Since the launch of the PlayStation One back in 1995, I can see how it would be easy to label me as a PlayStation “fanboy”. I have supported the brand every year since then, and I’ve played just about every Sony exclusive in existence. I’m actually going to admit (sorry Sony brethren!) that at one point I owned an Xbox 360 for a short while but traded it in two weeks later as Halo and Gears of War did nothing for me. I felt guilty tainting my gaming room with something other than PlayStation products. If ever there were a game that would help me open my eyes, not only as a fanboy but also as a gamer, it was Titanfall.
I remember watching when Titanfall was unveiled; I was instantly turned off by the premise. Even though Respawn Entertainment is primarily comprised of developers that had a hand in creating Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (in my opinion, the best COD experience ever), it appeared that the game was more influenced by Halo (*yawn*) than anything else. That alone was enough to deter my interest in the game. The final nail in the coffin for me was when they announced it would be a multiplayer-only game. I mean come on, if you couple that nugget of info with EA’s reputation for neglecting pre-order numbers and having just enough servers to keep Battlefield 4 struggling to stay alive, the game was surely doomed right?
Jump ahead to November 2013, the PlayStation 4 had finally dropped and gamers everywhere were happy they got the cheaper, yet more powerful of the two consoles. Having picked mine up at midnight (Number 1 in line! No I didn’t camp. I’m at the age where I have to piss at all hours of the night.), I was ready to jump into next-gen gaming! At the same time, I was working with Taz (another of the Three Musketeers of www.ShortPause.com!) on setting this site up, and it occurred to me that it would behoove us to broaden our scope and cover more than just PlayStation hardware and software. Having thought it over long and hard (despite my disdain for everything Microsoft), I decided to venture out to my local Meijer store; Lo and behold, they still had a few Xbox Ones for sale (shocker!) the morning of November 22nd. This next tidbit is for comedic effect only, but a few days later I bought a Wii U as well to complete the trifecta, and like the other 83 owners out there, I’ve turned it on maybe twice since both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have arrived. Hey, I do it for the site and for you guys!
I will admit that I’m a major fan of first-person shooters, more so than any other gaming genre. Even though action games (Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid) and RPG’s (Skyrim, Fallout 3) helped raise my interest in story-driven games last gen, I always found my way back to Call of Duty or Battlefield to play with my friends. Having family and friends living in other cities, online multiplayer is a great way to “hang out” and keep in touch with them. Unfortunately, with this last round of heavyweight first-person shooters (Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4) feeling extremely boring and trite, I began wondering if maybe the genre had passed me by or maybe I was just losing interest in gaming altogether. It was so bad that, even when those respective games arrived on next-gen consoles alongside Killzone: Shadow Fall, they did very little to reinvigorate my love of the genre. I quickly realized that my love for gaming was still strong as I had a blast playing the likes of Ryse: Son of Rome (better than Dead Rising 3, sorry to break it to you), Assassins Creed IV, Outlast, and Resogun. It wasn’t gaming that was the problem; it was the “less than fresh” feeling I'd get due to my beloved genre becoming stale.
At a crossroads of sorts, I gave in to my inner hate for everything Xbox and reluctantly submitted my entry for a Titanfall beta code. What was I thinking? Was I really going to look to a Microsoft exclusive to help jumpstart my feelings towards a genre that I grew to love on PlayStation consoles? I’ll be honest with you, I went into this beta expecting to hate it, and I planned to let each and every one of you on Twitter know just how generic of an experience it really was. When the invites starting rolling out, I kept checking but to no such luck -- but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved. The truth of the matter is, I was worried that Titanfall would make me feel foolish for being so one-sided all those years when I’d simply laugh at the notion of picking up an Xbox or Xbox 360. However, as fate would have it, Taz sent me a text saying he had received a beta code, and with that, I was all out of excuses. This was happening, and there was nothing I could do about it.
"The truth of the matter is, I was worried that Titanfall would make me feel foolish for being so one-sided all those years when I’d simply laugh at the notion of picking up an Xbox or Xbox 360"
My initial impressions of the beta were good, however, I still think the PlayStation enthusiast in me didn’t want to admit it would be a game that would make a believer out of yours truly. It was fun, but adjusting to the added abilities (double-jumping, wall-running…oh, and Titans, duh!) that weren’t common in those other games mentioned above, and the lack of a proper single-player campaign, left me wondering if this game would really be the revelation it was hyped up to be. Well my friends, I have played through the game for a good 8 hours or so since the launch Tuesday (could’ve been more if Xbox Live had not melted down for a few hours), and I have to admit (again, I’m sorry my Sony comrades) that this game, this…Titanfall, has left me “feeling some type of way”!
