From the moment Titanfall was revealed I fell in love with it, not just because of the way the game looked and played but because it’s come from Respawn Entertainment, a team pieced together by ex-Infinity Ward employees that worked on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare & Modern Warfare 2, arguable the best games in the franchise. When it comes to making first-person shooters, these guys know exactly what they’re doing.
So much hype surrounded Titanfall before launch, but does it live up to expectations? In my case yes but it isn’t to everyone’s taste and let me tell you why.
Titanfall itself offers a bold, new look at multiplayer titles, for a start the campaign itself is quite diluted, it’s basically multiplayer with random radio transmissions that seem to fade out whilst you’re double-jumping and wall-running around the map. Each campaign mission starts off with a briefing on what the object of the mission is, but that doesn’t really matter as the object is still the same, kill the enemy. Whether your team wins or looses it makes no impact on the game itself and all it offers is a different radio transmission that is often confusing or just completely invisible to you make the campaign seem utterly useless and unnecessary.
Although the campaign, is at times, enjoyable it still feels like it was very much an after thought and is completely redundant to the game itself, it has now come to light that there will be sequels in the future so in those I’d like to see a better campaign mode, one that either let’s you play alone and offline or one that you can co-op with friends against an AI enemy that has consequences for loosing a game, not just some awful dialogue that you learn to just ignore. You could just look at the campaign as an extensive training mode that helps you learn the maps, weapons and types of Titan, you could use it to hone your Pilot skills, or you could just use it as a source of finding cannon fodder in the form of ‘noobs’ ready to help you rank up, in fact one of the few things that appeals to me in the campaign mode is the fact you can collect XP to help rank your player up and complete challenges but that is a case of personal preference and nothing more.
There is also a Training Mode which helps you get to grips with the Pilot movement and some basic Titan controls but this mode only lasts around 10 minutes, I would have liked to have seen a more extensive training mode that teaches you some of the harder movements such as wall-hanging (Just press LT whilst wall-running), this move I don’t see often online and I think it’s purely a case of people just not knowing about it.
So to recap the campaign mode is truly nothing but a waste of time if you like story-rich games and the training section just gives you the basics but what about the proverbial bread and butter of the game? Multiplayer is certainly the all singing, all dancing mode of the game but does that live up to expectations after the hum-drum affair of the campaign? Quite simply, yes, yes it does.
Anyone who played in the beta knows how fun the game can be, the beta itself was only a small taste of what was to come and even though it didn’t offer a great deal it certainly wetted my appetite for some serious mech combat. The first thing you’ll notice is the amount of game modes you’re offered, you have Attrition, Last Titan Standing, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, Pilot Hunter and Variety Pack, a mode that picks the game mode of the match randomly. As it stands now I tend to play a lot of Last Titan Standing, Attrition and Hardpoint although Capture the Flag is an extremely popular mode. We have also been promised new game modes in future DLC packs and patches. Another thing that is noticeable is the amount of maps you have as standard out of the box, 15 maps in total and they all offer completely different environments, in the beta we saw Angel City and Fracture, both offered different styles of surroundings but in the full game it’s the same with the remaining maps. It’s actually extremely easy for someone to recognise what map you’re on just by watching for a second. Usually with first-person shooters I always hate a handful of the maps, that isn’t the case with Titanfall as they all offer something truly unique.
One of the best things about Titanfall is the lack of campers hoping to get a few cheeky, sneaky kills. This is because of the size of the maps, the maps are all very large so the flow of combat keeps shifting around the map, one team may have had their Titans destroyed so the other team advances to push back the Pilots and hopefully crush them. The flow is constantly moving which makes battles exciting yet intense at the same time. The maps also offer excellent choke-points but also gift you the ability to flank, a team that uses this effectively will always will a Titan battle, I’ve witnessed, and taken part in, some awesome movements that has destroyed a team of Titans within seconds when in theory if each Titan went one-on-one it would have resulted in a loss, Titan’s aren’t just brawn, you have to be clever with your movements, communicate with your team and know your role otherwise you can be taken out within seconds.
