I have a very complicated relationship with “Titanfall”. I love it unconditionally and give it attention most days but I do get bored with it. And if you played, you’d understand why. It contains more flair and character than most games have in a line of code. However, to me, it fell short of a complete masterpiece for two reasons: lack of content and a game-pace they couldn’t keep up with.
By “game-pace”, I mean the in-game pace and tempo as pilot and the interaction from the AI’s specifically. You, as a pilot, would sprint around the map (crazy-fast), run on the walls, double jump, clamber onto ledges, wall-hang, lather, rinse, repeat. Fundamentally, you are playing at a fast pace. With other real humans playing at the same speed in real time. Now because of the Titans’ sizes, the maps have to be large to accommodate those. And for a 6v6 map, the most regularly played player size, you don’t run into enemy pilots often. Like, it is common, but could be more frequent. I think deep down “Respawn” knew that and added the “grunts/spectres” element. Something more to shoot at. However, while you’re moving at an insane pace, these guys just stand around. In groups. Huddled. Not moving… Where’s the fast-paced game in that?
Now, one of those things they couldn’t help with. That’s the “lack of content” part. “Respawn”, the studio behind the game itself, just formed itself from the remnants of the “Modern Warfare 2” dev team after the game’s release. Two of the team’s lead members’ left under “breaches of contract and insubordination” and then most of the team left as well. Eventually, they formed “Respawn” and sat on their asses for months until “EA” approached them with a budget for a game.
“Titanfall” itself, in my mind, was not really a full game. Rather a large-scale demo of what Xbox One and PC can expect in the new eighth generation of consoles and games. Yet, it is a VERY good debut title for “Respawn”. And sitting on their asses making a game like “Titanfall” got me off mine, standing up with a controller in my hand. I mean, think about it. “Respawn” lived, briefly, every gamer’s or developer’s dream. Publisher comes in, says “here’s a butt-load of money to make a “triple-A” title, give me something good”. Obviously, “Respawn” heard “here’s your chance, do like Eminem and “lose yourself in the moment” and created something awesome.
I believe each one of us has separate personas that come alive in moments of everyday life. “Titanfall” brought back that 10-year-old, American boy feeling who loves explosions and fast cars. That same kid screamed ecstatically inside everytime I dropped my “tank-with-legs” from the sky as gracefully as a Mountain Dew sponsored flaming meteorite. In essence, everything was the epitome of radical. And a 65-person dev team did all this. And that’s nothing really.
And… Now we know why there was a “lack of content”. Because, most likely, they used the “EA budget” to buy the gear and staff to make a studio, THEN focused on the game’s production. And the pressure of pushing out a working game, let alone debut or award-winning, is too high anyway. Yes we wanted more guns, titans, calling cards, attachments for guns, maybe camos for guns and titans, games modes and yada yada yada. But that’s what Call of Duty multiplayers have ingrained in us for a FPS multiplayer. Anything that doesn’t follow that formula isn’t a good multiplayer in the masses. And that’s soooooo wrong. The greatest thing of “Titanfall”, ever, is that they did NO market research for the game in pre-pro. Any publisher or producer would have knocked off and rolled heads but the devs just said “people are gonna like running on walls, giants robots and chaos. I mean, how could they not?” He’s right you know…
“Titanfall” was a shot in the dark, like most first games in a series. They do their best to outperform themselves with different game-mechanics and/or a gripping story to, essentially, grip with us. So we play the sequels. “Titanfall” was testing the waters and being innovative so Activision could copy them at a later date (*cough cough* Black Ops 3).
In fairness, the game industry learns off each other because we’re still young and finding our place. A good example in “Titanfall 2”.
“Respawn” took the customization we love in C.O.D and implemented it into the game. We can now add camos for titans and guns and more calling cards. Other than that, they fixed the game and now increased the pace and overloaded us with content. I played the “Pre-Alpha” (whatever that it) and can confirm that it is fearsomely fun. I would have changed the in-game UI but “heyo”, I, and we, can live and get used to it.
The full game doubles the amount of titans and pilot skills and blows up more in radical-ness. They scrapped the titan forefathers (Atlas, Stryder and Ogre) and replaced them with 6 new titans. One that flies, one that melts the earth, one that’s gun-and-missile-happy, one that’s laser-happy, one that’s heat-seeking happy and a samurai (kid you not).
But the best part of “Titanfall 2” is the new mechanic of “power sliding”. Named that or thereabouts. It temporarily increases speed until you eventually lose momentum and slow down. But you can still slide a pretty far distance. This gives the game a new play on vertically gameplay, as there are certain places only accessible from power sliding through crate high gaps in the wall. You also have the most insane fun power sliding through a door and hip firing each enemy in the room you just glided into like a robot Officer John McCain.
Sliding comes standard for every pilot class, like sprinting or aiming your gun. It’s a basic mechanic. Meaning you can slide around constantly and grapple hook yourself straight to an enemy titan/pull an enemy pilot to you for a loving kick to the face.
When a game is released, its lead dev team sits down and analyses three things that stuck with people and things fell off. That’s how great sequels are made Activison… Ubisoft… And “Respawn” learnt from the past and are ready to release their first FULL GAME with a full single campaign and a complex and plentiful multiplayer that’s sure to please. So yeah, get savagely excited people.
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