I played seven rounds prior to the great Xbox Live Outage of 2014 (Xbox Twitter fanatics need to chill the f--k out by the way! Try being “offline” for a whole month, and then come talk to me about “down time”! *cough* PSN Hack *cough*), and was able to get familiarized with the controls, while at the same time starting to get a feel for the 13 other maps that shipped with the game. Once the servers were back up, I played for five straight hours into the night. One thing that stood out right away is that, even though the gameplay I saw prior to the beta “appeared” to be more like Halo,, it really felt like most people were approaching it with a Call of Duty mentality. In most games, you’d find pilots (human controlled characters) on top of most structures camping (some things never change!) as their bots below are engaging other enemy pilots in the area. This would in turn reveal their location for an easy kill. Once I began using my pilot’s abilities (cloaking is my favorite), moving quickly from cover to cover while flanking these campers, and using double-jumps and wall-running to reach their locations, it became rather easy to make life miserable for my enemies.
What makes this game so fun to play is how smoothly everything runs despite everything that’s happening on screen. Sure I came across a few isolated instances where the frame-rate dipped a little, but I have yet to see it drop down to single digits like some other outlets have reported. It may not be the best looking next-gen game available, but in all honesty, it doesn’t have to be. When you have multiple Titans exchanging punches with one another (think Transfomers!), while pilots engage in heated gun battles below while attempting to avoid being crushed by said Titans, all you need is a steady frame-rate and a kick-ass sound system to push the adrenaline level to 10! It didn’t matter if we won, lost, or got our asses handed to us; the game was an absolute blast to play. Weapons don’t appear to be overpowered, and there seems to be a counter to just about every type of attack, creating that necessary balance in gameplay.
I think the reason I enjoy the twitch-shooting style present in Titanfall is because it’s not a game based on real-life military personnel and equipment. It’s a futuristic, sci-fi action shooter where you don’t have the grounds to criticize it for not being realistic. When I play a military shooter based on modern times, I want realism. I don’t want health regeneration; I don’t want respawn. I want consequences for being reckless and for not communicating with my team. With Titanfall, you can suspend disbelief. You can be reckless and respawn, and it just feels right. It’s also imperative that you communicate with your team to call out the location of Titans and enemy pilots who are farming bots to call in their own Titans at a quicker rate. Teamwork is essential, and being a great teammate makes Titanfall that much more rewarding.
It’s hard for me to admit this, but I feel rather foolish for denouncing the Xbox brand all these years. I was especially hard on them during the time leading up to E3, mainly because I already disliked them. (Their anti-gamer plans infuriated me.) However, the FPS-whore inside of me needed something new, fun, exciting, and fresh. I’m glad I lowered my PlayStation banner enough to give the Xbox One a chance, because this is the most fun I’ve had with a first-person shooter in a really long time. I’m not going to give my final verdict on the game just yet, though, as I still have some leveling up to do. (I’m currently at a level 32.)
"I’m glad I lowered my PlayStation banner enough to give the Xbox One a chance, because this is the most fun I’ve had with a first-person shooter in a really long time."
There is a “campaign” of sorts that you play throughout multiplayer but I really believe it only exists so you can unlock the other two chassis for your Titan loadouts. If Titanfall is able to keep things fresh by means of DLC, I really believe this will be my multi-player game of choice for quite some time. Touché Microsoft! I’m now a proud owner of an Xbox One and look forward to what lies ahead regarding your exclusives.
In closing, I have one last thing to say!
To all the PlayStation fanboys out there:
Please don’t be foolish and judge a game based on watching videos of it on Twitch. You and I both know it’s not the same as actually playing the game and experiencing it for yourself. If you don’t like first-person shooters, that’s one thing, but to blast a game because it only runs at 792p just makes you look foolish and jealous. You can attack the system for not being able to handle 1080p, but not the game itself. The resolution has absolutely nothing to do with how fun a game plays. Just pray that any sequels are multi-platform!
To all the Xbox fanboys out there:
You have every right to be a proud Titanfall owner, regardless of what others (especially those that haven’t played the game) say about it. There’s no denying that this game is fun, frantic, and just what the genre (and lets be honest, the Xbox One) needed. Just like you guys and gals are bummed about missing out on Uncharted (don’t lie, you know you are!), PlayStation fans are bummed they are missing out on the action-packed Titanfall! Pray Microsoft continues shelling out money for this franchise to remain on PC and Xbox only!
To those of you that bought both consoles and gamers who just enjoy gaming in general:
You’re doing it right! You don’t waste your time with silly twitter trash talk and Resolution Gate! You’re above the nonsense and enjoy gaming more than anything else. Enjoy all the games, on all the systems, with all your friends. You can just sit back and watch the others tear each other apart!