Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 2009 Select [Button]: Single-Player/Multi-Player

by C.T. Hutt

Most Engrossing Single-Player: Dragon Age: Origins

Despite a plethora of high quality single-player experiences that have come out this year, Dragon Age: Origins reigns supreme. Single-player RPGs are designed to create the optimum mano-a-computer gaming experience, often without an online play aspect or offline cooperative modes, so it’s really no surprise that a title which has been crowned by many sources as the best RPG of the year also makes for the most engrossing single-player experience.

Stunning graphics, complex, strategic game play, and the engaging storyline offered by Dragon Age: Origins combine to keep any gamer with a taste for tactical combat and fantasy glued to their office chair for days. An outstanding single-player experience is not without its dangers of course. Side effects of Dragon Age: Origins may include: vitamin D deficiency, reduced social interaction, loss of sleep, carpel tunnel, poor diet, and delusions of being a Grey Warden. Other than those minor problems, we recommend Dragon Age: Origins to any gamer out there who wants to fly solo.

Honorable Mention: Batman: Arkham Asylum afforded gamers with an experience they have been anticipating for a very long time: a great game based on a comic book character. In some places Batman: Arkham Asylum went a little overboard (i.e.: chemical mega-joker), but it was still a fantastic title.

Most Engrossing Multi-Player: Left 4 Dead 2

Zombies. They stink, they try to kill you, and they drag down property value in a major way. As a responsible citizen and home owner it is your duty and your pleasure to shoot them in the head. But many hands make for light work, so while you are busy clearing the zombie infested streets of New Orleans from the undead, make sure to bring a buddy along. Left 4 Dead 2 brings home the awesomeness of a great horror/ survival FPS and an excellent co-operative game play experience. Nothing says “we are having some fun now” more than pounding your buddy on the back yelling “Shoot the the jockey! Shoot the jockey!” before you get pulled into a puddle of acidic spitter mucus. Toss in some excellent environments and a dash of poignant social commentary and you’ve got a title we will be playing for months to come.

Honorable Mention: Borderlands. Wait, what? Didn’t you just say you hated that game? Not entirely. The setting, storyline, repetitive missions, character balance, and soundtrack of Borderlands all leave a lot to be desired, but the co-operative play is really quite good. Borderlands is proof positive that almost anything can be fun if you bring some friends along for the ride.

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