With the unveiling of God of War: Ascension’s multiplayer gameplay, there has been a subset of gamers who find the idea blasphemous. Multiplayer is, undoubtedly, becoming more and more pervasive in the gaming industry, and there is some truth to the notion that it is drawing attention away from creating compelling singleplayer experiences. Personally, I think Ascension’s multiplayer looks refreshingly unique, and I have every bit of faith in Santa Monica Studios and their affiliates.
That being said, we all know that multiplayer has been deliberately shoehorned into games before (E.G. Dead Space 2), but sometimes it has vastly exceeded our expectations (E.G. Uncharted 2). This got me thinking, “to which singleplayer games would multiplayer actually be a welcome addition?” To answer this, I have come up with 4 games that I feel could greatly benefit from online multiplayer.
Mirror’s Edge is one of those flawed, but underrated, gems of the current generation. I have a certain admiration for what it brought to the table. The traversal elements were ingenious, almost like a first person Uncharted game, minus the cover system and adding a hefty amount of wall running. It is safe to say that transferring this fluid acrobatic gameplay into a “Quake 3 style” arena shooter would have been gold. My only reservation to such an idea is the sadly lackluster shooting mechanics that Mirror’s Edge was burdened with. While the game succeeded beautifully as a free-running, first person experience, it wavered in the gunplay department. Perhaps, if Dice gives the franchise another shot, we could see the ironing out of such flaws and the addition of a multiplayer mode that would, at the very least, be more intriguing than the time trials that we were “graced” with in the first game.
Ratchet and Clank (Tools of Destruction and Crack in Time)
One thing that is shocking about the current generation Ratchet and Clank games is their lack of online competitive multiplayer. Fresh off of the thoroughly enjoyable competitive modes in Up your Arsenal and Deadlocked, it seems that Insomniac dropped the idea like a hot potato and never picked it up again. All 4 One, attempted to fill this gap, but I think I speak for most fans when I say that what we really wanted was a competitive experience, not a co-op experience. If you look back, Up your Arsenal offered some of the best online gameplay on the PS2, at a time when such a concept was relatively fresh to console gamers. I’m thrilled that it will be reinvigorated with the upcoming HD collection, but where is the new Ratchet and Clank multiplayer experience? It is perplexing to me, why, in this day and age of multiplayer dominance, Insomniac hasn’t tapped into this market with their most beloved franchise (though they did with the Resistance games).
Now that Insomniac is seemingly done with the franchise, it depresses me to think that we will, most likely, never get such a thing from the R&C series. While I look forward to Insomniac’s new multiplatform IP Overstrike, I can’t help but lament this blatantly missed opportunity in their most cherished franchise.
Shadow of the Colossus
I have stated in the past that my favorite game of all time is Shadow of the Colossus. There is very little I would ever want to see added to or taken away from, what I consider, the epitome of gaming art. I am infinitely thankfully that Fumito Ueda’s initial vision, of an online co-op game, was altered into what now stands as the most enthralling, powerful fantasy epic in gaming history (in my humble opinion). However, it is impossible for any fan of the game to not be intrigued by Ueda’s original premise. Obviously this could not have been accomplished in the first game without forfeiting much of the narrative and watering down the presentation.
Once again, I do not regret their decision to make SOTC a “singleplayer only” experience. However, I can easily envision a prequel or sequel safely making use of such an idea, without retconning the original game. With Ueda’s sense of perfection and the hardware available for such a project in this console generation (not to mention “next gen” on the horizon), it’s safe to say that the result would be a sublime co-op experience like no other.
Crash Team Racing
Obviously online integration was not even a thought, during CTR’s development process. However, after playing the more recent Mario kart games, I can’t help but obsess over the idea of an online component in one of my favorite racing games of all time. I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with Naughty Dog’s first and best racing game. Many, if not most, gamers looking back retrospectively, consider Crash Team racing to be superior to Mario kart 64, with its richer graphics, larger character library, substantial quantity of tracks, more intricate level design, more grounded controls, lengthier and more comprehensive singleplayer mode, and fantastic arena mode. What more could one want out of a kart racer? Well, one thing that could further cement its nearly infinite replay-ability is online multiplayer.
The idea might not be as farfetched as one might imagine. I could easily envision a re-mastered version of the game releasing on the Vita, with some sort of added online component, hopefully with a lobby system. Of course, simply because I can envision it, does not mean it will ever come to fruition. The Crash Bandicoot license has been thoroughly run into the ground by marginal (at best) developers, who failed to grasp the appeal of the franchise. Unfortunately, Crash Bandicoot appears to be in an unmarketable muck. I must emphasize the word “appears” because, in reality, there isn’t a ubiquitous public disinterest in the franchise. People simply don’t like buying terrible/mediocre games (a shock, right?). If the franchise were handed to a competent developer, it could likely elevate itself to its former glory, and bringing CTR into the current generation could accomplish such a feat.
Of course, Sony’s “kart racer” quota is already being filled with Littlebigplanet Karting, which, to be honest, looks to be a new paragon in the “kart racer” sub-genre. Perhaps, once that game is released, I will be able to quell my frustration by recreating some of the arena maps from CTR. I suppose that could be a moderate consolation.