Titanfall is, without a doubt, the breath of fresh air the first-person shooter genre has needed for quite some time now. Gameplay is fast, action-packed and keeps you coming back for more, while diversity between the game’s Pilots and Titans make for dynamic combat scenarios that play out like intense Chess matches. As a whole, Titanfall’s unique concept and ability to execute as strictly online-multiplayer game make it an incredibly addictive game to play. Still, it is by no means a perfect game, as a rather flat campaign mode and lack of personalization options make it feel somewhat hollow at times. All of the pieces are there, but could have been fleshed out at a much deeper level.
Why Titanfall Kicks Ass
Anybody Can Have Fun While Playing
From a control standpoint, there’s no doubt that Titanfall will take some getting used to due to its unique parkour system, strategic Titan combat and dense loadout customization. Still, learning the game’s controls isn’t enough to stop new players from enjoying themselves while playing Titanfall. Unlike other game’s in its genre, Respawn Entertainment’s mechs meets freerunning shooter places AI units on the battlefield, allowing less skilled players to rack up points, simultaneously reducing the countdown timer for their Titan.
So, regardless of whether you’re playing with a professional gamer or the biggest noob on the planet, skill, for the most part, shouldn’t factor into the amount of fun you have while playing Titanfall. There’s no doubt that Titanfall itself is competitive by nature – and rightly so considering it is a sheerly online-multiplayer game – but less competitive players shouldn’t be intimidated by the game’s fiercer side, as less hostile AI serve to bring about a much needed morale boost when needed.
Considering Titanfall forces players to manage a large number of abilities and weapons in the midst of tactical-driven gameplay, it does an exceptional job at implementing a smooth set of controls that aid the player in his or her main goal – raising hell and killing enemy Titans. Freerunning between walls in order to propel to higher up vantage points is nearly flawless from a mechanics standpoint, something I can’t help but praise Respawn for. Aside from that, Titanfall‘s mechanics mirror elements of other first-person shooters such as Call of Duty, but don’t let that fool you into believing that Titanfall is just another generic shooter. Its movements are dynamic and force players to rethink the ways in which they move around the map. While other shooters call for players to move horizontally around various maps, Titanfall is best played both horizontally and vertically, making wall running its most prominent element while traversing its maps as a Pilot.
Titan mechanics, although somewhat difficult to get used to at first, are very well thought out and allow players to feel both formidable while chasing down enemy Pilots on the ground and tactical while facing off against enemy Titans. Dashing with the “A” button feels very fluid and the various Titan weapons and abilities feel balanced and fleshed out from a design standpoint, making the gameplay itself feel fresh and complete. Overall, the game itself feels incredibly fluid, a major positive for a game published by the same company that brought players the likes of Battlefield 4…enough said.
One of the most notable features in Titanfall is the ability to “rodeo” enemy and friendly Titans, allowing players to shoot the brains out of an adversary, or hitch a ride to a new location on the map. In addition to being loads of fun, the ability to “rodeo” Titans on the battlefield adds to the game’s already dynamic gameplay, giving Pilots a fighting chance against Titanfall‘s mechs. Going further, Pilot’s being “rodeoed” (yes, this is now a word according to Titanfall) can choose to evacuate their Titan in order to confront their pesky attacker. I didn’t think it was possible to balance combat between Pilots and 20-foot-tall mechs, but Respawn has done it, and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, other gameplay elements – anti-Titan weapons, Titan-emitted electric smoke and cloaking devices for Pilots – also serve to balance out Titanfall‘s gameplay as well, a testament to the amount of thought placed on dynamic combat in the game.
Level Design and Game Modes
Imagine yourself traversing the barren landscape of an ancient alien boneyard, ripe with aerial dragon-like monsters ready to pick off helpless AI Grunts at a moments notice. Titanfall‘s levels are without a doubt one of its strongest features. Most are massive in scale – a requirement in order to host the game’s Titans – and focus on verticality, as opposed to other games that merely focus on horizontal routes and pinch points. Those elements still exist, but trying to utilize them usually isn’t the best option due to enemy Titans wreaking havoc on the ground. Thus, bouncing off of walls in order to climb to building tops becomes a much more suitable and strategic option in Titanfall. Again, almost all 15 levels in the game are built specifically with this in mind, which means there’s never a dull moment from a combat standpoint, unless you’re constantly on the tail of the enemy team in a Harpoint match – Titanfall‘s equivalent to Call of Duty‘s Domination mode.
