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October 24, 2016

Do Me a Solid: Multiplayer Game Arrange

So did you know that The Wonderful 101 has a multiplayer mode?

I did.  I’ve known it for a while, in fact -- probably around the time it was first released, since it IS featured on the back of the box.  But this is a Platinum game we’re talking about, and I’d imagine that they’re not exactly famous for their multiplayer suites (Anarchy Reigns aside).  As a result, it came as an absolute shock to my brother and buddy that there was a 4-player multiplayer mode in the game -- and the latter barely even knew what The Wonderful 101 was.  So for the first time ever, all three of us got to see what it entailed…for the short time we actually sat down with it, but hey.  I’ll take it.

It’s not exactly an expansive mode, as far as I can tell.  If you’ve played the main game -- running through levels with a munchkin-sized squadron, and beating down aliens by building giant, supercharged weaponry -- then imagine that with up to three of your pals in a string of missions/score attack.  I had a blast with it, if only because it reminded me of how much I love the game (and need to replay it).  I have a hunch that my buddy had no idea what was going on for most of it, while dear old big brother seemed actively frustrated by it…though he got a kick out of using Unite Gun to shoot gangsta style.

Hopefully I can convince the two of them to play it again someday.  But more importantly?  I think it’s high time for me to build a bigger collection of multiplayer games -- and that’s where you come in.  Get hyped, maybe.

It’s no secret by now that in recent years, local multiplayer has taken a downturn.  Sure, the latest consoles have made it more than possible to play with friends (and enemies) online, even with oceans between you -- and that’s to say nothing of the breadth even an average PC will net you.  Plus, with the Nintendo Switch officially revealed, it’ll be interesting to see what comes from a souped-up mobile system.  But there are a lot of experiences that have gone astray; even if it’s a sign of the times, it’s still lamentable that couch-based experiences have become a lower and lower priority.

I mean, I don’t know Halo super-intimately, but I always thought that being able to blast through the campaign with a co-op partner on your immediate left or right was part of the draw.  But here comes Halo 5: Guardians, and suddenly it turns out that they were willing to axe a critical part of the package because “times have changed”.  More recently, you have For Honor; even though its makers touted the presence and importance of split-screen action, those same makers recently came out and said that it got the boot.  Like, I had already wondered what Ubisoft would do to preemptively screw up the game, but I didn’t expect to be proven right so handily.

To be fair, I don’t envy game devs for the amount of work they have to do.  Releasing something that works has got to be stressful enough; releasing something that has to divide and conquer among up to four separate people at once is probably just two steps shy of murder.  Granted games in the past handled it fairly well, but that was back when you could get away with models that had giant pointy blocks for hands.  In the age of HD -- of ten eighty peas and fore kays -- you can’t get away with so much so easily.  Hell, even Tales of Zestiria goes out of its way to make 4P co-op a hassle, yet can’t come close to justifying the gameplay-crippling horsepower needed.

So that’s basically what brings me here today.  I know that there are examples of good local multiplayer games out there at this very moment.  Really, my gaming pals and I can get away with just playing Smash Bros. for a few hours every so often.  But what is a gamer if not a greedy deviant, always hungering and lusting for more?  Hardly a man (or woman), if I had to guess.  So let’s use this space to name some cool local multiplayer games I can consider.

For the record, though?  I know that there’s probably a ton of stuff available via Steam and PC, but the phrase of the day is “easy access”.  Which is to say, I’d prefer to prioritize games available for the Wii U and PS4 (and PS3, maybe) instead of having my brother use black magicks to have the TV play stuff from his PC.  I’m sure he could do it if there was a convincing argument for it, but right now I’d like to focus on consoles.  Big-budget releases, indie titles, games from the west, games from the east, whatever you’ve got -- let me hear it.

For the other record, though?  I’ve already got Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 to fall back on, as well as Mario 3D World.  The PS4 is where things really thin out, though; the most we’ve got there is Helldivers, and so far we’ve only touched that as a three-man group one time.  If Sony’s latest console boots up, then there’s a good chance it’ll be to play some Black Ops 3.

I’d like to avoid that, if at all possible.

Lay it on me, then.  Name some cool local multiplayer games for me -- especially if you know if there are any good wrestling games available.  I know that some have come out in recent years, but I have trouble keeping them all organized, and thus have no clue which ones are even remotely worthwhile.  Weigh in at your leisure, and save me from the miserable fate of suffering through another failed round of Zombies in Blops3.

Thanks in advance.  And don’t worry -- I’ll pay you back with posts on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure soon.  But first, I’ll toss up something pretty cool.

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