The time has finally arrived, the first big Next Gen exclusive has launched. While Titanfall certainly had a whirlwind of hype pushing it forward the real question would be whether or not it was worth your time. Some seemed unsure of the lack of a single player campaign in which the game launched with. It should come as no surprise though that the guys who really helped breath life into the First Person Shooter for the mainstream would put the focus primarily into an online multiplayer. Whether or not that gamble pays off I suppose will boil down to what it is you want out of a game such as Titanfall.
Saying Titanfall has no campaign is actually an untrue statement. The game actually features 9 multiplayer campaign maps that you play as the Militia and/or IMC before switching sides to play the other side in order to see the entirety of the story. However the story in itself really is nearly non-existant and the mode is basically a combination of Attrition and Hardpoint which some new video and audio integrated to put a touch of narrative into the game. If your sole purpose would be to play a true campaign then you will be disappointed. That said while the campaign is a tad bit flimsy in terms of being the selling point of the video game it actually is pretty fun. It serves as a good introduction to the maps and two of the games modes, as well as serving as a decent means of leveling up in the early stages of the game.
The gameplay is like your standard first person shooter with a few added in twists. You have two teams consisting of 3-6 players each. In addition to the 6-12 human players that populate the map there are also a good deal of A.I. characters on each side that add further targets for the player to attack and avoid being killed by. Of course the main feature is the namesake, the Titans. Each player (pilot) can launch a Titan in 2 minute intervals. You can speed up the process by gaining points through kills.
While killing A.I. players helps the biggest help in speeding up the Titan building process is killing other players (pilots) or Titans. The Titans also have multiple builds you can unlock through various methods that offer varying advantages aimed at different play styles. It is also optional whether you want to manually control your Titan by riding inside of it, have it stand guard in a particular spot (helpful for Hard Point) or simply follow you whether you go.
The Pilots themselves are armed with two primary weapons, a grenade an Anti-Titan weapon as well as a jump pack and tactical ability. Again which type of weapon you pick should be based on your gameplay if you are the type to run and gun then clearly a sniper rifle isn’t for you, at the same time don’t try to pick off players while on top of a building with a shotgun. Same with tactical abilities, cloaking is good for staying hidden from A.I. and Titans but you’ll show up kind of like the Predator when seen by a human player.
The game modes are the aforementioned Campaign as well as Attrition, Hard Point, Last Titan Standing, Capture the Flag, and Variety Pack. Attrition is a Team Deathmatch in which you gain points for killing A.I., Pilots, and Titans. Hard Point is a mode in which each team tries to capture and defend three specific positions on the map and gains points in doing say. Last Titan Standing all players on both teams start with Titans and fight to be the last team (Titans) standing through a couple of rounds. Capture the Flag both teams are trying to capture the opposing flag and bring it back to their base. Variety of course is for the player who is indecisive and just wants to dive in.
Let me preface this by saying I’m not one of those guys who think graphics necessarily make or break a game. I’m the type of person who still likes to playthrough the original Legend of Zelda every few years. What I do want from a game though is for it to be graphically consistent and look as though it belongs on the system it is featured. By graphically consistent I simply want a game to look the same throughout in terms of overall quality. I don’t want to start playing the first few levels on XBOX One and end the game playing an Atari game. So that said the 720 or 900 vs 1080 is an argument that is irrelevant to me.
Which brings us to Titanfall. The game does not currently run at 1080 and for the vast majority of the game had I not known that I honestly would have noticed. The game’s various levels and attention to detail look gorgeous for the most part. My only complaint is during the brief campaign mode. The second you see the face of a soldier the flaws are brought to the forefront. What is odd about the whole scenario is that in no other instance did I feel the game wasn’t being presented as best as possible. So in that sense they did a great job of presenting the game, it’s just that this single flaw still is big enough to briefly take you out of the moment and needed to be addressed.
A big part of any shooter is the sound. With all the destruction and chaos going on in the heat of battle it’s important to hear every shot as it hits or misses to be able to fully immerse yourself into the experience. Being lucky enough to have the house to myself during my initial experience I was able to crank the sound to an appropriate (i.e. loud) level and see what the game had to offer. Rather than getting smacked in the face by a wall of sound I found myself listening to every little sound tidbit as everything in the game was distinguishable.
One of my biggest concerns going into Titanfall was how smoothly the launch would go in terms of the servers. With a couple of rocky starts under EA’s belt as of late I was a little worried. After all for a game that relies solely on the ability to be able to play online, the inability to do so would render the game as a useless piece of plastic. Luckily everything went smooth and during my time with the game thus far I’ve not experienced any interruptions whatsoever. In fact the game itself handles pretty well. Lag has been nonexistent as the speed of each game flies by.
I would however like to see the downtime between matches cut down a bit though. I can understand wanting to give people time to change character loadouts after a map but there are times where the counter will take close to a minute and a half to start the next match. I’ve had time to get up, get a snack and drink without having any danger of a match starting before I get back. In that sense it can be helpful I suppose but it does take you out of the action at times when you are ready to jump back in immediately.
At the end of the day what really decides on whether your money was well spent on a video game is fun factor. Some games are able to rise above other inadequacies if the game is fun. For Titanfall you only need to consider the review is coming a day after release. There was absolutely no way I was going to stop playing the game to write this. While the First Person Shooter genre can certainly be hit or miss at times, I think Titanfall is the proverbial kick in the pants that was much needed. There is enough there for the most hardcore members of the Shooter while being easily accessible to newer fans wishing to stick their foot in the water.
Titanfall gets a four out of five: GREAT.