Titanfall 2 – A Meager Meal that Satisfies

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Titanfall, for those not in the know, is a FPS with giant mechanical war machines(a.k.a. mechs)called Titans that you can hop in and out of while traversing a map to capture objectives and/or pound the snot out of an apposing team.  You play as a “pilot”, an individual with the specialized skills needed to operate a titan, who, it should be added, is bonded to you with a neural link.  When you are not in your titan it operates independently and can either follow you, acting as your mechanized wingman, or can be ordered to guard a location.  As a pilot, you have significant mobility, being able to “double-jump”, run across walls, and in some cases even hover in the air for a short amount of time.  Other abilities which you can swap in and out of your kit include a cloak, electric smoke, and a host of other ways you can utilize to take out your opponents.
The original Titanfall was a limited success.  The game was multi-player only and had a small (but dedicated) following.  Titanfall 2 includes a single-player campaign which, I am happy to report, is quite enjoyable.  The campaign is not a terribly long affair, I was able to complete it in the span of two days with plenty of time left over to hit up the multi-player modes.  That said, it could probably be played through within a single day without too much difficulty.  That isn’t to say it’s bad or unenjoyable, it’s just really, really brief.
Without putting out any spoilers, I will say that the campaign held some refreshing surprises and touches on some game mechanics that you don’t see coming.  Of course wall-running and parkour of the first game makes its return an most of the game requires these skills to navigate the map.  The game is forgiving, during some of the harder wall-running if you get so-close-you-can-taste it, the game well respawn you as though you completed it successfully.  A purest might not appreciate it, but after trying a run 8 or 9 times and finally, almost, barely getting to the end, it is a welcome concession and still remains a satisfying effort (it prevented me from rage-quitting more than once).  Respawn Entertainment made some solid decisions and gave those looking for an entertaining single-player experience a little something to chew on.  It’s disappointing that the story is so short.  Just as you are discovering how much fun you are having, it’s over.
The multiplayer is pretty much what one would expect in an FPS with giant robots.  The game modes vary from old standbys like Capture the Flag and Skirmish, to a mode I found myself returning to again and again, Amped Hardpoint.  In Amped Hardpoint, there are three locations on the map that can be captured and held.  If you capture a location and remain close by, the location becomes “amped” and generates twice the amount of points for as long a player stays in close proximity.  At the end of most modes when the winning and losing teams are declared, the losing team must make it to an evacuation point and board a ship that will carry them off-planet.  At this point it is up to the winning team to either eliminate all the remaining pilots before they board, or just take out the ship leaving remaining pilots stranded.
The maps can be large, open affairs with wide areas that you can be exposed while traversing the landscape, to cramped cities where there are ample buildings to duck in and run through.
Leveling up has been revamped in this installment.  You can level up not only your pilot, but your titan as well as your primary and secondary weapons.  Leveling up unlocks new abilities or weapon attachments.  Regeneration is still in the mix but now weapons and titans can be regenerated and quite frankly, it feels a little confusing and clumsy.
Though this has been a brief review, I can say that the game is enjoyable.  Only time will tell how long the community will stick with it, additional maps are supposed to be arriving in December which should give it a little replayablity. I’m not sold on the $60 asking price, but if it follows the same trajectory the first game did, you may be able to pick it up on sale before too long.  If you already have it, please feel free to leave your impressions in the comments below.
Until then, keep your eyes peeled, and prepare for Titanfall.
-Stu

Onto PAX East 2017

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You know, time flies when you are having fun.  Time also seems to fly when you are just working your 9-5, not having fun and losing some of that head o’ steam you had six months ago.

But that is another post for another time, or another clinical session, depending on the co-pay.  The real reason for the post is to announce that once again, Mr. Marmot, The Bone of Ham and Stu, yours truly, will be attending PAX East in Boston in 2017.

