Games, Titanfall

How I Fell In Love With Titanfall

Titanfall Wallpaper
Source: Respawn Entertainment, Fair Use: Titanfall (video game)
Titanfall was created by previous key members of the Call of Duty franchise.

When Respawn’s Titanfall Xbox One bundle came out and we picked it up at the store together, my boyfriend was more excited than I was. He had tried the demo at his friend’s house before it came out, and had nothing but praise for the new game. To me, it was just another online multiplayer first-person shooter like Call of Duty. My boyfriend and his friends would stay up late playing that franchise together, teamed against other players in constant shooting matches. I had played Call of Duty split screen with my brother before, and never saw lasting appeal.

I don’t normally play first-person shooter games, especially when they required interacting online with other people. Too often I heard players during my boyfriend’s Call of Duty games bashing other players, being annoying or simply being children. Some of them actually were children. I couldn’t stand the thought of playing a game online that 1). I didn’t excel at and 2). being ridiculed for it. I handle social situations with more sensitivity than some people, and harsh comments made from behind a microphone would hurt me more than they should.

I enjoyed first-person shooter games when I was younger, but only when I was playing split screen with family. I still remember the days my cousins, brothers and I would sit around a small television, passing off N64 controllers each time we died during intense rounds of Goldeneye. I had no problem playing Perfect Dark with my brothers, and later playing games like Nightfire on the Playstation 2. Competition between family was different – it was serious, but never went beyond the game. It was never as intimidating as playing online with complete strangers.

Yet, as I watched my boyfriend play a couple of rounds of Titanfall, I became transfixed on the game. It was like every first-person shooter game I had seen, and like none of them at the same time. I saw people running on the walls and calling down massive mechs to fight in. And for the first time in a while, I felt the urge to play a first person shooter game, this game. But maybe not online. No, I would just try out the training course. There was no need to play online.

And then there was, because the training simulation wasn’t enough. I aced it, and then sat there staring at the campaign. I figured the campaign would be full of newer players just like me, so maybe I would try the first round. And even though my hands were shaking and my palms were sweating, I did it. Mind you, I had no microphone plugged in and did not plan on speaking to anyone, but I was still anxious. Picturing players on the others sides of their screens watching me play – potentially judging me – made me very nervous.

Titanfall Scores
Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: Titanfall (video game)
While I’m no expert, I have finished at the top of my game several times!

The thought that pushed me the most – that made online multiplayer seem okay – was that I didn’t need to work with other people. The campaign only utilized two game modes – Attrition and Hardpoint. In Attrition, all I had to do was focus on taking out enemy players with my weapons or my Titan. In Hardpoint, I didn’t need teamwork to capture A, B or C as long as there wasn’t much resistance. I operated on my own agenda, going for whichever Hardpoint was closest or the least populated. Teamwork didn’t matter.

And then something amazing happened. Hours passed and I couldn’t stop myself from playing through the campaign. Adrenaline coursed through me when we captured a hardpoint, or took down a Titan, or won a match. If we didn’t win the match, I didn’t give up – I fought hard to reach the drop point and evacuate in our team’s ship. And while it was competitive, I also found myself silently praising other players who took me out by being clever or catching me off-guard. This isn’t to say I didn’t curse like a sailor, but it wasn’t hateful.

When I called down my Titan, I found myself seeking out my Titan-clad teammates to take down our opponents with them. I started riding my teammates’ Titans into battle to watch their backs. I followed my teammates from hardpoint to hardpoint even though nobody was giving commands through their microphones. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t as skilled as the other players on my team – as long as I defended a hardpoint, killed NPC grunts or militia and genuinely tried my hardest. Teamwork came naturally and did, in a sense, matter.

Titanfall made me love playing a first-person shooter online, more so than I ever truly enjoyed World of Warcraft, which used to be my extent of online multiplayer gaming. In Titanfall, I am constantly learning – I am learning which guns best suit my play style, or which weapons I shouldn’t use during an Attrition match. I continually hone my skills and enjoy it, whether it is wall parkour or taking out enemy Titans with just an anti-Titan weapon. I’ve fallen in love with Titanfall and now, I am okay with that.

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