I also posted this on the EA Dead Space forums, and I thought I might also post it here and see what you guys thought. Valid points? Have I made a fool of myself? TLDRTLDRTLDR? *shrug*
Before you go on to read this, let it be known that I am a massive Dead Space, and videogames in general, fan. I love the games. And I've spent a lot of time on multiplayer on several games, evaluating the pros and cons, so it might be said that I've got a lot of experience as a conscious consumer.
And as easy as it would be to rip on the Dead Space 2 multiplayer, I have absolutely no intention of doing that, at all. Many people have done that, and Visceral has made it known that they know that some people didn't like it, and how some people didn't like it. Fair enough.
Let's start off with what the multiplayer did right.
The objective were right, making the entire game objective-based instead of tacking on a free-for-all. And the objective were simply to the point where one didn't actually need to talk with the rest of the players to go ahead and form a successful team either way - on the time I've spent playing the multi, it's relatively easy to simply form a point, or follow another player forming, and complete/prevent objectives.
The weapon range was practical, and efficient either way. Certain weapons were withheld, and that didn't make too much of an impact on the human's side. The progression tree was simple and effective, and the amount of skins available for the human's side, is massive.
Not to mention that the Necromorphs were handled fairly damn well, and it was all balanced (possibly due to that no matter what, you die as easily at level 1 as you do at 60). That was what was right. Not particularly memorable, but right. The multiplayer makes for a fun distraction and just jumping in for the sake of unlocking that next suit was fun.
However, so much could have been made out of the mode. Some people would say that Dead Space is a game that does not need multiplayer, and I have to entirely disagree. The multiplayer in Dead Space has an opportunity to be the most unique, memorable multiplayer out on the market as of now. It would take a bit more then a bit of tweaking to achieve this and would probably have to wait until the next game comes out anyway (we all know this is happening and look forward to it with glee) but it could be the single-most recommended unique* multiplayer out there.
*unique mainstream. There's plenty of indie games with multiplayer I've had my mind blown with.1. The Entire Multiplayer as it is now as a Mode, not as itself.
The 5 maps available are fairly different from each other, with differing goals and stories to them, and this is all fine and dandy. But the problem is that once you've finished the 5 maps, there's really nothing new to offer. The maps, after a while, start to play out exactly as they had before, with key areas and strategies easy to recognize and absolve.
They get boring.
With as much time and effort as was put into it, at the end of the day the multiplayer as it is now amounts to a mode - play as a team, find your objectives, rinse, repeat. They don't offer as much variety in simply circumstance then what could have been done. My advice for what could have been done:
Have it as a mode. The Security teams, the maps, all of it, as a mode. As before stated, simply adding massive amounts of stuff to do usually fixes up any sort of repetition within a game. By the time you've gotten around to doing the same thing as before, it's all new again. If the entire multiplayer as-is a mode, there would need to be around 2 or 3 more. Which I would have to say would most likely be something along the lines of:
Why simply play as a Security team going in on a Spec-Ops mission? Why not have something along the lines of a group of survivors, going through, figuring out what they're doing as they're doing it? Not maps with specific objectives, but multiple routes to victory either way, with Necromorphs being able to halt their progress at any route.
I'm not saying to simply do the same thing as before, with different characters, I'm saying to add choice ingame. Before, the choice amount to "go here, do that, do it quickly, or lose, sucker" as a human, and Necromorphs had no choice at all other then to serve as a hindrance (sometimes, a really effective one).
The current maps are fine as they are - they are meant to be as they are, simply military-based objectives. Works out. But more could be done, and should have been in that area.
Most of the objectives you have are for the Humans. Apart from a few "destroy this before it primes" moments, Necromorphs don't have much to do - and since every player plays as one at one point or another, not much in there. So why not dedicate a mode to changing the scales? Have the Necromorphs working a team, infecting air supplies, murdering civilians, stalking apartments.
As for humans, either simple Survivor or Security would work, I suppose. The main point is to give the Necromorphs something to work towards.2. More choice in looks, and exclusiveness.
The looks for the Security Suits are essentially, at the end of the day, palette swaps, the weapons and Necromorphs are all directly ripped from Dead Space. Even the objectives are eerily like the errand boy antics in the campaign. Essentially, The multiplayer doesn't actually offer all that much that the single-player doesn't already have, except you get some Novelty playing with others players and as the Necromorphs themselves.My advice for what could have been done:
Make new stuff for the multiplayer. New Necromorphs, new suits (if only subtle, and I stress subtle, variations from the original suit) and make it for the multiplayer. Isaac gets 8 hours of playtime, the multiplayer, if done right, could have hundreds. I'd willingly spend hundreds, but there's really not a lot to aim for.
The extent of customization was having either a pre-determined colour scheme and a extra weapon to boot. Why stop there? Why not to combine special colours with patterns on surfaces yourself, and to boot with a couple of variations of the Security Suit? With weapons, why not have the ability to sign it, with effects like being scratched in steel?
I'm comparing it to the Mass Effect 1 or 2's customizations (closer to the first one, where the suits came in sets) - and that was where the only one deriving satisfaction from it was the player. Being able to flaunt your looks, your chosen sets, with your unique weapons, would in itself have triple the satisfaction that Mass Effect ever had.
As for the Necromorphs, the four available Necromorphs are all well in good, but why not have added more? The Leaper would have made for a great addition, and if the team were to make a Zero-G area (the novelty of which, I might add, would have made no end. Think about it) then to construct a unique Necromorphs, one of blood and sinew and with the ability to maneuver in Zero-G, would have made the Multiplayer more special.
Those were my main points, that the multiplayer could have really been something special. The multiplayer as it is now feels and looks unfinished, at the bare limits of it's massive potential. Visceral employees once stated that the Multiplayer was unique. It's not, of course, there are plenty of of alternatives out there (if only examples like Left 4 Dead) but it really, really could have been.
That's really my 2 cents. They did a great job, but the par line for Multiplayer has gone up these days and the current mode doesn't quite cut it. I enjoyed it, and I always will enjoy it, and I intend to continue playing it as before, but there's just something about the multiplayer which really could have pioneered the gaming market.
And I'm not naive - I know the amount of work that went into it to begin with, and they did not do a bad job in the slightest. Good work all the same, Visceral and the lot.
As for the rest of you, what do you think? Agree with my points, have your own 2 cents, happen to be a PC gamer yourselves and still enjoying good ol' Isaac's hijinks? lol idk