Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: EA Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Genre: First-person shooter Platform Played: Xbox One
As someone who has been playing games for over 17 years, I have noticed my playing behavior has changed a bit over the last few years.
It’s unquestionably still a passion in my life, but I find myself playing in smaller bits throughout the day and more often by myself with single player modes.
I used to play games for hours on end. One minute I would be staring at my screen in the middle of the afternoon; the next moment I looked up, it would be the darkness of the midnight hour.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve realized other things take a higher priority or I simply can’t have marathon gaming sessions anymore.
I was not sure if there would ever be a time where I could get back into this habit, but I have, and of all the games to do it, Titanfall – a multiplayer-only title – is the one.
Translation: Believe the hype behind this game folks.
Titanfall is multiplayer in its purest form. Players assume the role of Pilots on either the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) or the Militia. Pilots have the capabilities to maneuver around environments in a speedy parkour manner and control Titans, which are mechanized machines for combat.
Now, why are the IMC and Militia fighting? I nor anyone who has played the game can tell you. The game attempts to explain this through a campaign mode, but it’s one of – if not the – most pointless story modes I have ever seen in a game because it’s ultimately just the multiplayer. With nine matches lasting 10 minutes or less and playing through the perspective of both sides, you are either going to play Attrition, the game’s take on Deathmatch, or Hardpoint, which is essentially Domination, against other players online.
The only things separating the story from the multiplayer are the brief cutscenes – if you can call them that – before the beginning of each match and the main people behind each side attempting to talk to each other when you’re in the midst of a battle. First, you essentially can’t pay attention to the story because you will be focusing all of your attention on fighting other players online. Second, why are these higher ups involving you in their conversations when it doesn’t pertain to you at all? Hardly any of it makes sense, including the inability to pick which side you want to play on first.
But don’t worry about the campaign, as the rest of Titanfall is the most fun I’ve had with a game, multiplayer or not, in years, and this is coming from someone who prefers the solo route in games.
Titanfall’s first-person shooter gameplay is fantastic in every sense of the word, whether you’re playing as a Pilot or Titan.
I myself prefer controlling a Pilot over a Titan because of the fast-paced nature, the tightness and precision of the shooting mechanics and the rush that comes with parkouring around the maps.
Titans are still tons – literally – of fun to control, however. They are understandably tough to take down, and the weapons they carry are ones to be feared, especially if you’re part of the infantry. Titan on Titan battles also have their own kind of rush. For example, if you’re in the midst of a battle with a single Titan and another enemy joins your opponent, you are going to lose.
Titans and Pilots are not the only things you will fight, however. The IMC and Militia have two types of NPC units: Grunts and Spectres. Admittedly, neither of them are smart and it’s highly unlikely they can cause a player’s death, but they are certainly not meant to be skilled. They primarily serve as distractions, extra points to win a match and additional experience for leveling up, adding a new flavor to matches.
Titanfall is also one of the few games I have played where every weapon is calibrated with such balance. There is not a single gun I have used that felt like it was too robust or weak. Like Goldilocks’ standards, everything is just right. It will all ultimately depend on the player’s preference.
Miraculously, developer Respawn Entertainment has made the balance between Titans and Pilots perfect. While Pilots clearly do not have equal power to those of Titans, they’re not the overpowered machines you might think they are. Pilots have the upper hand with their smaller size, maneuverability, anti-Titan weapons and the ability to rodeo Titans, which allows Pilots to jump on a Titans’ back and shoot their weak point – though it should be noted Titans can have an ability to get a Pilot off its back.
Players can’t respawn their Titans on command either. At the most, players have to wait at least three-and-a-half minutes to call in a Titanfall, but the wait time can be reduced by killing Pilots or Titans. It’s a fantastic balance because it means the maps aren’t overwhelming with Titans, but you’re provided ample time to be a Pilot as well.
In addition to the weapons, there are also Burns Cards you may earn by completing challenges. A one-time use, these cards range anywhere from an amped version of a weapon to reduced time in calling in your Titan. You don’t necessarily need these, but they exist as nice extras.
Helping out with the incredible gameplay are the 15 maps already included. When you think about it, it’s rather sad I’m praising a game for including a number of maps that were a standard in the games of the yesteryears, but it’s so refreshing to see for once. With much diversity, the maps are set up anywhere from a small city structure to huge desserts with perfect opportunities to make opposing players victims to your sniper rifle. They never feel too crowded either when there are several Titans on the map at once.
It’s just too bad that with 15 well-varied maps comes an oddly shallow selection of modes to play on. The amazing gameplay justifies this somewhat, but not completely. Though there are a total of six modes, the two coming the closest to being dubbed unique are Attrition and Last Titan Standing. Attrition not only relies on Pilot and Titan kills, but players can take out Spectres and Grunts for additional points. Last Titan Standing, on the other hand, automatically spawns everyone in their Titans, and whichever team loses all of their Titans first loses a round. Everyone has one life in each round. The first team to win four rounds wins the game. What makes this different is even when your Titan is destroyed, you can still play as a Pilot and help take out the opposing team’s remaining Titans. Other than those modes, you have Capture the Flag, Hardpoint, Variety Pack and Pilot Hunter, a game type where only Pilot kills count.
The game also lacks a few basic features that have been set in the realms of multiplayer standards for years. Why can I not see the locations of the friends in my party while I’m playing online with them? And why not include private matches? With six human players on each team, I can’t see how it would be a demanding feature, even more so when Microsoft updated the Xbox One itself specifically for this game.
Titanfall’s visuals will remind you of the IW Engine, the same one powering the Call of Duty series, which makes sense considering Respawn was formed by the original creators of the billion-dollar franchise. The aesthetics are a step above the IW Engine though. Every map in the game can host 48 players, six players on each team, including six potential Titans on both sides, and 36 NPCs. The graphics themselves are slightly better as well and it manages to run at 60 frames – consistently I might add.
I never thought I would be sitting here telling people to buy Titanfall without a shred of hesitation. I would even go as far to say it’s worth owning an Xbox One. The gameplay is some of the finest, most well-tuned I’ve seen in a multiplayer title in ages whether you’re on the ground or in a giant mech. Although the game has some strange lacks, especially considering it’s a multiplayer title, and one of the most pointless campaigns I have ever played in a game, I still can’t recommend Titanfall enough. Stand by for Titanfall, as it is a must-own title.
+ Incredible balance between Titans and Pilots
+ Fast-paced parkour elements for Pilots
+ Many maps to play on
+ Tight gameplay
– Lacks a few standard multiplayer features
– Purposeless campaign mode|
The Score: 9.1
Robbie Key is the Nintendo editor for Analog Addiction, entertainment editor and copy editor for the Pine Log at Stephen F. Austin State University, news editor for Worlds Factory and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates, watch his awesometacular YouTube videos, and view his LinkedIn profile.