Titanfall (Xbox One) – Review
Those who know of Respawn Entertainment have been patiently waiting for their first project to become a reality. Prepare yourself fellow gamers, it is here and they call it Titanfall.Xbox One owners get to have a play with Titanfall a little earlier than 360 users but what’s all the fuss about? Well the expectation initially comes from Respawn’s founding members (Mr West & Mr Zampella) once being part of the Call of Duty franchise development team, Infinity Ward, when the popular shooting game was still fresh and a game-changer. Following their last E3 outing, most were eagerly anticipating what seemed an interesting concept of soldiers and massive robots combined. Have Respawn managed to bring Xbox a console exclusive First Person Shooter to sway the gaming masses in Microsoft’s favour? Read on…
Set in a far away planet, dubbed the Frontier, war has broken out between the Corporation (IMC) and the Militia who are fighting “for the people”. Both factions look to eliminate each other and their resources and they do this either on foot as free-running Pilots or with the help of giant robotic machines named Titans.
Just to make this clear, there are no Single Player modes (unless you count the tutorial that will get you battle ready) so if you aren’t a fan of multiplayer then this isn’t for you. Now that’s out of the way let’s move onto the Campaign. As it is online you get put into missions along with at least three other players on your team, up to a maximum of six on each team. It is completely random which team (either IMC or Militia) it places you on for the start of your Campaign; this ensures there’s a better chance of matchmaking against the enemy.
Sadly the story doesn’t hold up for a Campaign and during the short pre-match pep talks from different characters it blurs into nothingness. After completing both sides of the Campaign I can say I didn’t learn an awful lot about the struggles of the Frontier and I was more interested in the action. The missions (nine in total per Campaign) are just like normal multiplayer matches, using a mixture of Attrition and Hardpoint Domination. For me this seemed like an afterthought, it might as well have not been included, the story that is as I have no issue with the actual in-game action.
Classic mode is where the general multiplayer is found with five game modes on offer and they are Attrition (every kill counts towards the team’s points), Last Titan Standing (survive in a team of Titans), Hardpoint (capture locations to dominate the area), Capture the Flag (take the other team’s flag and protect your own) and Pilot Hunter (forget the grunts, killing Pilots is the main agenda).
For a game that focuses on the multiplayer side it doesn’t seem like there’s enough modes but trust me it is quality over quantity that they’ve gone for. The best of which, Attrition has a feel of team deathmatch to it, however the addition of Titans and grunts make it a whole different prospect. The fact you can help the team by killing Pilots, Titans or the A.I. enemies ensures that gamers of all ability levels can have an effect on a match. This means those who are new to the genre or Titanfall maybe a few weeks after release can integrate themselves without feeling they are a hindrance or out of place.
Last Titan Standing is almost the complete opposite where a team will need more of a strategy to wipe out the opposing team. There’s no easy kills just Titans versus Titans and is a true test of character to see how individuals can work together. As the saying goes; you’re only as strong as your weakest link, so don’t leave your rank 5 buddy alone to get destroyed. Strategy is a feature within other modes but I find this to be the most enjoyable version of necessary teamwork. Everyone loves chaos and destruction don’t they?
Game modes are only as good as the maps you play them on and we saw during the BETA they had two that were really well designed for varying types of play styles. Well Titanfall raises the bar by increasing this number up to fifteen in total and the majority follow the script in being suitable for free-running and Titan roaming. It takes longer to get to know the environments due to map rotation, that’s a good thing though as this will help with longer lasting freshness. The designs are a wonderful mix of dark broken down landscapes, brighter city areas and a few in-between, one of which may feature a gathering of cool air-born creatures within the area.
Everything I’ve described so far means little if the actual action on the battlefield doesn’t hold up its side of the deal. Firstly we have the Titans; the Atlas (all rounder), the Ogre (beast of a machine, can withstand a battering) and the Stryder (fast and furious, rush in and get out fast if need be). You’d expect these to ruin the balance when the poor tiny Pilots find themselves in reach of a Titan but surprisingly the anti-titan weapons enable Pilots to stand up and be counted. That doesn’t mean you can’t trample over these puny humans, some just put up one heck of a fight.
A Pilot has the choice to do anything they want during a match due to the free-running abilities built into them all, you can stay low, stooping in and out of buildings or climb to the roof tops for a better vantage point. Although there isn’t a stack of primary weapons to choose from, I believe they have enough of each weapon type e.g. SMGs, Snipers, Rifles. I don’t know about the rest of you but when I play a shooter most of the guns never get used; only ever really using one of each type in my custom loadouts.
The additional abilities available for Titans and Pilots alike have enough greatness to be used without being the abilities that can sway an overall match outcome too much on its own. Even the Burn cards that are earned through various challenges and give enhanced equipment, brand new abilities or even an instant Titan don’t ruin the flow of a game especially when they only last for one life.
Being an achievement hunter I appreciate the fact that although time consuming, the full 1000 is attainable by general play. There is nothing overly difficult with the exception of one worth zero which requires you to go through all the regenerations (resets the challenges and rank to go through again), don’t see the point of this one without attaching a cool 50 or 100 Gamerscore to it.
Titanfall is a remarkable FPS that has the freshness that others haven’t had for years and opens up the shooter market once more for those bored of the rest. The worst thing I can say about it, the Campaign wouldn’t be missed and the visuals aren’t next gen standard yet. Other than that I have no doubt this is the most fun, enjoyable game I’ve played since my early Xbox 360 days. Action packed gaming with not a minute to spare throughout, always kept on your toes. The fact there’s 50 ranks to earn and then I can do that again ten times in all will keep me going possibly till a potential sequel? Money well spent and finally the next generation of gaming has a new addiction to overcome.