WoW Progress Update

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one of these. Yep, I’m still playing WoW. Does that mean I’m past the 3 monther status now?

KGC & Friends are now 7/7 Heroic Emerald Nightmare, and 3/3 Trial of Valor.

That’s quite an accomplishment for us. We are a VERY casual raiding guild — about as casual as they come. We raid 2 nights a week for 2 hours each night. Typically our raids are on Monday and Sunday at 4:30pm PST. Yep, that’s right, we raid only 4 hours a week.

One of the biggest challenges with being so casual is that we have had to fight the idea that being casual means it’s okay to be unreliable or not committed and dedicated. We had to let some people weed themselves out. Some people wanted to raid more. We had to let them go and flap their wings and fly free. Some people didn’t have the patience to wipe and thought wiping for a couple of hours on a boss wasn’t fun, and they too had to depart. That’s okay. We want people who want to play the way we play.

I’m proud of the team we have. We sort of lead by committee, and have everyone participate in the raid leader role. If someone has a suggestion, and it makes sense, then we try it. We laugh, joke, and have fun.

KGC on FenrisWe’re also very much about realizing that people have real life obligations. We have business professionals who have to miss a week at a time, USPS drivers making Christmas deliveries, etc. That’s okay. As long as people let us know they can’t make it, we can work to replace them that night. We’re not afraid to PUG, and we just have the goal of doing content every time we raid.

We’re now gearing up for when Nighthold comes out. I’m excited! Even more content and things to see and do. I ended up going full-time tank now, and have been this way for almost a month. I’m 870 item level, and having a blast.

If you’re looking for a raiding guild that fits the description above, feel free to contact me in-game (Bewear-Fenris) or leave a note here. We are definitely recruiting and have room for more like-minded players.

My New Favorite Headphones & Mic

I’ve been tentatively in the market for a new headset for a year now. I’ve had the same Sennheiser  PC 320 headset since about 2012 The sound quality was pretty good, and the mic quality was superb — unmatched by anything I could find. I needed to replace them because I have very sensitive ears, and they sit to far over my ears just enough that they would push on this little bump of cartilage and cause me significant pain after about 2 hours of wear.

I thought I might want to look at these “gaming headsets” out there. All I could find were overpriced heavy pieces of plastic. Everything in my price range was horribly reviewed, and I wasn’t about to drop $300+ on decent ones.

Going completely off the reservation, I decided to try something new: Headphones. Not a headset. Headphones. I’m glad I did, because I found the best pair of headphones I’ve ever worn.

Sennheiser HD 598SE

The Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition over the ear headphones are simply magnificent. I feel like I’m wearing clouds on my ears. When I take them off, I still brace for the pain my previous headset brought, but it doesn’t come. I wore these for 6 hours straight and when I took them off my ears felt normal.The headband is padded leatherette, and the ear pads are an extra-padded velour.

Sennheiser HD 598SE

 

No pain. Not sweat. Nothing. Just normal. That’s definitely new for me.

The audio quality is also phenomenal. I’ve used Sennheiser for the past 10 years, and I feel like my previous headset had good audio, but the audio here is superb. I’m not quite an audiophile where I will critique certain levels of bass or anything, but I’m an average user who can confidently say, “The audio sounds great!”

The 598SE features a removable cable from the headphones. You can see it there in the picture above. The cable can swap between a 3.5mm and a 6.3mm (2 cables, but an adapter is included anyway).

These are over the ears and “open back” which means they do not block out any sound. I have a HUGE peeve with headphones that block out sound. I hate that sense of hearing myself in my head. I hate the closed in feel. I want to hear what’s going on around me, and I always feel like the noise canceling ones are too tight and make my ears sweat.

My one critique is that the audio is LOUD. My previous headset had windows volume at 100 and I turned people on in Discord. The 598SE makes me turn Windows down to 15 and I still turn people and games down. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. Just be warned!

The Sennheiser HD 598SE will cost you about $148 on Amazon. I give these 5/5 stars and can’t say enough good things.

