Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Coop Summary

While 2014 was a stellar year for coop gaming, 2015 slipped into a slouch.  Many games were criticized heavily for failing to innovate, move a series forward, and provide sufficient content with the time of release (blame DLC folks).   An amazing 35 games were defaulted to 2016 mostly due to games stuck in early access hell.  Indie games are now set to a higher level of expectations, while money-grabs become apparent from both indie and established developers.

For the full 2015 List

8 shooter avg rating 76.  A 1 point decrease from 2014.
7 rpgs avg rating 62.  A significant drop, with a 15 rank dragging it down; 70 if omitting.
3 strategies, 80 average; an increase of 10.

The Winners:

Grand Theft Auto V  - The wait for PC gamers is unfortunate, but was was well worth it, as GTA delivers a very new enhanced experience to PC gamers and a next gen release for consoles.  PC gamers get to bypass all the coop woes of the original release and receive a fuller experience; avoiding the common complaint among games these days.  The result is an amazing sandbox coop experience with multiple gaming options and  a huge modding community to shake up the core ideas.  Its everything one can expect for coop gamers looking for a great sandbox experience.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes - This game gets the surprise of the year award as it encourages communication & teamwork while delivering a steady amount of pressure.  The game feels more like a college psych test, but as long as its entertaining, it'll get my vote.  A great party game.

Notable mentions:

Starcraft 2:Legacy of the Void - The final release of Starcraft 2 gets a notable mention for finally giving RTS coop players some attention.  Although not a new idea, this is a first for the Starcraft universe, breaking coop players out of the skirmish against AI setting into real campaigns and hero upgrades.

Rainbow 6 Siege - was a mixed bag.  It suffered from the shallow experience themed complaint, however it did provide a solid experience for what it delivered.  If anything it may have given credit for a new SWAT game which is really the game FPS coop players would like to see.

Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide - This game channels the short intensity of Left 4 Dead series and places it in the Fantasy Warhammer universe.  Though panned as just another coop shooter with some license attached; whats notable is that it received the highest rating for all the coop shooters.  Shortcomings aside, it sounds like the devs continue to support the game after release.

The Losers:

Early Access
Early access is the practice of releasing a release candidate, unfinished product for a fee (often full price) to the Steam Store.  Although there are a few exceptions to this; early access is the worst thing we have seen in the industry since DLCs.  35 games on the coop list had to be shifted to 2016, many of which were shifted from the 2014 list.  Its becoming a blatant money grab; where a developer has no accountability for the quality of their product.  Early access saturates the market with mediocre, buggy PC stereotypes.

Trine 3 - Trine was one of those indie success stories a few years back delivering an awesome coop platforming experience.  With its 3rd release though it became clear the developers had run dry of ideas and motivation; resulting in falling from the graces of its fanbase.

Overlord: Fellowship of Evil - In all my years of writing these articles, I have never seen a 15 metacritic rating.  And to boot, this was no indie title, but rather makers of the excellent Overlord series.  May this be a lesson, don't expand you IP to a already over saturated aRPG realm when you still have plenty of room to expand and improve your flagship IP.

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