Still, each level feels unique and highly detailed, making Titanfall‘s level design stand out as a trademark of the series…alongside the game’s massive 20-foot-tall Titans of course, which also have no issues maneuvering around maps due to the inclusion of larger openings and passageways built specifically for Titans. And, although the inclusion of larger openings may seem like a glaring red sign that says “Titan Enter Here,” you’ll probably never end up feeling that way, as Respawn has designed the levels to feel fluid and natural to the game’s various settings, meaning a giant opening blends in naturally with the rest of whatever level you may find yourself on.
Despite only having five game modes to play, each offers something unique and exciting, which should keep players interested for quite some time. Attrition, likened to team death match, is probably the game’s most basic mode and prompts players to rack up as many kills as possible – both AI Grunts and Pilot kills count – in order to win. This isn’t my favorite game type, but it offers up a basic concept that works well for new players looking to get their feet wet with Titanfall.
Personally, my favorite game type is Capture the Flag, as it invites players to implement a heavy dose of strategy and tactics in order to outwit the opposing team. Whether you decide to run the flag by yourself as a Pilot, hop on the back of a friendly Titan and ride with the flag back to your base, or grab the flag and jump back into your own Titan, players should always expect fast-paced action and an invigorating experience while playing CTF in Titanfall.
Other game types include:
–Harpoint Domination – A mode in which players hold down three different bases on the given map
– Pilot Hunter – A mode in which only enemy Pilot kills count toward the team’s overall score
– Last Titan Standing – A mode in which all players spawn in a Titan and the team with the last Titan on the field wins
As I mentioned before, each game type feels unique and natural within the confines of Titanfall, which is incredibly important to the game due to its focus on multiplayer. Without a large selection of diverse maps, the game would inevitably become bland and boring at a rapid pace. And although I’m not ecstatic about the inclusion of a season pass for the game, I’m still excited to see what Respawn has in store for players in terms of new content for Titanfall. Overall, Respawn has provided players with a fairly large amount of in-game content, a major plus when looking at the game as a whole.
What Could Have Been Improved
Customization is something that is done very well in Titanfall – weapons have multiple attachments, Pilots have a plethora of abilities and equipment to choose from and Titans are able to utilize a variety of different offensive or defensive weapons. That being said, I would have liked to see personalization options pertaining to both a player’s Pilot and Titan. As Titanfall is now, players have no ability to personalize their Pilots with different armor, helmets etc. The same goes for Titans. As a multiplayer only game, these types of customization options are a no-brainer. How Respawn failed to include personalization options for Pilots and Titans is beyond me, as being able to put different emblems or armor on one’s Titan would have greatly added to the bond created between Pilot and Titan. Oh well…hopefully you get this right in Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment.
The Multiplayer Campaign is a Joke
My biggest gripe with Titanfall‘s campaign is that it feels lazy. Cutscenes are relegated to small bits of dialogue between campaign characters within player lobbies or short bouts of action before a match actually starts. Generally speaking, the entire campaign plays out like a ride at Disneyland, except no one really gives a damn about the added fluff because, frankly, that’s all it is, a feature added in that allows Respawn to check off “campaign” as an added feature on the box. The narrator’s voice in lobbies between games and scripted events just before a match begins come across as being rather dull and embarrassingly lazy for a game with a AAA budget. The gameplay within the campaign itself is fun because, well, it’s the same gameplay as seen in the game’s multiplayer component, which is what Titanfall was built around.
Unfortunately, Respawn failed to take advantage of what looks to be an incredibly dense and immersive world by limiting the capacity at which the game’s campaign operates. As a player who has grown tired of stale campaign modes in multiplayer shooters, I want future shooters to reinvent the campaign mode, not eliminate it almost entirely, which is what Titanfall has done. And not to sound too pessimistic, but this is a problem if this particular trend continues on into the future, as developers may end up spending less time on campaign modes, leaving players with less content. Is that what you want? Not me. I want developers to go above and beyond in order to deliver an immersive experience both within a game’s campaign and its multiplayer component. Titanfall, however, fails to impress from a campaign standpoint.
Final Score: 8/10
Titanfall was reviewed with a personally bought copy of the game on Xbox One.