Just let me connect

August 9, 2010 by Tim

I liked the first Kane and Lynch, despite the fiasco surrounding its advertising. I liked the co-op campaign, and I really liked the Fragile Alliance multiplayer mode, despite its issues. And as much as I’m looking forward to the sequel next week, having been playing the multiplayer demo recently, I’m afraid that the game is going to be equally finicky when it comes to connecting to other people.

In the first game there was a connection issue that made getting into games hit or miss. It was a game of roullete every time you selected multiplayer, spinning the wheel to see if you’d land in a lobby or if the game would mysteriously send you back to the main menu. I enjoyed the game enough to play despite this… for a while. It was still incredibly frustrating to have to put so much work into playing a game though, and it sort of soured what was otherwise a fresh and innovative multiplayer mode. I recall they patched the issue some time after launch, but by then I’d had enough and moved on to other games.

More than anything else, I’d been hoping that the sequel would have a stronger multiplayer framework that would make jumping into (and staying in) games a lot easier. The demo has given me my doubts. The game puts hosting duties entirely on a single player. If this player has a decent connection, it’s fine. But even in the best circumstances, there are still a load of problems. If the host player starts losing, or gets betrayed, or someone simply pees in his Cheerios, or whatever, he can just disconnect from the game, and then the other seven players are shit out of luck. They may have been having a blast, but the host can just take his ball and go home, dumping everyone else back to the menu.

There are a small handful of other problems with connections I’ve noticed, but it’s too early to tell whether these are flukes, demo-related, or legitimate issues that we’ll see a lot of after release. Regardless, I’ll be playing Kane and Lynch online next week. I just enjoy the multiplayer too much to let some small problems prevent me from playing, at least for a bit.

It’s just hard enough for any multiplayer component that isn’t Halo, CoD or GoW to have staying power these days without a developer shooting themselves in the foot right out of the gate. They still have to overcome the stigma surrounding the first game… most gamers dislike Kane and Lynch and they’ve never even played it. Their opinions are based solely off the shitstorm it was wrapped up in. Which is a shame, because I think the multiplayer modes are some of the more fun and unique out there, and while they aren’t perfect, I’d like to see more people enjoying them.

That won’t happen if people get fed up with not being able to get right into a game when they want to. Again, I really hope I’m wrong. I’ve had a lot of fun with the demo, on the one map it offers when I can actually get into a game and play all three rounds.

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