Multiplayer can be any of the following:
- Xbox Live – you will need a Gold membership
- Several Xbox 360s connected locally
- Split screen
Unless you have a large TV screen, I would not recommend split screen.
In addition, there are various mission types. Firstly, there is an exclusive online campaign. Exclusive in the sense that it’s not the same missions as the single player campaign — which may be played cooperatively.
Apart from this, games are broken down into three types:
- Elimination – kill every enemy on the map
- Territory – “win and defend” territory from the other side
- Objective – compete against the other side to complete certain objectives
Each can be played cooperatively against the computer, on a team-based basis, or solo against all the other human players.
Personally, I am only interested in cooperatively play, and that is what I’ll focus on in this article. Likewise, I will be focusing on playing via Xbox Live, and will be assuming you have a headset and are able to talk to your teammates. Lastly, I will be assuming that we are talking about co-op with other SimHQ’ers, or at least with people you already know and who you have added to your friends list.
Co-op multiplay supports up to 16 players.
Here’s the deal if you’re hosting. Once everyone is online, start the multiplay server. This can be either public (anyone can join) or private (the players need to be invited by you or another player). So far, I have only really used a private set up, so that is what I am discussing. Simply go to your friends list and invite them to join you. They will accept and enter the server. That includes the voice comms for the server. No messing around with 3rd party voice comms apps like on the PC.
The host then decides the mission parameters. Will it be co-op against the computer or split into teams against each other? Which map to use (you’ve got around a half-dozen to choose from). Then everyone presses the blue button to signify “ready”, and away you go. If you are playing together then you will stay in the same voice comms “room”, but if you have split into teams against each other then you will be sorted to separate voice comms room channels.
Say what you want about consoles, but the Xbox 360 connections in multiplayer leave PCs back in the Stone Age.
One word: stunning. Click here for the official site’s screenshots.
I understand there is a way to take screenshots on the Xbox 360, but I have not bothered to check yet — I have been too busy playing! In any event, there is no messing around with graphics settings here (other than brightness and contrast). WYSIWYG. If you have a HDTV (which I do not, but may have in a few weeks if this game keeps whispering to me to purchase one) then the picture will look sharper, but even on my “normal” low definition television it looks great. The lighting especially looks amazing. The sunsets are gorgeous, the explosions look like video footage. To get a more accurate idea, check out some of the gameplay trailers hereat Gamespot.
Perhaps not as good as the graphics, but then, when is it ever? In any event, the sound is adequate — and will depend on your home sound set up. I am using my built in TV speakers, but I understand from those with more expensive set ups that they are very happy with how it is sounds on their more elaborate systems. Even on my basic system, though, it’s more than adequate to help maintain that “suspension of disbelief”.
I am reasonably sure bullet ballistics is modelled. There have been numerous occasions when I’ve had a rifle crosshair (including the sniper rifles) centered on a bad guy’s head or chest — and missed. I think you need to take into account the distances to make accurate shots.
It’s probably just me, but the AI seems stronger in single player than in multiplayer, and stronger in some multiplayer maps than in others. In the map “Nowhere” for example, it is a bit like a scene from one of the Living Dead movies. The enemy is walking slowly towards you and your team-popping round after round off. However, that could just be the design of the map, with one main road down to your position. In other maps, they are tough: they will look to out flank you, they will support each other, and they will get you unless you’re careful and working as a team.
The AI seems a bit harder in single player — or maybe I am just not as tough when my mates are not with me!