Marching to a Different Beat

For me, Fridays have become something of a novelty. It’s no longer the day that marks the official start of the weekend and the end of the hard graft. It’s also no longer the start of the only two days I get to lounge around on my sofa uninterrupted, playing through the backlog of games I swear I’ll finish someday but probably wont.

Friday has, for whatever reason, become the day that my mates come round and we get in some multiplayer action over a few jars before hitting the town. I think in the past five months there’s hasn’t been a Friday gone by that a mate has come over to blast through the career mode in Guitar Hero and Rock Band, or play a few rounds at Smash Bros. Brawl, Tekken 3 or Bomberman Live.

Rock Band

My place on a Friday after a few cans – My neighbours must love me! 😛

Mutliplayer has always been something a game can live or die by. Halo 2 is a prime example. I thought the story was naff and I genuinely didn’t care what happened to any of the dull characters, so the single player was a bit throwaway, while the awesome multiplayer made the price of admission well worth it.

Alternatively the recently released and genuinely stunning Soul Calibur on XBLA, possibly one of the greatest fighters shared with a second person, confusingly lacks Live play. What were Namco smoking when they came up with that?

Two massive franchises last year both missed a trick when it came to their respective multiplayer modes. Namely, Burnout Paradise, which lacked a split screen mode. My mates were excited when I got the game and asked if I wanted to fire it up so we could play party crash mode which was a regular feature in past instalments, but I had to tell their glistening, doe-eyes that the feature had been cut. For shame Criterion.

Same with Call of Duty 4. This game would have played host to a phenomenal co-op experience if it only gave us the chance. Again, confusingly, we were denied the pleasure. Although Call of Duty: World at War developers Treyarch have made good and included 4-player co-op, which sounds like it will be awesome, although this will likely be Live only.

So I don’t know. What is everyone else’s preference when it comes to multiplayer? Are the days of split screen dead with so many people owning consoles in this generation? Are we doomed to sit alone in our rooms playing with our mates instead of kicking it old school and huddling round our meaty HD televisions?



9 responses to “Marching to a Different Beat”

  1. Tony avatar

    We need to form an organisation called “SSS” – Save Split Screen!

    I was gutted about Burnout lacking a split-screen option as I could no longer play it with my girlfriend together, and as I result I haven’t ended up playing it as much as I thought I would. Motorstorm was similar. Flat Out on the original Xbox had four player split screen, and Flat Out UC on the all powerful 360 had no split screen at all.

    In fact, the more I think about it the more I think it should be actually illegal to release a racing game that doesn’t feature split-screen.

    Join SSS!

  2. Dave avatar

    I’ll join SSS right now! 😀

    I have fond memories of playing Quake II on PsOne split screen via multitap – outrageously good fun. Sure you could see where each other was hiding but oddly, it didn’t seem to matter. I think that’s the argument now: split screen death match loses the stealth and sneaking elements that make them so fun.

    But c’mon, Burnout without split screen? Silly move.

    I call on Capcom re-release Power Stone 1 & 2 on XBLA to appease the multiplayer community!

    ..and myself because that game was ace 🙂

  3. Michael avatar

    Oh, split screen is OK sometimes but seeing where your opponent is can lead to accusations of cheating and then comes the flinging about… A habit of someone I know is to look down ingame to avoid giving away their position. I can’t help looking, it’s due to a medical condition!

    Although it is definitely fun when, say, you’re offline and decide to have a versus game of CoD4. Yelling something like “Ha, you’ve got an RPG and ya still missed!” before slashing them with a knife is always great! 😀

    I guess the lack of split screen is because of the rise of online gaming. An assumption by developers that everyone has, or wants, XBL/PSN etc?

  4. Dave avatar

    I like that ‘looking down’ system, but honour in deathmatches is pretty rare isn’t it? 😛

    I think you’re right, the assumption is everyone wants to get connected and play over the wire. But I think there is a lack of really good quality party games on the 360 and PS3. Fair enough, Scene It! and Rock Band/Guitar Hero provide hours of fun. But these are obvious recipients of the multiplayer treatment.

    Kane & Lynch, Army of Two were made for split screen and were both guff unfortunately. 🙁
    CoD 4 split screen death match is fine and dandy, but no co-op? Still a bit non-plussed by that one. But yeah, nothing like noising up your mate mano-a-mano when you stick them with a knife and they’re packing serious heat 😀

  5. Jen avatar

    It’s a pity they didn’t use split screen on the Baldur’s Gate series, it would have made more sense instead of being forced to wait at the edge of the screen on two-player.

  6. Dave avatar

    Hi Jen, yeah that sort of elastic-band multiplayer is a bit naff. You always feel tethered to each other by the restrictions of single screen play.

    Same goes for Mario kart on Wii. No matter how well you do, you never totally outrun the other racers as they are always tethered a certain distance behind you.

    It’s really crap, Diablo 2 did it right 🙂

  7. Laura avatar

    Split screen used to be fine with me until I got my own 360, now I can’t stand it.

    The only drawback to having two 360’s under one roof is that you find yourself buying two copies of the same game so you can play together separately 🙂

  8. Dave avatar

    That’s a pricey way of doing things indeed 🙂

    My mate put a bit of cardboard down the middle of the screen once so we couldn’t find eachother easily in in a Duke Nukem death match on PSOne – it was actually really crap…

  9. Zanveth avatar

    Regardless of what Microsoft aims to achieve with Live, or Sony with PS Home, at the end of the day, nothing beats having a good old multiplayer session with your friends while you’re all sat in the same room.

    I can’t help but feel that Goldeneye (used as an example as it’s probably my fondest multiplayer memory) would not have had such appeal if it was 4player over live. The best thing about it, was me and a group of friends packed into my bedroom nuking it out on the facility level with proximity mines.

    Split screen feels very dated now to me and i’m always a bit hesitant to play it now.

    Of course, getting some friends and doing multiplayer over Live can still be good (all on voice coms etc) so is not at all bad.

    Rock Band is giving the “get together and play” feeling back somewhat, which is great, although can’t see it happening much more, gaming over live etc is where we are now and can’t see it changing.

    Social multiplayer was awsome, sadly, I feel its gone somewhat now 🙁

Leave a Reply