Co-op, both local and online, has been slowly slithering its way into our favorite hobby, for better and for worse. For the most part online play hasn’t affected games in a negative way, but these three games just sit there, nagging at me because of how much better they would have been without companionship from A.I. or a real friend. I feel that these three games would have been far better off without the third wheel.
3) Dead Space 3
Visceral’s sleeper hit, Dead Space, took survival horror fans by surprise, myself included. I remember reading about the game in 2007, then hunting it down in October 2008 when it was finally released. Isaac’s horrifying adventure through the Ishimura is one of my favorite campaigns of all time. I remember slowly walking down the hallways in the shattered ship, and breathing a heavy sigh of relief every time I got onto the ship’s train. The atmosphere was dark, broody, and horrifying. The graphics were amazing for the time, and the scares actually made me jump a bit in my chair. I may have even tipped over a tasty bowl of Cheez-Its because the nercomorphs. Dead Space 3 went a very different route; I mean it changed so much that I’m yet to even complete the game, and I love my survival horror. In most of the levels I played, I was being chased by humans instead of necromorphs, and the spaces were open rather than confining and creepy. It ruined the atmosphere. Then add the A.I. and everything was totally mucked up. Isaac needs no help from this insolent A.I., Isaac has survived some crazy stuff and deserves not to be hampered down by some noob. Had Visceral stuck with the confining, atmospheric elements of previous titles, I do believe we would be playing Dead Space 4 on an Xbox One today.
2) Elder Scrolls Online
I love the Elder Scrolls games; I simply adore them. In fact, I was bummed that Fallout 4 was announced before The Elder Scrolls VI. When I heard about Bethseda’s upcoming MMO I was skeptical, having never really gotten into an MMO since they are such a time sink. I bought The Elder Scrolls Online anyway, just because I love my TES so much. I created my Nord and began my journey. All seemed well; everything was playing like any other Elder Scrolls game, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Then something horrible happened: I was thrust out of my private quest into a world filled with gamers who wouldn’t shut up. Thankfully, I found the option that limited the range at which you can hear other players’ mics, but even then some would trickle in over the amazing music and it would ruin the atmosphere. I let that slide for a little bit, and then began to do quests to power up my Nord and grab some sweet loot. Every time I got to the end of a quest, someone was already there, defeating the boss and wandering away. I would grab what I needed for the quest and continue on, but I never got to battle some bosses or level up due to their defeat. This was so depressing to me. I remember talking to my friends when we were all enjoying Oblivion and thinking “Man, it would be great if there was drop in and out co-op?” I guess we were wrong, and technology pulled no punches while I was trying to enjoy another Elder Scrolls experience. I guess I’ll just wait for The Elder Scrolls VI to unfurl before me.
1) Resident Evil 5
I owe a lot to the Resident Evil franchise. Had Shinji Mikami’s opus not been released at the end of the ’90’s, the Super Nintendo would probably have been my last gaming system. Thankfully, Mikami’s creepy atmosphere and zombie outbreak drew me back into the world of gaming. I blew through the first and second games over my first Christmas break in college, and I could not wait for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis to be released. I’m quite sure that Nemesis was the first game I ever pre-ordered, and it surely wasn’t going to be the last. I played through that during another Christmas break. Then rumblings of the Dreamcast emerged with an exclusive Resident Evil game. When 1999 came around, I scrambled to somehow get a Dreamcast and the newest Resident Evil game, Code Veronica. Luckily, I was able to borrow a Dreamcast and rent the game while I was in college. I’m impressed that my studies didn’t suffer because of this game.
All of these games drew me in due to their atmosphere and overarching story. I have to admit that I was concerned about Resident Evil 4, seeing as they took the zombies out of it. I did eat crow, though, and have played through Leon’s tale many times on many platforms. My excitement grew as years passed during the 360 generation, knowing that a Capcom announcement had to be coming. It did come, and I was excited–even though they were deviating from the scares and the solo gameplay. I pre-ordered this game, as well, and played the heck out of it. But it wasn’t my Resident Evil. Capcom turned this Resident Evil into a movie set piece so that it could compare with Call of Duty. It also added Sheva, who has to be the most useless companion ever–and I’ve played Zelda games with Navi. Sheva would use up health items if you got so much as a scratch from a zombie, and if you gave her a good weapon you would be temporarily out of ammo. I know that Resident Evil is about ammo and health conservation, but Sheva makes it ridiculous. I will admit that the co-op is fun with a human being, but playing like that takes away the isolation and loneliness that the original Resident Evils captured so well. Capcom attempted to fix their co-op mistakes with Resident Evil 6 and Revelations, but nothing beats going at it alone in a huge mansion.
Did I miss any games that co-op may have ruined? If so, please let me know so I can try them out myself.