My Thoughts on Titanfall 2’s Multiplayer

Before we go any further, here’s the situation: I’ve played the first five minutes of the campaign and that’s it. Why skip out on the best new addition to Titanfall? Because the single player will still be there for me to explore long after the online community has dried up and died, meaning I need to hop on the already-decomposing corpse that this game touts as a multiplayer component before it’s gone.share-image.jpg

On PC, the community is small. Very small. Less than a month after launch only one game mode is ever reliably playable (guess which one), and even then, only barely at odd hours on weekdays and weekends alike. At most I’ll see 1,000-something players online in my region on a Saturday afternoon. It’s rough. And it’s sad because, just as was the case with Titanfall 1, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game this year.

Initially, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer feels like a step in the wrong direction from its predecessor. For a start, maps are bigger, introducing brief moments of nothingness that NEVER existed in the original. This couples poorly with the fact that wall-running is now less emphasized, which inadvertently jacks up the barrier to entry when versing the droves of players who’ve already figured out how to circumvent a map’s superficially slow design. Then there’s the increased danger of AI specters and grunts, resulting in actual deaths from what were previously useless computer-controlled minions. Throw these things together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of frustration and shaken faith in the game’s quality—early on, that is.

Sink enough time into the game and overcome the steep learning curve that Titanfall 1 veterans such as myself had to suffer through and eventually you’ll discover Respawn knew exactly what they were doing. They’ve essentially shifted the focus of Titanfall multiplayer to be more centered around situational awareness rather than blazing fast reactionary processing, something I can’t say I’m a fan of but do understand the appeal toward. It’s a far more tactical affair, to say plainly.

While only one of TF2’s maps holds a candlestick to any of Titanfall 1’s extremely memorable multiplayer landscapes, be it the orange sands of Demeter or massive skeletons of Boneyard, the sequel focuses less on making memorable moments and shooting dioramas and more on increasing the game’s skill ceiling. Again, not my preference but it’s a welcome challenge. What IS my preference is the insane amount of customization they’ve added, not only cosmetically but also in terms of weaponry and equipment. Gravity stars are the best FPS addition in recent memory, sucking in opponents so you can whip out a pocket shotty and blast them while they’re trapped in a temporary wormhole. Shit’s lit.

In conclusion, while I fundamentally disagree with certain changes Respawn has made, I respect all of them and understand the vision behind the product. It’s a fun game, no doubt, which is why I’m sad to see such a small community. If you can get it for sub-forty U.S. dollars, snag it and hop in, the water’s fine—just a bit different than last time.

The State of Gaming/What I’m Playing Right Now

As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, gaming is dead. Gaming remains dead. And we have killed it.

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Image Credit to Youtuber UMadBroYolo

Here’s the sorry state of the industry and why you virtually never see me reviewing games anymore: everything, literally everything, is some shitty rehash or sequel of a genre that’s already been explored to the brim. This year’s E3 only confirmed that.

Gears of War 4? Who gives a fuck. Forza Horizon 3? We’ve already had 2 of those. Battlefield 1? Ooh, another military first person shooter, such innovation. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare? Basically Halo for Halo‘s gap year. God of War 4? Literally Ryse with a Kratos skin and tacked on Brothers kid dynamic. Spider-Man PS4? It’s going to be a Beenox-grade movie tie-in developed by Insomniac. Watch Dogs 2? Looks like an expansion pass for the insurmountably disappointing bundle of corporate deception that was Watch Dogs 1. Mass Effect Andromeda? You know a whole bunch of corporate bullshit by EA is going to sully what was already destined to be a run of the mill sci-fi RPG trilogy’s sequel.

Noticing a trend here? Virtually everything is a sequel of something that didn’t need one in the first place. The racing, shooting and generic hack ‘n slash genres are so fucking oversaturated yet triple A game publishers just don’t care, as the sheeple who buy this shit are funding their own medium’s stagnation (cue the quote from the beginning of this post). I’ve had every experience they showed at this year’s E3 a million times over already in games released throughout the past decade, and as such, I’m more or less done with fresh off the press gaming. I’ll fill my time with movies and music and mediums where at least an INKLING of creativity is injected into most new releases.

What I’ll be reviewing in the way of somewhat new/relevant 2016 games:
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Not very hopeful for it, but I remember having a silky smooth time with the first one so why not give the only unlikely sequel being released this year a chance.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. To be honest, the more they show of it the less I’m excited. It looks like they’re trying to incorporate the verticality of Dishonored‘s maps minus the actual maneuverability moves that made upward traversal so fun in the aforementioned game. This is problematic. The Illuminati-busting story should be fun, though.
-Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary game. If it comes to PC, you bet your sweet nickers I’ll be hopping on for some break-neck speed platforming goodness.
Dishonored 2. Again, feeling kind of apathetic about this one as it does seem to display some of the annoying sequel trends mentioned above. BUT. But. It’s got purple death vine monster powers. So yeah, definitely considering it.
-Potentially Quantum Break and Killer Instinct (PC versions).

But that’s it, frankly. I know how every other tired game listed in that fat sequel-rant paragraph will play out, exactly how each will feel and since I can imagine it all, why pay money to verify my gaming clairvoyance. These industry giants have robbed the word “innovation” of its meaning with how many times they spew it in blatant press release lies.

To wrap up the post: taking time off from the stagnant hell that is 2016 gaming, I ventured back into a game that I previously couldn’t stand. That game was Darksiders 2. This time around, I played it in its entirety and wow do I love it now. Seriously, after experiencing all three DLC missions (Deathinitive edition), finishing the Crucible and beating Wicked K, I’ve gained a lot more respect for this game than I had in my initial review. Not to mention the soundtrack is fantastic. In short, go experience some oldies but goodies for cheap if you too cannot stand the slew of current sequels devoid of artistic merit or creativity.

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC Review

Just yesterday, Bioware released their gutsy last attempt to reclaim fans of the Mass Effect series for their future games and profits, by giving gamers a more fleshed out and expanded set of endings to the trilogy.

All three of the previous endings received a more gratifying cinematic climax, rewarding you with the “because you chose this ending, -blank- happened” which leaves less to be infered and more to be seen and enjoyed. For example, (SPOILER) in the newly expanded synthesis ending, a soldier and a husk are dueling it out, but then a beam of green light washes over them, and because they are now both synthetic and biotic, they stop fighting and just stare at each other with understanding. It’s cool, and it definitely shows more impact and gratification than that nonsense we got a couple months back.

Unlike most, I never really cared about the Normandy scene, but it is nice to see that he wasn’t a complete wimp and that it was orders from higher up on the food chain to run. But honestly, I still don’t buy Joker running. He’s too badass and Seth Green wouldn’t allow it.

(SPOILER) And how can we review the Extended Cut without mentioning the new Mass Effect ending. The reason I call it the Mass Effect ending is because it defines the series, and allows you to decide how things play out. With the extended cinematics in the other endings which are awesome, I honestly don’t think this new ending was necessary, but it was invigorating for sure. You told the star child to screw off, and then for the briefest second he gets a devil voice and shouts “So be it”. By rejecting all of his tools and his overall game, you as Shepard end up losing the entire fight against the Reapers. But what I absolutely loved about this ending is how realistic it seemed. We lose, which is acceptable, but later cycles beat the Reapers all because of the history we left for them to learn from.

So, in conclusion, I love the new endings. I wish these could’ve been what we received with the original game, but at least we have them now and can put a great trilogy properly to rest. And will the refusal ending be made canon, so that Bioware can continue the series with the next cycle of human beings destined to end the Reaper threat?…