The world of cooperative gaming is evolving so rapidly, I think it's catching some people off guard. In only half a decade we've gone from famine to feast in terms of co-op offerings in games. Not only that, we've seen co-op games evolve and change in how they put players together. For a genre that started with two people in front of an arcade cabinet, it has surely come a long way. But as happy as it makes fans of this type of gameplay, the fact that co-op is being put in front of single player is rubbing some people the wrong way.
It took all of five minutes to realize Lost Planet 2 wasn't for me. In that same time frame, I recognized Capcom's development team approached the sequel with a similar philosophy to Resident Evil 5, a game I spent hours trying to enjoy before ultimately giving up, realizing it was a game designed for someone else. By someone else, of course, I mean someone else playing with me. Lost Planet 2 and Resident Evil 5 are adventures meant for co-op, both a response to co-op dominance in Western games, but has Capcom taken the wrong lesson, a simple matter of miscommunication, or both?
If you read our review of Lost Planet 2, you'd know we agree with Patrick - Lost Planet 2 is a game that you need to play with friends to fully enjoy. Like Resident Evil 5 before it, Capcom took the approach of designing the game from the ground up for two or more players, after all - that's why there's always three teammates with you. How many times have we seen a trailer for a game that shows a squad of soldiers, only to find out there's no co-op in the game. It simply doesn't make sense to us - so why should the reverse be true?
The problem Patrick has, is he feels lied to. In a world where single player used to be the de facto, it's now becoming an afterthought, something fans of co-op know all too well. Both Resident Evil 4 and Lost Planet were strong single player games, so picking up the sequels, one would think these would also be strong single player experiences - but that wasn't necessarily the case. So why would these franchises deviate from the path?
The simple answer is Jun Takeuchi, the producer on both titles from Capcom. Here's what he had to say:
"The number one item for the players’ wish list was co-op play. So I discussed the possibility of incorporating it with the team, and came up with a new gameplay style. As a result, the Campaign mode, which started as a straight forward single-play, has changed into the different gameplay that would evolve by the players. And I think this was a part of evolution that LP2 has achieved too."