The Road To Gaming Rebirth: Titanfall

Note: This was originally written back in May. At the time, I was going to write a series of articles related to my journey back into gaming. It would have been called “The Road To Gaming Rebirth”. Though I will still talk about the games I am playing regularly, I no longer plan on making this a Repeatable series.

 

The first step to my gaming rebirth was picking up an Xbox One. Several retailers put the Titanfall bundle on sale, and I figured it was a sign to take the plunge. Titanfall caught my interest from seeing posts around the web. A first person shooter with giant robots sounded cool to me. When I found out that the game was online multiplayer only, I was hesitant. I decided that the sale price was worth it. Even if I did not like the game, I pretty much got it for free.

Setting up the Xbox One was a fun experience. I have had an Xbox 360 for many years, but I use it for streaming video. I do not game on it, and I had no experience with the Kinect. Turning on the Xbox One and using the improved Kinect was great. Talking to my system and navigating the menus was a surreal experience. It felt like a new era of gaming. Digital copies of games was not normal when I stopped gaming, so receiving a download code for Titanfall was strange. Holding the Titanfall download card up for the Kinect to view and start downloading was awesome though. No typing, no hassle, it was a positive experience.

The size of the Titanfall download was daunting. Growing up in an era where games were less than a MB, 20 GBs felt immense. However, the download went quick, and soon I was ready to play. It was weird not having a instruction booklet to read before starting. Later, my brother told me that no physical games come with booklets anymore. That blew my mind. To make up for the lack of instructions, I jumped into the tutorial and played through the various missions. I was not new to the FPS genre, but I worried about the learning curve. Controls for newer games intimidate me. With each progressive lesson, I felt justified in those feelings.There were a lot of buttons that did a lot of things.

After the tutorial (and earning the first achievement points on my Xbox account in a long time), I jumped into the campaign mode. At first I felt disoriented. Match after match went by and my team got slaughtered. That did not stop the story though. It kept going, not caring what side won or lost. After playing through as the IMF, I unlocked a new titan. Then I played through as the Militia, lost almost every match again and unlocked another titan. It was frustrating to be on a team that had no chance of winning. It also felt pointless to include a campaign mode when the wins and losses did not change the story progression.

With that behind me, I began playing matches of Attrition. As time progressed, I got better, but I still ended up on teams that got slaughtered repeatedly. The matchmaking in the game was in desperate need of repair. Despite the frustration, I trekked on and continued to improve. The developers rolled out an update with improved matchmaking. The new feature helped increase my enjoyment of the game. I was no longer losing every time, and I was even beginning to rise to the top of my teams.

I continued to play as I aimed for Level 50 (the highest level in the game). I kept playing Attrition matches, and found they held my interest. I earned new skills, weapons and achievements. Most importantly, I got better with the controls and began to be a top scorer in many of the games. It felt good. While I played, I also experimented with streaming my game using Twitch. The Xbox One setup was simple, and I streamed my matches for a week or two. My brother and girlfriend watched a few times. It was fun to interact, but I knew that most people would not be interested in watching me play. Either way, it was cool to try out.

I did not want to feel stuck playing Titanfall forever. I know some people stick with multiplayer games for a long time and love it. That is not for me. I like to have a finite ending to something. Reaching Level 50 became that finite ending for me. I hit my goal and completed roughly 50% of the achievements. It felt satisfying. Dead Rising 3 was next on the list to play, and a looming purchase of a PS4 was on the horizon. It was time to move on.

Titanfall was a risky game to start on my journey back into gaming. I had not played the genre since Halo 2, and the multiplayer only gameplay was scary. I knew some online gamers are hardcore. But in the end, it proved that I can learn the skills needed to compete in newer games, and I can enjoy myself while I do it. Overall, I thought Titanfall was great. I did not try all the various modes, and I have not gone back to try the new DLC. What I played was enough for me. I had fun, I did not get bogged down in having to unlock everything and I felt like I got my money’s worth. It was a successful start to my journey.

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