Titanfall Beta Gameplay Footage and Initial Impressions

Titanfall Beta

After Call of Duty: Ghosts left such an awful taste in my mouth, I thought I’d never play another modern FPS. I’d grown comfortable with the fact that I’d stick to fighting games and the occasional MOBA and leave competitive gun slinging safely in my past along with gas station taquitos and Wings reruns.

Then Titanfall came along.

Like many people, I was lucky enough to get into the PC stress test this weekend and I have to say, it was incredible. It’s like someone sat down and took everything good about every past FPS and found a way to fit all of those little pieces together into something that doesn’t look or feel like an FPS equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster.

The gameplay is fast, the maps are huge (but not so huge that it feels like you’re never in the action), the fields and corridors are filled with NPC fodder that you can easily kill to gain experience (and points toward victory in Attrition mode), the weapons are incredibly fun to use and to top it all off the parkour elements and the ability to double jump make it feel like I’m controlling a space-aged version of Ezio Auditore. I also can’t say anything about Titanfall without mentioning the melee kills. I was a fan of the commando pro perk in MW2 because it extended the knife’s effective range. There is no knife in Titanfall, you just cram a rocket-powered boot into your enemy’s chest or, if you’re behind them, break their neck in a cinematic fashion. The effective melee range is comparable to the commando pro knife range, so I feel right at home flying around and sticking boots into faces.

Though open beta testers only have access to a very small amount of weapons, two maps and a single titan, the game still feels complete; it is still something that I would readily purchase in its current state. That it is going to have 14 total maps, about ten times as many weapons and more titans on release sounds almost too good to be true.

And if you’re looking to try the beta yourself, follow this link to the official signup page. The beta is set to end on Thursday, so don’t wait!

[NOTE: Through uploading this video, I have discovered that my video quality until now has been rather subpar. This lack of beautiful visuals was easy to overlook in fighting game videos, but it’s not easy to overlook when things become so blurry in a game like Titanfall. For the moment, I am without a way to fix this quality issue, as I do all of my editing with Windows Movie Maker (I don’t have another program to do it currently). About an hour ago, I did some research to find out at what point in the process my video quality had degraded from the 720p that I recorded in to… whatever exactly is currently on the YouTubes. I found that the drop occurred when I moved the file into Movie Maker for editing, which compressed the file into .wmv format, resulting in a drastic reduction of  visual quality.

For now, I’m going to spend some time looking into alternative editing programs that aren’t in the Adobe price range, as that is just unrealistic. If anyone knows of a program that will allow simple editing without a reduction in quality, please let me know!]

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The Goofiest Weekly Vortex Ever. Seriously.

IbukinewsizeThis is the longest video that I’ve uploaded. It clocks in at just under 18 minutes and I honestly didn’t have the heart to cut any more of the footage than I did. I tried. I just couldn’t do it.

I had an incredible amount of fun recording these matches, and it probably has something to do with the fact that I had, just prior to playing, spent about five hours reading a book that I was just not into at all. I’m not, nor have I ever been a fan of the Romance genre, but hey, sometimes you have to read stuff that you don’t want to because it’s on the syllabus. For those curious, the book was Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. It was well-written (as far as, like, word choice is concerned), but the pacing was just really off.  Way too slow. It could have been a short story. I also didn’t care about any of the characters involved; they were all pretty one-dimensional and served only to prop up the protagonist who I didn’t like. It felt like I was reading Bridesmaids and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep when I was watching that, so, yeah.

Anyway, this isn’t Lance’s Awesome Book Blog, so let’s get back to the video: I did live commentary this time and the hype levels got downright remarkable at a couple of points. The matches don’t really demonstrate my best performance, but man, I don’t mind that at all. It was the most fun I’ve had making a video for this site (and I’ve been making videos for close to a year now!)

So seriously, check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.

Marvel Locals Recap and More!

Marvel

The turnout on Saturday was pretty good. In total, there were five of us who played Marvel and a couple of people who were there just to hang out (my money is on converting them to players in the near future).  I’m told that there were two people who came to the previous gatherings that weren’t able to make it out this time and I know that I have at least one more friend who intends to go to the next meeting, which would bring our total up to eight. Eight people. That’s a very respectable amount of like-minded individuals who intend to throw hams with one another.

We ran two setups and people traded off spots with the odd man out at random–but fair–intervals. Obviously, once we have more people attending we’ll need to either get a third setup going or run matches in a two out of three or first to three format to keep everyone playing and involved. I think I’d prefer the option of keeping two setups and rotating people in; it will allow people to take time and watch each other play, which can be just as important as actually sitting down and unleashing a dark Wesker of your own.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the entire evening was seeing the array of different teams used and the skill range present. I was pretty securely in the middle of the pack with my Zero/Wolverine/Doom team. The people who were able to beat me, though, did so with finesse.  These near-perfect victories (as most of them were) for my opponents came in two forms: armored attacks from Hulk covered with a Haggar assist–and me, stupidly, pressing buttons–or, level four Frank West. Once those chainsaws are out, man, somebody is going to lose an arm. I lost several.

