On March 11, what is arguably the most anticipated video game of 2014 fell on millions of gamers everywhere. The name of the game is Titanfall. It was developed by Respawn Entertainment. For those of you with only a small understanding of the video game world, Respawn Entertainment is composed of the former staff of the development company Infinity Ward, including its co-founders, Jason West and Vince Zampella. While at Infinity Ward, this staff did nothing of note. Except produce what is today the standard in the First Person Shooter genre, (for better or worse) Call of Duty. After the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (my personal favorite COD) in 2010, the team got into a major disagreement with the publisher of the game, Activision. After this disagreement led to several lawsuits, the co-founders and much of the staff left Infinity Ward and formed Respawn Entertainment. When they did, they began working on a new IP. This IP is called Titanfall, an FPS that combines mech warfare and Call of Duty-like first person shooter elements, with the addition of many cool parkour abilities. After three plus years of work, the game has been released for the Xbox One and PC. Did you enjoy the history lesson? Ready to talk about the actual game? Ok let's go.
So first I feel I must say: this game is f*cking fun. For me personally it is one of the funnest multiplayer games I have ever experienced, constantly creating new "water cooler" moments, such as the time I and my opponent ejected from our titans simultaneously and I killed him in midair, or the time I did some badass parkouring over an opponent and killed him from above, or the time I won a cat-and-mouse game with an opponent in a titan. Just to name a few. After about 6 hours of playing. Seriously. Respawn figured out exactly how to properly balance both the titan elements and the human elements of this game to create an incredibly original and fresh take on the the FPS genre. Something it DESPERATELY needed. And while many of you may say that the FPS genre is dying, I can honestly see myself playing this game for a long time. Sure it's a little shallow on multiplayer modes, but they will fix that in time! Have no fear there. But most of you know of the positives, so let's talk about the HUGE elephant in the room that many important "gaming journalists" have failed to elaborate on. The multiplayer campaign.
What if I told you that there was an FPS out there using many multiplayer elements in its story campaign to have people work together and against each other to complete for various objectives to try to further their individual group's causes? And that every success and failure your group had would either advance or diminish said cause? Sound cool? Sure does to me. Have you seen it in a game? No? Well sh*t. Cause it sure as hell ain't here. When I heard the premise of Titanfall's campaign mode, I got....moist. Wait what? Um....it sounded so cool! But as it turns out it's just hugely wasted potential. All it is is the classic multiplayer with a lot of background noise. It's 9 missions, lasting about 10 minutes each, of either Attrition (which is Titanfall's version of Team Deathmatch) or Domination. (Capture the Hill) No matter what you do, the "story" progresses from one mission to the next. There's not even a "well since we lost that was a little bit more difficult" line. Nope. Just an extremely simple progression. There's two sides to the same story, as we follow an apparent war between a group of either terrorists or freedom fighters (I could never figure out what we were supposed to think about them) and the government, called the IMC. One of them, the militia, is decently written. There are a couple of cool moments, enough to keep me entertained for 90 minutes. However the IMC side was laughably bad. While both campaigns felt tact on, the militia's side at least looked like they put a few months of time into it. The IMC's side looks like they spent a freaking week on it. Now I get that you're going to get the same events on both sides, which clearly favor the militia, but the VERY least you could do is create a cool espionage element with the IMC! Like that they were letting the militia achieve their goals in preparation for something, ANYTHING. But nope! When I was playing with the IMC, we kept on winning, and the word "Victory" would even pop up on the screen, but then the main guy providing exposition would tell us we won the mission but the militia achieved it's goal anyway. Wait what? And all of this is reading more into the story than I bet anyone else has been able to. After all, I could barely make out what was going on at any point on either side most of the time. And I was paying attention. In short, the campaign is a complete waste of time. A set list of multiplayer games with people yelling exposition over the top of it. After creating some of the coolest "water cooler" moments ever in MW2's short campaign, Infinity Ward aka Respawn Entertainment created basically none in Titanfall. Instead they decided to rely solely on the multiplayer portions doing it for them. I honestly feel that this game is not worth all of its asking price. What we have is not a $60 game. It's a $50 game. And while I can say that we can wait for DLC to hopefully create a more intricate campaign experience, that's going to cost even MORE money! YAY! MONEY EVERYWHERE. Damnit.....
To sum up, don't call me a Titanfall hater. I f*cking love this game. While it's only worth $50, I'm not complaining that I spent $60 on it. I will definitely get my money's worth. Just....you know what? TotalBiscuit said it best with our expectations for Titanfall. "We are going to have to make do with merely great. Not revolutionary." That's it. Sorry to disappoint, but this is not the revolutionary genre-defining game you were looking for. Now, let's have fun playing the great game that is Titanfall. I'll see you on Xbox Live.
If you have the game and want play some Titanfall, hit me up at LOL UR D3AD.
So the Oscars have come and gone. Now let's talk about it, yes? Just going to throw a few random thoughts on here that stand out in my mind from this year's Oscars. One of the best Oscars of recent memory? I'd say.....yes. Absolutely.
