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Titanfall Review


If there is one game that has been hyped more than most, it’s Titanfall. The barrage of chat and media coverage for this title has, at times, been almost unbearable. But at last the talking can stop and the action can begin. Titanfall is here and while the beginning of the story feels rather incomplete, it’s still a wonderful start.

Anyone who follows me on social media will know that I’ve had my concerns about Titanfall, I’ve certainly not been shy in voicing them. My main worry was that both EA and Respawn were very quiet when it came to talking about the on-disc content and to be fair it was probably for a very good reason. You see Titanfall has been built for online shooter fans and it makes no apology about this. Those who like a bit of depth in terms of fantastic storytelling and those epic one-off gameplay moments that only a campaign can bring, have been left behind. What this means is that Titanfall could be considered a bit light on the ground for a £50 game. Sure it has an ‘online campaign,’ but this almost feels like it has been thrown in as a last minute addition in order to shore up the disc. It’s not really a campaign at all you see, it’s just a few cutscenes thrown together with a dull storyline in order to glue up the nine multiplayer matches that make it up. That’s not to say it’s not worth playing, in fact I found it an invaluable way to ease myself into the game, allowing me to level up my character and have the bonus of unlocking a Titan for when I entered the real action that is the 'Classic' Online Multiplayer mode. It’s just that if you are a Call of Duty or Battlefield fan looking for the same level of content, you won’t get it here. Maybe it’s a little bit cheeky of EA and Respawn, but they are hoping that the gameplay does the talking. And let’s face it, if you spend hours upon hours playing this game, then chances are you’ll feel that you’ve got value for money.

What makes Titanfall different is in the name. The Titans, but it’s also more than that. It’s the way Respawn has combined many elements of gaming into one title, which in turn gives you the ability to jump around between rooftops and run on walls. It’s also the fact that you’re the equal of every player, no matter how good they are. Sure they may kill more enemies and Titans than you, however everyone still gets to use a Titan and everyone can still take down the AI Grunts and Spectres that run around the battlefield in order to boost their score.



Obviously the Titans are the main event and there is nothing quite like the first time you summon one into battle, watching it fall from the sky and thump onto the ground. The better you perform during the match, the faster you’ll get hold of this magnificent machine, allowing you to take out grunts and pilots with relative ease. Perhaps the most fun when piloting a Titan is when you get to go face to face with another. There is nothing as exhilarating as being head to head with one or even two enemy Titans, in fact the only thing that tops it is when you are a pilot on foot and come around the corner to watch two Titans go head to head in melee combat. Spectacular.

What else is pretty brilliant about Titans is that you don’t actually have to pilot them to control them. Thanks to Titan AI mode, you can set your metal warrior to either Guard or Follow, allowing you to gain XP without doing much. What’s great about this is that you can combine both in order to maximise your usefulness on the battlefield.

It would be fair to think that the game should be relativity unbalanced given that small pilots are tasked with taking on these huge metal beasts, but somehow Respawn have done the impossible and made the balance feel quite equal. Sure Titan’s can squish Pilots with a lift of their foot, however thanks to the ability to Parkour, pilots can also get their own back by jumping onto a Titan’s head, opening up it’s innards and shooting at the circuit boards. This causes the Titan to blow up after its health has been depleted. The first time you take down a Titan in this way you’ll be thirsty for more, it’s a wonderful feeling and it actually makes playing as a pilot without a Titan just as satisfying, if not more so. Pilots are also able to make use of Anti-Titan weapons should you not be having any luck Rodeoing a Titan, so you’ll never feel inferior to the Titans during your play time.

