Reviewer Rodeo: Friends with Benefits

Reviewer Rodeo: Friends with Benefits

Welcome to the ZTGD Reviewer Rodeo. Each week, we’ll grab on to the hottest issue, hold on for dear life, and wrassle it to the ground.

Whether you crave the yearly Call of Duty game, will be playing Starcraft 2 for years, prefer a one-on-one fighting experience, or simply want to be left alone when you game, this generation has something for everyone. The ZTGameDomain review crew decided to open up about their personal gaming preferences in this week’s Reviewer Rodeo.

John “Dubya” Whitehouse
In all honesty, I’m not that much of an online player. A lot of the games I purchase tend to be single player focused.

I know that most games nowadays put almost as much into multiplayer as they do single player, and that this helps with sustaining the games longevity. But, it takes a really special type of MP to get me online, and even more so to get me to play with friends (I know, it sounds odd)!

The game I play the most online is CoD. Whether it be MW or Black Ops, I am normally first in line to pick up the latest game and get online with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrible at the games, but they provide so much entertainment. It also helps that they are extremely popular, meaning that it’s more likely that I have friends to play with. CoD is the game of choice to play with my friends. There have been other games that I will be happy to play with buddies, Killzone 3, Crysis 2, MAG. The FPS certainly appeals to me when it comes to competitive MP.

Co-op is a different matter. You need something different when playing co-op, and as such, doesn’t really fit in with games like CoD. I am fortunate that my girlfriend is just as big a geek as I am, so we tend to play a lot of co-op games together. Games such as Crackdown, LBP and the Lego franchise all suit themselves to couch co-op. I would have to tie my flag to the Lego mast when it comes to co-op action, I enjoy the games immensely (well, except for Lego Batman), and the co-op is such fun and works incredibly well, never feeling tacked on or half arsed. I am also looking forward to getting Portal 2 and playing that co-op. It seems like a prefect match for Portal, meaning that you no longer have to feel stupid on your own!!

Drew “Frustrated Fury” Leachman
I’m really looking for a unique experience in my multiplayer. I’m sick of shooters that end up being who can find the best hiding spot to pick off guys. I want a more personal experience, which is why I enjoy fighting games online. You against one other guy. It just feels so much more personal. Super Street Fighter IV has to be my favorite game to play competitively online. It’s the closest thing to playing in an arcade. Mortal Kombat has a really nice feature that allows co-op through competitive play in the Tag-team matches. It’s a wonderful touch.

Co-op games that I tend to enjoy are more RPG based. I did like Borderlands in co-op as well as other more conventional shooters like Brink (when it works) and Gears of War. My most favorite style of co-op is through dungeon crawlers like Diablo II, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and games of that sort. Dungeon Siege III and Torchlight II are games I’m looking forward to and of course, Diablo III if it ever comes out. I enjoy these more because they make the players rely on teamwork rather than letting the team members do their own things. I like the feeling of being part of a working team that would fall apart if each other didn’t work together. Demon’s Souls was a prime example for this kind of team work. It was even more difficult not being able to communicate with your partners through voice chat, but it gave a feeling to the player to keep an eye on each other to make sure they weren’t getting killed or needed help. Because there was limited communication in the game, you had to pay attention not only to what you were doing, but also watch your buddy’s back as well.

It’s difficult for me to get into competitive games these days. Back in my Call of Duty 2 days, I was a fiend when it came to online multiplayer. I loved it, but it became stale after a while. Now, with games like Killzone 3, Brink, and other competitive games, the developers are focusing more on co-op while staying in a competitive state. It’s a hybrid of sorts. This is what is getting me back into online shooters. I’m a fan of this trend and I hope others capitalize on it.

Jeff “Scorched Angel” Borsick
Well, I am one of those guys that mainly looks for a single player experience. However, there are times where multiplayer will do something unique, or something out of the box, and that’s what I usually look for. On the other hand, I do also enjoy my share of Call of Duty games. For some reason, no matter how old and repetitive they get, or how much the multiplayer can be dominated by people who play for twelve hours a day, there is something about those games that really draws me in. I don’t play them for very long, but I usually stick with them for a month or so.

Lately, I have been really into Crysis 2 multiplayer. The reason being is that it feels like Battlefield and Halo had a baby, and that it took the best of both worlds and made it into one game. It doesn’t do anything ground-breaking, but it is fun to play, and seems to give everyone a fair shot across the board, which keeps me coming back. If you can jump into an online arena once every week, and still have a chance to compete, then the multiplayer is doing something right in my book. I also firmly believe in online racing games. I love Need for Speed: Hot Pursuits online and playing with my friends on that definitely makes for some fun times.

In terms of co-op, I have to agree with Drew again this week, and say that dungeon crawlers are some of the best online experiences. I too am excited for Dungeon Siege III, as it looks to bring a very unique style of game that is normally a PC-only affair, to consoles. Co-op campaigns are really where I think this style of play shines. Gears of War and Halo have done that very well, as well as games such as Army of Two, while not the best game, are still fun to play online with a friend. There are new co-op games that are really starting to stand out, as Portal 2 came swinging out of the gate with some awesome co-op action. While I have not finished this co-op mode, what I have played made for a very fun and worthwhile experience.

Overall, I feel that online multiplayer has its ups and downs, and I feel that with so many games going online today, it’s hard to stand out, but when a company creates a game that does it well, the gamers will flock to it, as they have always done.

Mike “Red Pen of Doom” Futter
If you’ve been following our conversations on Twitter (and, really, you should be), this is a topic that has come up quite a bit recently. I love a great single player experience. Like some of the other guys, most of the games I purchase are for the single player experience. I rarely become invested in a competitive multiplayer experience. When I do, it’s only because there is a strong incentive in the design that inspires teamwork.

I mentioned in a previous Rodeo that Chromehounds was one of my favorite online experiences. Even though it didn’t have the strongest gameplay, the necessity to build a team and communicate on the field of battle were unmatched. Every other multiplayer experience I have is measured up against Sega’s niche title. One of the reasons I want to love Brink (even though it won’t let me half the time) is because it requires that same level of communication in order to succeed. I really enjoy objective-based shooters that reward teamwork.

I also relish a solid cooperative experience. I’ve played nearly every Halo game, Gears of War 1 and 2, Borderlands, Transformers: War for Cybertron and more as cooperative experiences. I love partnering up with a buddy to take on the bad guys.

I haven’t played much Halo online since Halo 2. It’s just not my cup of tea. I played Modern Warfare 2 online for about a month, but hate playing with strangers. I never played much Gears of War online, either, but recently picked GoW 2 back up because I have friends that play. I also play Mortal Kombat online, but only when someone on my friends list is playing- there’s a pattern emerging here.

Some people live for multiplayer. They want to prove to the world that they are the best. Me? I usually jump online to get shot in the face by friends.

That’s all for this edition of the ZTGD Reviewer Rodeo. Join us next week as we grab onto another bucking bronco of controversy and beat it into submission.

Got questions or comments? Drop ’em in the comment section below or hit us up via email. Suggestions for Reviewer Rodeo topics that you want our opinions on? Hit Mike up at

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