On June 10th of last year, Respawn Entertainment made history by unveiling their first IP worldwide during Microsoft’s annual E3 2013 press conference. Titanfall proved to wow both gamers and critics alike quickly, while also taking home over 75 prestigious awards throughout the rest of that year.
After months of patiently waiting, the mech-inspired multiplayer first-person shooter is finally out on both the Xbox One and PC platform. Does Titanfall live up to all the praise bestowed upon it, or is it nothing more than an overhyped shooter promising a next-gen experience? Keep reading the rest of my thoughts below to find out.
The premise of Titanfall revolves around two warring factions aiming to destroy each other over the course of a 4-hour campaign packed with 9 playable maps. Players are encouraged to play as both the IMC (Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation) and Militia groups so that they can gain a full understanding of the war and how it impacts both sides moving forward. The main multiplayer modes experienced in the campaign include Hardpoint Domination and Attrition. Hardpoint Domination consists of teams claiming and defending three different locations on the map, while Attrition allows teams to score points for destroying any and every adversary that gets in their way.
In theory, this simple approach to creating a campaign may or may not satisfy fans that are expecting more. Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella stated earlier on that the sole purpose of this online only campaign multiplayer mode was to get players familiar with the lore of the universe before diving headfirst into the rest of the multiplayer modes. The end result of this decision is a confusing storyline filled with characters that we never really get a chance to build a connection with. If you’re someone who cares about narratives in video games, then you should be forewarned right now that Titanfall is lacking in that department.
In addition to the two multiplayer modes described above, Titanfall also has four other distinct modes for players to jump into. Last Titan Standing is an all out free-for-all where the team with the last Titan on the battlefield wins. Pilot Hunter is a deathmatch mode where teams rack up points for killing every enemy pilot in the vicinity. Capture The Flag takes the traditional concept and adds the excitement of Titans to the equation. Lastly, Variety Pack is a compilation of every mode composed into a match playlist that teams and individual players can go through at any given time.
When it comes to gameplay aesthetics, Respawn has successfully proven that they truly are the masters of multiplayer combat. While some may claim that Titanfall looks like nothing more than Call of Duty with Robots, the truth of the matter is that the experience is far more exhilarating and thought provoking than most shooters on the market right now.
For starters, the training menu that was first introduced during the beta is simply awesome and a feature that should be in every multiplayer game from here on out. Each mech in the game has a set of durability, and acceleration meters that players will have to consider before choosing the right machine. In addition to all of this, the action on the battlefield remains fluid throughout and the servers succeed in getting you back up in running within seconds of being disconnected. It’s important to note that the strength of your Internet connection will ultimately dictate how your overall gameplay experience unfolds.
Graphically, Titanfall is without a doubt a solid looking game from top to bottom. While I wouldn’t say that it is the best looking graphics game ever made, I will state that it’s a great start and a preview of what’s capable on next-gen consoles. The PC version of the game obviously holds the advantage as far as resolution and frame rate are concerned. I fully expect future titles to outshine this one as more developers start to get familiar with the pros and cons of developing for both the PS4 and Xbox One platforms.
The Titanfall soundtrack is engaging thanks to the talented work from Call of Duty score composer Stephen Barton. Music and voice acting are both essential to video games and it’s good to see that this game doesn’t miss a beat here. In terms of value, Titanfall is a great game that can only get better depending on how often Respawn decides to support it down the road. While the replay value will appeal mostly to those who are aiming to get every achievement, challenge, and burn card available, the content within the season pass will eventually determine how long this title can last beyond launch.
In closing, Titanfall could be best described as a great mech-inspired shooter and a must own for both casual and diehard fans of FPS multiplayer games. While the campaign and multiplayer modes may be a little on the light side, the core gameplay experience may be more than enough to make you forget about these shortcomings. Respawn deserves accolades for all that they have achieved with this game and hopefully this is only the beginning of what we can expect from them in the future.
This review was based on a physical review copy of Titanfall for the Xbox One provided by Electronic Arts.