Anyone who knows me, knows how big an advocate I am of immersive single player stories over multiplayer focused games which, so often, give the user a poor excuse for a story in order to focus on their online experiences. In my honest opinion games like Uncharted, The Last of Us and The Witcher series deserve to be held in the highest esteem. Hours have I spent grinding out the likes of Skyrim, collecting resources to allow me to enchant weapons and upgrade my armour!
However, I encountered something I never thought would happen. I hit a wall. For some reason, I still cant understand, I wasn’t enjoying my games. Whether it was a culmination of that lost feeling you get when finishing a captivating title or just a change in my mood, I was struggling to enjoy something I loved for years.
Now, based on this you might see me as some kind of backwards dinosaur who scoffs at the very idea of gaming online. This is definitely not the case let me assure you. I spent days on the battlefield maxing out my prestige on Call of Duty 4. Even introducing online gaming to my younger brother and father. This ability to spend time with them online helped me greatly as I grew up and moved away from home. I always knew that regardless of the distance I could spend time with them in game. This was the first step on my road to gaming recovery! Not only was I beginning to enjoy the competitive thrill of gaming again but I was able to spend time with loved ones no matter in what form.
I turned to online games to really kick-start my passion again and they truly obliged. Blizzards perfectly polished, fast paced, shooter Overwatch was another stop on my gaming redemption. The insane game modes and maps, as well as the in depth characters brought me joy for hours despite its repetitive nature. Although it has no story line or single player, Blizzards short animations work to create depth to their already amazing characters.
Another worthy addition to this article must be FIFA 17. Love it or hate it, football is a global sport which captures the hearts and minds of millions across the world. This translates perfectly into Ea’s latest edition of the game. However, it is probably their most underrated game mode which helped to capture and reignited my interest in gaming. FIFA Pro Clubs is a game mode which allows you to create, develop and control a single player among a team of other individuals and AI. It quickly became clear that a lot of players were only out for themselves, and did not value teamwork. Eventually I managed to find myself a team of like minded individuals who valued teamwork above personal glory. We quickly managed to amass a small squad of players from around the country including myself, two players from Liverpool, one from Southampton as as well as my flatmate and work colleague. Approaching 100 goals for our club the team banded together to make sure I was able to achieve this and a real sense of togetherness helped us to gain several promotions as we enjoyed our time together bonding over our love for the beautiful game. We play together, lose together, win together and laugh together, and it was at this point I realised that I was back. Enjoying my time gaming just like the old days but with something more, the inclusion of a social element through gaming enhanced my experience. Although I do not claim that online friendships can be a replacement for personal ones, I believe they do have a value entirely all their own. They allow differences and distance to be defeated and unite people in a common interest. This in turn encourages teamwork and social skills to flourish withing a challenging and different environment and this can only be a positive thing.
With my spark reignited and the release of some quality single player games coming up I find myself eagerly awaiting titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon: Wildlands , which in itself has an online team co-op element embedded into it, and in the not so distant future The Last of Us 2. Despite this, I don’t think I will be quite ready to forego my online multiplayer expeditions and the new relationships forged. The games market is very healthy at the moment and I expect to be enjoying it to its full potential. I hope you will too.