Titanfall – Game Review and Analysis
By Dan Maurer
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Director: Steve Fukuda
Producer: Drew McCoy
Designer: Justin Hendry
Artist: Joel Emslie
Composer: Stephen Barton
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Dates: Windows, Xbox One – March 11, 2014, Xbox 360 – March 25, 2014
Genre: First-person shooter
Mode: Online multiplayer
Finally after months of hype and boasting from the media and Microsoft themselves, the almighty Titanfall has finally landed on the Xbox One and PC (a 360 version will release next month). Is the game worth all of the marketing and hype?
You’ll be amazed by how much is going on at any given time on the screen. The online only FPS takes mechanics from popular modern shooters and mixes in new ideas to make for something that looks absolutely astounding. You’re not battling in the streets of empty cities, you’re fighting alongside AI soldiers, piloting massive mechs, and shooting at enemy players that can tumble through windows and run up walls. You kill fast, die fast, and move faster than you do in most other shooters. This makes for short brutal matches that you’ll want to keep playing again and again. Titanfall on the Xbox One runs at a native 792p at launch, while the PC version runs at a native 1080p resolution. Both versions boast 60FPS with slight framerate drops during intense battle sequences.
The game is multiplayer only unfortunately. It allowed the developers to focus on making the most refined multiplayer experience possible, but it also means that Titanfall is painfully short on anything like lore, story or iconic heroes. The game does attempt to inject at least some bit of story into the game with an almost anemic “Campaign” mode. It’s simply a string of predetermined multiplayer matches, the only difference being a sixty second introductory voiceover explaining why exactly we have to hold points A, B and C on a map, and a fifteen second “drop-in” cutscene that’s barely more than what you see in regular multiplayer.
Plot-related things actually happen during the match, but it’s impossible to have any idea what’s going on as you attempt to listen to radio communications while in the middle of a never-ending firefight. It’s a lot like Brink’s attempt at a campaign made up entirely of multiplayer levels, but even that game had more cutscenes explaining some vague semblance of story. It wasn’t a good idea then, and it isn’t a good idea now. It seems like the mode only exists so the game doesn’t feel quite so flimsy, but it adds practically nothing to the experience, and I did find myself wishing there was more to learn about the Titanfall universe than what we’re given. Perhaps a traditional linear campaign isn’t the answer, but the game needed something more than this. Fortunately, multiplayer is so engaging that the lack of a story will be quickly forgiven by most, especially since a great many players have taken to skipping campaigns altogether in recent shooter releases in favor of diving right into deathmatches.
Perversely for a game predicated on the presence of multi-story mechs, less is very much more. The small but perfectly tuned arsenal of weapons, upgrades and loadouts, for example, offers a smaller number of meaningful choices rather than overwhelming players with options. Even though Titanfall features only five gametypes – Attrition (deathmatch, essentially), Hardpoint Domination, Capture the Flag, Pilot Hunter (in which only player kills count), and the round-based Last Titan Standing, each feels fresh due to the redesigned battlefield dynamics. Action is fast paced and hectic, and is a blast to play.
Titanfall is definitely a great game and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a revamped and fresh look into the FPS genre. Respawn has done a great job evolving the work they started back in the Call of Duty series and will continue to do so with the next iterations of Titanfall.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Final Score: 9 out of 10
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