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Why can't games media get multiplayer right?

Men_in_Boxes

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May 31, 2020
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Valen Studios dodgeball game Knockout City just came out to pretty meddling reviews (76 Metacritic) and it got me thinking "Why can't games media get multiplayer right?"

Long story short the game is great. It's barebones at the moment, but it mixes the feel of fighting games, action games, and third person shooters phenomenally well. All while providing the brilliant innovation of removing aiming from game mechanics to broaden it's accessibility.

Games media has been lukewarm on a bunch of the best games of the last decade.

Minecraft was a frivolous kids game early on. It's now a Mt. Rushmore level game.

Rocket League was an underrated 8/10 game at release and is now widely regarded as one of the greats. Did additional car + map skins really add that much to the game? (Hint: They did not)

PUBG was widely mocked as a glitchy low budget mess at release. It birthed an entirety new genre.

Fortnite was supposedly an embarrassing PUBG clone in the summer of 2017. Meanwhile copycats of Super Metroid are warmly referred to as "Metroidvanias", of which there are 53 released every year. It became the biggest console game of all time.

Dead by Daylight, Rust, Rainbow Six Siege were all second thoughts by games media at launch. Today, years after release, all three are on the upswing in terms of player counts.

Why can't games media get multiplayer right?
 
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harmny

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gaming media these days can't beat the tutorial of a singleplayer game. when they get curbstomped on a multiplayer pvp game it's 7/10.

they are more worried about the color of the skin and gender of the roster of characters you can choose than the gameplay.
 
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Games media don't get it right because they're a different type of gamer (this is my nice way of saying not really gamers at all). If you came up playing games in the 80s you should know what I mean. It was you versus the game. And sometimes you versus your friends. But the point was there were skills to master. And much of the enjoyment of gaming was tied to mastering a game. You didn't voice your concerns about how Bald Bull represented the Turkish people. You bragged about knocking out Mike Tyson.

Not to say games couldn't be fun for fun's sake, or that we didn't get hyped seeing the next advancement in graphics tech. But game stories weren't the entrée, they were just a bit of spice to give some context to the otherwise abstract concepts of the game.

Fast forward today to the more 'matured' gaming landscape and the ever growing part of the market that only wants to engage with the most basic mechanics, and wants to progress through the entire game with zero mastery. They're interacting with a movie, one that damned well better align with their politics. These are the people who have taken over the games media landscape. These people have no interest in an actual competitive game. Even if they happen to like a competitive game it will be for all the wrong reasons.

Some of the Rainbow Six: Siege reviews were nuts. To be fair some of them saw the potential and were just frustrated by the technical issues, most importantly completely broken matchmaking that made it difficult to even play the game. But if you played Siege online for a couple of hours and didn't see its greatness then you were completely unqualified to review it in the first place.

In Game Review Land you lose points for being too hard, for not being accessible enough, for not having the same graphics that Naughty Dog had, for not including a certain race/sex/orientation, or for including that same race/sex/orientation but not doing it perfectly according to some ever growing compendium of oppression.

Circling back to Rainbow Six for second... I finally caught the North Star reveal yesterday. I could drone on endlessly about whether each change is good or bad for the game, which I'll spare you (but they're mostly bad). But one thing jumped out at me. Reworking the health so that 3-armor operators have more health, rather than everyone having 100, and the armor simply lowering damage. Who asked for this change? Who is incapable of understanding the previous system? They said they were concerned that people didn't know that 3-armor 1-speed could take more damage than 1-armor 3-speed. By that logic how do players know that the 3-speed operator is faster than a 1-speed operator? Doesn't it sometimes 'feel' like they're the same speed and just take less damage? What the game really needs is a speedometer so you can see how fast your character is running. Maybe with big bold indicators showing how fast you would be going if you were a 2 or 3 speed operator! Please Ubisoft show me the player who now knowing their health in the new health system having not understood it previously has the awareness to change his decision process late in the round in a useful way based on that minute difference. Ultimately it's such a meaningless change that it boggles the mind they would consider it let alone actually expend the resources to implement it. But that's where we're at, where even a hardcore competitive game will bend over backwards in an attempt to alienate even one fewer idiot that might try their game.

I hadn't looked at or considered Knockout City, but you know what, since people with actual brains are recommending it, perhaps I will.
 
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