The Problem: Now I Needed a Mic

Looking for mic options, I felt even more overwhelmed. There are all sorts of options out there from desk mics like the Yeti to clip ons to various boom mic options. Nothing looked great. I didn’t want a desk mic because those really only work when you push them right up against your face. I prefer something attached to me, closer to my mouth and out of my way.

I picked up a Zalman ZM-Mic1 for $6 on Amazon and it was ‘okay’ but far from the quality I was used to. People said I sounded hollow, and quiet. I returned to the hunt. Then I found one of the best ideas ever…

ModMic

ModMic from Antlion Audio

ModMic Magnetic ClaspThe ModMic is an attachable boom mic! It connects to pretty much anything a 3m adhesive pad can stick to. At first glance, it sounds a little janky. I thought to myself, “You mean I have to stick this thing to my new headset?” You don’t even realize it’s connected that way once you have it on, and the sleek design blends right in.

The mic is even detachable via a patented magnet clasp. You simply attach the little base (pictured right) to your headphones, and then the magnet snaps into place. What’s cool about the design is that you can ‘rotate’ the microphone up and down because of the interlocking teeth.

Cable management became my next concern, but  the ModMic comes with little clips. I simply routed my cables together with the clips, and it’s almost as though there weren’t two cables.

modmicPerhaps the most important question: How’s it sound?

I think it sounds perfect. Just like the mic on my old Sennheiser headset that I thought had perfect clarity. I have no complaints about the audio, and my friends on Discord say that I sound great.

There are two options for your mic with a ModMic: Omni-directional and Uni-directional. The ModMic 5 (just  came out 2 days ago) comes with both options. Omni gives you a richer sound, but should be used on a decently quiet environment. An office or normal house space should be just fine. The Uni-directional version is noise-cancelling, but creates a somewhat less ‘full’ sound.

If you want the ModMic 5, it’s currently available on Antlion’s site for $69.95. Here’s my biggest critique: That’s just too much. That’s why I actually went with the ModMic 4, and chose to buy the Omni-directional version (without a mute switch) on Amazon for $49. I tweeted Antlion and they responded that there is no quality difference in the Omni-directional mic on the 4.0 compared to the 5.0. Saving $20+ (and having free one day shipping) was worth it to me, as I felt no need to have a mute switch or a Uni-directional option.

Although pricey, I give the ModMic 5/5 stars. It does what it’s intended to do, and it does it well. The design is innovative and solves the problem of having a great sounding mic on a perfectly comfortable pair of headphones.

Important: Use a USB Soundcard!

Sabrent Sound CardNever, ever, ever, ever ^10 just plug your headphones or mic into your motherboard. It simply can’t provide the amps, and there’s all sorts of interference and issues when you do. Your mic — even a good one — will sound like crap. Your audio quality will suffer too.

I use the Sabrent USB Sound Adapter. It’s $7 on Amazon, and it’ll change your life if you’ve never used one. There are plenty of options out there. You can just search Amazon or google for “USB Sound Card“.

The sound will not only come in clearer to your headphones, but your mic will sound better because this little guy will send like 3-4 amps to the mic to give it a better quality sound.

Finally I’m Happy with my Audio

So, after a year of hunting, I can finally say I am completely satisfied. My ears don’t hurt, my games sound great, and my mic is nice and clear for making videos and talking to friends while I game.

My total, all-in setup here ran me about $186. Feel free to share your setups with others who may be on the hunt for new headphones or microphone solutions.

I Am So Ready for Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild

In the words of Reggie, my body is ready.

Nintendo showed off some new gameplay in an awkward/fake “Let’s Play” during the VGA.

Despite the awkwardness, Breath of the Wild continues to look great.

Nintendo is continually pumping out amiibo to go along with Zelda, including a few new 30th anniversary ones that will include goodies in-game. The goodies aren’t enough to entice me to hunt for the amiibo or drop the cash on them, but I like Nintendo’s idea of implementing them. I’m torn between being a fan of the toy addons gimmick and being annoyed by them. But my love for them, and even further my love for the toys-to-life genre in general, keeps my internal strife going.