First off, let's talk about Ellen. Ellen Ellen Ellen. She....wow. She was really really really good. Easily one of the best hosts I have ever seen. From a great running pizza gag to selfies, Ellen was going all out to appeal to the younger generation of viewers. This even had the unintended side effect of actually crashing Twitter briefly as over 2.5 MILLION people retweeted Ellen's picture that you see above in the span of about 2 hours. Can we just take a moment to think about how utterly ridiculous this is? Ya. Not only that, but the movie stars reacted to Ellen being eccentric and unpredictable just as though they were acting. As in really well. They were surprised, perplexed, laughing, and helping out when needed. A great multitude of actors came to Ellen's aid as she passed out pizza to everyone. That actually happened. But it wasn't just that. She constantly was doing something funny, electing to go for more modern humor and not creating much controversy in the process. (Remember Seth MacFarlane a few years back?) She was overall an excellent host, and one of the best of recent memory.
The tributes this year were slightly lackluster. The heroes tribute was the best, but it, like the animation tribute earlier in the night, were unnecessary. I think they both happened because we had a bad year for identifiable heroes. Man of Steel was a major disappointment, along with The Lone Ranger, not to mention the ENTIRE children's genre in terms of the animation tribute. (Minus Frozen) Honestly the Wizard of Oz tribute was the only tribute that had grounds for actually existing. The musical numbers were great, however. My personal favorite was Pharrell Williams performing Happy and dancing with Lupita Nyong'o, but The Moon Song was good as well. U2 had a good acoustic performance, even though it was a bit of a middle finger to that orchestra to not use them. Idina couldn't hit the note of the night, which was hugely unfortunate, but her performance of Let It Go was still excellent too.
As for the awards, the Oscars played it very safe this year. Of the Vegas favorites, the only 3 categories they missed were both shorts categories (which are unpredictable anyway because for the most part nobody can see them) and Best Documentary. Since we are excluding shorts, it is safe to say that the only ONLY upset of the Oscars this year was 20 Feet From Stardom winning Best Documentary over The Act of Killing. Which doesn't even matter because everyone knows that the best documentary of 2013 was Blackfish anyway.
Recently the Academy has been obsessed with it's image. The media was already getting on the train of if you don't give 12 Years a Slave Best Picture, you're all racists to the point that Ellen actually included it in her opening monologue. And while I will have a separate article on why 12 Years a Slave did not deserve Best Picture, (I know I'm NOT a racist so I don't care if you think I am) the Academy didn't have any bold upsets this year, such as giving Best Actress to Amy Adams or Best Actor to Leo. Lord knows we can't imply that we support what he did, right?? While I stand by the statement I made in an earlier article about Leo's performance in Wolf of Wall Street being the best acting performance of 2013, I knew there was no way that they would actually give him an Oscar. The safe decision was to give it to the man who played a guy suffering from AIDS. While I am very happy McConaughey completed his Ben Affleck recovery story with an Oscar in his had, I really wish that this would've been the year for Leo. Next time....again....
The coolest speech of the night was Cate Blanchett's. She spent most of her speech telling us how good the other actresses were this year in their performances. I can respect that as a class act. Jared Leto gets a close second though. While there was some pretentious self-promotion, he did have a nice portion devoting his win to AIDS patients everywhere. I can respect that.
Big Winner: Gravity's clean sweep of the technical categories. I predicted this would happen, but I didn't think it actually would. And now there are a bunch of haters that exist because of Gravity's well-deserving seven wins. While it lost to white guilt for Best Picture, it will be the movie of 2013 that we remember 20 years from now, so it doesn't matter.
Big Loser: American Hustle. What....nine nominations? I think? Maybe ten. But a lot. With no wins. None. While I figured it was going to lose out on a lot of its nominations, I was hoping for at least one win out of Costumes. It is so much harder to make costumes look good for a movie based on a period that people who are alive have lived through. Ok. That was really confusing, so let's try again. It is so much harder to accurately recreate costumes for a period that people who are alive today actually lived through (there are plenty of people alive now that lived through the 70s) than it is for a movie to accurately recreate costumes from a period that people can't remember. (There are very few people alive today who lived through the 20s) Make sense? I hope so. That's the primary reason why I felt American Hustle deserved the award for Costume Design over Gatsby. Anyway...ya. Poor American Hustle.
To sum up, thought that this year's Oscars were great. While there were no major upsets, and several unnecessary tributes, they were still very enjoyable. And only a few controversial moments! (Remember the part where John Travolta came on stage blazed and couldn't pronounce Idina Menzel's name? Ya I hope we never see Travolta on stage at the Oscars again.) Now....it's time for life to go back to being normal. Great. What am I going to do with all this free time? Watch 12 Years a Slave again and do immense research on it and write an entirely too-detailed article on why it didn't deserve Best Picture? OK! LET'S DO IT!
My grade for the Oscars 2014: B+
Strong Points: Ellen, Musical Performances
Weak Points: Bad Tributes, Safe picks from the Academy
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