Single Player Decline

Just a thought.

By King, Posted 08 Feb 2010

In the midst of playing Search and Destory matches on Call of Duty, my friends often check up on what game I'm playing at the moment to see the likes of Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, or God of War displayed. They'll usually ask me, “What do you do in that game?”, and once I'm through explaining it comes the question, “Can you play online?”. After hearing no they return to the match as soon as possible to continue the quest of leveling up. It dawned on me that many people really don't enjoy working their way through a campaign, uncovering the story and exploring the world. They would much rather be gunning down enemies in fifteen minute intervals and being rewarded with XP to display a new level for everyone to see.

If you have ever played a good game online with some of your closest friends, you would understand just how much fun it can be. Whether you are part of a 256 man war in MAG, battling your best friend one-on-one in Madden football, or running around in your created LittleBigPlanet level, you're delivered with a new experience that you don't normally feel when playing alone. Even playing with a stranger makes you feel like you're a part of a bigger world than just your own. And as much as I hate to admit it, leveling up to show your friends you're better than they are  is pretty addicting.

But the big appeal of online gaming may be that it's relitively new to us as console gamers. During the last generation with the Playstation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube, we were able to utilize some simple online functionality. You could play games online with others and that was pretty much it. Now with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, we are given the oppurtunity to do so much more with the internet. You can constantley be in touch with others on your friends list, download items from the online store, and be connected to the internet every second that your system is showing a green light.

Online gaming seems to be the revolution in the gaming world. Now that it has been fully expanded into what it is today, we are spending more and more time, blasting the covenants until the wee hours of the morning. In no way an I against the new direction gaming has been going. I've gladly embraced the multiplayer aspects of games, and in fact, some of my most exciting gaming moments ever have come from playing online. Being able to duke it out against gamers from around the globe simply rocks, and this gen wouldn't have been the same if we didn't emphasize this so much.

However, many times with the popularity of multiplayer games being so great, the importance of a great single player experience is tossed to the side. Just take a look at the highest selling games on the PS3 and 360 (we aren't including the Wii because that's simply another story). The ones at the top of the list just about all offer some type of online multiplayer mode, and for many of them, the online is the main focus of the game. Games are expected to come with a multiplayer mode out of the box, and if they don't, they better be a 50 hour RPG or else it will be coming through the mail as a rent only for many.

Next month in March, we will get to test just how many people will be buying one of the most anticpated single player only games to come out in a long time. Kratos grabs his blades for his third adventure, scheduled for March 16, 2010 to be the first God of War title made for the PS3. For a single playthrough, it's expected to clock in at around 15 hours. It promisses to be an epic follow-up to two of the greatest games in history, but just how many people will be taking a break from reaching the next Prestiege to see the events in God of War 3? It will be interesting to see.

As much fun as online games are, they simply can't touch a well developed single player story for me. If the gameplay mechanics are good, the story well-thought out, and  it has a unique world to explore with plenty of mysteries to unveil. I will take 15 hours of that over 60 matches of Team Deathmatch. When you're constantley on the run, dodging bullets and spraying your own, you can't take in the atmosphere of the game like you could, say in wondering around the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3. Getting your 10,000th kill in Resistance 2's Competitive multiplayer won't have the same emotional impact as watching the final cutscene of the Metal Gear Solid saga.

Often times, you will run into a single player game with poor pacing. You eventually get bored and just want to dive back into the multiplayer where you aren't held back by any objectives. You are free to play the game modes you want to play. That's what makes this such a predicament. On one side you have deep, adventurous games meant to be enjoyed with only one player, but these games are being knocked out of the limelight by those quick and addicting games that put the emphasis on multiplayer. At the end of the day, gaming is about having fun and it's your choice what type of games you want to buy. If your forte is First-Person Shooters and you're itching to play that new one you've been anticipating for the past year, by all means drop your money on it. But just don't forget the experience that can be brought by a single player story mode that won't be delivered by a multiplayer one.

