Titanfall Review

Developers: Xbox One/PC – Respawn Entertainment and Xbox 360 – Bluepoint Games

Publisher: EA

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360

Release: Xbox One/PC – March 11th and Xbox 360 – March 25th

“30 seconds until your Titan is ready.”  The words create a sense of excitement that rushes through me.  My protector is near and can be called down from upon the sky at a press of a button in mere seconds.  I won’t be alone in the battlefield much longer.  “15 seconds until your Titan is ready.” So close that I can hear the sound of the Titan roaring through the sky as it lands near me.  “Your Titan is ready.”  I look up and gaze at the sky as the Titan tears through the ozone layer of the planet I’m on.  I quickly run to the landing site and jump in, ready to bring the fight to them!

Titanfall7Respawn had something to prove.  Many doubted Vince and Jason (along with a few others) when they left Infinity Ward under Activision’s control a few years ago and started their new found glory, Respawn Entertainment.  Discovering that EA had taken them under their wing made even more people nervous due to EA’s track record with somehow finding a way to create a mess for the games that are published under their name.

Creating a AAA title with a smaller staff than normal can be a headache in of itself.  The hype that was created around Titanfall back at E3 made people wondering – can this game really live up to the excitement?

In the coming months as details emerged, such as no dedicated single player campaign, 6 vs 6 matches, computer AI in lieu of larger amounts of real players, lack of private matches, online only capability, etc, I became skeptical, along with a few others at first, that this game might not be as good as what was shown at E3.

Fortunately, Respawn became committed to putting out the fires and by assuring players that 6 vs 6 will be the best balance between fun and map size.  Ok Respawn, I will give your game a shot and trust you.

 

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Standby for Titanfall

The game’s intro sets the stage for the battlefield – the Frontier IMC vs the Militia.  Which side will you fight for?

The game utilizes an online only campaign which is no more than a multiplayer match with a voice over narration as you progress through each map in the game.  Titanfall auto chooses by random which side you will fight for first (IMC or Militia) and once you complete the campaign for your chosen faction, you can play through the other story.

Respawn warned you the game didn’t have a dedicated campaign, so what did you expect?  The campaign is simply a short story of the war that is taking place between the two factions.  However, the story was fun to complete even though there wasn’t much to it.  Plus you unlock some pretty nifty chasis for your Titans by doing so!

With the game being completely online, Respawn opted to be the first to solely utilize the Microsoft Azure servers to host and maintain all aspects of gameplay.  There have been hiccups, but that is to be expected and were quickly resolved.

 

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Life is Better With a Titan

I bet you hadn’t heard that before!  Life really is better with a Titan, who would have thought?

The multiplayer experience in Titanfall is a culmination of Halo and Call of Duty esque combined.  That’s one hell of a good thing!

Six different modes exist in the multiplayer:

Attrition – For a classic Titanfall experience definitely begin here.  Kill everything and anything that moves to earn attrition points that can win your team the game!

Last Titan Standing – Each team Pilot begins in their own Titan and battle it out until all enemy Titans are destroyed!  Leave no one behind!

Capture the Flag –  Classic game mode where you try to capture the enemy flag and return it to your base.  Be careful and protect your own flag!

Pilot Hunter – Hunt every Pilot that moves on the enemy team and take them down.  Doing so earns your team points and may possibly lead to a victory!

Hardpoint Domination – Protect the hardpoints (A, B, C) and hold them for as long as possible!  Victory can be earned much quicker by holding all three!

Variety Mode – Self explanatory really, a mix of all of the game modes!

 

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Titanfall utilizes a rank system, 1 to 50, with players being able to “Regenerate” ten times and earning a medal beside their rank showing their Generation.  During matches, experience is earned by completing challenges and performing feats of kills, assists, and other various actions, such as putting an end to the AI spread throughout the map.  As your Pilot moves up in the ranks, he or she unlocks access to a more diverse armament, for both you and your Titan.  No need to spend any kind of points to unlock certain items – the items just unlock as you progress, so rank is everything!

Unfortunately, there aren’t very many weapons to choose from.  Sure, you have a machine gun here and there, a sniper over there, and an SMG here but the game definitely could benefit from more weapons.  That goes for the Titan weapons as well – very small armament.  The choice of abilities make up for the lack of weapons but not enough.  Hopefully, more weapons are added as time goes on.

In addition, the game lacks the personalized touch that other AAA games have.  For example, you can’t change the way you look, alter your clothing, change gun camouflage, or create a personalized image that suits your player.  However, you can choose gender – male or female and maintain up to 5 quick loadouts.  Strange these small items are missing considering they have become the norm for shooter games.  It makes Titanfall a really cut and dry game – choose a weapon/loadout and head into battle.

 

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Prepare for Extraction

Free falling from a drop ship is definitely not on my bucket list but for Pilots, it’s definitely right up there with wall running.

Dropping into the battlefield is the most intriguing way to start a match and Titanfall nails it.  As you stand, armed and ready in your drop ship as it arrives to your faction’s landing site, the excitement builds for what is to come.  The little robot waves you off and you free fall to the ground ready for battle.

Moving through the maps is simple and fun.  You’re able to wall run, wall jump, double jump, and defy gravity with your space suit!  This makes every spot on the map a possible hostile area.  Ground battles are the thing of the past!  Need help in a gun fight?  Call in your Titan if ready and smash them to bits.  A Titan smash is very rewarding!

Titanfall incorporates perks but with a twist.  These perks are called Burn Cards.  Why?  Well, you present one, burn it, then it only lasts until death.  The key part – until death do you part.  A Pilot is able to hold 3 Burn Cards on him or her at any given moment.  They are a love/hate relationship.  I’ve activated a Burn Card only to be killed as soon as I spawn, causing the card to be completely wasted or I’ve activated a card and went on a rampage.  They are beneficial if used properly.

 

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Well how do you get your hands on these Burn Cards you ask?  They are earned by completing challenges and ranking up.  In your challenges tab on the menu, you can view which challenges you need and which Burn Cards are provided at completion.  However, the rank Burn Cards are completely random so hopefully you get a useful card!  Praying to the Burn Card god or goddess nightly could help.

As the gameplay unfolds and you try to become number one on the leader board during your match, a team must lose.  However, Titanfall just doesn’t say “Game Over” your team lost.   No, Titanfall makes the losing side extract from the battlefield.  Many times I found myself on the complete opposite side of the map where my ship was landing.  I would have to run and wall jump all the way across in 30 seconds with my tail between my legs.

What’s the other team doing during this time?  Well, they’re trying to hunt you down because if they kill you, you don’t respawn or they are in their Titans around your ship shooting it out of the sky.

What’s worse than being across the map and hoping you make it to your ship?  Being across the map, making it to your ship with only 1 second to spare and then being blown out of the sky during takeoff!  Complete bummer!

Verdict

Titanfall is phenomenal.  The gameplay is revolutionary and Respawn Entertainment has set the bar very, very high for any and all competitors trying to maintain their throne.  The gameplay is well balanced, the mechanics are fundamentally sound, and let’s not forget, the game is fun!  I have already spent hours upon hours in this game and many more hours will follow.  The game caters to gamers for the most part and Respawn has already mentioned DLC coming in the near future for the game as they continue to provide support.

Can Titanfall be the next big game?  Well it already is and we can only expect great things as the game grows.  This franchise will be around for years to come and it’s about time us gamers had a fresh, new game.  Life really is better with a Titan so are you ready for Titanfall?

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Tags: EA Microsoft PC Respawn Entertainment Titanfall Video Games Xbox 360 Xbox One

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