Titanfall is an unfamiliar beast. Whilst other next generation games are touting words such as ‘particle systems’, ‘dynamic lighting’ and ‘contextual awareness’; Titanfall has only one simple aim: set a new bar for online multiplayer gameplay. This approach is refreshing, bold and definitely a gamble that pays off.
What Respawn Studio has acheived is an experience that is not only fun, but exceptional in the way that it plays. At first glance, you would be forgiven for making a comparison to the Call of Duty franchise, and this is no coincidence. Titanfall was developed by much of the Infinity Ward team that produced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. They formed a new studio ‘Respawn’ and soon partnered with publisher Electronic Arts.
Titanfall features a campaign that is both laughable and forgettable.
There is a war raging through space between The IMC and Militia, two factions fighting over the same thing, Dominance in ‘The Frontier’, a vast region in the deepest reaches of explored space. The biggest problem with the campaign is that most of the story is told by characters who appear in corner of your screen. It’s a missed opportunity to have the story play out this way as there is so much happening at any moment, you simply cannot pay enough attention to what they are saying. I am happy to say, however, that you are having so much fun during the campaign that you revisit time and time again.
Whether IMC or Militia, you start each game as a pilot with an impressive arsenal at your disposal, as well as some extra abilities that can be unlocked. Cloak, faster reloading, improved stealth to name a few. You also have the ability to double jump right off the bat to become a dangerous threat from above, along with the freedom to wall run. Combining these two features alone encourages players to keep moving, to keep your enemy guessing your location. It’s a perfect mechanic that handles as good as it looks, especially when you chain them together.
After each kill of another pilot, grunt or spectre (the latter two being AI controlled players that are split between the two teams), you are granted precious seconds off the ‘build time’ of your Titan. And when you see that timer reach zero, the excitement really starts to ramp up when the words TITAN READY appear in the middle of your HUD. It is truly exhilirating to see your Titan fall from the sky, slam into the ground next to you, then pick your pilot up and place them into it’s chest. You are now in control of a 20 foot tall mech suit.
Like your Pilot, your Titan can be equipped with it’s own weapons, defences and abilities, such as a barage of rockets, auto eject and a vortex sheild that can catch bullets being fired at you, and repel them back at the shooter.
What you lose in agility as a pilot, you certainly gain in firepower as a Titan. But both are just as threatening as the other, making this a brilliantly balanced game.
As an alternative to the campaign, you can choose to play classic multiplayer, boasting some interesting modes such as Last Titan Standing or Pilot Hunter, as well as the now genre expected Mainstays; Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag. Titanfall is certainly a bare bones affair, game mode wise, compared to other FPS games it hopes to distract you from. However more types of matches are expected to be added in the near future for free. I feel it now crucial to note that Titanfall is an online only game (yes, even the campaign), so you must have an internet connection and you must have Xbox Live Gold to play.
As you level up, whether playing Campaign or Multiplayer, you unlock ‘Burn Cards’. Think Call Of Duty’s perk system. They can offer you a multitude of things, such as more powerful weapons, longer lasting abilities, seconds off your Titan build Time and many more. Choosing your burn cards wisely can mean absolutely everything if used correctly. However, each burn card can only be used once, and will last as long you do; if you die, you lose your card.
Written by Mark Law