2017 has had a great start. We’ve seen some amazing console exclusives (and console releases) with games like Breath of the Wild, and on the Playstation 4, we’ve seen classics like Horizon:Zero Dawn and Nioh. Even in late 2016, the party started getting started with Final fantasy XV and The Last Guardian.
Other games like Persona 5 and Nier Automata have gotten amazing critical reception. Sure, there’s been duds like Mass Effect Andromeda (by no means a bad game, but not really a great one either). However, so far in 2017, we haven’t really seen anything impressive in terms of multiplayer gaming.
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What are People Playing?
Remember For Honored? The game that had some of the most innovative combat mechanics we’ve seen? Unfortunately, it got “Ubisofted”. Loaded with microtransactions, non-dedicated servers, and horrible matchmaking, players (and myself included) left the game in droves. So far in 2017, more people are playing old multiplayer games simply updated. Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, GTA 5, Mobas like LoL and competitive shooters like CS:GO continue to dominate.
Games like Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2–released in late 2016 seem to be holding strong as well with new and frequent updates. But i’m still of the mind that these two examples aren’t really as innovative as what we’ve seen from single player gaming in late 2016 and early 2017 so far.
Battlefield 1 is fine–in terms of graphical fidelity, gameplay, and overall experience, and Titanfall 2 innovated with the single player campaign and refined the multiplayer experience providing fair progression and generous free DLC. But did these games offer that much unique? Can Multiplayer games even do that anymore? Will it all just be more paid microtransaction loot boxes like we’ve seen created in Overwatch and spread into other online multiplayer games?
2017 Multiplayer Games – Just More of the Same?
In late 2017, we’ve got some big hitters. We got a new Battlefront coming out, a new Destiny game, and a new COD. We’ve also got a new Splatoon 2 coming out. So far, these games all look fine, but will they be innovative, new, and fresh–or just more of the same?
So far Destiny 2 seems to be more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily for Destiny fans. The game looks to be refining the tried and true formula and launching on PC. I know I myself will be giving the game another go since it’ll be nice to start “fresh” with all of the other new players.
Battlefront seems to be a bit promising in terms of innovation, with a new single player campaign mode and more complexity added in the game in terms of class freedom. The original Battlefront released in 2015 was hailed for it’s production values, but criticized for its lack of depth.
COD seems to be taking it back to it’s roots, and from its trailer, it looks to have a good single player experience. However, most COD games have decent run-of-the-mill action oriented single player campaigns, and forgive me if I’m not excited to be going back to the same time period we’ve all seen rehashed a dozen times. I think if anything, this new COD this year will be the least innovative multiplayer experience of 2017, but does that surprise anyone?
What Does it Take to Make Multiplayer Fresh?
Sure, all of these games are mainly sequels, so you can’t expect much in terms of innovation. But it’s really disappointing to see new single player experiences come out in 2017 to such critical acclaim only to see the multiplayer ones crash and die. We all know For Honored and Drawn to Death.
So what’s the issue?
Is it the players that really only want to play the same games? Or is it the developers and companies too afraid to take risks but too eager to fill the game with microtransactions? Even a game like Injustice 2 which has interesting clan and grouping mechanics as well as decent gameplay is LOADED with tons and tons of DLC content. Why not put more progression into the game–grinding if need be, and give players more options to play the game the way they want to?
And that, I think is the issue. So many single player games coming out so far in 2017 feel so free. We’ve got Horizon: Zero Dawn and Zelda BOTW that give players more choices than ever before. But multiplayer games? Mainly, we’re just seeing shooters and other games copying others of the same genre–with slight twists.
Well, unfortunately, we’re all being funneled down in direct paths into mindless loops doing the same thing over and over as we’ve all done before.