Co-op Game Thoughts

what do you think about co-op games?

Okay, I honestly don’t play that many Co-op games. Lets see, I remember Tales of Symphonia, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Alien Swarm, Dark Souls, L4D, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and Smash Bros Brawl.

I think that a lot of the basic design applied to single player games overlaps into co-op ones easily. The big troubles are camera controls, griefing, overwhelming enemies, and giving players interesting simultaneous tasks.

In Tales of Symphonia, you have this trouble that a lot of time is spent with only one player controlling the main character, but during battles it generally runs great. Players can’t attack other ones, which keeps griefing to a minimum beyond pausing.

NSMBW was all about griefing. There was basically no reason to play it co-op, becuase you constantly got in each other’s way, except to grief one another. You could pick each other up, you could throw the other guy into pits, sometimes it worked. My brother and I trolled each other endlessly in this game. Camera controls are a bit of a problem here, because you can’t move too far apart and the limits of the camera are like walls.

Alien Swarm doesn’t have the camera problem, doesn’t have a griefing problem I know of, it was just fun.

Dark Souls is where enemy overwhelming is a big deal. No enemy seemed equipped to deal with multiple players. Also in games with melee combat, if combat is a rock paper scissors type of thing, imagine that you and your friend can both throw rock and scissors at once, or your friend throws rock then you immediately throw the thing that beats what the enemy threw right after. Or one player can stunlock an enemy, while the other lets their stamina refresh, trading places when one gets tired. It can get a bit dumb in that way. Players have a tough time dealing with gank squads when invading, enemies have much worse defenses.

Left 4 Dead cooperation works fine because it’s a shooting game and enemies don’t really get stunned. Sometimes you accidentally take up items that other players want though and can block other players’ way. The game has some features that sort of force players to rely on others though, like helping one another up, like hitting special infected who grab team mates, healing each other, rescuing from closets, etc. It’s pretty neat.

Crystal Chronicles has that chalice, which I always thought was a weak point in its design. Someone has to carry it, and it’s lame for that one dude. Also you gotta divvy up quest rewards, the menu interface sucks for multiplayer, you need a billion cables. It’s some shit.

Brawl’s co-op was alright, let player 2 warp to player 1 as a ways of mitigating platforming and camera bullshit. Had separate co-op events.

I like tag team climax’s concept in Bayo 2. I wish more crazy action games had Co-op. DMC3 lets you use a second controller for Doppelganger and Vergil, which is cool.

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