Now let me start off by saying that when Titanfall was announced I wasn’t impressed and I’ll tell you why. When it was announced, Titanfall looked to me like just another Call of Duty but with mechs. I have never been much of a fan of Call of Duty so this to me seemed like a shameless way for the founders of Respawn to get back at their former employers for firing them by copying their tried and true (yawn) Call of Duty formula.
I’ve always been a Battlefield player because I felt that the combat was fast paced, explosive and ridiculously chaotic. I loved the mixture of classes and the ability to select your style of gameplay and how the Battlefield series rewards players based on what kind of weapons they used and how they used them (e.g. You love sniping? Well here are some new snipers and some nifty sniping gadgets for trying your best to do that.). In turn I hated the way Call of Duty would reward players for being an douche canoe (e.g. Did you just camp the ever living crap out of a hard point and kill 7 people in a row? Here’s a helicopter and a bunch of attack dogs to kill a bunch of players mercilessly because we love how much of an douche you are.)
Oh yea and don’t forget the mandatory lobby full of lots of these guys
I’m letting my rant get ahead of me. The point is that I absolutely hate Call of Duty style games and prefer the large scale, destructive warfare of Battlefield that relies on Squads and skills and is completely devoid of squeakerments (squeaky 12 year olds arguing). So when I saw Titanfall I figured, “Oh look! They took Call of Duty and Bastardised MechWarrior. I can hear all the kids squeaking with delight as they look online for new sexual things to do to my mom when it launches!” So with my attitude firmly in place I decided not to bother with Titanfall.
So back in January I got an invitation to join the Titanfall Alpha. I don’t know if I was drunk, bored or out of tissues but I decided to give it a try. In February I was poking around the Xbox live marketplace and saw the open Beta was available to try so I downloaded it again. I don’t know what it was that made me keep coming back to Titanfall but I needed more! Finally when the game came out I tried my best to not buy it. But…. Uh…. Ummm…. Something something peer pressure…. DON’T JUDGE ME!
So…. *ahem*…. Here’s a list of a few things I may or may not have possibly, maybe liked about Titanfall…..
Since I opened with a large rant about why Call of Duty sucks and is full of irritating prepubescent children, I figured I’d open with why Titanfall is so much more refreshing. First off I must point out that since picking up Titanfall in March I’ve only ran into two people that fit the description previously covered in rant.
Two…. That’s it! It’s like they realised that camping wasn’t going to help them to win in Titanfall and they just gave up! Of course the smaller lobbies might also have something to do with it. One thing about attention grabbing kiddies is that they require an audience. In Titanfall the max amount of players in a match tops off at a whopping 12 players. This means that you only have to worry about annoying 5 people on your team and 6 on the other.
Carry the two…. Dammit that’s not enough people to troll!
So now I only have to worry about players who are there to play the game for the sake of simply enjoying the game and not making others miserable, which is awesome. Another awesome thing is that I don’t have to worry about the other players being better than me… well I do but not so much. You see Respawn Entertainment is aware that 12 players on maps that are often quite large might make for less of a game of “kill the other team” and more of games of “find the other team.” So to make sure the experience is that of a massive ground war and also to cater to the unskilled such as myself, maps are littered with groups of NPC’s in the form of AI soldiers and robots which fight the player as well as each other. This is great for gamers like me who are starting to get older and slower. In fact according to this study, gamer’s reflexes start to slow down around the age of 24 so the fact that I can play a match without getting a single kill on another player but like 30 on the AI is a real morale booster. In fact, I and a bunch of my buddies who are just starting into our 30s have started calling our Titanfall team the “Grumpy Old Men.”
If you let one of these guys kill you then you should probably hang your head in shame.
Speaking of getting old….
Titanfall is an interesting game. It takes the run and gun aspects of competitive multiplayer shooters and turns it on its head. I have to admit that when I first picked up Titanfall it might have taken me a while to realise that traversing the maps was often done much faster by wall running. In fact I still catch myself 4 months later running around at ground level like some kind of savage.
