But Why No Co-op?

Last week I bought the new Ghost Recon for a few reasons. First, I am a fan of all of the Tom Clancy games and squad stealth combat sounded amazing. Second, The game’s premise looked promising; future warfare with high-tech gear and digital HUDs. Thirdly, and most importantly, I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty with a friend. I wanted to plow through a campaign with a buddy at my back, taking out enemies in tandem with the rest of our squad following suit. After all, the back of the box does indicate that there is local and online co-op. So I put Future Soldier in my console, went to the campaign screen, and started a new game. At no point was there an option to add an extra player. “Well maybe it goes to a briefing screen that allows you to add the second player.” I thought. I was wrong.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has no local co-op campaign. It’s consolation prize is a split-screen “horde” mode.

That got me to thinking; how can a game with a mode no different than Halo’s Firefight and Gears of War’s Horde mode, not have local campaign co-op? How can you give me a wave-based game type, with occasional objectives and not a linear story? Ghost Recon is in no way superior to Halo or Gears of War when it comes to gameplay. As a matter of fact GR:FS is actually a combination of the two games that gets its cover-based squad combat from the Cogs and its active-camo from the Spartans. And you can’t look at GR:FS and tell me that the game’s graphic engine is taking too much processing power to add a second player. Only Battlefield 3 can say that and it still pisses me off.

Why isn’t nearly every game co-op? Most games played today are either squad based or include companions at some point. Look at Skyrim, Mass Effect (all of them), or Assassin’s Creed. Why can I not grab a pal and run around Whiterun, kill reapers on Tuchanka, or tandem assassinate targets in Rome? The past three Assassin’s creed games have focused on recruiting and building a brotherhood TO HELP YOU.

Now before you criticize my argument, I want to make something clear. I am not demanding that all games have their co-op be local. But more games must have some form of co-op. And if you are going to give me a watered down version of split-screen cooperative gameplay and call it Guerilla, Horde, or Firefight mode you better give me a comprehensive co-op campaign. Halo can do it. Gears of War can do it. And they pulled it off quite well. See where I’m going with this Syndicate?

There is no reason for Skyrim, any Mass Effect, or any Assassin’s Creed to be only one player. Dragon’s Dogma, a new release from Capcom, allows the player to recruit another player’s created pawns to fight for them during the game. Would it really be that hard to let me just invite a friend to help me slay this griffin? That aside, Dogma’s multiplayer implements are pretty genius. Valve was on top of the ball with Portal. They saw the potential in allowing players to work together to solve puzzles and they jumped on it, even though it was a separate campaign, it was phenomenal. Now let me play as Gordon Freeman and allow somebody else to control Alex Vance (Half-Life, for any of you living in a bubble).

Dead Space started as a single-player horror-adventure. Dead Space 2 added multiplayer (whether you enjoyed it or not). You will never guess what Dead Space 3 is doing. Adding co-op. Gasp! And I guarantee that slaying hordes of necromorphs with a friend will be one of the most pleasant experiences to date.

So, just in case anyone involved in game developing reads this and thinks I am an uninformed, angst filled gamer, I want to say this before you pass your judgment. If we don’t have comprehensive co-op in some of our games because of a technical issue that it creates, tell me. If our consoles aren’t capable of handling co-op, tell me why. WHY?

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