Zelda games have turned into a great gaming activity for me and Bri. We just finished up Twilight Princess HD for Wii U this month. It was awesome. As usual for us, I played and she was my co-pilot. When I would get stuck or have no clue where to go, she would have the walkthrough ready to guide us to the next adventure. Now we’re probably going to try and beat Windwaker before Breath of the Wild comes out.

We’re definitely getting Breath of the Wild of the Nintendo Switch. Fingers crossed it’s a launch title. Nintendo needs it to be.

Dauntless (Co-op Action RPG) Looks Cool

Dauntless F2P Action Co-op RPG

Dauntless is a F2P Co-op Action RPG coming next year. Visually it’s compelling, and conceptually (from a 30,000 feet perspective) it sound pretty cool.

From what I can piece together with my imagination (because that’s what they want you to do, so that you create this awesome hype machine all on your own), it seems like Dauntless if some sort of Monster Hunter experience.

Dauntless is an online co-op action RPG set in a savage science-fantasy world where up to 4 players (Slayers in the Dauntless universe) work together to hunt down ferocious beasts called Behemoths. Slayers will explore an ever-changing, uncharted frontier, brimming with verdant flora and unique wildlife to find and destroy Behemoths. Each Behemoth has its own unique abilities and rewards, making each fight engaging and full of unique challenges.”

Big monsters to hunt? Check
Different weapon styles with varying degrees of combos and abilities? Check
Crafted armor and weapons most likely based on monster drops? Check
A tagline on the website stating “Join the Hunt”? Check.

Dauntless characters

Can you see why it looks like Monster Hunter? Personally, I’m thrilled. I enjoy Monster Hunter on the 3DS, but that’s not the platform I really want to play this type of game on. A PC, multiplayer co-op style game would be perfect.

Now here’s the rub… it’s going to be F2P. To what extent this business model decision will obliterate their design remains to be seen. What I DO know is that we’re finally entering an era where we can unanimously agree that games no longer need to be free. This isn’t 2010-2015 anymore. Feels so good to say that. We’re going into 2017 now where F2P is once again starting (emphasis on starting, we’re still working on getting rid of it) to phase out of popularity.

There’s a beta signup on the official Dauntless website. Fingers crossed for something decent. I’m itchin’ for a good action rpg.

Gears of War 4 Review

Gears of War Campaign Review

Gears of War 4 came out last month, and naturally it’s taken Graev and I a little bit of time to finish up the campaign. I’m going to review the story campaign of GoW 4, but not the competitive versus modes on the multiplayer side.

Overall Story

If you haven’t played the original Gears trilogy, stop and go pick it up on Amazon for $30. It’s the original game with remastered graphics + backwards compatible versions of GoW 1, 2, 3, and judgement. You can play on PC or Xbox One depending on the version you buy.

Gears 4 is the first in what will become a new Gears trilogy. GoW4 picks up 25 years after the events of the third game when the characters are all much older and mostly grey.

You play as Marcus’ son, J.D., who abandoned the controlling and martial law enforcing COG to join the Outsiders who refuse to live under COG rule inside walled-off cities. Teh game starts off with J.D. and crew fighting back against the oppressive COG by stealing their power systems and supplies.

While trying to be a rebel and mess with the COG’s plans, J.D. and his friends make a discovery: The Locust are back!

The Locust have evolved and are now looking to capture humans to evolve. Along the way we meet up with a few familiar faces to help take down the baddies.

I’ll leave the story spoilers there.

There’s an interesting revelation at the end that I think is a little bit of a reach, but overall the story is at least more interesting than the confusing story from the first trilogy.

Gameplay

For the most part, we’re looking at a continuation of the same gameplay from previous gears games. There’s lots of cover mechanics, grenades into emergence holes, and shooting.

