Sin­gle? Get ready to min­gle

Play­ing a video game is no longer a soli­tary ex­pe­ri­ence, writes Imagine Games Net­work Aus­tralia se­nior ed­i­tor Cam Shea

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -

VIDEO games are evolv­ing at a fe­ro­cious rate. Each year sees a leap in vis­ual fi­delity and a broad­en­ing of the genre.

Im­por­tantly, games are also be­com­ing more so­cial. Al­most ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence is a con­nected one, and multi- player is no longer just an add- on to a sin­gle- player cam­paign: it’s a core com­po­nent.

Many games are seam­lessly in­te­grat­ing on­line play into what were once soli­tary ex­pe­ri­ences.

Take Des­tiny, the new ti­tle from the stu­dio that cre­ated Halo. It’s epic in scope; a sci-fi shooter that al­lows play­ers to travel all over the so­lar sys­tem, fight­ing a war on in­nu­mer­able fronts.

To make it feel like a liv­ing, breath­ing place, play­ers do so along­side count­less oth­ers.

Each hero in this world can be on his or her own quest, but when play­ers col­lide, a host of new pos­si­bil­i­ties come up; team­ing up with strangers to clear an en­emy strong­hold or flock­ing to a group event to take down a boss.

This ap­proach to multi- player is chang­ing rac­ing games, too.

Need for Speed: Ri­vals’ Red­view County spans wind­ing moun­tain roads, dense for­est trails and arid desert land­scapes – and play­ers will never be alone.

Again, there’s no for­mal multi- player com­po­nent, merely op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­pe­ti­tion and a shared high- speed spec­ta­cle.

Even sin­gle- player games are in­cor­po­rat­ing multi- player el­e­ments.

Watch Dogs casts play­ers as a hacker in a world with ubiq­ui­tous elec­tronic sur­veil­lance. In­for­ma­tion is power and they can hack bank ac­counts, lis­ten in on con­ver­sa­tions and change street lights with the press of a but­ton. It is fit­ting play­ers can en­ter other peo­ple’s worlds and try to hack their char­ac­ter.

Watch Dogs will even ship with a com­pan­ion app that al­lows real- time com­pet­i­tive play be­tween tablets and con­soles or PCs.

Tom Clancy’s The Di­vi­sion is also in­te­grat­ing com­pelling tablet func­tion­al­ity.

An open- world on­line shooter with role- play­ing el­e­ments, it sees four- per­son squads op­er­at­ing along­side hun­dreds of other play­ers across a dec­i­mated New York.

The com­pan­ion app lets a player join a squad as an aerial drone, with sup­port abil­i­ties such as tag­ging en­e­mies, heal­ing play­ers or call­ing in an air strike.

In Ti­tan­fall, play­ers can pilot heav­ily armed, bipedal mechs, and go up against ag­ile soldiers who can run along walls and use jet­packs to reach higher ground, from which they can leap onto the backs of the mechs. It’s en­ter­tain­ing and multi- player only.

There’s no bet­ter ex­am­ple of ex­pan­sive mul­ti­player gam­ing than Grand Theft Auto On­line.

The ul­ti­mate on­line sand­box, 16 peo­ple can play si­mul­ta­ne­ously in its stag­ger­ingly large, per­sis­tent world.

Death- matches and street races are a given, but how about rid­ing dirt bikes or play­ing a round of golf? Or rac­ing planes or jet skis? Or rob­bing a bank?

In the mod­ern video game land­scape, any­thing is pos­si­ble – and you’ll likely be do­ing it with friends.

Read more at IGN. com

JOIN THE FUN: Ti­tan­fall is best in multi- player mode.

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