Multiplayer? Not in my RPGs!

So hey, Dragon Age 3 might be getting multiplayer.



I do not want multiplayer in my RPGs. I do not want multiplayer in my previously single-player series. I do not want multiplayer in my Dragon Age. Or Mass Effect. Or anything

I don't care how good it will be. It's not what the series started out as and I do not want this.

I'm fed up of single-player series suddenly shifting to make way for multiplayer that I will never play and only takes away from the single-player aspect. Call of Juarez, Crackdown, FEAR, Lost Planet, Mass Effect, (arguably) Assassin's Creed, and now Dragon Age.


If you have to have multiplayer, make it a spin-off title. Something that can be enjoyed on its own, but fans of the ongoing saga who don't want to play it aren't forced into to continue the story. Don't shoehorn it into an established series - all that'll do is upset fans and detract from the experience.

Now I know what a lot of people are going to say. 'But Baldur's Gate had multiplayer and it was awesome!' Well y'know what? That was an entirely different situation. You can't compare the first game in a series, in this case Baldur's Gate, to the third game in a ongoing series, Dragon Age 3, not the fact that there's 15 years difference between the two. I don't think it's hypocritical to say that the situations are completely different.

If you're making a new game (as Baldur's Gate was), there's no real pressure, except from your investors, so you can take as much time as you like and really focus on both single-player and multi-player, if that's what you want. There's no expectations from fans either, so you can make the game how you want to make it.

For the third game in a series, fans have come to expect things from it. I've no real problem with innovation, but taking what has been a massive single-player series and whacking multiplayer into it just seems like a cheap attempt to grab new fans into an established franchise, despite the fact that they'll know nothing about the plot and get bored since it's not Modern Warfare or whatever.

Also: they're already putting multiplayer into Mass Effect 3 (also for no reason). So why do they have to do it with Dragon Age as well? Could they not look at the other franchises that have tried to shift to having multiplayer and seen how it's not gone down that well?

Don't get me wrong, I love Bioware for their SINGLE-PLAYER RPGs. Few other companies make them as well or have anywhere near as much depth. I just don't think adding multiplayer to their games will make them any more epic. I think it'll detract from what they do best. And I really don't want that.

Multiplayer does not make everything better. It just forces the development team to focus more on the new multiplayer aspect then on the single-player campaign, and it falls short. And since Dragon Age 2 already did that, I don't think the franchise can take another half-baked game.

If Bioware can focus on making Dragon Age 3 a great single-player experience (and come up with a better name that just 'Dragon Age 3', that'd be nice too), then that's really all people want. And that's what Bioware should give.

Playstation Move games (Article)

Another post from Kotaku. This one was prompted by the announcement that the game House of the Dead: Overkill was being ported from the Wii to the PS3, complete with 3D and Move functions.

So House of the Dead: Overkill is coming to the PSMove.

While I have absolutely no problem with Overkill coming to the PS3, is anyone else concerned about how many PSMove games are nothing more than ports of games from other consoles or simply existing PS3 games with really basic Move features thrown in?

On the ports side we now have Dead Space: Extraction, HotD:Overkill, No More Heroes, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (forthcoming), The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, The Sly Collection and Time Crisis: Razing Storm.

(And yes, I'm aware Aragorn's Quest was a multiplatform release, but it was delayed to add Move functionality to the PS3 version, so I'm counting it.)

On the 'enhanced' side we have de Blob 2, Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5, Tron Evolution and Toy Story 3, to name but a few.

Like I say, I've not much of a problem with this happening, but shouldn't the advent of the Move have been about creating games that genuinely needed the Move, like Sports games (Top Spin 4, for example), keep fit titles (like Zumba Fitness) or just fun stuff like Heroes on the Move (I refuse to call it PS Move Heroes, which is just clunky)?

If the majority of titles released that use the Move are simply going to be enhanced ports of Wii games, then why bother releasing them on the Wii in the first place? Ok, the Move wasn't announced when the games I mentioned were released, but is it really worth digging them up and converting them just for a few precious more pennies? Will they even break even?

And if you're going to enhance existing games with Move functions, do they have to be so token? Toy Story 3 was particularly bad, with one measly shooting minigame, and Tron Evolution wasn't much better with its brief Lightcycle sections... and nothing else.

Again, games that genuinely use the Move to fully enhance a game, like Sports Champions or Top Spin 4, I can fully support. They do a great job of pulling you into the game and if I could just be arsed to play them I'm sure I'd lose loads of weight, which'd be nice.

And games that are built around the system, like Heroes on the Move or Zumba Fitness, I can also support. Heroes is... well, it's entertaining enough, and it makes good use of the Move, as do the keep-fit titles.

