Titanfall has to be one of the most anticipated games this year for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. Though the Xbox 360 is still in the hands of Bluepoint Games, those of us with Xbox Ones or PC’s have had the game for a good few days now and we’ve had a chance to dive in to both the campaign side of this multiplayer-only title and the standard single player mode which contains six different game modes. Now, I’m yet to put enough hours into the game to hit Generation 1, so this review is more of a ‘review in progress’ as I believe that this is the sort of game that’ll need revisiting one or two times the further I progress. So far though, these are my thoughts.
Titanfall is primarily an online-only title. There’s no single player mode, no offline local split screen, nothing. Just a raw multiplayer experience right from the get-go. So when I eventually loaded up the game I was a little confused to find an option for a Campaign Mode.
During the run up to the release of Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment revealed that there were some story elements in the game that were tied into the multiplayer gaming experience. Back then I just assumed there was some pre-loading narrative which told a small piece of the story before every game. What I didn’t expect was a story-driven game mode that seamlessly blended Hardpoint Domination and Attrition game modes with a unique narrative which explained the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.
First you begin as the Frontier Militia hearing their side of the story. Exactly why they’re attacking the IMC or why they’re capturing the Hardpoints. Once you’ve completed that story you move onto the IMC to hear their side. It’s a brilliant way to get used to the game and how it plays before hopping into the Classic Modes, but there are some flaws.
The narrative in the Campaign Mode can be easily ignored and if anything can become frustrating when you just want to launch yourself into another game, but instead you’re stuck listening to Vice Admiral Graves, or Bish until the game has loaded. This does give you plenty of time to edit your loadouts if needs be, but it can also be a little tedious at times, especially if you’re an Achievement hunter and want to win every mission in the campaign mode.
Once you’ve completed the relatively short campaign mode it’s onto the Classic Multiplayer mode. In this mode you have six game modes: Attrition, which is basically a Team Deathmatch mode. Last Titan Standing: If you’re keen to get more experience with Titans, Last Titan Standing is the game mode for you, this is a no-respawn game where everyone begins as a titan, the last Titan left standing is the winner. Hardpoint: We’re all familiar with Domination, this is basically it. You have three points that you have to secure, the longer you hold multiple points, the quicker you’ll win. Capture the Flag: This mode is pretty self explanatory if you’re used to first person shooters. Pilot Hunter: This is a Titan-free game mode, If you’re not too keen on Titans, this mode is for you.
Finally there’s a Variety pack game mode that combines all five for those who really can’t make up their minds.
Respawn Entertainment have tried to ‘fix’ certain aspects of the online shooter that some would consider needed fixing. This has mostly involved changing up the way the each game starts and finishes. In Titanfall you don’t just begin a game at the edge of a map standing in a crowd. You and a few other Pilots begin in a drop ship which you all hop out of as soon as everyone’s connected to the game, you’re no longer stood looking at a greyed out countdown which I’m pretty happy about.
The same goes for when games are completed. As soon as the score limit is reached or the time limit has ended an Epilogue will begin, this will either require you to get to an Evac Point, or stop the enemy from reaching their Evac Point. No longer do you just stop dead in your tracks as soon as the limit has been reached which is a brilliant touch and adds an extra spin on each game mode.
There are also a good handful of ways for you to level up, which not only requires killing Pilots and destroying Titans, certain unlocks require you to kill Spectres and Grunts which is a great way to get the AI characters involved in the game. Levelling up, of course, gives you the chance to unlock better and more powerful weapons for your Pilot and your Titan, this is a pretty old-school way to level up compared to the Call of Duty franchise that’s been trying to mix-up the way you unlock weapons for a while now.
This form of levelling up does mean that someone who’s at Level 30, will have a better choice of weapons than someone who’s at Level 10, but for those of us who are fans of first person shooters, we’re pretty used to that way of levelling up by now, so we’ll have to learn to out-smart that Level 30 player.
Burn Cards are also a thing. These cards can be ‘burned’ when you respawn to give you a temporarily added advantage on the battlefield, they can only be used once, and you can only add up to three before each game, so choose wisely, oh and if you die, the burn card is gone. You can collect burn cards by completing challenges, some are pretty common, others are pretty rare, you can only hold around 20 cards too so if your deck is full you’ll lose what you’ve just earned.
One of the more stand-out features in Titanfall is the way that you have freedom to head almost anywhere on the map providing you have the skills to do so. With the ability to wall-run and wall-hang as well as double jump, hopping from one rooftop to another becomes child’s play. Traversing steep hilltops or huge buildings have become commonplace and the gameplay completely changes compared to other first person shooters. No longer do you have to follow a linear line-of-sight, you now have to think outside of the box to find the more seemingly impossible places Pilots could hide.
Add the huge handfuls of AI Grunts and Spectres into the mix as well as the huge Titan battles you’ve got a pretty intense, fast paced, and at times, overwhelming game to try and succeed in.
I’ll be focusing more on the finer details such as Burn Cards and the weapons in my later review once I’ve had more experience with each.
So far, a few days into the game, I’ve had an amazing experience. The game itself is fantastic but it has caused some bugs on the Xbox One to surface. Over the weekend we struggled to get our party into a game with invites not arriving, some players not able to connect to the private lobby, and just general frustration when trying to get into a game together. There’s also no option to play a private match which I’m sure will be implemented later down the line. On it’s own the game is fantastic, but paired with the Xbox One at times can be pretty frustrating, something which will eventually be fixed, I’m sure.
Titanfall has had the ‘CoD Killer’ moniker thrown around a few times both before and after the games release, so far though, I think both games stand in their own right. Titanfall is a great multiplayer title, it’s not quite the future of multiplayer, but it’s a start. Call of Duty is Call of Duty, Titanfall is Titanfall – I think it’s unfair that the two get compared as they’re both, to me, fairly different games.
Be sure to come back to n3rdabl3.co.uk next week for my follow-up review, as well as stopping by this week for a handful of Titanfall features and videos!