I was always told that playing games online—first-person shooters in particular—was not for the faint of heart. Titanfall is different. And I’m not quite sure why.
I bought Titanfall on a whim. I didn’t know much about it beyond the parkour-and-giant-robot-laden hype, but when I saw it was only $5 on Origin, I figured why not? I’m sure I can get five measly bucks worth of fun out of this.
It over-delivered. By a lot.
I’m not sure why I love Titanfall so much. Even months after everyone’s forgotten its existence, I’m still having a blast. Maybe it’s because alternating between first-person shooting and giant robot smashing keeps things from getting old. Maybe the jetpack-fueled wall running makes it more exciting than your typical first-person shooter. Or maybe there’s something about the matchmaking system that pairs you with similarly-skilled players, so you don’t constantly feel like you suck.
That’s the real kicker for me: I’m not very good at video games, but Titanfall is still fun, even against other people. I don’t feel like I’m constantly getting destroyed by 12-year olds with no life. In fact, I feel like a rockstar. I don’t always do well, but for every match where I suck, there’s another match where I feel like a mech-wielding killing machine, and I’m at the top of the stats table. I can’t figure out why Titanfall is this way, but it’s what keeps me coming back.
It’s not the Citizen Kane of games, of course. It isn’t even the Citizen Kane of first-person shooters. But it’s become my Team Fortress 2 replacement: A perfect 10-minute distraction in between work and household chores, or a way to blow off steam when I don’t want to really sink into a long, heavy game like The Witcher. Titanfall doesn’t have a plot, it doesn’t have legendary new game mechanics, and it barely even has an audience. But it has some beautiful graphics and the ability to make me feel like a total badass. And some days, that’s exactly what I need.