The obvious solution to dealing with the Hulk team is to just not get fooled into hitting buttons when I shouldn’t. That’s harder than it sounds, especially when I’m used to teleporting around like a crazy person with no ill effects and tossing out pizza slicers as often as my H button will allow. As for the Frank West team, well, I just need to learn to deal with his pressure without getting hit. It all comes down to a lack of being able to maintain an active defense while still putting out damage, something that I’ve always struggled with in Marvel. This is the kind of thing that can only truly be improved through play.

Playing with a variety of new people showed me that I’m basically back where I was with this team before I stopped playing several months ago, and, just like several months ago, I’ve fallen into a comfortable, predictable pattern of play. Every match would look exactly the same if my opponent did nothing. I can watch replays of myself using Zero/Wolverine/Doom and say out loud, “next, I’m going to back dash twice and fire my buster,” which, without missing a beat, unfolds on the screen. I can predict the angles of approach I’m about to use on Doom (which are always incredibly rushdown heavy, something that I naturally favor) and I can tell when I’m going to use a berserker slash with Logan. It’s just too predictable overall.

It’s a tough rut to get out of, and it’s one that I fell into with Ibuki a while back. Granted, I still have bad habits with Ibuki, but not nearly so many as I had. The way that I was best able to overcome the issues that I had with her was to spend a great deal of time with other characters. I picked up Evil Ryu and played him exclusively for a few weeks. I went back to Chun-Li and played her for a couple of weeks after that. Taking time away from Ibuki made me miss certain tools that she has that other characters don’t, specifically her command runs and her back+MP. Once I went back to Ibuki with fresh eyes, I was able to put these tools to better use.

MVC3 Storm

That means that I’m going to try messing with some different characters in Marvel. Right now I only have one requirement for the team: at least one character must be able to tri-jump. I’m leaning toward Storm, but I have no idea who to put with her. I’ve seen some team compositions that use Strider, Dante, Wesker, Akuma, all sorts of characters to take advantage of what Storm brings to a team, but I have no idea how to play any of them. This will undoubtedly be an adventure. If I had to pick three characters that I have no idea how to play, it’d probably be Dante/Storm/Strider, but that’s a lot to learn from a few very high-execution characters. I’ve got a month to pick up some new stuff, though, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

In other news, I recently had the pleasure of playing several matches of AE with my overseas friend from the blogosphere, o0 InFraRED 0o. I was surprised by how good our connection was. Sure, we had red bars, but there were maybe two incidents where the game actually stuttered noticeably. It was, overall, just a touch sluggish, but I’m so accustomed to online play in that game that I can adapt fairly quickly to that sort of thing. I’ve got a mean under water Ibuki and I always pack my snorkel.

Be sure to check back Friday for a video. It could be pretty much anything at this point.

Marvel Locals On the Horizon, GET HYPE!

ZeroWolverineDoomTomorrow is the day. After months of daydreaming about having a local scene, tomorrow is the day where I’ll make the 45 minute trek to a nearby city and hang out in the apartment of a complete stranger with a couple of my buddies. We plan to play only Marvel. The guy who hosts these monthly meetings believes that it’s easier to get a group together to play a single game than it is to have everyone show up with a copy of their favorite game.

“What do you mean you guys don’t want to play Aquapazza?”

It’s a good idea to focus on a single title. It makes people train in that specific game, even if it’s not the game that they typically play. No one feels cheated because they spent all week training in P4A. No one is surprised.

Here’s a rough look at how I’ve been preparing for tomorrow:

(I said it was rough, okay? Like, really rough) I have to admit that I’m a little nervous. It’s sort of like going to a tournament for the first time. I’ve never met these people, have no idea who they play and have no idea how good they are. They may have all just picked up the game a couple of months ago, or they may have placed at EVO two years ago.

Who knows!

It’ll be exciting. I’ll give you guys a recap on Tuesday!

The Results Are in! Also, There’s a Video!

IbukinewsizeThe poll closed a week ago today, and the answers were basically what I expected to see. All but a couple of stragglers said that they want to see more AE matches with Ibuki. The first-to-five idea was pretty popular (37.5%), as was the regular ranked match option (25%). In keeping with the votes, I’m going to see if I can get some people to agree to do some sets with me. It’ll be a good break from the online warrior style.

There’s something about being able to fight the same person several times in a row that changes the game. It helps to build a set of skills that apply directly to tournament play: learning to read how an opponent plays and being okay with losing a couple of matches to learn how to deal with what they’re doing. Ranked matches are the opposite. You get, at best, one round to figure out how the opponent plans to abuse your character. If you fail to figure it out in time, better be ready to, ahem, Hold that L.

Today’s video is just a standard ranked match lineup with some live commentary. I’ve been spending a great deal of time exploring Ibuki’s anti-air options and it’s starting to show up in my play. At least once in this video, I manage to follow an agemen with something damaging! The damage increase is substantial. It’s no SRK into ultra, but it’s certainly a start.

Ibuki anti-airs have fascinated me since around the time SFXT released. I was struggling with the necessary execution for her combos off of agemen in AE at the time, so the system in SFxT was a welcome change–it didn’t require a command dash cancel to do a follow-up. When I realized that, I made my first video. For the sake of nostalgia, here it is:

Life before my Elgato was difficult. I had to stack a pile of about 20 text books on top of my nightstand and park it in front of my TV to be able to record this footage. I seriously taped (yes, taped. scotch taped) my camera to the top book of the pile to guarantee a steady shot and hit record. The editing was a nightmare… and the screen is crooked.