The game takes place mostly above-ground in the wilds and ruins of Sera, with only a few missions taking place in warehouses or mine tunnels.

A few new guns introduce a few extra things to watch for, but this is still 100% GoW at heart.

Play Anywhere

I purchased the digital copy of Gears of War 4, so that means I can play it on Xbox One AND/OR PC! In fact, I can play on PC and Graev on Xbox One, and we can play TOGETHER. We played the entire campaign with Graev hosting our game on Xbox One. Windows 10’s Xbox experience is phenomenal.

Since it works so well, I wish Microsoft would expand this beyond just first-party titles.

Conclusion

Gears of War 4 is great. Graev and I both enjoyed the campaign, and enjoyed playing it co-op together cross-platform.

I’m excited to see where the trilogy goes.

Holiday Buyer’s Guide [2016 Edition]

It’s that time of year again! Our turkey is still digesting, but Christmas music is already playing and decorations are coming out of the garage. That means it’s time for our annual Video Game / Holiday Buyer’s Guide!

I’m very proud of how it turned out this year. I’m still adding items to the guide, but these represent the “can’t go wrong” selection of this season. We own all of these items, have written our ‘formal’ reviews (or are in the process of writing), and would happily say to anyone that these are must-buys.

As always, if there’s something you feel absolutely must be gifted this year then please leave a comment letting everyone know.

Additional FYI’s for Black Friday / Cyber Monday shoppers:

Please share any great deals you find!

Warcraft Games I Want to See Made

Blizzard has a great property on their hands. Warcraft has been a RTS, a MMORPG, sort of a MOBA, and even a card game. I’d like to see Warcraft take shape into a few different/new spinoffs.

Warcraft classic adventure game

Warcraft the Classic Adventure Game

Did you know there was going to be a Warcraft adventure game? I did, and i was really looking forward to it! Lord of the Clans was set to release back in 1997, but due to communication issues and the competing Monkey Island, the project was cancelled — and it was pretty much finished!

I think a classic adventure game set in the Warcraft universe would be amazing. There’s so much lore and familiarity surrounding the characters and their world(s). A great story could be told with humor and familiar locales. Moorgard, can you get on this project asap?

The series would lend itself very well to point and click adventure, with puzzles and thought-provoking narrative. I imagine it would be a mix of Monkey Island and King’s Quest.

Warcraft RPG

Warcraft the Roleplaying Game

We have a massively multiplayer role-playing game in full 3d, but I think that Warcraft could be amazing as a Baldur’s Gate / NWN type of isometric RPG.

I would want the systems to be heavily based on D&D, and wouldn’t mind the combat being exactly the same. In fact, take almsot everything about Baldur’s Gate 2 or NWN and slap it into the Warcraft universe and I’m sold.

Everything is there: (1) Massive world, (2) Lore, (3) classes/races/abilities. The design doc pretty much writes itself.

 

Warcraft Action RPG

Warcraft the Action (RPG) Game

Any Champions of Norrath or Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance fans out there? Maybe some Gauntlet Legends? These games were loosely called “action role-playing games,” but they can pretty much be summed up as hack and slash adventures. You smash through mobs in dungeons while gathering loot and progressing your character. Dungeons were set in diverse areas, and could indoor and outdoor. Once again, Azeroth lends itself well.

All of these great action rpgs were somewhat isometric, but much less top-down than Baldur’s Gate. The camera is typically movable too. They featured ability trees, gear drops (typical green, blue, yellow stuff), and stat progression.

Characters were usually a set race, with an associated class. For example, a Night Elf Druid or a Gnome Hunter would be playable, and each have their own ability trees. Gear would be somewhat up to the player. For example, the Hunter would easily lend itself to melee and traps or ranged and pet usage. Once again, the design doc practically writes itself.

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Now here’s a departure, but not as far as you might think. Imagine a Street Fighter or Tekken style fighter set in the Warcraft universe.