However, among all the run-of-the-mill game developers out there stand a few geniouses, ready to take innovation to the next level. A few games out there have already taken the first step in creating a great single player experience that came packed with an equally enjoyable online component, but maybe someone out there can take it somewhere else. Maybe a game will be made that will combine everything that makes a single player game so special, and it will be placed in a world where you can interact with users online. Imagine if some of the NPCs in a game like Oblivion being actual players across the world, each of them with their own story unraveling as you adventure on your own quest. Kind of like an MMO but with less emphasis on the massive, and more of a story driven game that changes with other player's actions in your world. Just a thought.

Logan Smithson, Noobfeed

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  • This feature by you just may have......topped your one on the Wii. Really moving writing and it is a great example on how the industry is moving forward but shouldnt forget its roots. This was also shorter but I did enjoy that because I could read it quickly and still get a full experience out of it with nothing tacked on. 



    I know most of my freinds play online games exclusively now except for a few who enjoy the single player worlds as you mentioned. I do play a lot of multiplayer games but also just like you had said, there's just sometimes nothing that can compete with the feeling of a good single player game.


    Posted Feb 08, 2010

  • Totally agree. The single player campaign is generally shorter than before. For gamers that prefer the solo mode against the multiplayer, that is terrible.


    Posted Feb 08, 2010

  • Totally spot on! There should be a boundary between the minimum amount of gameplay hours needed for a single player. I finished Modern Warfare II 2 nights ago and I am disappointed with the fact that how short this game was. Even sandbox games like Saboteur. The game was not as big as Mafia. It seems that people are trying to go to the Atari days. The difference is that you play for achievement and defeat others online. Story writing is declining. RPGs like Mass Effect are short (with the exception of Dragon Age) and cant compare with campaigns of Baldur's Gate (I remember it took me 3-4 months to finish to finish the Shadows of Amn campaign). If we think about your last paragraph, then i should put faith on Bioware who is developing the upcoming Stars Wars The Old Republic, which is like both single player and MMO fused together.


    Posted Feb 08, 2010

  • I agree with you. Single player campaigns are fun playing. It's like knowing the story of the game and the character itself better. Though multiplayer has its own kind of fun. Both are good in two different ways.


    Posted Feb 09, 2010

  • I still enjoy the single player in games 100%, and multiplayer is just a good break from a long single player game. I agree completely with



    "As much fun as online games are, they simply can't touch a well developed single player story for me. If the gameplay mechanics are good, the story well-thought out, and  it has a unique world to explore with plenty of mysteries to unveil. I will take 15 hours of that over 60 matches of Team Deathmatch. When you're constantley on the run, dodging bullets and spraying your own, you can't take in the atmosphere of the game like you could, say in wondering around the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3. Getting your 10,000th kill in Resistance 2's Competitive multiplayer won't have the same emotional impact as watching the final cutscene of the Metal Gear Solid saga." 



    Those are some of the truest words I have read in any article. I'm really anticipating God of War III you might be able to tell from my icon. So for the sake of just how insane the God of War games are I hope 3 sells well. Myself, I plan on getting it first day. The collector's edition with Pandora's box in fact. 


    Posted Feb 10, 2010
  • I really liked ur "Online gaming seems to be the revolution in the gaming world" part. That was so imba! Campaign modes r great, but it has become so common that gamers can now predict what will come next in their campaign journey. But in online mode, there's no prediction cause u can't predict
    a human's mind. There's no best or worse in online mode. U just keep playing to better than be4. As a CS player I always liked to play on multiplayer. I xtremely enjoy it!
    Posted Feb 10, 2010

  • Rightly said. I agree with you. Even though online gaming is fun, singleplayer gives a complete different experience. In multiplayer we can have all the funs we need playing alongside friend/s but singleplayer campaign gives us the complete idea about  the games story and purpose.



    Great thought in the end. I won't be surprised if games are like this in future. Yet another great article by you King. keep more coming :D


    Posted Feb 10, 2010

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Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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