But when a game is simply a port, that's when I get concerned. Because if you already played them on the Wii or whatever (and if you had a Wii, then you definitely did play them, because what else was there to play?), then what's the point of getting them again?

Finally, I note that a lot of the ports or upgrades don't actually need the Move. Most of them are fully playable without needing the Move at all. Which begs the question of why bother porting them if you're not going to make sure people play the game the way it was designed?

First Thoughts on Lego Pirates OT Caribbean

The demo for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean came out on the XBox 360 today, and I played through it, taking notes as I did so. Here's the end result. Enjoy!

Standard Play

- Blimey, there's a lot of cutscenes. One before the title screen and one before the level even begins! What is that, five minutes before I actually get to play? Was Star Wars this long? Was Indy?
- They changed the sound for picking up studs! it sounds more like jingling coins now. More appropriate, but it just doesn't feel right!
- Is it taking longer to build things or is it just me? I think it's taking longer. I like how you can knock the pieces around the floor before building the item in question, that's kinda nice.
- Well, the combat's interesting. It's like you take turns doing a four-hit combo on each other. Hope it's not like that for every enemy, that'd get old fast.
- A CHARACTER SELECT WHEEL. Oh thank god. Six games too late, but better late than never.
- Oh, Captain Jack's run just looks silly. Also, nothing like the way he moves in the movies. They didn't even get his swagger-while-walking right.
- You can run along narrow ledges? That's a neat idea.
- Barrels! Wait, how many of those were in the movies? Oh who cares, it's fun to jump on one and roll it around the level. Wee!
- Oh good, the combat's much more straightforward on standard enemies. Guess the whole take-it-in-turns thing is for bosses and such. That works pretty well, when I think about it.
- That pirate I just rescued did a little jig as thanks. I probably shouldn't find that as entertaining as I did, but I don't care. Dance, Lego Pirate man, dance!
- Using Captain Jack's compass to go on scavenger hunts might be more fun if he moved faster with his compass out. It's a bit tedious at the moment and makes the whole exploration aspect really slow the game down.
- Will that dog drop his sodding bone already! (This really shouldn't irritate me as much as it does)
- Hey, they made the minikits little boats in glass bottles! Nice.
- Heh, Jack's wearing a seashell as a hat. That's silly.
- Ok, slight problem. If you knock all the pieces away, where do you need to stand to start building stuff? That might get a bit frustrating if you accidentally walk through a buildable object and knock half the pieces into the water, as I just did.
- Wait, you have to hold your breath while underwater now? And if you run out of air you die? That sucks! And you hardly get any time at all! I could hold my breath longer than that!
- Oh wait, you can climb in a barrel and just walk on the bottom of the ocean. I remember that from the movie.
- Wee! Sliding down ropes is fun!
- You can use your sword to activate certain switches. For some reason I find this thoroughly awesome.

Free Play

- Nice of them to include this in the demo.
- Wow, the character selection in Free Play is somewhat awkward. Lemme try to explain. Y'know that Character Select screen that normally appears before each level in the other Lego games? When you hold down the Y button, that's what appears on the bottom half of the screen. Slightly cumbersome, I think you'll agree. Still, at least you don't have to keep pressing the trigger buttons to swap characters.
- Oh, what? When you do use the trigger buttons, you can only select between the characters the level normally use and the last character selected from the great big list! Well that won't get old, will it?
- There's a wall-jumping feature now. Don't expect to use it too often though, I think it's only on certain walls.
- My god, the model for Elizabeth Swann looks wrong. It's like they couldn't think of any animations for a woman in a dress.
- Ok, so I went swimming and a shark ate me. I don't think I lost any studs though. Oh, sorry - I don't think I lost any 'treasure' though. About time they stopped punishing me for exploring.
- I never noticed til now, but the jump attack sounds really vicious. A nice big 'CLANG' when you hit something. It's great.
- Who the hell is Hadras? Is he in the new film, or did I just blink and miss him from one of the other films? Either way, I totally need to unlock him in the full game to get anywhere. Able to walk underwater, travel through mushrooms(?)... Thanks for telling me, demo!
- Oh hey, there's that shark again. Can confirm that you don't loose studs- TREASURE if he swallows you.
- The thing that normally unlocks cheats (Red Bricks, Parcels and the like) is now replaced with Captain Jack's Compass. If you find all 8 of his scavenger items, you're given the Gold Brick (and, presumably, the ability to purchase a cheat) at the end of the level.
- ...and now I know exactly how to get all the Minikits in the first level. Again, thanks, demo!

Ok, so to briefly summarise - it's a Lego game. But there's enough things different here to keep people interested. The humour is there, the level design is just as good as always and while the cutscenes seem to be overly long for a Lego game, they're just as entertaining as ever, so it's not the end of the world.

Or should I say, the World's End?

...I'll get me coat.