The characters could be generic “Undead Rogue” or could be famous characters like “Grom Hellscream” or “Sylvanas.” These characters would have their own combos and unique skills. Rogues could have a ‘vanish’ abilities that makes them appear behind the other player and stab them. Hunters could have “stampede” where they call a horde of animals. Shaman could summon lightning or frost shock to freeze then rock smash or something.

If you think about it, this style of fighting game wouldn’t be too far of a departure from arenas. Blizzard has already created a “fighting” feel, and once again the characters and their abilities are done as well as the world lending itself to maps like Gadgetzan’s cage, or Orgrimmar’s arena.

Warcraft Open-World RPG

Warcraft the Open-World RPG

Perhaps the most ambitious project of them all would be an open-world RPG like the Elder Scrolls franchise. An overall story could be told, but otherwise the player would be set loose in a single-player world full of interaction and exploration.

Once again I find myself thinking they could just lift Oblivion or Skyrim’s mechanics and set it all in a Warcraft universe and I’d be fine. Joining some sort of Ravenholdt (Assassin’s League) or interacting with the Bloodsail Buccaneer would be fantastic. There are hundreds of potential story arches to explore here.

Warcraft the Open-World RPG could explore a darker side of the universe, a more gritty and realistic tone. There could be lesser-told stories (again, Ravenholdt or even Northsea Pirates) and more of an untold story going on in the world. This could even all be set at a time before the events of WoW — that way there’s no conflict or crossover.

So Much Potential

There’s so much potential with the Warcraft universe. I hope that Blizzard is or will sometime soon devote serious thought toward branching out from their comfort zone.

As I wrap up this post, I can already think of a couple more. Did I miss any you’d want to see made?

 

Hands-On with Witanlore

I was first introduced to Witanlore by a long-time reader of our blog who works on the dev team at Druid Gameworks. Witanlore was successfully Kickstarted and Greenlit on Steam.

Witanlore is an open-world RPG with the goal of cutting the fluffy fat found in modern RPGs, and hoping to deliver a pure gameplay experience where every minute is spent on immersion. I like their pitch so far.

You assume the role of a young Ursine warrior seeking to determine your destiny. All we know thus far is that something nefarious happens, as it always does. The concept of Witanlore is intriguing. What I like most about the setting and lore is that I don’t have to be another human, or viking, or dwarf, or Elder Scrolls-esque race. I’m a Bear-guy, or Ursine, and that’s cool!

Witanlore Conversation Tree

I was given the opportunity to jump in and explore the demo. I’ll be upfront and honest here and say that it’s more of a proof of concept than a demo of much gameplay. I was able to run around an obstacle course, talk to an NPC to go through some story dialog, kill a pig, and scavenger hunt for some items. Conveniently, these each showed a glimpse of different game systems that will be used throughout Witanlore.

Witanlore graphics

The world is quite pretty. Unreal 4 is put to good use here, and the art assets shine (sometimes quite literally with sun rays).

Witanlore isn’t optimized yet — at least I hope not! There’s definitely slowdown for me when the settings are on turned up, but the slowdown isn’t in the form of being skippy. When I crank my settings anywhere above medium, I get a sense of moving through something thick. Almost like molasses. 

The voice acting is a bit awkward. When one of the NPCs spoke to me for the first time, it was as human as a voice could possibly get. The bear looked big, tough, and … ursine warrior-y… but then sounded not so ursine warrior-y. I hope they’ll improve the voice acting.

The combat I experienced was basic, click to swing and right click to block kind of stuff. I’m eager to try out the magic and totem abilities/systems.

Witanlore Episode 1

Witanlore has the potential to be a solid rpg. It’s conventional in the sense that it reminds me of Elder Scrolls. Pick things up in the world, active combat, text trees, and story-driven open-worldliness. 

I believe they’re still a ways off from a completed and polished game, but the foundation appears to be there. I’m looking forward to playing Witanlore when it comes out on Steam (also GoG – great place too). Episode 1 is only $6.99 which seems like a great price, as long as the content is there.

