Anyway, this week in the subject of horseshit – games balanced specifically for co-op to the detriment of the singleplayer.
After you beat Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker the game actually unlocks a shitlload of extra sidequest missions along with an epilogue chapter. Most of these missions were balanced for four-player co-op, and Kojima saw fit to go “one size fits all” with the difficulty. This means missions in positions that are almost hopeless for one player to manage, and bosses that require several times more ammo than Snake can carry on his own.
What makes this all really damning is the fact that this game’s co-op is local only. Oh yeah you can use Ad-Hoc Party, but you gotta own a PS3 for that, and at that point you might as well be just playing the game on PS3. This is an increasing problem with Japanese games, particularly handhelds like this, Dragon Quest IX and most notoriously Monster Hunter. This is also somewhat true for some of Capcom’s console games like Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2.
I get it, the Japanese lifestyle is perfect for local multiplayer on handhelds what with their on-the-move lifestyle and population density 10 times that of the United States. My problem is that most of these games would do perfectly fine in the American market with just some tiny-ass adjustments. The fighting game genre went through this same problem like four years ago.
Circa 2006 fighting games were in serious decline in North America because arcades were dead, but in Japan they were still strong enough to support games like Virtua Fighter 5, so Japanese developers still geared them towards that market. Fast-forward to 2008, and the simple implementation of online play basically revived the entire genre over here in Street Fighter IV, King of Fighters XII, and Soul Calibur IV.
That’s one thing that needs to happen for games like Peace Walker to work in North America. Hell, MGS Portable Ops and its expansion pack on the PSP had online versus. Konami America themselves even asked if western journalists wanted a PS3 version of Peace Walker distributed over PSN with online play. The same goes for Dragon Quest. Right now only a couple of these co-op-focused portable games actually had the foresight to include online play – Ace Combat Joint Assault and Phantasy Star Portable 2.
That’s not all though. A game that basically only has a co-op mode to me has always felt like half a product. Yeah that probably just means I have no friends nearby and can never find friends with which to play online at the right time. I mean, that’s why I’ve only played 3 hours total of Left 4 Dead 2 since buying it at launch. Why can’t these games at the very least be like the last couple Splinter Cell games with singleplayer and co-op modes that exist independently in the same package?
In my opinion Resident Evil 5 would’ve benefited greatly from RE2’s multiple scenario system. One singleplayer story and one co-op story I think would have made for a much more even experience. The same might go for Lost Planet 2.
Still though, the overall package of Peace Walker is definitely still hot shit. Like I said before, the storyline is one of the least ridiculous in the Metal Gear canon. Technically speaking it’s really tangentially related to the rest of the story, only being a sequel to MGS3 in the sense of Naked Snake finally reconciling within himself what happened with The Boss. Otherwise its just its own story examining the theory of deterrence in the middle of the Cold War.