How Call of Duty Made Me Better at Titanfall

Neither Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Titanfall are new games. The former released last November, and the latter released early last year.

Call of Duty has followed a similar pattern for many years now. Release a new title once per year, release DLC in-between and hit infinite repeat. Titanfall is a new IP that came onto the scene last year, and started its life as an Xbox exclusive, but was later ported to the PC. They too followed that “release the game and then some DLC” formula, though they were nice enough to celebrate its anniversary by giving away all of its map packs for free to anyone who owned the game (or subsequently purchased it, like I did). I’m not sure which game is doing better, but I know that when I used to play Call of Duty pretty regularly, there were any where for 100-500k people playing the game according to in-game screens. Titanfall on the other hand, only has 1-2k players on most nights (at least on the PC, I’m not sure about on the XBone). The likely story would be that CoD, being available on more platforms and having a longer more established track record, is making hand over fist while the honestly better game is already pretty dead.

Titanfall made its mark by being different, but it still followed similar design and game mechanics, along with following the aforementioned marketing/sales program. Apparently a sequel is in development, so they must have done well enough to warrant that, but I wonder if they will follow the same year-in, year-out cram as many sequels down your throat as possible til you’re sick of it routine. I got that sick of CoD. I haven’t purchased one since MW3, in 2011. I have no plans to buy further copies of the game, despite the fact that I’ll play the shit out of Call of Duty if you load it up when I’m at your house. I gladly paid for Titanfall, and will support a sequel if it comes, provided it isn’t a cut an paste experience like many of the CoD games have been.

That’s exactly what happened this past weekend though. I mentioned having gone to visit family and friends in my last post, and at two separate houses that I visited, CoD: AW was on the menu. I had played it one time previously on the PS4 at another friend’s house, but this time I played the game on two separate PS3’s. I have to say that the PS3 version of the game is rather buggy, ugly, and unpolished, which I hadn’t noticed about previous CoD titles. Perhaps seeing the game run on a PS4 first made the difference, but I think that the devs were a bit lazy with the optimization on the PS3 version. Either way, I still put in somewhere along the lines of 5-6 hours worth of gameplay. I’ve had Titanfall for a little over a month. I’ve put in something like 11 hours.

I think between the two I have experienced enough to fairly judge each game, but to also compare them. Honestly, CoD:AW is the best CoD I’ve played in years. The last one I truly loved was Black Ops, and the addition of extra movement via the exo-suits and the variance on weapons made enough of an impact on the gameplay to make it feel a bit different. The maps are still tiny and the gameplay is still fast and furious, there’s still latency and bullshit-through-the-wall-kills, it still takes forever to unlock decent weapons and you’ll die a lot. The game modes are still the same, and I still could care less about the campaign or storyline.

The same could be said of Titanfall. The maps are bigger but not Battlefield huge. The game play is the similar run and gun style, but the weaponry all feels more advanced, and the addition of Titans takes things to a whole other level. But on a superficial mechanical level, the two games are very similar. Before I left for my trip, I had been playing Titanfall here and there, and I had a couple of games that were really good, but most of the time I felt like I was just dying over and over again. The people who had been playing the game for over a year were really kicking my ass, and I was being punished from angles that I wouldn’t have seen coming. The ability to wall run, hang, double jump and the special abilities/burn cards are layers of gameplay that I wasn’t accustomed to in a first person shooter.

Enter CoD:AW. Change burn cards to supply drops. Change special abilities with exo-suit abilities. Drop the wall run/hang, but keep the double jump, add an in-air charge and a power slide. Drop the titans, but get the kill streaks. Really, when you break it down to just the basics, they’re a similar game, but Titanfall adds layers of complexity that AW doesn’t have, though AW helped me to “get” Titanfall. Let me explain.

When playing a typical game of CoD, you run around, shoot, jump, crouch, climb, strafe, throw grenades, etc. You check corners, windows, ledges, and any other apparent hiding spot. You watch the map for signs of fights, gunfire, and death. In Advanced Warfare, you also have to think vertically. Enemies will come from above, jump around, and dodge in ways you hadn’t thought of. Playing a few hours of AW got me in tune with that. Soon I was double jumping and charging into groups of enemies with mostly positive effects. You’re so highly mobile it’s not even funny. Now translate that to Titanfall.

The maps in Titanfall are more vertically designed. There are higher vantage points, more places to hide, more places to climb and that’s why I was doing so poorly to begin with. Sure, the same typical FPS mechanics are there, but when someone can literally jump circles around you while never touching the ground, the game changes. Because AW made me think more vertically, I have since played a couple of hours of Titanfall and have had more success in a few rounds than the rest of my play time combined. Simply by looking up. By jumping around and climbing to those higher vantage points. You’re still stuck on the ground and it’s hit or miss while riding in a Titan, but as a pilot there are so many more options than what I had been paying attention to.

That’s my best piece of advice for anyone looking to play either game. Think vertically. It will change your whole perspective.

#callofduty #advancedwarfare #titanfall #firstpersonshooter #fps