My Battlefield 1 Review

Battlefield 1 Review

EA’s newest addition to the Battlefield franchise launched sandwiched between their own shooter Titanfall 2 (Which they woefully neglected to care at all about) and the latest CoD installment. Battlefield 1 takes us back to the days of the early world war era of trench warfare and guys with capes.

Lets get right to the important stuff.

What improved, if anything, over the past Battlefield games?

EA did a nice job refining the main menu and overall presentation of Battlefield compared to a few of their recent previous versions. Battlefield 3 and 4 (if I even have the right numbers there) had clunky web interfaces and menu systems. BF1 wraps what I still believe to be a ‘browser’ into an application, and presents it with a nicer bow or cherry on top.

The menu system is decently intuitive. Joining friends is simple. Getting into any sort of game appears to be their #1 priority. There’s even a server browser, and it has so far worked perfectly fine for me.

What sucks about the out-of-game menu system is the weapon unlocks or soldier gear setup. It’s seemingly non-existent. I can look at what I have unlocked, but I can’t do a dang thing about it. Compared to the in-game menus which have everything I want, albeit less intuitive, and it’s questionable why the out-of-game menu even exists. It’s more of like an achievement scoreboard.

Unlocking items in general is SUPER slow. I’ve put hours and hours into a class and I haven’t even reached the next rank in that class or unlocked a single item. Graev has dumped like 5 hours into one and unlocked the first rank, but he still hasn’t made progress on item unlocks because he has to earn lots of Warbonds (in-game currency).

Do the guns feel good?

They feel very different from recent Battlefield games. I consider that a great thing. Bad company felt like paintball guns. Battlefield 3 and 4 felt weak and clunky. Battlefield 1’s shooting mechanics are solid, realistic, and have a nice feel to them. I feel like I’m shooting the guns from the era — though I have no basis for that statement.

Bullet drop is ever present. At times I feel like I’m lobbing sniper bullets rather than projecting them in any sort of straight line. That’s okay.

Gun diversity is lacking. I feel like there aren’t a whole lot of options — and I suppose there weren’t back in the day — and customization is kept to a minimum in an effort to maintain some chance of suspending our disbelief.

How’s the match pacing?

Matches feel much slower and methodical. I attribute that to a lack of fighter planes and explosions coming from every player. There are still tanks (which are way less annoying to deal with) and grenades, etc. There’s even gas now which is annoying, but pressing T puts on a gas mask so that’s cool.

Going back and forth between Titanfall 2 and BF1, I feel like I’m moving slower than molasses as I charge up a hill to take a bunker. Again, I don’t see that as a bad thing but a definite note to make. No running on walls here.

Are there vehicles in Battlefield 1?

Yep, a decent number. Most of them end up feeling similar to each other. Lots of machine guns instead of shells, and lots of troop transporting instead of 1-man boom sticks. Again, with big maps and slower pacing, the troop transports work out nicely. There are even horses on some levels, though I have yet to see a single person use a horse and not be completely annihilated. Who brings a horse to a tank fight?

Planes are handled a bit differently than past games. Instead of waiting for a plane — which I actually liked — you have to be the first to click the button on the respawn map. When you die, there’s a chance one might be up. If you’re lucky, you’ll spawn right into one and already be in the air flying. I think this is a huge let down for those of us who enjoyed the plane experience of taking off, landing, and putting TNT on our wings.

Aerial combat is decent in BF1. I think it pales in comparison to 1942, though.

Certain maps even have special ‘super vehicles’ like a big battleship, armored train, or zeppelin. These definitely influence the battle, and are a lot of fun to both pilot/gun in and to take out.

What about the maps and modes in BF1? Are they any good?

The maps are good. Sometimes I feel like the map sizes are decent, and other times I feel like there’s absolutely no way the map should be this small. Many of the game modes I’ve played take the map and truncate it into smaller pieces which. Capture A and B to unlock the next area, then capture the new A and B.

All of the maps have felt memorable, and I think I can say that I like all of them.

