Tag Archives: Titanfall

Titanfall 2 vs Infinite Warfare


All the reviews for Titanfall 2 have probably told you how good the campaign is. If you’ve slept on it, I’ll go ahead and tell you it ranks among the best shooter campaigns of recent years. Just coming off of it, it has me thinking about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, for which I’m fairly optimistic. I probably won’t be able to play Infinite Warfare for a little while though. Continue reading

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Do We Need To Rethink Solo Offline Game Modes?


With Overwatch now out, the forward march of $60 games with only multiplayer continues. On the one hand, I don’t think every shooter should be forced to have a campaign with a story. On the other, I also think games like this ignore a lot of people who could potentially enjoy these games but don’t care about player versus player gameplay. Continue reading

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Why Is EA Offering Free Trials For Its Big Games?


Apparently if you bother to check Electronic Arts’ Origin client or web site there’s a section with free trials for many of its recent major releases. What it seems to be doing is basically just as good as a demo, but I’m wondering if it’s just good sense for today’s emerging era of games-as-a-service. Continue reading

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Does Games-As-A-Service Have To Be Multiplayer?


It looks like Tom Clancy’s The Division is going to be Ubisoft’s next Assassin’s Creed II — that is, the next template for its games going forward. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, this seems to seal the deal that blockbuster video games are headed towards a service model primarily made of online games customers keep paying into. It’s probably smart business but it’s also to the dismay of people who don’t care about online or multiplayer games. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a service-based path for those consumers too. Continue reading

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The Search For Alternative Multiplayer Shooters


Last time while going over how I felt about Titanfall I noted how it’s probably not gonna be my thing while also saying it has a good chance to be popular. I wasn’t being down on popular shooters so much as indicating how the multiplayer shooter industry seems to focus most of its energy on providing one type of game.

That type being the fast-paced deathmatch, domination, and sometimes round-based first person shooter. It’s probably the most popular type, but if it’s not the kind of game you want, you have few options. Only relatively recently have I begun to realize the kind of multiplayer game I really want is something more slowly paced, thoughtful, and tactical. Games like that exist, but they are few, distinct, and in many cases have small player bases.

It might be the reason I camp so much in multiplayer shooters. We’ve reached a point where shooter designers have tried to end camping because they think the only legit way to get kills is constantly running around and being better at pulling the trigger than the other guy. In my opinion it’s a perfectly legitimate strategy to find a strategic position at which to sit down and get the drop on your opponent, then switch to another position to stay a step ahead of the enemy. I like shooters that are more about getting the drop on your opponent than just running, jumping, and out-twitching them. The latter is almost certainly what Titanfall is about. Titanfall certainly has a strategic element to it, but it’s more of a second-to-second style of strategy, which is what you’re gonna get out of a game that’s about quick gratification. Maybe it’s like comparing chess to football. Both are pretty strategic but one is slower and more cerebral than the other.

One extremely niche shooter that’s found its way onto my main roster is the Source engine mod NeoTokyo. Basically it’s Counter-Strike rules but in a cyberpunk setting with three classes and optical camouflage. What I like about it is how the high lethality and absence of respawn forces everyone to really think about where the enemy might be and how to act accordingly. Being round-based makes each individual match feel like a self-contained tactical game between two teams instead of just a bunch of people running around. Maybe I just described CS, but I happened to get into NT first and haven’t had a lot of time to break into CS. I’m thinking about reinstalling Counter-Strike Global Offensive and taking advantage of its recent spectator feature which is supposed to act sort of like watching regular matches on TV. I think NT’s cyberpunk theme adds a little something to the experience though, and I really hope the listing for that game shows up on Steam one day so it can maybe get some exposure. I may need to move to CS anyway if NT’s player base disappears.

The last console multiplayer shooter I really got into was probably Metal Gear Online. Being an online Metal Gear game makes it different enough from the norm, but I think the biggest difference is its tactical pacing compared to most FPSs. MGO isn’t really slow, but it’s just slow enough to make you think for a second about where your opponent is and how to get the drop on them. Back when I played it real teamwork was quite common, even on the PS2 version. Making stealth a viable strategy resulted in a lot of players getting knocked out and gutted from behind corners. A lot of the time dominating a mach was much more about actually dominating the map than being the fastest guy on it. The return of MGO is probably my top reason for being interested in Metal Gear Solid V.

Another somewhat similar game that’s been at the corner of my attention is Red Orchestra 2. At first I heard all the things people usually say about it — that it’s extremely hardcore with realistic weapon mechanics, suppressive fire simulation, and other things that effectively make players feel like fragile humans. Upon trying it out on a free weekend though I started to think it might be more the kind of shooter I’ve been looking for. From what I could tell, everyone playing it was taking cover all the time, taking their shots carefully, and overall trying to keep abreast of what was happening around them. At the very least it’s a game I’d like to have the time to investigate further for being something out o f the ordinary.

A more obvious option for me though might be Splinter Cell Blacklist. I got a free copy with my graphics card late last year, and upon a rental I’d already checked out its resurrection of Spies vs Mercs. SvM took up a surprising amount of my time the summer after Splinter Cell Chaos Theory came out in 2005 and remains a unique game to this day. The asymmetrical play style, two versus two limit, and focus on objectives instead of kills really made it stick out as a game about defeating your opponent more mentally than physically.

Sure Blacklist has that new three-on-three mode with the perks and other things to make it more action-oriented, but sticking to the classic-style mode is in my opinion close enough to the old school game for a mainstream game released in 2013. It still displays pretty much the same virtues as its predecessors and is willing to maintain the asymmetric style, even if the maps aren’t quite as complex as Chaos Theory’s. And if it doesn’t work out in the long run there’s always Project Stealth.

The most popular multiplayer game I’m even remotely into right now is probably Team Fortress 2 ironically. I think what sets that game apart for me is that it manages to be extremely tactical despite how blazing fast it sometimes is because of how each class absolutely forces a distinct style of play. For some reason that’s the one shooter I play where a lot of people actually do use voice chat to coordinate. Why do Valve games have that effect? TF2 has also managed to remain a centrally important game to the Steam community for seven years, which no console game has been able to do, probably because of all the sequels. To be honest though I’m thinking of switching completely over to Mann vs Machine mode.

Horde modes have been one of my favorite additions to shooters, primarily because it’s a multiplayer mode in dynamic arenas where I don’t have to worry about competing against humans. Ever since I let my Live Gold run out though I’ve been looking for a replacement for Gears of War 3’s Horde 2.0 and may or may not have found it in MvM. MvM is fast and frantic, yet every class still has a specific role.

Recently I tried out the Co-Op Bot Destruction mode in Hawken (a free-to-play mech shooter if you don’t know) and was shocked by its intensity. It forces you to constantly maintain awareness of where your team and the enemy are. One slip-up is often enough to end your game or at the very least put your team in jeopardy. Another option I’ve been told to investigate is Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.

Whatever happens, it’s likely I won’t be focusing much on the multiplayer shooters everyone else is playing, much less the games trying to imitate what everyone is playing. Multiplayer games with different rules, objectives, and play styles are out there, you just have to spend a bit more time finding them, as well as other people willing to play them.


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Can Titanfall Actually Be The Next Big Shooter?


So. Titanfall. On Friday I got into the beta which is looking like it’s gonna be open now, so if you own an Xbox One or a capable gaming PC (that 8800GT is still truckin’) you can see for yourself what the hype is all about. Personally, I think Titanfall has the potential to be a really popular shooter, even if it might not be for me.

One of the main reasons so many people like Call of Duty is because of how responsive, fast, and frantic it can be compared to almost all other modern console shooters. It’s all about fast movement, responsive shooting, and having a short period of time between each kill. Titanfall manages to be even faster and more frantic than COD, yet also plays quite differently.

In the face of all these shooters trying to be like COD, Titanfall looks like it’s actually trying to change and enhance the flavor, though whether it does that enough is debatable. The Titanfall beta’s modes are pretty much your standard deathmatch and domination, plus one unique “Last Titan Standing” mode. The pacing and mechanics may feel different, but the underlying rules feel the same.

Titanfall’s sense of speed and movement is slightly more reminiscent of old PC shooters, bringing back things like auto-strafe and what essentially amounts to a modern equivalent to bunny hopping. The parkour mechanics make that Quake-style traversal viable on a controller (I’m playing it on PC with a keyboard). This is what makes Titanfall’s pace feel noticeably faster than COD or nearly any recent multiplayer FPS I’ve played.

And the eponymous vehicles, while definitely on another scale of combat, feel very well-balanced versus pilots. The verticality of the maps gives pilots ways to overcome titans. At the same time players have a lot of options upon exiting titans as they’re shot into the air. Adding AI control options to unmanned titans is probably going to prove to be a versatile feature when the player base develops.

In short, Titanfall actually tries to extol the elements that made COD popular, but in a way console gamers probably aren’t used to.

Whether or not it becomes the game-changer Microsoft hopes it will be depends on how many people buy the Xbox 360 version versus the Xbox One version. I firmly believe that one piece of software can change the whole equation for market share between software platforms, and Microsoft is undoubtedly betting on Titanfall being that killer app. Microsoft wants it to sell Xbox Ones but it’s hard to tell if regular joes will see it necessary to upgrade from their 360’s. The PC version on high settings, running on the 10-year-old Source engine, definitely doesn’t look definitively “next-gen.” As for whether it sets the tone for future shooters, we won’t really know that until one or two years down the line.

My biggest hope for Titanfall though is that EA doesn’t burn the series out by releasing sequels too frequently. EA hasn’t been a company to annualize, but somehow I feel like even a new Titanfall game every two years would be a bit too much. Maybe it’s just because I’m the kind of person to stick with one multiplayer game for years on end.

That brings me to why I personally probably won’t drop $60 on Titanfall come March. I’ve just started to realize the kind of shooter it is — the kind of shooter most people seem to want these days, isn’t really the kind of multiplayer game that draws me in. It’s great for quick bouts of easy gratification, but it isn’t the kind of thing to suck me in long-term. That’s getting into another discussion however…


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What It’ll Take To Get Me Onto Another Multiplayer Shooter


Friday’s update was about Call of Duty, and since Ghosts is either still yet to come or just hitting the streets as I post this, I think I’m going to go over the main reason I’m not interested in it or Titanfall — I don’t need another multiplayer shooter. I’m sitting here wondering if it’s normal for people to jump to new multiplayer games every year or not.

People complain fairly often about how COD iterates too often and how so many games cram in multiplayer. What I’m trying to figure out is how many multiplayer games a single consumer really needs, or how many successful ones can fit in the market.

I might be atypical here — I’m the kind of person who’ll stick with one or two multiplayer games for like five years. Maybe it’s because I don’t play 30 hours of COD a week and get tired of the current game by the time it’s a year old. In any case, I think there are maybe four multiplayer games on my roster right now, and all of them are four years older or more.

In my post about COD I noted how Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Team Fortress 2 are probably still my multiplayer shooters of choice, and they both came out in 2007. Street Fighter IV has remained a staple fighting game for a lot of people since its release in 2008.

Then again, TF2 and SFIV have been upgraded many times since their initial releases. In fact my next multiplayer-oriented purchase is probably going to be Ultra Street Fighter IV. That might increase a game’s variety and longevity, but it’s not an absolute requirement. I probably played static games like GoldenEye or Super Smash Bros. Melee for years. Counter-Strike 1.6 has stayed the same for 10 years and people still play it.

Strangely, the fourth game on my multiplayer roster is NeoTokyo, a 2009 Source engine mod with an absolutely tiny playerbase. Somehow its unique blend of tactical sci-fi gameplay has managed to stick with me more than a lot of $60 multiplayer games despite being a free total conversion.

Perhaps the issue is how I’ve flipped over to PC. When you transition to a new console generation you need new games to play, oftentimes to fill old niches — racing, fighting, multiplayer shooter, etc. This is probably how a new multiplayer action game seems to take over with every new console generation, defining the experience of that generation, from GoldenEye to Halo to COD. On PC a single game can live for as long as the playerbase allows. That’s how Counter-Strike has lasted for 15 years. It’s very possible that at the end of this console generation a lot of people might still be playing the same games they’re playing now. In that kind of environment it probably takes a huge paradigm shift to flip those players over to a new game.

Perhaps Titanfall will be a big enough deal — a big enough innovation of its own, to potentially replace one of the games on my roster. People have called it simply COD with mechs and vertical movement, but there seems to be something more to what Respawn Entertainment is doing. If I heard correctly for instance, Titanfall will actually mix in AI characters with the human players in a way not unlike creeps from MOBAs. Its focus on story-based objectives also seems like a big departure from the norm. I’ll have to wait and see.

If I ever get the chance I’ll also probably take a peek at PlanetSide 2. Further out, I’m definitely gonna hop back into Metal Gear Online when it’s re-introduced with Metal Gear Solid V. Speaking of the PC-Console longevity difference, If there’s any multiplayer game I’m interested in this year it’s probably the Spies vs Mercs mode in Splinter Cell Blacklist. I was really into Chaos Theory’s multiplayer back in 2005 until it shut down, and if I get Blacklist I’ll likely get the PC version on a Steam sale. The console communities of that game will probably shrink once the PS4 and Xbox One come out, but I imagine it’ll live on a while longer on the PC version.

For now though, I feel like it’ll take a lot to change what multiplayer games I focus on for the foreseeable future. There have to be other people who feel this way too. COD4 still has a thriving community, and there are still people who basically play nothing but TF2.

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Titanfall And The Value Of Multiplayer


So Titanfall is up for pre-order at Origin.com, and I’m already hearing complaints that it’s a $60 multiplayer-only game. Thinking about it really brings to light how people perceive the value of a full packaged game.

When the first Left 4 Dead came out I bought it at full price, but was almost never able to organize a game with my friends. Eventually I resolved to play thorough basically the whole game offline which really diminished my experience. I ended up waiting until Left 4 Dead 2 was about $30 before buying that game, and still haven’t gotten a whole lot of playtime with it.

Some people see single player as the default mode of a full packaged game, others see multiplayer as this. The basic value issue at hand is a multiplayer game is ultimately controlled by internet connections, the availability of friends, and the life of the player base. A lot of people, myself included, just feel strange paying $60 for a game you may not be able to play at all one day.

From Respawn Entertainmetn’s view, I can understand if they just wanted to make a multiplayer game without tacking on singleplayer. People complain all the time about tacked-on multiplayer. Developers should just focus on the mode they care about.

The issue is probably that practically every packaged console game is trying to look like the handful of massive shooters that actually manage to do both singleplayer and multiplayer well. Rare games like Halo and Call of Duty that manage to offer a great deal of high-quality content of multiple modes feel like an over-delivery of value. Every game can’t be that though.

The multiplayer-only game might also seem perfectly fine to the guy who’ll buy Battlefield or Call of Duty, only play the multiplayer, and get 600+ hours out of the game. Even if the servers do turn off one day that’s still a good value proposition for $60. One might still want to consider the option of free-to-play however. Console gamers might not be ready for a free-to-play shooter, but gamse like Planetside 2 are already going to bring this to consoles. The value proposition of multiplayer is probably going to change next-gen because of things like this.

Singleplayer however has the advantage that you’ll always be able to play it whenever want — the only requirements being one player, the software, and the hardware.

I just don’t like the idea of paying full price for a game, knowing that one day I might not be able to play it because I can’t find others willing to play it, I have a crappy internet connection, or one day I can’t access the service the game is running on.


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