|System: Xbox One*, Xbox 360, PC|
|Dev: Respawn Entertainment|
|Pub: EA Games|
|Release: March 11, 2014|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence|
by Joshua Bruce
After ample time with TitanFall, I became increasingly concerned about how I would score it. I should start off by saying that I absolutely love the gameplay and innovation that was brought to this title, and it’s easily the most fun I’ve had in an FPS in a very long time (even more than Battlefield 4, which is saying a lot for me). But as much as I would like to rave on and on about the good points of TitanFall (which I will to a degree), I have to admit that the game is not perfect in all aspects. I would be remiss of my journalistic duty if I were to glare over these points and give scores that were unjustified just because I loved the game so much, so I will address them directly.
Let’s start with TitanFall’s “campaign” mode. At first I thought “Cool, a game that integrates multiplayer into the campaign component!” Well, that’s a misnomer. Because the campaign mode of TitanFall is the multiplayer. There is basically no separation between the two, aside from a little voice acting and picture-in-picture moments that occur during “missions.” Unfortunately, these “missions” suspiciously devolve into the normal game types of Attrition and Hardpoint.
Sure, the voice acting and mini-videos add to the context of the story they are trying to tell, giving you some insight into the frontier and the struggle between the IMC and the Militia. But there is so much going on in an online match of TitanFall, it’s hard to focus on anything but the action unfolding before your very eyes, so you lose those painstakingly created moments to the insanity of the battlefield. Honestly, I didn’t even notice the picture-in-picture videos in the top left corner of my HUD until several missions into the game.
While the story wasn’t as impactful as I would have liked, it was certainly of high production value. The story of The Frontier is told extremely well if you can find the time to pay attention to it, it just lacks the punch of traditional games. As you progress through the campaign, you do gain experience, upgrades, and unlocks that would normally be reserved exclusively for the full multiplayer portion, which I’ve wanted to see in a game for a very long time. Theoretically, you could only play the campaign mode and have the exact same experience of multiplayer, with the extra coat of polish provided by the narrative, using that time to learn the backstory and characters of TitanFall without sacrificing your multiplayer progression or kill/death ratio. In this respect, TitanFall succeeds, it just feels fairly generic and lacks the definition of a single-player experience you would normally expect.
Speaking of definition, the visuals of TitanFall are brought to us at the baffling resolution of 792p, which was the exact same resolution as the beta last month. The game looks great overall, and (according to Respawn Entertainment) will only continue to improve via a patch that’ll be coming very soon, as soon as they figure out the most stable way to give it the visual bump. Kudos to Respawn for supporting their game after release so the fans can have the graphical experience they were expecting, but I can’t help but wonder—why wasn’t this done before release? Who knows? As good as TitanFall looks in its odd resolution, I can’t wait to see what it looks like when they improve it.
Now that the bad stuff is outta the way, I can officially geek out. Those are the only two gripes I have with the game as a whole. Aside from them, TitanFall is one of the best games I have played in a very long time. Though the developers haven’t completely redefined the FPS genre, they have certainly made vast improvements to the variety of gameplay by adding complex yet balanced gameplay dynamics that can affect the outcome of any match.
Let me explain. If you didn’t have the privilege to play the beta, there are several unique spins on FPS gameplay that have been lovingly woven into the fabric of TitanFall. First of all, the Pilot. When you’re not in a Titan, you are on foot, attempting to survive the onslaught of gunfire without the relative comfort of your large metal friend. You have several tools to use to accomplish this – cloaking that makes you invisible to Titan optics but not completely to other Pilots, Health Stims to heal you when you inevitably get hurt, and the coup de gras, your jump pack. Using the jump pack lends a lot of verticality to the maps in the Pilot role, which is necessary considering how huge the Titans are by comparison. Learning to use all of these abilities in concert will greatly improve your chances of survival until your next Titan becomes available.
The Titan is, of course, the centerpiece of TitanFall. Everything you do as a Pilot goes toward reducing the time you must wait for your next TitanFall, which is the point of all this after all. Once you have an available Titan, you call it in by hitting down on the D-pad while pointing your view at the area in you wish to drop it. Seconds later, you can watch you Titan come barreling through the sky from near-planet orbit, which never gets old, especially if you can drop it on another Titan! Though there are 3 different classes of Titans, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, balancing the gameplay brilliantly.