Published on February 13th, 2006 | by Greg0
Sorrows, Crossing: DS, PS2 Games
One of the biggest ideas in gaming right now is multiplayer communities. Everyone wants to get people connected, playing online or competing against one another. Of course, these sorts of attempts don’t always work out, but when they do, it can make a basic game much more fun, and thus much more addicting.
Besides the Xbox/360, well known for it’s online gameplay, and the PC (by far the largest market for online games), both the PS2 and the Nintendo DS offer networking capabilities. New games are trying to take advantage of them, and maybe trying a little too hard.
Nintendo boasts a game that many haven’t played, but nonetheless has legions of fans. Animal Crossing isn’t quite as well known as Mario but when the multiplayer-capable version appeared last month, many fans of the GameCube version rushed to try out Wild World on the DS. If you haven’t tried the game before, it can sound boring- essentially doing gardening and housework and landscape design- but just as with Nintendogs or other “non-gamer” games, it can be quite engaging.
You buy and sell items, go to markets, and the world constantly has new “quests” popup and challenge the player. Even after playing for weeks, new stuff happens daily. This is a game that is meant to be played for a little while each day for quite some time. Unfortunately, the fun gameplay and cute art are marred a little by the rushed-feeling online features- they feel a bit tacked on, like they are waiting to add more in the future. If you haven’t played Animal Crossing before, and are looking for something different, this is a good bet. Otherwise, you might want to hold out for the inevitable sequel which I’m betting will feature better online capabilities.
The Playstation2 offers a sort of reverse phenomena- an online only game. Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows has an opposite problem to Wild World- it was designed only with multiplayer in mind, but shares the same “get it done” approach to community. What you end up with is a game that lacks replayability and any sense of cohesion- it’s fun, a simple hack-and-slash throwback that will satisfy nostalgic gamers who remember the original- but won’t give much to anyone else. The production values are fine, even if the story is thinner-than-thin, and a good deal of work went into making the connection simple. There were few bugs, though a couple of disconnections occurred and the play-matching system could use some work.
Ultimately, the “different” characters play much the same, the quests are short are uninteresting. Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows isn’t much fun, though there are glimpses where you can imagine it being a nice way to kill some time with friends.