Multiplayer Done Differently

Thanks to PS+, I’ve only recently played through Journey, and yes, it was every bit as amazing as I’d been led to believe. Not only were the world and the art incredible, but the multiplayer is phenomenal. If you haven’t heard much about it, play it for yourself first – it’s not worth reading my (incredible) post and having it spoiled for you. 1894874-997885_20120301_024

In Journey, players can either jump (and glide) or ‘sing’ with the press of a button. Singing is used to summon creatures of living cloth to help you, but it’s also used for the game’s best feature – the multiplayer.

Multiplayer in Journey is totally unique. You’re randomly paired with one or more players when you enter an area, and you can spend time travelling with them, though your only means of communication is by singing (nameplates aren’t displayed, so you can’t message them through PSN).

As you wordlessly travel and solve puzzles with strangers, you create a bizarrely powerful emotional bond. The incredible ending helps enormously, but it’s the journey itself that’s so memorable, and it astounds me that something so simple could have such a powerful emotional impact, and I don’t think I fully understand how it was accomplished.

Other games have handled multiplayer in interesting ways as well. There’s one in particular – unfortunately, I can’t remember it’s name or find it online! It was a flash game I played years ago. The graphics were shoddy, and it was extremely short, but it had an amazing payoff.

The game was focused on first-person exploration. Someone in your village had gone missing in a nearby mine, and it was your job to go find them. When you enter, the game lets you know there’s some seriously creepy shit going on. There are animal bones, strange occult symbols, the works.

Eventually, you run into a man covered in blood and holding a knife. You’re prompted to ask him three (pre-written) questions, and when you do, you get answers – though they’re sometimes ridiculous and baffling, depending on your luck (more on that in a second). You’re then given the choice to kill this person or let them go free.

As you progress, you eventually manage to get covered in animal blood and pick up a knife to defend yourself – or, you can, I believe it’s possible to not have that happen if you’re not an idiot, but I wouldn’t know. When you find the missing villager – who was killed in an accident – you run into someone on the way out, who asks you the same questions you asked the last crazy guy.

You’re free to type anything you like, and what you’ve typed is sent to the next person who plays the game. When that happens, you’re emailed the result – did they kill you, or show mercy?  Other than showing the power and importance of not immediately judging people, it’s a great multiplayer idea.

I’d like to talk more about this topic, and I may in my next post, as there are many more games to bring up – such as Demon’s Souls Dark Souls – but I’m out of time for now! Thanks for reading.

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