The last time I played a game that had a co-op campaign mode (that was half-way decent) was Call of Duty World at War.
As far as I’m concerned, a game like that is the pinnacle of gaming: working together with a few other gamers towards a common goal. Unlike ‘normal’ good ol’ fashion multiplayer, in which you’re pitted against another team of players, there is no question of loyalty in the Cooperative Campaign mode. It is simply us vs them. No one is gonna switch sides. No one is gonna rat you out. No one is gonna kill you and steal your stuff. You are bound by the structure of the game to not be a back stabbing prick.
Sure, one can argue that in games like BF3, you “work together” simply by being on the same team, but you are not forced to actually collaborate, and synchronize your strategy in the least. Of course, yes, in the various modes in BF3 it would be in not only your best interest, but that of the entire teams’, if you worked together and coordinated attacks and positions, but that is rarely the case.
Left 4 Dead was also a great way to work together as a team. The cooperative game play elements were there, but for some reason it felt very arcady and not gritty enough for my liking. Borderlands 2 which was also recently released has a ‘cooperative’ mode, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, and felt too much like ‘collect 10 of these blah blah and bring them back’. That’s the FPS MMO element there that is not synonymous with Coop Campaign node.
So, I’m planning on player Far Cry 3 for the next few weeks when time permits with 3 other players, but Iwanna do it right. You’re treading in dangerous water when you start dictating to other players or even suggesting to other players how a game should or should not be played. However, as scared as I am of being disappointing due to poor team work, or inadequate communication, I’m willing to take the risk.
Some may scoff at how serious I take this, but I am a strong proponent of fair play and playing with honor, and it turns out I’m not the only one. Check out this awesome article that was published on Gamasutra about League of Legends (yawn….) behavioral modification. League of Legends even has a tribunal to deal with poor behavior! According to their website:
The Tribunal System empowers the League of Legends community to regulate the conduct that it considers appropriate and supports the tenets of the Summoner’s Code.
Sounds pretty awesome to me. Too bad it’s all based around a butt game.
Here’s one of my earliest memories of a coop game:
Anyways back to the meat and potatoes.
THE RULES FOR OUR COOP CAMPAIGN ARE:
ONLY PLAY IT TOGETHER
Just think, you have some doofus who’s already played it, that means they’ve experienced the ups and downs of each level. They know where the choke points are of each map. They know how to bring down the main boss. They may not remember beforehand, but once they’re back in, it all comes back to them. I want to die defending a hut in the middle of a rice paddy together if it means finding out how to beat that level together. It’s the beauty of communal problem solving that is only achieved when each participant is able to experience it on the same level playing field (i.e. playing it for the first time together).
ACT AS A UNIT
Having defined roles, and classes really helps a lot. For instance in L4D, there are no defined roles. only weapons that you find. It is rare that a group actually discussed the finer merits of balancing out the team in terms of sniper rifles and shotguns. It’s usually a personal preference. On the contrary, having such a variation of class options like in Battlefield 3 is great, but as I mentioned previously, there is really no cohesive justification to work together (besides being on the same team). I hope and pray that our characters in FC3 have their own distinct talents and skills that make it necessary to rely on each other all the more.
This cannot be said enough. The team that sticks together, wins together. Having a lone wolf in your party can end up killing everyone. It actually happened to me when I was playing Left 4 Dead a few years back. A buddy of mine (who I don’t normally game with) stopped by and we were 1 man short for our weekly L4D LAN party, so we asked him to join. For a console player, he actually got his head around the controls pretty quick, and he was mowing down wave after wave of zombies in no time. After he felt confident in his abilities, he started rushing ahead. We would call him back, which worked at first, but after like 5 times, we just stopped saying it. I guess we all figured he’d “learn his lesson”. Well yeah, to make a long story short, he learned his lesson alright, and he ended up dying as none of us were remotely close to him, and therefore were unable to offer him aid, but it turns out that the 4th man’s firepower was sorely missed at the boss battle, and we all ended up dying and had to start from the beginning on the mission. Epic fail.
Pretty simply rules to live by, but don’t follow just one of them, and the cooperative mulitplayer experience is boned (pardon my French).
So stay tuned to see if I actually enjoy the Far Cry 3 Cooperative Campaign experience! We’ll be recording the entire gameplay over the course of the next few weeks and posting it here on xp4t.com