Today's worst multiplayer experiences

Anyone want to take bets on how long Bioshock 2’s multiplayer will last? If a multiplayer mode isn’t hugely popular, it isn’t at all. They either prosper or die, especially on consoles, where the community that can develop around dedicated servers isn’t present.

 There are probably more people playing Counter-Strike right now than any of the modes listed here. The original, not Source. These desolate remnants of big development dreams are now nothing but box art bullet points and wads of wasted development money. And even when they’re done well there’s a strong chance they’ll peter out after a few months – so why do so many developers and publishers feel obligated to include competitive multiplayer? Really, we don’t mind single player experiences. REALLY. Time to prove our point with words and pictures, because those are always right.

Above: Will it last?


We made it into a game in a surprisingly quick five minutes. The first session we entered sat idle for a couple minutes before closing. The second actually began, with a stunning two other players. Lots of loading later, we were fighting the wobbly controls and the layer of Crisco on every surface.

Above: The best part about Stranglehold’s multiplayer is this guy’s face 

So we dove and slid and ran around spamming our dual pistols like our ammo would never run out (which it didn’t), but didn’t manage a kill despite popping six or seven holes in one of our likewise circle-spinning opponents. About thirty seconds into the game, we were sniped in the head, and about five seconds after we respawned, the scoreboard appeared and wouldn’t go away. There was no indication that the game had ended, or what to press to continue, just the scoreboard and the option to quit. So we quit.

Number of tequila shots it would take to make this game fun: Alcohol poisoning.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

Ten minutes… no game sessions found! Ten more minutes… failed to join session! Ten more minutes, with our own game lobby open… empty. Over half an hour later, we’re finally into a session, and the actually clever “Fragile Alliance” match begins.

Above: First you see this 

Above: Then probably this a few times 

Above: Then a bit of this, just for good measure 

The goal of the game is to work as a team to rob a bank and secure as much money as possible whilst combating the police. You split your share with whomever you end the game with… unless you kill one of your comrades and become a traitor. Returning the favor and killing a traitor, however, earns alliance members a reward. If you die, you respawn as a police officer. It’s a cool dynamic… if it works.

It doesn’t really. The characters control like sinking motorboats, the heist is a chaotic dash and grab, and the decision to become a traitor seems completely random. While theoretically the idea is to kill an alliance member with loads of cash to take for yourself, we got killed right off the bat, without even a chance to steal any money. So we respawned as a police officer, walked into the bank, and were killed again. Now maybe we’re just bad at the game, it was our first time, but we were displeased at having to wait and spectate while the rest of the players finished the round, especially considering how long it took us to get into a session in the first place.

Above: Here we are about to take it from behind by a fellow player as we sprint for the cash 

We tried to get into another session for some practice, but after sitting in a lobby with two other players, one less than required to start, for about twenty minutes, we gave up. Maybe it’s fun with friends, but who has three friends itching to jump into some K&L?
Number of banks you could actually rob while waiting for a match to start: One or two, assuming you’re capable of basic motor control, unlike either Kane or Lynch.


  • HankVenture - November 17, 2010 2:13 a.m.

    I'm .. super late, but I just found this while searching around and no one will probably ever read this but I gotta say, I love Shadowrun me and my Xbox friends met on this game and we still play it from time to time just for the fun of it all. That is my opinion I can understand why people don't like it and it really does have no community, I've played the same exact teams over and over again before on different days, but it is still a great experience I think I mean hell I use to fall asleep playing this game into the day
  • epenn03 - February 2, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    Army of Two as well had a bad multiplayer
  • DARK_SIDE - January 3, 2010 4:03 p.m.

    Ha ha ha, funny stuff I liked the no one here thing and stupid character and "gleefully giftwraping our asses" also the alchol poisioning.
  • QWERTYCommander - December 20, 2009 11:16 p.m.

    Where's the DiRT series?
  • Ironarm - December 20, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    Say what you will, but the multiplayer for Kane and Lynch was surprisingly fun when I played it last. Granted I played it about a year ago but I still remember having a heck of a good time.
  • DoctorProfessor - December 18, 2009 1:50 p.m.

    Re:AuthorityFigure If you don't want to spend money it's called a private server and it's free
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - December 17, 2009 1:35 p.m.

    Conkers bad fur day reloaded: people still play it.
  • xXxbigshotxXx - December 16, 2009 3:37 a.m.

    frontlines shouldnt be added to this list it should b added to laggiest multiplayer and so should battle field bad company but both are still fun when theres that split second there not laggy =p
  • TheWebSwinger - December 14, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    This article is friggin' hilarious. Though, Tyler, your picture kind of makes you look insane. @GameManiac: Why in the world do you think Multiplayer will die off? If anything, the only thing this article suggests is that multiplayer will become conglomerated into the Halos and CoDs.
  • vitoruss - December 14, 2009 10:55 p.m.

    I remember being surprised recently by the number of people playing Splinter Cell: Double Agent online. Well, it wasn't THAT recently, it was probably half a year ago, but nonetheless I expected that game to be deader than dead. How is GTA4 doing? It's been a while since I gave that multiplayer a whirl.
  • Tfish - December 14, 2009 7:01 p.m.

    Re:AuthorityFigure How is world of warcraft a temporary fad game? They just celebrated the 5 year anniversary of that game a week ago and it has 11 million paying subscribers right now. The warcraft franchise itself is 15 years old now. I'm sure 5 years from now world of warcraft may not be as populated as it is now, but it is in no way a temporary fad game.
  • AuthorityFigure - December 14, 2009 9:26 a.m.

    Re-write this article in 5 years and you'll be adding World of Warcraft. I'm glad *I'm*not shelling out money to play temporary fad games.
  • Smeggs - December 14, 2009 4:32 a.m.

    I remember when I rented Dark Sector... Probably about two or three weeks after its release. After I beat the campaign I decided to hop into some multiplayer, expecting things like everyone having a Glaive but they just can't control its trajectory like in the campaing. I get into a game and it is already critically laggy, I'm popping around the map and freezing in place, people are shooting at each other with no affect. And finally right when I realized they had no Glaive in the multiplayer at all I just left right there.
  • Cwf2008 - December 14, 2009 3:16 a.m.

    Since you mentioned ace combat 6, i thought HAWX should get an honorable mention. Even though it is populated it takes a while to find a match now
  • CountFenring - December 14, 2009 1:23 a.m.

    I might go back and play some FC2 soon, certain modes of that great, but I forgot about it a while ago. I felt the mp had style I don't find in many games.
  • demonslayer76 - December 13, 2009 3:09 p.m.

    is anyone still playing conduit? i haven't played it in a while cause the Wii sucks online also, I sucked at it
  • Bryce2552 - December 12, 2009 9:21 p.m.

    i think NFS undercover should be on here. never seen anyone in that game. recaptcha- 14-week seamen
  • linkganon - December 12, 2009 4:47 p.m.

    one thing i have to add, although you can connect most of the time, the wii's multiplayer gaming lags when you are connected. took me 5 to 10 minutes to finish a game that only had a counter at 2 minutes.
  • joabbuac - December 12, 2009 4:21 p.m.

    Dark Sector had fun multiplayer
  • ELpork - December 12, 2009 11:34 a.m.

    Liking the Neck beard on your Rainbow six guy.

Showing 1-20 of 48 comments

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