Saturday, December 29, 2012

Coop Year 2012 Review

The best and worst of coop gaming in 2012.

When I began the coop annual lists, network co-op gameplay was hard to find.  This year, it seemed we've hit the peak of the reverse.  Publishers are tossing on coop, when it makes absolutely no sense.  EA has gone as far as stating it will not make any more single player games.  So if that means forced fed coop, multiplay be it.

Coop games for 2013

The Disappointing:

We saw a few upsets this year.  Mainly from the Free-2-Play, Kickstarter markets.  these young distribution methods had targeted coop gameplay deliverables, but it mostly fell flat, settling for open & closed betas.  In fact, much like a Google product, F2P games could easily stay in Beta and never see the light of full production.

While coop shooters continue to fail at getting anything over a 90 metacritic score, it was the RPG market that upset the most.  Once again, we did not see any good traditional coop rpgs offered at all as Guild Wars 2 slipped too much into MMO territory to be considered for this list. Hopefully Balder's Gate HD was a litmus test to return to this now comatose genera.  Instead the market continued to lean heavily toward coop action-RPGs.  Looking at metacritic scores its extremely misleading for the top two scoring action-RPGs: Diablo III and Mass Effect 3 . While the professional critics raged about them, the community weighed toward disappointing.

In the shooter category, Far Cry 3 failed to give us the open sandbox coop we had hoped.   Aliens slipped once more to the next year.  Ghost Recon Future Soldier gave us yet another buggy port.  Spec Ops: The Line and Resident Evil 5 (who slipped to 2013) went the meaningless tacked on coop approach. 

The Surprises:

Adding coop to Assassin's Creed III without compromising single play, was welcomed by its fans.  While the DLC Frozen Synapse: Red added coop play to last years sleeper strategy game Frozen Synapse.  A few Kickstarters were announced this year promising some unique and classical approaches to coop for the upcoming years.

The Winners:
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 continues to expand its zombie horde mode in a good way.
  • Orcs Must Die 2 shows how a coop Tower Defense game can work well together and not feel like a cheep defense tablet game.
  • Frozen Synapse: Red shows we can get quality coop at indie prices.
  • Borderlands 2 : for being the only coop shooter that gets what the gamer wants, even though they lack the best execution.

No comments: