Jun. 2nd, 2014


Jun. 2nd, 2014 04:40 pm
9unm3741: Legend of Zelda.  This icon is for video game related posts. (Video Games)
Titanfall went on sale recently for 50% off ($30 instead of $60) so I jumped on it.  I had recently become pretty disillusioned with the online first person shooter market.  Dominated on PC by Call of Duty and Battlefield, it had become pretty stale.  Ever since starting undergraduate I had gotten quite good at PC shooters, but after starting graduate school I just didn't have a lot of free time and the shooters available didn't motivate me enough to play them or put any kind of serious effort into cultivating my skills in them.  So, basically they weren't that fun so I didn't play much and when I did I sucked.  My hope was that Titanfall would be good enough that I would be willing to put in the time and the effort to be good and have fun.

Fortunately it delivered.  It's really fun to play, and the movement mechanics really let you take your interaction with the environment to the next level.  Best of all, mutha-fuckin mechs!  I had recently tried Mech Warrior Online, a free to play mmo shooter with the gameplay of the previous Mech Warrior games.  Unfortunately, the free to play platform meant that as a non-paying player, I always lost to paying players.  Always.  No contest.  So the mecha genre had a hole that needed filling as well.  Titanfall fills that too.  The mechs are pretty easy to control.  You can enter and exit them in the middle of battle, and the AI controls them well enough that they'll hold out in a fire fight (but don't expect them to win) and are certainly not sitting ducks.  A couple things I wish the mechs had is more customizability and more dynamic damage systems.  You get to pick your main weapon, a hull weapon, and a special ability (for example, 40mm cannon, rocket salvo, projectile barrier) and pick from three different mechs, but I really like the Mech Warrior customization.  You had a number of mechs bodies that balanced speed, heat dissipation, ammunition capacity, armor, and weapon hard points.  You attached weapons to the hard points, which would either take ammo or produce heat, so you had to balance those weapons.  This sort of customization would be nice in Titanfall as well.  Mech Warrior also had more dynamic damage.  If you hit a mech on the arm it damaged the arm, hitting the torso damaged the torso, etc. and when enough overall damage was done the mech was destroyed.  This meant more balancing.  If you had only one really powerful weapon it could be destroyed and you would be left helpless.  It also meant that a damaged mech usually had a disadvantage over a fresh one.  These added a lot of uncertainty to the game that made it lots of fun.  I wish Titanfall had both of these, although there is certainly an appeal to the simplicity of the operation of the mechs in Titanfall.  Its really easy so the player can focus on the fighting and really have fun with that.

There are lots of other cool abilities the pilots (you play as a pilot) have.  Cloaking being the foremost.  You can cloak for a short period of time, which makes you, not quite invisible, but really close.  They also have a smart pistol weapon, which is an interesting concept.  It locks on to enemies.  It takes three lock on cycles to lock on to a human player, then it only takes one trigger pull to take them down.  At first I thought "thats bs, way to take any semblance of skill out of it.  With cloaking all you have to do is cloak, walk up to someone, and boom they're dead without even trying."  This isn't quite right.  Each lock on cycle takes a bit of time, and the range of a lock on is short enough that even with cloaking you risk being seen before it finishes.  The lock on doesn't work through objects, so if your target runs behind a wall, even if they reappear you have to start the lock on process all over again.  After playing, I would say that the smart pistol is well balanced.  It doesn't take less skill, it just emphasizes a different play style.  You must be good at dodging enemy fire, and playing stealthily is rewarded, which is not usually the case for FPS games, and feels very refreshing.

Some other cool things are that a pilot not in a mech can hitch a ride on someone else's mech.  This means you could ride along on a teammates mech, or you can jump on the back of an enemy mech, open up the circuitry, and start shooting to damage it without contending with the shields (that is, if you can get close enough without getting shot or squished, and if another enemy doesn't shoot you while you do it, or the pilot gets out of their mech, or used their ability to give them a defense system, so its hardly a sure thing).  The game refers to this as "rodeo" and its one of my favorite things to do because it feels so bad ass!

Anyway, so far its a really fun, really well balanced, really good game.  It's brought me back into online FPS on the PC, and, even better, I'm actually good at it!



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