Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Where the world went AWOL

I understand that this may seem a strange title for a blog on a games page but stay with me on this. For anyone that regularly reads this page you will be well aware of the Faux Bots’ "sheer piss pants excitement" at Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Now I’m not going to try to rival that excitement or reciprocate what was said, but I feel I must make a comment that contradicts nearly every review of this game. No it’s not going to be that it is an amazing game, it is flawed heavily but still enjoyable, it will be that the lack of online co-op is not a bad thing.

I realise with that comment alone I have lost a lot of people, but here is my argument; when was the last time you sat down with a friend (or friends if you’re lucky enough to have more than one) to conquer a game side by side, or alternatively beat the living crap out of them for shits and giggles. My thoughts on this started when I was forced to complete Gears of War co-op in split screen due to my live not working (more because of my pig headed nature than a fault by anyone else). This was possibly my favourite experience of a co-op game, not because of the satisfaction of beating RAAM but because of the sheer manic nature of trying to spot any enemy from my tiny section of the screen, and a much more successful development of strategy with you brother in arms.

It’s a fair point to make that this may not be everyone’s preference, and ideally if I wasn’t forced to complete it in that way I doubt I would have initially chosen to do so, but by some force of nature I believe I had a more enjoyable experience playing it in this manner.

I know what you’re all thinking; "wow this one decent experience has been enough to scramble this poor lads brain" or "boy was he drunk or something" (that is quite possible), but I say hold up, I’m far from finished, so go put the kettle on and then come back to witness the coup de grace if you will.

This does deviate from the whole Kane and Lynch experience a bit but it is as valid as any other argument. Sports games! I hear some moans from the back row but this is a true behemoth in this discussion.

Now I realise that not everybody enjoys sports games, we get the whole it’s the same every year argument, but they are bigger than huge developments, they are the true buddy game. I’ve been playing these beasts for as long as I can remember, all the way back to Italia ’90, FIFA International and EA Hockey. That’s a long time ago! I can say with great certainty that there have been huge developments in graphics and game play but they have remained constant with one aspect…Multiplayer. The whole idea of these games is not really for a one man war on the newest AI, but a determination to prove that you are the best out of your mates. I mean who cares if you can beat Brazil on hard on Pro-Evo, it’s about what real people you can beat. Flesh and bones, occasionally with a brain cell; able to make a tactical change for a reason.

I know we now have the option of playing these matches online but what satisfaction do you get when you can’t see your opponents head sink when you pull off that flashy new move you’ve been working on for the last week. Sat side by side with a beer going warm, face construed with concentration, gloating at the prospect of the destruction about to take place or the rushing through the replays of the opponents’ goal/ touchdown/ homerun etc, while they can feel that sense of satisfaction in knowing that they have truly pissed you off.

There is one game that stands out as the greatest 1-on-1 game, and I know I’ll get berated for this but it has to go to the Madden series. That sheer enjoyment of watching your fourth quarter touchdown drive, watching the horror as you intercept a pass or force a fumble, and the overwhelming sense that you made the world better when you injure your opposing quarterback. No other game comes close to this for pure unforgivable bragging rights. You may beat me at Pro-Evo but it’s the gridiron that matters most.

So I say that the co-op mode of Kane and Lynch is not a recession but progression and I for one am now off to find a friend for the day to finish this game, then possibly beat them on Madden ‘08. So leave your house and go join a friend and help battle against the most vile and destructive creature known to man, you friends ego. There are so many games out that would allow you to try this strange new futuristic idea, and I urge you to take this opportunity to rekindle that forgotten art of split screen mayhem. Relive those days of Street Fighter and Streets of Rage, FIFA and Worms. Sit down with some banter and remember that we are not alone.

Token Gestures

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