You read the title right?
Yeah, this article is inspired by the rush of adrenaline I just got from a sweet round of Titan Fall 2. There I was head to head with an enemy Tone as it tried to lock on to me to launch its missile barrage. I too was piloting a Tone and was trying to do the same to him, we were deadlocked. That is when a fellow pilot managed to sneak up to my opponent and unleash the fury of his minigun on him. My opponent turned to flee leaving the protection of his particle wall long enough to allow a volley of missiles from my launchers to rip him to shreds. My ally and I soon realized we were the last two remaining on our team, and if we wanted to take this victory we would need to eliminate the remaining two enemy Titans. So we did. I piloted a Tone Titan and he a Legion. Our Opponents had a Legion as well as a Scorch. My partner managed to keep the Scorch at bay as I maneuvered around them to place a particle wall protecting my partner from the incoming fire from the enemy Legion Titan. Unfortunately my partner did not make it, and as his Titan lay wasted I managed to unleash a cloud of electric smoke. The electric smoke obscured the Scorch’s vision while dealing minor damage, however it served as the perfect distraction while I locked on, and launched a barrage of missiles. That Scorch….was scorched. It wasn’t over though, the enemy Legion had pounded my particle shield until it was no more, and continued to shower bullets on me from his Gatling gun. No problem, I took cover and fired a sonar dart. One blip, two blips, all I would have to do is land one good shot to lock on my missile. I peaked from cover, got my shot, and locked on to my target. He was advancing towards my position, but no matter I launched my missiles into the sky only for them to correct their trajectory and follow the target onto which they were locked, direct hit. “Salvo core ready!” I am notified by the female voice of my Titan, it’s over. I unleash a barrage of missiles, the Legion is no more. Victory is mine.
I LOVE big ass robots. I have loved big ass robots from the first time I watched Mighty Morphing Power Rangers and watched their robotic dinosaurs called upon to fight the forces of evil. I have Loved big ass robots from the moment I first watched G Gundam, Beast Wars, and other big ass robot related shows. There is just something about getting into a giant war machine and running around turning your foes into paste, or turning them into blood splattered craters. I love big ass robots. Where does this love come from though? Here is a very brief timeline of how I came to love big ass robots.
It all started at the local arcade, called Nickel City, where they had a game called “Virtual On”. The game revolved around two mechs duking it out in an arena. What drew me to it? The controls were laid out in such a way as to make you feel like you were piloting the mech from within its cockpit. The controls were composed of two control sticks, each with two buttons which would control the weapon systems of your mecha. I still remember the first game I played, I remember beating each AI player easily, I remember the sense of Immersion brought on by the design of the machine. I also remember the first time I took on a human opponent, the exhilaration of defeating another player. I was hooked. There was one problem though, some of the characters were a bit cartoony in their design, which was damaging to the immersion. Specifically I am talking about the “female” robot which sported two pony tails, and breasts for some reason. I just couldn’t come to see the utility of breasts, or ponytails on a machine meant for battle, rather I felt it was rather silly to even have assigned sexes for robots. Despite these reservations though, the female robot was actually my favorite mech to use. She was somewhat over powered in her special ability (heat seeking….hearts).
The cockpit point of view of Virtual On left me looking for other games which could provide me with a similar experience or point of view. I found this through the PC game called Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Honestly I played this game so long ago I can’t even tell you what it’s about anymore. Not that I knew what it was about back then though, I was mostly interested in the fact that I got to pilot big ass machines. Unlike MechWarrior games, Shogo is not a Mech Simulator, but rather a run of the mill FPS which allows the user to pilot a mech. I loved the idea of running and gunning through a city, mowing down enemy mechs and infantry alike, with the use of a giant ass gun though. Although the mech selection was limited to like 5 mechs though, it was still a diverse enough experience to fit the playing styles of most FPS fans.
There was pretty long period of time before I got to try a new mecha related game, mostly because I was a young kid in high school and had absolutely no funds to spend on video games. No matter, soon enough I was itching to jump behind the controls of a mech and destroy my foes. So where is a poor high school kid to turn for his fix? Couldn’t do Virtual On any more as Nickel City had closed down at this point, and I no longer had a copy of Shogo. I did what any kid in my situation would have done. I went to Google.com and I searched “Free, Download, Video Game, Mechs”. This search took me to a website called Download.com where I spent hours searching for free games, eventually coming across a demo of the game MechWarrior. It was on like Donkey Kong.
I don’t remember which iteration of the MechWarrior series this demo was for, but I do remember that the only gameplay you got was an open battlefield with various enemy Mechs slowly hunting you down, and a few small batches of buildings here and there to use as cover. I also remember the game having a HUD which made it look like the player was actually piloting the mech, which was right up my alley. I loved the variability of the weapons systems, and the atmosphere set by the lighting, the HUD, and the sounds of the mech as it operated. I loved the look of the mechs too, they weren’t too humanoid, they didn’t have unnecessary features to define them as being either male or female. These mechs were just that, they were designed for war and served that purpose beautifully. Alas, I was broker than Bethesda game on release day so I could not afford to purchase the full game, and as the demo grew tiring I moved on.
It would not be for several years that I would get my fix again in the form of Titan Fall 2. I was on the fence about this game, and I never got to play the first one, but when it went up for sale for $6.00 I decided to give it a try. Within a a few multiplayer matches I was convinced that this was the best impulse buy I had ever made, I was hooked. I love how diverse each Titan is, and how each load out and ability leads to new tactical considerations. I love the customization offered when suiting your pilot to your preferred form of game play. The cockpit view adds a sense of immersion I haven’t felt since my childhood, when I would spend hours on end at Nickel City playing Virtual On. The raging battlefield around you only adds to the satisfaction, as grunts run around engaging each other, engaging you, and as friendly and enemy aircraft fight in the skies above. As I sit in my Tone stomping on enemy infantry, shooting volleys of missiles and 40mm rounds I can only think one thing. “I love big ass robots”.