Prepare For TitanFall
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.
Map design is incredibly versatile, allowing both Pilots and Titans to fight concurrently without feeling constrained or out of place. To me, this is the biggest achievement in TitanFall. Without this, the multiplayer that flows throughout the entirety of the game would feel unnecessarily confined. These maps allow for Titans, while obviously being more powerful, to be vulnerable to nimble Pilot attacks on foot, and vice versa. So even though you may find yourself without your metallic guardian, you can still be an effective force in the match.
Lastly, when I heard TitanFall would only be six verses six, I was a bit disappointed. I’m quite used to the 64-player madness that is Battlefield 4, and thought this low number of players would be boring and feel small. I was completely wrong. TitanFall gets around this issue by supplying NPC soldiers to the battlefield that play a role especially in the Attrition game mode. This makes the games feel larger and more complete, while keeping the core action on the 12 players that are tearing each other apart on-screen. To be completely honest, I couldn’t imagine the craziness that would ensue if there were more than 12 players in a TitanFall game.
So, no, TitanFall is not perfect. But it is a huge step forward for the FPS genre. It brings new mechanics to the table and throws several FPS conventions out the window, while keeping enough familiarity to keep FPS fans engaged. There is so much going on in a TitanFall match that you will be unable to catch it all (even though you will try) and the solid soundscape just adds to the immersion with a limitless supply of projectile, Titan computer, Pilot voice, and ambient sounds that might scramble you brain a little. But that’s part of the fun, right?
In short, TitanFall has the goods. If you have an Xbox One, buy this game. If you don’t have an Xbox One or gaming PC and love FPS multiplayer games, go buy an Xbox One and buy TitanFall. They even have a convenient bundle for you. Even though I wish TitanFall had a more complete campaign, it doesn’t detract from the fact that it is probably the most fun multiplayer FPS I’ve ever played. Sorry Battlefield. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my Titan is ready.
“Order Confirmed. TitanFall incoming.”
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Even though it’s only running at 792p, it is still visually impressive. 4.5 Control
Tight and responsive, these controls give any FPS a run for their money. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sound design is solid, with tons of ambient noise to add to the insanity. 4.8 Play Value
The most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer FPS in a long time. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best