Bell Plays Titanfall And It Is Magical
There were a lot of memorable moments from E3 2013. We got to watch Microsoft squee for an hour over what a good remote control the XBox One was going to be (fun fact: my Xbox One doesn’t work as a remote control.) Then we got to watch Sony grind Microsoft under their heel by giving gamers things they actually wanted in a console.
As entertaining as it was to watch two huge companies act like cheerleaders fighting over the head quarterback in one of those bad movies I don’t watch, what I really wanted to see from E3 was games. Not enough games were showcased, but of the ones that were, there were four that really grabbed my attention.
One of those was Titanfall. I have a weakness for giant robots fighting other giant things. I spent at least one summer of my childhood fighting with my best friend over who got to be Arcee. (Eventually we reached a compromise by creating a game that combined Thundercats and Transformers. Then we took turns being Cheetara. ) I left Pacific Rim feeling giddy. I forgive Michael Bay his transgressions because… Transformers, y’all.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like big bots and I cannot lie.
Even with my addiction to robots smashing things I was a little bit apprehensive about Titanfall. I’m pretty picky about first person shooters. I’m kind of bad at them, for one thing, but the fact that most of them give me horrifying motion sickness really doesn’t encourage me to play. There’s also the fact that the online communities that grow around multiplayer FPS tend to be pretty hostile towards women. If I play with random strangers I play without a headset, hoping that no one makes a point of noticing that my gamertag is feminine.
Titanfall is the first game in a long time that, with the help of dramamine, has eased me past those problems. It’s incredibly friendly toward unskilled players, allowing the player to kind of set their own difficulty level depending on what kind of weapons they choose. One of the first guns you have access to is called a “Smart Pistol”- it’s a gun that aims for you. It detects targets that you probably haven’t even noticed yet, locks on, and waits for you to pull the trigger. You don’t even have to aim directly at them, because the Smart Pistol has some kind of magical guided bullets.
The Smart Pistol isn’t perfect, of course; it’s slow to lock on to other pilots and if they notice you (and have a better weapon) you’re probably going to die. So, that sucks. Still, for someone who is awful at noticing possible targets and is incapable of aiming, it’s pretty incredible.
Another helpful factor for underskilled players is the addition of “minions” to the battlefield. These are computer generated soldiers that are really easy to kill and have a really hard time killing you. I rarely take down other players or their Titans but at the end of every match I have at least 10 minion kills and I feel damn good about myself. Between the Smart Pistol and and minions, I leave a match feeling successful. That makes Titanfall more fun and less frustrating than games like Halo or Call of Duty have been for me.
Have I mentioned that you can play as a girl? Every loadout has the option to choose your gender at the bottom of the customization options. That’s not something you see a lot of in first person shooters and I’m really excited about it. (Okay, Halo, but come on. You couldn’t really tell the difference.)
The Titans themselves are pure fun. I was surprised to learn that players don’t get unlimited access to their Titans. Most combat is done on foot while the player waits for their Titan to be ready, a process that usually takes two minutes but that can be shortened by getting a lot of kills on the battlefield. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never experienced this for myself.
Super fun fact: Titans will fight when you’re not in them. You can just be like, “YO, TITAN, FUCK SOME SHIT UP” and your Titan will fuck some shit up. I LOVE THIS. Titans will also kill you in horrible, horrible ways. They’ll punch, step on, or slide over you. They’ll pick you up and crush throw you. They can rip you out of the cockpit of your own Titan and THEN throw you.
You can hitch a ride on friendly Titans like you’re the kid in The Iron Giant or scale an enemy Titan to sabotage it. You can customize your Titan so that it creates a nuclear explosion when it is destroyed. You can drop your Titan on enemy Titans and crush them where they stand. (This one is my favorite.)
There are endless Titan-related possibilities and all of them are fucking fantastic.
This is a great game and totally worth the four bottles of Dramamine I just bought to go along with it.
My Rating: BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER EVER.