PAX East is a ginormous (yup, real word) 3-day gaming exposition put on by those crafty little so-and-so’s at Penny Arcade.   Last year proved to be as large an affair as ever with live-streamed e-sport competitions, indie game studios, major game studios, a retro arcade, tabletop gaming, vendors, music, cosplay, it can actually get a little overwhelming.

Last year I was able to meet up with my favorite Twitch streamer Falloutgurl4, playtest Thornwatch, and was introduced to the magic that is Dragoon.  Am I name dropping? You’re damn right I’m dropping names.  Droppin’ them like they’re hot.  Because they are.

So tell me, dear readers, are you venturing out the PAX this year?  Share your stories.  Embrace the story.  BE. THE. STORY.

-Stu

(P.S.-I’ve been chewing on Titanfall2 for a couple of days, a review will be following soon…)

 

 

Looking Over My Shoulder at Comic Con

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Hello to you, my followers of the podcast blog.  Podblogowers?  Anyway, there is a lot of ground to cover so I will just hit this bullet-point style.  WARNING: There is a single use of profanity buried somewhere in this post.
Podcast – I am working on it.  God as my witness, I am working on it.
Boston Comic Con – Having not attended this particular con before I wasn’t sure what to expect outside of the usual con experience.  There were tons of people and with the 90+ degree heat and humidity the convention center’s AC system struggled to keep up and thus I spent two days wading in an almost literal stew of humanity.  It was fun though and for those who might be interested in attending this particular event in the future I have come up with the following Tips for Attending Boston Comic Con (TFABCC):
  • Define a total amount of money you would like to spend. Triple that number then add additional contingency funds. This will not be enough.
  • BYOPT (Bring Your own Poster Tube)
  • That person over there that you are absolutely positive is someone you know? It isn’t, you don’t, and no you shouldn’t.
  • Just hold it.
  • The VIP pass is worth it if only for the 30 minutes to grab stuff before it sells out.
  • Things will sell out.
  • All the things that you bought first thing in the morning? You will be carrying that stuff ALL DAY.
  • The box of stuff that you bought first thing in the morning that you have been carrying all day? You’re going to put it down while you are trying to pay for something else and walk away without it.
  • Spring for the gel inserts, you feet, legs, and back will thank you.
  • All the artwork you are bringing home with you that you didn’t have a tube for? Yeah, it’s gonna rain.

There wasn’t as much cosplay as I expected but that may also have been because of the aforementioned heat.  It can (and probably should) go without saying that the most popular character there was Harley Quin.  So, so much Harley Quinn. There was a Harley Quinn of every shape, size and level of smeared mascara.  I’m sure this is due in no small part to my next bullet point.

Suicide Squad – I’m not going to disparage anyone who liked this movie because I know in my heart that they’re wrong.  This movie was a mess.  I was bored throughout most of it.  I don’t know if I would go so far as to say the acting was terrible, but it was just a disjointed snooze-fest.  I didn’t really care about any of the characters.  Don’t get me started on the Joker or the lovey-dovey relationship with HQ.  Feel free to disagree with me on this one, but search your feelings and learn to forgive yourself for being so misguided.

Titanfall 2 Alpha Tech Demo Weekend – I played a lot of the first Titanfall and enjoyed it tremendously.  I still go back to it now and again.  It is the opinion of this underground dwelling mammal that Titanfall 2 provides the same amount of hectic, fun pick-up-and-play that the original did, with the added benefit of grappling hooks.  This past weekend’s free play had two maps, two Titans, three play types and a level cap of 10 and while one of the maps felt a little small and constrained, it was still a hell of a lot of fun to play.  Havok Games seems open to player suggestions. On Saturday they released a game patch that decreased the time it takes to earn a titan during a match explaining that they felt it just took too long.  This tells me that they are open to gameplay tweeks before the full release.  They are having another tech demo this weekend and I fully intend to play the fuck out of it.
That wraps it up for this week’s post.  If you are wondering where last week’s post is, check under the couch, it’s almost always under the couch.
Until next time…