Some things, by their very definition, are more effective when more than one recipient is involved. Such as playing twister or initiating an orgy. But there is something to be said of the intimacy of single player, free of external interference that often retains so much repressed animosity. The last generation of games consoles, over the course of their perpetuating existence resulted in a dramatic declination for the quality of singular sourced gaming, with greater emphasis observed for the amelioration of multi-player. A studious aspiration only augmented further by more respondent servers and the obvious financial incentives amassed from sustained inter-connectivity. Of course many titles retained some affiliation with offline properties, but became the subsidiaries of a more robust multi-player. General etiquette is to defer the once monogamous relationship with a competent script, with narratives that are now so redundant that they may have well been scribed with crayon or etched into the bark of a tree, engraved with the authors initials framed in a heart shape and arrow through it. Yet 2014 has represented a resurgence in singular activity that I never anticipated and once again renewing my opinion that gaming is better alone.
The abject tolerance towards solitary excursions by developers, seemingly abashed by the lack of interactive connectivity, again supplemented how gamers collaborate with one another with the advent of new consoles. With games such as Destiny for instance that focused purely on networked collusion, with varying degrees of success. Forcing gamers to be logged in at all times invariably chaperones you into congenital issues such as a latency in server retention, while also punishing those who wish to casually drop into games by insisting that they join a clan if they want to progress, not just merely accompany a match with randomly elected affiliates. And of course if there is a domestic issue with the server native to your device or attributed to an external link you have no control over, then you can’t play. Whereas conversely, 2 of my favourite titles of the year, Alien: Isolation and Shadow of Mordor, both of whom retracted the availability of social interaction and instead relied on the fabled mechanism of functionality. Do you remember that? The blessed days when games worked? They represent the established principle that every game should abide by; to function! They refined the primary ideals that has been radically stunted many of this years abhorrently publicised titles; that games perform greater without the overt contraction of networked interaction, between gamers separated by oceans, and in some cases a common language.
I can’t help but lament that Destiny, for all of its enamelled sophistry and ornate scope would have been so much better if it alternated its inherent ordinance between interludes of sole and collaborative activity. Any substantial server interference is then negated by the accessibility of isolated persuasions. Sure the arcane intelligence of the allocated, computer generated allegiances are rudimentary in their combative indulgences, but judging by the expertise of the real life confederates I’m eternally coordinated with, having a team comprised of lumbering marionettes continually shooting partitions, stationary ornaments and the ambient environments are of a far more favourable calibre. But this isn’t about admonishing games, but praising the freedom emitted from confines of solitary. Nothing that Shadow of Mordor or Alien: Isolation did was revolutionary, the former was largely an exact replication of the Arkham series, just relocated to Middle Earth. They simply invoked a nostalgic reliance we had in gaming, renouncing the trending philosophy that continually bludgeons us with the reliance of communal synergy, and has certainly adapted the notion of individuality into a credible preference. Any game that retracts the auxiliary impedance of hearing an agitated teenager berating my proficiency with gestural indications that they have violated my mother or compromises the availability of social interaction in general, is fine by me. Bless those little cherubs.
Do single player games still have a future? Let me know your thoughts. Cheers.