As briefly mentioned, as well as human players, Titanfall also includes AI bots which help fill out the maps, given that there are only 12 human players in total. The AI are pretty unintelligent, but one thing that is useful about them is that they generally know where the action is, so following the AI hordes can generally lead to some points of action. I’ve seen many arguments that say the AI has been included to make newcomers and those who aren’t so good at FPS games feel like they are having fun, but to be honest I fall into those categories and other than them being a beacon to find the action, I’d rather do without them. They are cannon fodder and often just get in the way. To me at least, taking these bots out is nowhere near as satisfying as taking out a real player, so in this respect I’d generally tend to ignore them.

Away from the action but to add some further satisfaction to the game, Respawn allows players to level up and eventually complete challenges, which in turn earns you Burn Cards. These cards are handed out for meeting all sorts of criteria and can be equipped before the start of a match. You are allowed to equip three in all, allowing you to make use of their unique abilities, such as being able to switch to a different weapon or call in an Atlus Titan. The cards offer a decent advantage, although their usefulness disappears when your pilot dies.

There are so many little things to Titanfall to appreciate. Such as when your Titan blows up and you are ejected above the battlefield, giving you a birds eye view of all the action and allowing you the chance to drop onto a rooftop in order to cause some more damage. There is also the fact that when you lose a match you’ll need to run to your dropship to evacuate the battlefield, die and it’s game over, but get back and onto the ship and you’ll still feel like a winner, even though your team has just lost (well unless the enemy blows it up in mid-air).

Obviously there was always going to be some comparisons with Call of Duty and there are plenty similarities. The weaponry for instance is filled with old favourites such as Assault rifles, SMGs, shotguns and sniper rifles, however there are at least some new innovations, such as the auto-targetting Smart Pistol, which allows you to auto-lock onto grunts and pilots and of course, the anti-titan weapons that pack a powerful punch against these otherwise formidable foes.

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If there is one worry it’s probably the longevity that the game modes can provide. Hardpoint Domination has you trying to take control of three main points on the map and Attrition, which is essentially Team Deathmatch, are the main two. The other modes, including the familiar Capture the Flag, just feel like fillers really. Pilot Hunter for instance just has you hunt down pilots for points, while its opposite, Last Titan Standing, has you slugging it out in Titans with no respawn. It’s probably fair to say that you’ll find most people playing the first two modes. In a way it feels like a bit of a shame that there is no real innovative in this area, given the way the game tries to change the face of the tiring first person shooter genre. Perhaps this is something that will come later down the line via the planned DLC, I certainly hope so as otherwise people may tire of such a limited playlist.

And that just leaves the maps, most of which are very well designed and offer an enjoyable experience, although there are a few that feel slightly on the compact side from the inside of a Titan. Still, it’s fair to say that the map design is pretty solid and varied, seeing you traverse the dusty, desert like features of maps such as Boneyard to the highly accessible rooftops of maps such as Angel City. No matter what map you play on, it’s always a joy to find new spaces to jump from and into and new ways in which to navigate your Titan through the sometimes hard to squeeze through spaces.

So what is it about Titanfall that makes it so special? To me what makes the game fun is a combination of things. It’s the Titan’s which you’ll get to make use of no matter how bad you are at the game, but it’s also the fact that you can jump, run along walls and not be killed every 30 seconds. You see, Titanfall gives everyone a chance to be good. I’ve took my pilot, jumped on a Titan’s head, opened it’s innards and blew it to pieces. I’ve stood in my Titan firing missile’s at my opponents soon to be destroyed dropship after we won the match and their only option was to try and escape. I’ve done this as someone who is quite frankly terrible at first person shooters and I’ve had a heck of a lot of fun doing it too. I’ve been one of the biggest cynics around when it comes to this game. I was worried about the lack of content and the less than stellar graphics and rightly so. But at the end of the day, when parting with your cash, you’re doing so because you want some entertainment, an escape and in this respect nothing will give you greater value than Titanfall. 

