Gamers these days are becoming more social. The average gamer has moved out of the folks' house and can say hi to a member of the opposite sex without giggling. Along with this evolution of our community has come social interaction, or what we like to call multiplayer. Multiplayer, though, has many subtle forms, but which one is best for you?
Allow me to present your options, along with their advantages and liabilities:
Split Screen: Oh, how popular you'll feel! With your friend(s) gathered around the TV, you're interacting with real people! You can strategize together, laugh together when Jen blows up Rob's tank, and come out with all sorts of funny stories. Seems wonderful? Well, it is, but beware; there are drawbacks. Watch your smack talk, because if you shoot Paul from behind and then laugh, there's no barrier to stop real-life Paul from punching you in your real-life face (although, if he's punching you in the face over that, maybe there should be one). On top of that, if Paul wants vengeance, all he has to do is watch your section of the screen intently to follow your every move. Kinda scary, right?
Online: You are free from Paul's wrath (if Paul hasn't already been hauled off to jail as a result of his excessive anger) -- free to insult anyone you'd like, to sneak around without anyone looking over your shoulder at where you are, or to play with or without pants. Unfortunately, so is everyone else. You know that witty banter you can freely engage in without fear of punches-to-face? You'll soon miss that fear when "l33t_man69" is throwing dozens of racial/religious/sexist slurs-per-minute at you, because, although you're liberated to say what you please, so is 14-year-old Joey whose mother never taught him how to speak sans ignorance. There you'll sit, pantless or not, wishing that your nemesis were in arm's reach.
Split Screen + Online: Paul is back, and so is hate monger Joey. Worst of both worlds? Perhaps, but there are advantages. You can play with your friends now, against Joey. Even better, you don't need to use your headset to hear your teammates, so mute little Joey and laugh together gleefully as you team up to give him his just desserts. However, pants are once again (hopefully) mandatory.
So what is more fun, playing with real people, face to face, or playing across cyberspace? Clearly they have their ups and downs. Lucky for us, we have options. If you want to play face-to-face with your friends, go for it. Oh, and if you happen to be sitting next to Joey, tell him he's adopted, for me.