The modes are your standard Battlefield modes with the exception of a new mode called Operations. These are like replaying old battles where you have objectives in a 3 part series to advance the campaign or theater of war you’re participating in. These are a lot of fun, though they are definitely the “take these points to unlock more points to take” style of play.  Operations are a nice way to battle across multiple maps in order to determine a victor.

Maps in general are all about PLAYING THE OBJECTIVE! More than any previous Battlefield game, I feel like playing the objective has 100% priority. This is how you’ll rank up, get the most points, and win.

Conclusion – Is Battlefield 1 any good?

Battlefield 1 is A LOT of fun. The guns feel great, the maps are memorable (though I want bigger maps), the vehicles are right for the era (though I want better plane combat), and the modes scratch that Battlefield itch.

My biggest gripe about Battlefield 1 is the rate of unlocking items due to ranking up classes. You’re going to need to spend time playing in order to make progress, but hey at least it’s fun.

Battlefield 1 checks all of the boxes for me. Despite not living up to 1942 in some aspects, BF1 still exceeds my expectations. Its gritty, real, and brings a great new angle of action and features to the BF franchise. If you’re a BF fan, then this is definitely one you can’t skip.

Titanfall 2 Deserves So Much Better

Titanfall 2 Review

I played the original Titanfall for two weeks. I liked it, but then quickly forget it existed. I call this the “Titanfall effect.” It’s that, “oh yeah that was a good game” feeling… followed by having no desire to play. Did EA know this, and decide to just ‘Titanfall effect‘ their launch of Titanfall 2?

Titanfall 2 Titan and PilotTitanfall 2 launched on October 28th, and I bet the world had no clue. EA decided to launch Titanfall just one week after Battlefield 1. ONE WEEK! Why? They also chose to release it the week before their biggest competition launched Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. The very notion baffles me.

Having played Titanfall 2, I can tell you it’s not a bad game at all. Really. In fact, it’s a lot of fun. It’s actually a great step up from the original. Titanfall 2 plays like Call of Duty in many ways. The maps are on the smaller side (though much larger than the original) creating more of a ‘fragbox’ feel, and you’re never more than a few seconds away from an enemy. Gunplay feels tight and actually phenomenal compared to so many other shooters too — again, I say the same thing about CoD.

This video does a fantastic job at representing actual gameplay. Take a look:

The average map has me running along walls, parkouring all over the place, and pulling off ridiculously over-the-top moves to out maneuver the enemy. I’d say 90% of the “skill” is not in shooting your guns well (Battlefield), but instead in how you can manipulate terrain and use your movement to out-pace the opponent.

Grapples, wall-running, ninja stars, you name it. It’s there. And it’s wicked fast (did I just say wicked? I feel like it’s necessary here). Titanfall 2 makes CoD feel slow to me, and Battlefield feel like a walk with my grandma.

Where Titanfall stands out as more than just a generic fast-paced futuristic shooter is in its Titans. These mech-like battle suits are taken up a notch in Titanfall 2. There are now more titans, more weapons, and more abilities.

Titanfall 2 does such an awesome job at immersing you in the Titan experience too. Jumping into one from various angles, or having your Titan grab you and pull you into your seat… it’s just so satisfying.

My gripes are mostly with map size and design. The maps are small and the gameplay is so fast that I often feel like it’s too hectic. Sniping is stupid since people move so fast, and when everyone has a Titan things become chaotic. The maps are also a bit forgettable and generic, though I’m still giving them credit for improving upon the original.

Overall, Titanfall 2 is a fantastic shooter. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to scratch that ridiculously over-the-top futuristic shooter itch, but can’t bring themselves to play another Call of Duty. Seriously, Titanfall 2 offers something different, and I have NO IDEA why EA launched it within a window akin to a death sentence. Major fail, EA.

Note: Graev and I play the PC version. If you’re a console fan, I hear great things about both communities. There are fewer PC players, but getting a match going isn’t hard. Singleplayer is actually pretty good, too.