Just a quick update on the last post I made.

Turns out they are getting James McCaffrey to voice Max, they're showing Max age gradually (from his MP2 look through to his modern, bald appearance) and the plot will show how Max got from New York to... wherever the hell he is now.

Still not sure, but at least my mind has been put to rest on a few of my main problems with the game. I'm more cautiously optimistic than before, but I've yet to be convinced this is a true sequel.

The Man Formerly Known as Max Payne

Another post from Kotaku. This one was kickstarted by the appearance of two new screenshots from Max Payne 3, which brought up old feelings I'd forgotten I had.

Until proven otherwise, I maintain, with every breath in my body, that this is not a Max Payne game, in much the same way that Conviction could be thought of as not being a Splinter Cell game (that's a rant for another day though).

Oh sure, it may bear the name of Max Payne, but if the gameplay is completely different (one of the developers mentioned a cover system), the plot is completely different (it's taking place in São Paulo, as opposed to New York), the lead character is completely different (Max is now fat, bald and bearded, and not voiced by James McCaffrey) and the developers are completely different (Rockstar Vienna/Vancouver as opposed to Remedy Entertainment), then it's a completely different game.

Call it a Max Payne game if you want, but that's nothing more than a lie. This is not a sequel, it's an original game in an established franchise. It's the Halloween 3 of gaming, and until Rockstar realize that Halloween 3 failed for a reason, the game is most likely doomed.

I brought up Splinter Cell Conviction earlier, and I'll bring it up again. Conviction is a Splinter Cell game in name only. The gameplay, possibly the most important thing in a game, is so radically different from the rest of the Splinter Cell series that it hardly bears any resemblance to it at all. The originals were slow paced, stealthy games. Conviction is most definitely not. I'm not saying Conviction is a bad game, but it just doesn't feel like a Splinter Cell game.

That last sentence is also my defense at other franchises where 'everything is different'. Bioshock 2, for example, had different developers and a different lead character, but because it took place in the same city (albeit areas we hadn't seen before), had some of the same characters (Little Sisters, Tenenbaum, Andrew Ryan and Fontaine, even if the last two were just through audio logs) and recreated the feel of the original game so well, it didn't matter if things were a little different. It felt like a worthy sequel.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas are another set of sequels you could say goes counter to my argument, but again, for everything that's different, there's a counterargument that says otherwise. The Fallout series has gone through several different styles (pre Fallout 3, there were the original 2 games, plus Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel), so why should a change to an FPS be any different? And despite them being a lot like Oblivion, there's enough changes and hangovers from the earlier games to make the two games feel like Fallout. The settings were well realized, the stories was appropriate and at times felt like a callback to the first games, the characters were well characterized and compelling... They really did feel like Fallout games.

The fact that something is by a different developer doesn't automatically make a new game in a franchise a bad thing, but when they change every little thing about a game, then you have cause for concern. And that's my problem with Max Payne 3. They've changed everything. That's why I don't think of it as a true Max Payne sequel, and why many others feel the same.

Maybe if Rockstar realize this and make Max look like... well, MAX, we might be more forgiving. As it stands, he just looks like someone from Kane and Lynch, which I think says it all!

Classic Achievements (Article)

Another article from Kotaku. This one posed the question "What achievements would you like to see for classic games?", and I went a little overboard. Here's the first two I did.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Collected all 100 Gold Skulltuta tokens

Touch of Gold
Obtained the Golden Gauntlets
(alternate name: I Keep Ma Pimp Hand Strong)

Swimming with the Fishes
Obtained the Golden Scale

You Got the Thing!
Obtained every single heart container

Bigger is Better
Got the fixed Biggeron Sword

Shot to the Heart
Scored 2,000 points in the Gerudo Valley Target Range

Full to the Brim
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Wallet

Get the Point?
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Quiver

Boom, Baby!
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Bomb Bag

Young Troublemaker
Collected, and filled, the largest sized Deku Seed Bag

It's Magic
Obtained both Deku Nut upgrades

Stick it to 'em
Obtained both Deku Stick upgrades

Practising for Later
Unlocked all 8 masks

Bean Counting
Planted all 10 Magic Beans

Earth, Wind and Fire
Obtained all 3 Magic Spells

Ghost in the Shell
Collected all 10 Ghosts

- Hidden Achievements -

Stabby Time!
Found the Kokiri Sword

Knight of the Round Table
Obtained a Hylian Shield

Engaged? To be MARRIED?
Received Zora's Sapphire

Blue is Better
Replaced Saria's Ocarina with the Ocarina of Time

Received the Master Sword

Phantom of the Opera
Defeated the Phantom Ganon

It Can't Rain All the Time
Learned the Song of Storms

Quit Horsing Around
Escaped with Epona

Stop! Hammer Time!
Gained the Megaton Hammer

That One Level
Entered the Water Temple

I'm Too Old for this Ship
Rode the Phantom Boat in the Shadow Temple

Boom! Head Shot!
Defeated Ganon

Prince of Persia (Classic)

