The Silent Sidekick

He could fly. You can't get any more awesome than that.
This Blog is dedicated to all of the ‘Player 2’s out there.

When I play alone, all is well. I kick the Call of Duty campaign’s arse very sufficiently indeed. I blissfully get carried away with single player gems like Braid, Singularity, Bioshock, etc. It’s all good. I am a one woman gaming tank… type… thing. However… There are sometimes games that my partner and I both want. We want it the moment it is in our console. We both want to play first.

In most cases, a duel to the death is required to determine who gets dibs on first playthrough. Other times, we get to play together through the increasingly uncommon split screen campaigns. I’m always player 2. No ifs, no buts. I accept it. I can’t even play now if I have to look at the top half of the screen. Bottom or right, that’s where I look.

So I was Lynch in Kane & Lynch, and I’ll be Dom in Gears of War 3. That’s ok. I’m still a pretty central character with my own background and personality in both of those games. I can live with that. What does get on my nerves is when you load up a split screen game and player one is the main character, and player two is nameless, just another face in the crowd. No lines of dialogue, and no acknowledgement of my existence at all from Mr I-have-a-game-title-named-after-me or anyone else. Even worse than that is when you are both the same character. I want to feel like a part of the world, not like a clone.

I'll happily play as Dom in Gears of War 3, despite the fact he'll be all beardy.

Even the aforementioned problems with being the second player are pretty minor. I’ll have a grumble but I’ll carry on. If the game doesn’t care who I am I’ll just silently fight alongside my sidekick. There’s just one thing that I feel is unacceptable. I haven’t come across it often, but when I do it really boils my blood. I’ll be happily playing when that all too familiar sound rings and I’ll notice that an achievement will pop up. One achievement. For player one. I’ll wait a while for mine but it will never come. It’s at this point I’ll check the achievement screen and find that I haven’t received a single achievement since I started. It’s not like I’m obsessed with my score or anything but it isn’t the best feeling to know that all my hard work is going unrewarded because I’m the second player. I first noticed this happening when I got to a rather high level on Zombie Apocalypse. I was not happy. I also never got my achievements for completing Kane and Lynch, and that was a feat in itself.

I guess the sad fact is that split screen truly is dying out, as more and more people play online. I think the fact that a lot of people like to play games with others in the house is slowly being forgotten, for some reason. Sure, there’s System Link. But that requires you to justify having the money for two consoles, and two copies of the same game under your roof. Surely when playing a split screen game, the least that can be done for fairness is allowing achievements to be unlocked for both players.





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