Originally published in April 2014
My first hours with Titanfall (Xbox One): First Campaign
Who would think that in a FPS (First Person Shooter), that the choice between operating a big hulking mech with overpowered weaponry and the choice of running around on foot with fairly regular weapons would be a tough decision, but that balance is the strength of Titanfall. For the uninitiated, Titanfall is a pure Multiplayer Shooter from the original developers of Call of Duty. And you can tell. What will be familiar to you is the fast twitch, 60 Frame Per Second Mayhem that COD is known for, but, it also couldn’t be more different. The inclusion of Titans (large mech like exo-skeleton’s) and the parkour abilities of PIlots (the default solder class). In addition to the obvious strategies of playing on foot or in a Titan, the level of versatility is a welcome wrinkle to the COD-esque play style.
What Titanfall does right (so far):
Titan on Titan battles are amazing and chaotic. Its a balance of strategy and aptitude with the weapons or tools at your disposal. Knowing how to use the vortex shield (the ability to absorb incoming fire and redirect it), secondary weapons or detonating your nuclear core when all else is loss is always thrilling. Plus, that satisfaction of melee-ing another Titan as a death blow, that causes you to rip the pilot from its harness and hurl them 40 feet, never, ever, gets old.
The environments work well. There is some variance in the aesthetic, even if not much in how they function. Again, verticality is the special of day with Pilots being able to use the environment to turn tables on Titans or other Pilots.
It looks GREAT. Xbox One needed another exclusive to put something in the Win column and this is a showcase piece. Resolution shortcomings (which is frustratingly becoming standard fare for the Xbox One) aside, the game looks damn good. The innovation of animations are inspiring as well involving the Titans: Watching your Titan fall (yes, I know) from the sky or re-entering your Titan where it grips you and places you back in the harness all look Next-Gen.
What Titanfall could improve (so far):
Variance is probably the biggest issue. Whether is environments, pilots or Titans, it seems that there could be more of them. As this game has completely forwent a single player campaign, you would hope that the resources could have amounted to even more robust options in the MP. There are unlocks and customizations as you progress in rank, but few really feel that much different from each other outside of weapon gadget combos.
While Respawn stated this was a 100% MP game early on and tried to supplement that with a “campaign” of sorts with MP functionality, the story is laughable and forgettable and would’ve been left in the fire. Again, maybe more game modes or options would’ve been a better use of time.
Without diving deep into all the multiplayer functions Titanfall is a great shooter experience so far while leveling up what’s possible in the MP arena. There are some shortcomings as far as options and diversity in customizing your characters and Titans, but so far, the exhilaration is worth it.