I’ve just finished God of War Ascension and while I enjoyed the game, there were some things about it that sort of annoyed me (and some that annoyed me to the point of controller abuse). But that’s not what’s important in this post. So, to the point…
After I complete a game, I like to look at all the extras and behind-the-scenes content that is invariably included in your current generation of games. Depending on the length of the game, and more importantly, how many days/weeks/months have passed since you began playing, this can be a lovely romp down memory lane, laced with gooey nostalgia over things that shit you when you were playing. The God of War franchise usually has plenty of ‘making of’ and concept art videos which I find especially interesting to view whilst basking in the honey-like glow of completing a game.
However, what occurred to me while watching the plethora of extra videos was that this franchise has gone down the path of so many good franchises and spent pretty much all its budget of money and time in adding the repugnant Multiplayer feature.
Gone are the days where co-op or online play were a nice little addition to games – a gimmick even. Now, the whole multiplayer concept dominates our beloved single player story-focused games, and we find, little by little that us non-multiplayer lovers are being arse-reamed into paying for a short chapter of the game we love, and a whole bunch of useless DLC, add-ons and crap which is centred on a huge multiplayer aspect that we are NOT EVEN GOING TO PLAY.
From the extras videos included in God of War Ascension, the multiplayer game does look great – but it’s God of War! That means: Kratos. And what is Kratos? A LONE WOLF. He does not team up with other dudes to fight the gods, he is on a mission to fight them ON HIS OWN. The game developers know we know this, and so they convince themselves we will be okay with their sneakiness by making the multiplayer characters NOT Kratos, but some other random Spartan warriors. Oh yes, that’s so much better. Hey, players, we know you love Kratos because he’s the one and only Spartan. But here’s a few more so you can play online with people you don’t know and earn the favour of the gods and buy all our DLC. You love us!
Clearly, I am not amused. And I’m not amused because this whole multiplayer thing got me to thinking what it was about GOW Ascension that didn’t really press my buttons the way the previous games had. Firstly, there wasn’t a lot of newness to the game. Sure, you get some different blade powers, and some funky artifacts (well I say funky, but they aren’t much to write home about – a thing that lets you smash or fix things; a stone that lets you duplicate yourself temporarily; and another thing that lets you dispel certain magic); and there are new monsters (or the same monsters but just skinned a bit differently); and the environment is fantastic (probably the best thing about the game). But the game seems a bit useless. It’s a prequel and the story is not really that necessary in the Kratos mythos/timeline. Do we really care what happened in the few days after he killed his family but before he sought his vengeance? Maybe the next game can be about how he went to the toilet, shaved his beard, and popped down to the shops for a loaf of bread?
Now, to the crux of it. The single player aspect in this game is really just a front to get fans to buy the game. I really just forked out $130 for a collector’s edition of an online multiplayer game that I won’t play because I am not that good at games – I just like to play them, but not competitively against crazy multiplayer players!
This got me to thinking – the VERY same thing happened with the third Uncharted game. Great graphics and environments, thin story and not much had changed in respect of game mechanics. But oh look, we’ve added all these amaaaaaazing features for the multiplayer aspect, yeah! NO.
I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, particularly in recent games, but my rage quota is now met, so I’ll leave it up to you, gentle reader to leave your thoughts about multiplayer in the comments. I’m sure I’m not alone in my frustration.