As each generation of gaming passes, a new set of questions come into play. One of the questions that came with the recent generational change is: do single-player experiences matter anymore? With all of the new advances in technology, multiplayer gaming is not only becoming more accessible to more people, but also a less problematic (in other words, lag-infested) way of playing games. Therefore, isn’t it fair that multiplayer takes the forefront of games as opposed to single-player campaigns? Or even that single-player sections of games should simply begin to fade out? Whilst I understand this viewpoint, I do not agree with it.
Firstly, to begin with the obvious, single-player portions of games allow people with choppy or even no internet connections to play a game and enjoy it. By taking that away, you also take away the right for those under-privileged or unfortunately-located people to enjoy that game. Also, servers aren’t exactly reliable on the whole (*cough* EA *cough*), meaning that if games were to become all-online our gaming experiences would solely depend on servers. Of course, if this was to happen, servers would dramatically increase in quality, speed and performance. However, the point still stands: power failures, technical glitches and hacks still occur and are mostly unpredictable.
Aside from the obvious, the world’s biggest gaming series’ (think Call of Duty and Battlefield) already have multiplayer as the key part of their titles and this the reason many gamers (myself included) pick up these titles. However, this doesn’t mean that the single-player segment of any given title isn’t integral to a game’s success. Often, the story make the maps and battles found in multiplayer arenas relevant. Take Call of Duty as a prime example. The two teams that go up against each other in team-based modes are the same two sides that oppose each other in the campaign. This simple connection immediately makes each battle seem relevant, rather than just a random and unexplained skirmish between two different sets of people.
Furthermore, whilst online campaigns are a possible alternative to their offline counterparts, games like Brink, Titanfall and Destiny have shown us that, although promising, online campaigns have a long way to go before they become a realistic option.
Thirdly, there are people out there who simply don’t like multiplayer or prefer the single-player aspects of a game. My first proper taste of online gaming came with ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ on the PS3 back in 2010. Up until that point, I had played the single-player sides of the Call of Duty games exclusively. This is because I just liked the cinematic gameplay and set-pieces that the campaigns provided me with.
Talking of cinematic gameplay, think of arguably the best gaming series ever: Uncharted. Whilst, ever since Uncharted 2, multiplayer has been included in each game, that isn’t the biggest pull to this franchise… the single-player mode is. This because of the experience it offers you, that multiplayer simply can’t offer. The same can also be applied to arguably the best game ever: The Last of Us.
Simply put, I feel that single-player experiences are necessary for any game. If multiplayer isn’t part of the package, the quality of the game is upped considerably, with games like Uncharted and TLoU proving this. And if multiplayer is part of a title, single-player makes the events in the multiplayer matches relevant.
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