Titanfall Review - Xbox One
Titanfall Review: Respawn Entertainment have finally dropped its debut game, the hotly anticipated Titanfall. Available on PC and Xbox One, with a Xbox 360 version to follow, will this game live up to expectations? Standby for Titanfall.
Titanfall has been hotly anticipated since its announcement almost a year ago at E3 2013, and has been one of the main selling points for Microsoft’s Xbox One since. The semi-exclusive has been looked upon with envious eyes throughout its development, and for good reason. The game was developed by Respawn Entertainment, and has released on the PC and Xbox One, with an Xbox 360 version ported by another developer coming shortly.
At its core, Titanfall is an arcade styled, face paced, first person shooter – though its main draw is the incredibly fluid parkour system and of course, the Titans. Some immediate comparisons that have been made by many, is that it is merely ‘Call of Duty with mechs’. I would be lying if I said the game did not share core mechanics that are similar to that of the Call of Duty brand, unsurprising since Respawn are ultimately the result of an Infinity Ward vs. Activision argument. However, the game’s pacing is twofold of the most recent Call of Duty game, and the movement system is far superior in every way imaginable. That added with the large scale maps, the addition of the Titans and the inclusion of ‘Cloud controlled’ AI creates an experience that barely even resembles a Call of Duty game.
I have frequented the first person shooter genre for many years, and Titanfall is not only the first new IP in recent years to impress me, but is in my opinion the single best first person shooter on the market right now, for any platform. The balancing of the game is CLOSE to perfect. The Titans aren’t too overpowered and can be taken down with ease in the right situations, whilst they can also last an entire game without being destroyed, even by a pilot. There are three Titans available once you have finished the ‘campaign’ mode on both sides, these are the Stryder, the Atlas and the Ogre. The Styder serves to be the faster, weaker Titan, with the Ogre being the slowest and most armoured Titan - of course, the Atlas is the middle ground Titan that was available in the beta of the game. All Titans certainly have their benefits, and some are typically more useful to have certain weapons with than others. For example, using the Stryder with the powerful 4-rocket cannon can be extremely effective to quickly manoeuvre around the map and take out Grunts and Pilots, though you’d certainly have a bit of trouble if you came up against a couple of enemy Titans.
Pilot weaponry is also relatively balanced; the majority of the primary, anti-Titan and secondary weapons are effective when they are used correctly, whilst also having sufficient drawbacks. Although, the Hemlock burst rifle, the DMR and the Kraber Sniper could honestly use a little tweaking. The DMR and the Kraber are not as much of an issue, as they can still be used effectively if you get used to the mechanics of the weapons and pick a good spot to take your shots. These two weapons seem to be more suitable to ‘grunt hunting’ than anything else, as Pilots can typically out maneuverer your scope with ease. The Hemlock burst rifle is almost useless though, and even with the weapons attachments unlocked, it is by far the most underpowered weapon in the game.
The simplicity of the class setups for both Titans and Pilots is something that I appreciate. Some people may prefer the complex system that you get in Call of Duty: Ghosts, or the huge variety of weapons available to players in Battlefield 4, but it’s almost refreshing to have a basic weapon system in a first person shooter now – going back to basics certainly helps to maintain balance in the game.
The entire experience of Titanfall is impressively fluid, particularly as the game is running on a heavily modified version of the 10-year-old Source engine. This old engine seems to be responsible for some minor visual issues such as the occasional screen tearing and subtle frame rate drops alongside the native 792p resolution on the Xbox One. However, Respawn has stated that an increase in native resolution is a possibility in a later patch, and the game does maintain its intended 60 frames per second for the most part, with occasional dips into the 50s and very occasional dips into the high 40s.
The game does however make it very difficult to co-ordinate between yourself and whomever else you may be playing with. The pace of the game accompanied with the AI and Titans falling from the sky serve to sufficiently distract you from the objective or helping out a friend in need. It’s slightly disappointing that although playing with friends is great, co-operating with them and helping each other out can be a challenge. However, playing solo is still an exciting experience, which can often be a drawback in other Multiplayer games.
The ‘campaign’ is the main letdown of the game. As the game is a multiplayer only experience, a campaign mode is always going to be a difficult thing to create, particularly for a brand new IP. Titanfall attempts to succeed where Brink failed, in that the story for the game is directed through a series of online Team Deathmatch and Domination game modes. With the understanding that Titanfall is a brand new IP and that this game was a test to see the potential of the series, blah, blah, blah… This was a disappointment. Whether you win or lose the online multiplayer game doesn’t affect what happens afterwards, and the hard to focus on audiobytes are ultimately the only thing to give you a vague impression of a story. I would have much preferred a series of co-op missions, or even a shorter ‘campaign’ mode that was affected by the outcome of the games you were playing.
Regardless of its few minor shortfalls, this is a multiplayer experience, and a damn good one at that. The fluidity of the game is second to none - and it is in my opinion, the single best FPS on the market at this time. The game could very well be the system seller that Microsoft needs to bring the Xbox One back onto a level playing field with the extremely popular PS4, even though the game is also available on the PC. Respawn have done a sublime job on their first iteration in what is undoubtedly going to become one of gaming’s biggest franchises in the years to come, whether it stays ‘exclusive’ or not.
We are likely to be continuing some of our Titanfall content in the future with some ‘Titanfall Tips’ videos and streams in the future, so be sure to follow us on Twitter @JumpToGamer to stay up to date.