Parkour is turning into one of my favorite things about Titanfall though and it’s not just restricted to running and jumping. In fact when I play Titanfall (properly and not like an old person) I tend to spend most of my time running on roofs, along walls and zip lining across the map. This is for a few reasons. Because it is insanely fun running faster than what I perceive as physically possible with my legs at a 120 degree angle to my body, because it’s hilarious to get the drop on players that are still thinking that enemies only come from four directions and because when I run on even ground I feel like a dirty peasant.
Did I mention I'm old and crappy?
#2 Abilities - Burn Cards
Earlier I touched quickly on player rewards, on how Battlefield rewards players for enhancing their skills and how Call of Duty rewards players on how much of a jerk they are.
In Titanfall players are rewarded burn cards for pulling off different skill moves and others completely at random. A maximum of 3 burn cards can be equipped before every round played. There is a large variety of burn cards as well so you’ve always got a new way to switch up the battle a bit.
Burn cards range from simple things like adding more power to your weapons to giving you unlimited grenades. They can do things like disguise you as an enemy NPC or give you an adrenaline rush that makes you run faster. Not to mention that you can also use burn cards to drop Titans as soon as the game starts, which brings me to one of the best parts of the game.
Pick a card
One thing that made the top of the list in this game is one of the core mechanics of Titanfall; which is also the root of the title. Titans are rewards players get for patience as well as kills. The more players that meet the business end of your weapon, the faster you get to deploy your Titan.
Titans have at their disposal a few different abilities to help turn the tide of battle in your favor. Each can be equipped with different weapons and perks just like your pilot, but they also each have distinctive strategies involved when playing them.
With the Atlas, you are the basic infantry of Titans, meaning you are armored enough that you can move in and attack steadily but fast enough that you can pull out of harm’s way in a pinch.
With the Stryder you are basically there to harass the other Titans. All Titans have boosters to help them scoot across the map but these are limited and require cool downs once they are used up. Stryders have the advantage of having 3 boosts before cool down, which means that they can move in, fire off a few nasty shots at other players and then scoot away just as fast and only other Stryders will be able to keep up. I hate Stryders……
The third class of Titan is the Ogre. This is MY favorite Titan. Ogres are the big nasty of the group. While not exceptionally fast, the Ogre packs a lot of armor to ensure that it can take a pummeling while you get up close and personal with your opponent. I always make sure to pack a particularly nasty weapon with the Ogre and just walk into enemies with my guns blazing. If someone gets close to me I lay the smac down with a Titan melee. Only Stryders have ever managed to escape my reach…… damn Stryders.
Oh God how I hate you….
Conclusion – Titanfall is Fun with Friends
This right here is why I love (shut up) Titanfall. Not because of the speed, not because of the giant robots, not because I don’t have to put up with squeakers. No, the reason I enjoy Titanfall is because of how much of a blast it is to play with friends. I have a couple of really good friends that up until March, I hadn’t really spoken with or socialised with in years because all of us were too busy trying to pay the bills, work long hours and trying to ignore the fact that we are all turning into old farts. Titanfall is - for lack of a better term - something really special.
When Titanfall came out suddenly we were all able to get together at least once a week (online but still together) and blast the ever living crap out of anyone who dares squeak within our general vicinity. We acknowledge openly that as gamers we are starting to get older and slower, but we also acknowledge that we aren’t quite ready to give up just yet. If all the 20 and below gamers are privates in an ongoing online war, then we are the trusty Sergeants who might not be fast but can take the punches just like any of the young kids.
In the last 4 months I have bonded with my friends in ways that we haven’t done since we were teenagers. Every game night is a party where we jump, strafe, Parkour and blast everything in sight until we are exhausted. That’s why Titanfall for me is special. That’s why I can honestly say that even though I had my doubts at first; Titanfall has become one of those things that I look forward to after a long day’s work.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a war to fight!