Getting your Titan is fairly easy, you can speed up your Titan drop time by killings Grunts and Spectres (AI controlled enemy combatants) but these only knock off a small amount of time compared to killing Pilots, you can also knock time off by capturing objectives if you’re playing an objective based game mode such as Hardpoint or Capture the Flag. Burn Cards can also knock time off with a range of different cards. Burn Cards are Respawn’s take on perks, you can choose a Burn Card before you start a game or after you die, these cards can range from calling in Titans, speeding up Titan build time, amped versions of weapons and increased abilities. The Burn Cards only last for one life so use them wisely otherwise you can end up wasting them, you can take a maximum of 3 Burn Cards into a game so choose them based on the game mode and/or map. Burn Cards unlock at level 7 and you can only have a maximum of 25 Burn Cards in your deck at a time so be sure to discard any cards that you won’t use or don’t suit your style of play.
There is a fair amount of variation when it comes to the weapons for you pilots, you have three slots to fill, a pistol, a primary, an anti-Titan weapon and Ordanance. You can also choose a Tactical Ability such as the cloak and some Kits such as Minion Detector and Extra Explosives. Even though there is a fair amount of weapons and customizations available you don’t really see much variety whilst playing, everyone tends to play with the R-101C Carbine rifle unless the player is trying to complete challenges to Regen, more on that later. The Titans also have a range of weapons to suit different player styles, some are suited for long range, others are suited to maximum damage and my favourite, the Triple Threat which is suited to very close quarter combat. On top of the weapons you can also choose Ordanance, with my favourite being a Cluster Missile, you can also choose a Tactical Ability such as a shield or electric smoke to get rid of pesky Pilots intent on killing you via the Rodeo method which see’s them bypass your shield and expose hardware that deals serious damage to your Titan. In addition your Titan can also equip two kits ranging from your Titan going nuclear when it’s damaged beyond repair and Fast Autoloader which reloads your ordinance faster.
Titans also come in three different flavours; Ogre but brute strength, yet quite slow, Atlas for a mixture of pace and power and the Stryder for hit and run situations as it boasts extreme speed. I find myself always using the Ogre but I always try to be a tank-based character, this helps my team inflict damage whilst I attract fire.
Ultimately the combinations you can set your Pilots and Titans up with is extremely vast and finding the right combination takes time and skill, but once you discover what works for you, and you will, you’ll become unstoppable.
Titanfall has adopted a form of the ‘Prestige’ feature that you see in Call of Duty, in Titanfall the feature is called Regeneration and once you hit level 50 you can choose to regenerate your character, taking yourself back to level 1 but with the added perk of have an XP boost based on your level. For instance when you regenerate for the first time you’ll become a regen 2 character with an XP boost of 1.2, going all the way to 3.5 when you hit regen level 10. The first regen doesn’t need you to complete any challenges but after that you will have to complete some required challenges before you can regen, this can be extremely tough as you’ll have to use weapons that you’re not really used to using, the idea behind this is to break you out of your comfort zone and to urge you to use weapons the game offers. Of course you don’t need to regen, the choice is yours but I’ve seen groups of people do it just for the satisfaction of beating friends.
Titanfall has been earmarked as the game of next-gen, the first first-person shooter title that has been built to show off next-gen visuals and welcome everyone to a new generation of gaming, the game utilises Microsoft’s ‘Compute’ service which adds extreme server power to the game on-demand. I’ve not really suffered any form of lag playing the game which is in itself, a breath of fresh air. The game looks amazing and if games look this good at the beginning of a new generation then what will they look like three years from now?
All-in-all Titanfall is a stand-up shooter that delivers hours of fun and competitiveness even without a decent campaign mode. If you can only afford to get one title this year and you love shooters then make sure you get Titanfall, you won’t be disappointed.
- Excellent, original gameplay
- Wall-running and double jumping
- Campaign is 'meh'