Words by Joe Anderson
@_wotta / PSN / XBLA : Wotta 

(Version Tested: PC/Xbox One)

Pros

+ Fun and Refreshing for an FPS
+ Accessible for all
+ A decent selection of maps
+ Piloting Titans is a joy
+ Rodeoing Titans is a joy

Cons 

- Online Campaign feels lacklustre
- Graphics are fairly disappointing / Some screen tearing in Xbox One version
- Longevity could be a worry

Edited On 13 Mar, 2014

Comments
16
I have a PS4, I have watched enough Twitch streaming of the game to agree with most of your comment, but point 4 - Joe is probably the most un-biased person ever to review a game regardless of PS4/XB1
Dave 'BubbaJai' Aston 8 months ago
Don't find the review biased at all. I'd also note that whilst paid dlc or free dlc may increase the longevity we don't know how often these will drop or what they will add to the game. I've seen many multiplayer games ruined by add on content. That said got nothing else on my xbox one to play,so day one purchase from me, and the game is fun. It doesn't live up to the hype the game has had, I'm not sure any game could live up to the hype. Still wish it was on PS4 too.
csrogue 8 months ago
Joe reviews a game in the condition that it is sent to him in, not to review it on the basis that the game might look/run better in the future. Bottom line is a review is an opinion
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
I thought it was a fairly balanced review personally. There is defo tearing in the XB1 version. As mentioned I review the game in the condition now, I can't take future patches or content (especially since we have no idea what it is) into consideration. Overall I think anyone playing this game would agree with most of the above. In all I'd say it's a very positive review, no game is perfect tho.
Joe Anderson (Editor) 8 months ago
You can say no game is perfect but people will disagree with you each time
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
Went to that prerelease event in london today, (event sucked, no goodies or anything! Just turn up and play for a few hours.) open european servers so got a good look at all the guns ect. And its good, the odd fps drop for a second (happened once to me in the two and a half hours i played when there were 8 titans all in one area fighting) but aside from that, ill get £50 worth of game time out of it for sure.
Im Going Space 8 months ago
Also, all the weapons are really balanced. Like really REALLY balanced, but unique to themselves aswell. I was running the G2A4 most of the event (semi auto) and was top of the board every game :P
Im Going Space 8 months ago
I wonder if the AI will be Canon Fodder as time goes on? If the AI uses the cloud like Forza 5 then the AI will learn from the players and get smarter
superniceguy 8 months ago
The AI are meant to be "Canon Fodder" as you put it. It's kinda like the way Dota does it
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
The AI in Forza 5 was easy when the game started, because it had no input, but the AI is not easy now and still getting harder, as the AI is constantly learning from the players.
superniceguy 8 months ago
People wouldn't like it. Games like COD & Titanfall are power fantasy games, that is why COD is so popular
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
You do get the option to choose AI difficulty in Forza 5. So if players want easy they can choose easy / new players, if they want difficult AI they choose difficult / experienced players. The AI is probably easy atm in Titanfall because the game has not had a chance to learn yet.
superniceguy 8 months ago
You would split the player base if you did that and it wouldn't work anyway since the game is also on X360 & Origin
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
Also have you even played a MOBA? the hell if I want enemy creeps starting to act like Heroes, all ready have enough to worry about without that
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
Personally I would be more interested in Titanfall if it took more ideas from the MOBA Genre such as upgrading your Pilot/Titan as the match goes on
Loli-Nox-Tan 8 months ago
Pretty decent review. Couple of points, not sure what Joe's setup is but I personally can't say I found the graphics "fairly disappointing" sure it's no Ryse Son of Rome in the looks department but I've seen worse on the next gen consoles. Also the comment about "Longevity" now this will be different for everyone, I checked my stats last night and I've played for just under 19 hours so far and it's one of them games where the more I play, the more I want to play. The only game so far on either XB1/PS4 that I've played more up to now is Assassins Creed 4 and with games like Infamous rumoured to have a 12 hour campaign, new MGS around 2 hours I don't think Titanfall will fall short here, well not for me anyway.
Old Timer 8 months ago
Dragon Age Inquisition - PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
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