Co-op in single player games

Back in the days, co-op was always on split screen. I’m reminded on Need For Speed 2 where I used to race with my friends taking over Proving Grounds. For the longest time, split-screen was the most logic and direct approach to single couch, co-op.

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But then in the middle of it all, Sony came up with this mind-blowing technology of 3D TVs that would spit out two different displays for two separate headsets. The day they announced it, I was super excited to see where the technology was going to take us as it was plausible to refresh between two different views and have the glasses only pick up one. I could never get my hands on one and by the looks of things I do not think that technology went too far either.

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And now recently I played the game Bothers – A Tale of Two Sons¬†and I just fell in love with the game. I’m not going to talk about the game and how beautiful the game design is, but rather their approach to how they’ve taken a game and implemented both single player and multiplayer elements which can be switched out any time the guests feel like. If my friend was to take a bathroom break, I could continue playing the game without having to wait for him. Also, the game can be played alone as well. The game has different challenges when played as single player and multiplayer.

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So the game works like this. You have two brothers, controlled by the two analog sticks of the controller. The brothers are controller separately and L2 and R2 is the only other key you need to use for the two brothers. Its a puzzle solving game, wherein the puzzles require interaction from both the characters and also needs to be in sync. They have also made use of the two buttons as a push and release mechanic to avoid using other keys. So if you’re grabbing a ledge by holding onto the button, directing it to another foothold and releasing the button would make the character jump towards that position. This mechanic was interesting and to build a game around just one button was fascinating.

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The environment was also beautifully and meticulously planned out and even though the game an almost flat interest curve without a lot of twists and turns during the game, it does end in a non-traditional sense of video game storytelling which the developers have ceased quite well and have used that in their favor. All in all, it was a great game to experience and play.