.

I think this is quite accurate. Some of the best FPS experiences I've had were the previous generation and notably single player.

Games like Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and Breakdown gave a wonderful single-player experience without the need to try to make the game multiplayer.

Even this generation had games like The Darkness, and Prey that had well done single player experiences (albeit with a tacked on MP version)

All these games were great individually but would have suffered significantly if I had to play with someone else. Left 4 Dead broke the mold because the story is a throw away piece of crap there for one purpose only: to give the players a reason to gun down thousands of zombies. Unfortunately several companies don't pay attention to this fact and figure that the story of all shooters should be multiplayer.

Well, if a shooter doesn't have coop in the campaign, I don't even consider buying it any more. In fear, I suppose it ruins the scary parts somewhat, but the added benefit of being able to spend time hanging out with a mate and gaming at the same time is just too good. Nowadays I find it hard to find the time to do both, so the coop is like social gold, at least for me.

I have friends. I want to play games with my friends. Deathmatch and free-for-all games are playing AGAINST my friends, not WITH them.

I love story-driven co-op games! I wish there were more of them. System Shock 2 co-op was scary, intense, and a fun shared experience. Resident Evil 5 is a blast. Halo is much more interesting to play co-op. Left 4 Dead is genius.

Watching a movie with friends improves the experience. I say the same is true with games.

Damn straight, companies should stop trying to force co-op on people who like the single player experience. We get it, your afraid of being left behind in the "social scene", doesn't mean we have to suffer while you try to play catchup.


Im actually quite lucky as most of the muilti-player games I play are abit more actiony and I play them with my brother so its actually fun to scream at each other from across the room "YEAH, shoot that guy and that guy... niiiice" but I would never play a horror game with him... although I did watch him play RE4 like 3 times and the Regenerators NEVER got less frightning... maybe F.3.A.R just isnt that scary... I dont know I havnt played it.

FPS and single player are not friends anymore. The "campaigns" this days are too short, or too dull or incredible poorly done. And now it's geting social. I don't get. I have friends, so I go out with them. I try to play Killzone 3 with my friend, the guy literally slept in the middle of the thing.

In his Bound in Blood review Yahtzee laments the lack of a co-op option. Well, I suppose his bread and butter is tied up in being impossible to please.

Yahtzee: there are LOADS of single player games.

As someone who pretty much only plays co-op games (because I like to play with a friend who is a long way away), I can tell you that the co-op market is dreadful and there are many gamers just like me who want more co-op, not less.

So kindly fuck off with the whining and enjoy the 95% of games that are single player (or where co-op is totally optional.


I bet you my right hand that somebody in this thread either already did or will make a Portal reference out of this one.

Considering that multiplayer experiences are in proportion, with respect to quality, to technology, we can't really comment on it or its storytelling capabilities until we have the best devices to present multiplayer games (like splitscreen glasses, which is a greater indicator of the future to me compared to hover cars (hover cars are a pretty dumb idea, by the way)). Instead I'll just comment on mariachis.

F4AR: Mexican Food at the Price of Death


Thank you, Yahtzee, for saying this. (This being that developers should stop mixing Single and Multiplayer) I have been saying this for years... YEARS!!!

And people just look at me like I killed their favorite dog or ate the last slice of pizza.

Dear God... You have no idea how happy this article made me.

i do agree that it sucks that most game focus too much on MP and co-op. fear 1 was really good and had a great time.
fear 2 was starting to be lame but had at least a decent shooter experience and some scary moments. the school was still the creepiest part of the game in my opinion.
fear 3 has only a good shooter element but the scary factor is zero. this title is disappointing because of the co-op mode.
but games like L4D which are mend to be played with other people or friends, this works fine. i still enjoy these games and also TF2 which is still the best MP game in my book. also because it has no story you have to focus on.

but i really like to have a good SP game were the MP is not the focus. mirrors edge, for example, has just a little MP mode but was mainly focused on the SP. people were complaining that the game sucks, mainly because it has no real MP mode and therefor not worth the money. how f***ing stupid is that. a game does not suck just because it has no MP. it feels like every damn game today must have MP.
but then i ask my self why mass effect is selling so well. it has no MP and the games are as famous as star wars.
i dont mind if a game has SP and MP together as long there is no interference between them. if the SP lets me enjoy the game by my self for many hours, im happy. thats all i want. if i want a MP game, then i get it or should be as good and entertaining as a SP game does.

I think the concept while fear 3 was in development was to create a co-op scenario where you're forced to work with someone in a tenuous alliance. Fettel isn't really a good ally, as even though he's occasionally helpful, he's also a cannibalistic lunatic. He is untrustworthy. Part of the tensity that the devs were going for was supposed to come from this. Of course they screwed it up, but you have to give them credit for trying something new. They could simply allow the series to stagnate like CoD, but they chose to take a risk.

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