So THAT'S What Happened
Watched the intro

Armed and Dangerous
Found a sword

Stabby Time!
Struck your first blow

Step Aerobics
Completed three levels

Mmm... Refreshing!
Regained health

Level Up!
Gained an extra hit point

Stronger Than I Thought
Flipped the world upside down

Someone Spiked the Punch
Drank poison

Feeling Gassy
Slowly fell to safety

Mirror Universe Counterpart
Jumped through the mirror

Two Halves Make a Whole
Re-united with your mirror self

Made My Way Up From Nothing
Reached the final level

Nothing Stands in the Way of True Love
Reunited with the Princess

Higher Than I Thought
Died by falling too far

Shish Kabob
Died by landing on spikes

Slice 'n' Dice
Died by getting sliced in half

Died by being beaten in combat

Far Too Late
Ran out of time

Games I'd Like to See PS3-HD'd (Article)

Just a basic article I wrote on hearing the rumours of a Metal Gear Solid trilogy PS3-HD collection.

Ape Escape

The Ape Escape games are essentially platformers with one major difference - instead of using the right analogue stick to control the camera, you use it to swing a net so you can catch escaped monkeys instead. And this works amazingly well. The original game on the PS1 had two sequels on the PS2 (as well as a few spin-offs, but we won't look at those), and I'd love to see them HD'd, if only so I can once again chase after those naughty monkeys!

Crash Bandicoot

A pipe dream, I know, but it would be wonderful to see the first three games from the original PS1 remastered in glorious hi-res graphics. Failing that, the more recent titles would be nice. Maybe then I could be convinced to give the blasted things another go. Either way, fans would lap them up.

Dark Cloud/Dark Chronicles

Hey, I'd like to see them anyway. They were both great games, despite having practically nothing in common, and they could well do with a second lease of life. Given how busy Level 5 are at the moment, and their current focus, this may well be nothing more than a dream, but it's a nice one to have all the same.

Kingdom Hearts

There's actually been three PS2 titles in this series - the main two, and the midquel 'Re:Chain of Memories'. Bringing all three to the PS3 in an HD collection would definitely appeal to fans of the series, and it would also help to alleviate Square-Enix's financial woes after FFXIV. I'm surprised they haven't already announced it.

Jak & Daxter

There's been five games in the series (Jak X IS canon, fanboys), and I am positive I'm not the only one who'd like to see them all with gloriously remastered graphics. Naughty Dog may have moved on to the Uncharted series, but that's no reason for them to revisit their earlier classics. Hell, I'd even accept the original trilogy, given how Lost Frontier was developed by High Impact Games. Just give us something, damn it!


Another dream, but there's been two core Klonoa games, the first of which was remade for the Wii a year or two ago, so it's not too hard of a leap to imagine them being HD'd and PS3'd. The games had a wonderful lightness of touch about them and a charm that most games lack these days, so I'd love to see the series return, if only to indulge my inner child.

Ratchet & Clank

This could happen, since the original developers are still working on the franchise. And what a collection it would be! The original four games (yes, that includes Deadlocked), remastered for the PS3, with online multiplayer for R&C3 & Deadlocked and Trophies as well as Skill Points... I guarantee it would sell like hotcakes. Why haven't Insomniac Games announced this yet? It's only a matter of time, surely?


There's been a couple of Rayman games (well, four, not counting the Rabbids subseries) and I'd love to see them return. Rayman 2 is still one of my favourite 3D platformers, and seeing the PS2-remake Revolution in glorious PS3-vision, along with Rayman 3 would be amazing. Include Rayman M, with online support, and you're golden. Might want to turn down the difficulty of the original though, that was hard as nails.


There's been two different Spyro series, but seeing either in HD would be nice. The originals preferably, but since the original developers have moved on (stupid Insomniac making Ratchet and Clank, grr) that's unlikely. It's also unlikely to see the new trilogy remastered, since the last of the three was made by a different developer then the first two. Still, I'd buy it. Maybe others would too.


There's a fourth one rumoured to be in existence, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine the original trilogy being remastered for the PS3. Throw in some online multiplayer and you've got one hell of a collection - certainly the closest most people will get to the original Goldeneye on the PS3, anyway. It'd be awesome.

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger

A trilogy of actually quite fun platformers with a very Australian bent. The first was your standard platformer, the second had an open-world aspect and the third is an 'after the apocalypse' sort of game. They're all good, but they seem to have flown under the radar a bit, with the third not actually being released in PAL regions. This could be a good chance to rectify that.