Titanfall is the first game from developer Respawn entertainment, a company formed by the creators of the Call of Duty franchise as well half the staff from Infinity Ward, has a lot to prove. The question is, do they pull it off? Find out our official Titanfall review!
Titanfall is a sci-fi, twitch-based, first person shooter, combining the best elements of Call of Duty and Mirrors Edge. Unlike both of the games it clearly draws inspiration from, Titanfall does not offer any form of single player, not even a local multiplayer mode. If you want to play Titanfall, you need to be online. If you can’t get online, then you can’t play the game.
Titanfall’s story, whilst existent, might as well not be. The story takes place during the online campaign mode which has you participate in a variety of maps and modes as you follow the story. Unfortunately the majority of the story takes place during action gameplay, gameplay which is very hectic I might add, with characters communicating to each other via your heads up display.
As far as I can tell there are two sides, the Frontier Milita and the IMC. I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about what happens between these two unfortunately. Due to all of the story exposition taking place during the gameplay, it’s hard to build a relationship with the characters the game throws at you, yet alone actually hear what they’re saying. If you want to actually follow the story then you’ll need to stand still, stop playing, and focus on what they’re saying. All in all, it was a good attempt at providing context to a world; however it wasn’t implemented very well and falls by the wayside.
Having said that, the campaign isn’t a total bust as there are some excellent set pieces with one mission in particular placing both teams opposite side of each other, with each team hitting a clashing point at the middle of the layer, requiring you to move between cover as you slowing move up the map to break the enemy’s front line. Unfortunately, this only lasts for a few minutes, with the game turning into a standard death match after that.
Titanfall runs on the Source engine, however that would not be obvious from how unoptimized the game is. Titanfall looks good, although not as good as one would expect a “next-gen” title to look, however it comes at a price as it’ll sometimes cause the game to stutter and slow down. I was running the game on PC, with one of the fastest CPUs and GPUs, and yet my experience still stuttered even when I turned of Anti-Aliasing.
The actual titans themselves look fantastic, especially when they’re summoned into battle and come crashing down onto the map.
It’s just occurred to me that even though this a review of Titanfall, a game about giant mechanicised Titans, that this is the first time I’ve mentioned the game’s namesake.
Each player has access to a Titan that they can summon into battle after a short cooldown, which is lowered if you get objects/kill stuff, and they choose to either hop into the giant mech and control it manually, or put it on auto-pilot, where it’ll either follow you or stay at a location, depending on your choosing. Piloting a Titan is pretty much the same as controlling your pilot, utilizing the same controls and having a lot of movement, meaning they can whizz around the map at will. There isn’t really anything special about playing as Titan, and it’s simple enough to destroy an enemy’s Titan.
This brings us to the pilot. When you’re not in a Titan, you control a pilot. Pilots have a whole host of movement options available to them, being able to wall jump and use their jet packs to get to high places, as well as use special pilot abilities such as cloak, which allows a pilot to go temporarily invisible.
All pilots come equipped with anti-Titan weaponary, in the form of rocket launchers and the like, which can be used to blow up enemy Titan’s from afar. Pilots can allow jump on top of an enemy Titan, called rodeo attack, open up the Titan’s power source on its back and blast it with their machine gun. It’s something which has to be tried at least once, as it’s a truly thrilling expirence.
Moving around the map as a pilot, dogding between the huge hulking Titans and taking down enemy pilots, provides an amazing feeling of awe. Perhaps this is why I didn’t mention Titans until halfway through this review, because playing as a pilot is so much more satisfying.
Titanfall offers fifteen levels, and six game modes, with the most enjoyable one being Hardpoint Domination, a mode which requires your team to capture and hold three points on the map, gaining points for holding each point. Domination requires players to keep moving, the type of gameplay which Titanfall is built for.
Whilst matches are only six versus six, each level is scattered with a variety of minions. Minions are AI controlled bots which run around the level helping out players by taking out Titans and helping to kill other enemy pilots. They’re very dim-witted, however they make fantastic target practice allowing even the worst of players feel like they’re achieving something by taking care of them. Minions, Titans and the sheer chaos that’s going on the map make each match feel like a warzone, despite the small amount of players.
Whilst the gameplay is incredibly solid, with Titanfall feeling a joy to play, there is deinfinately a lack of content here. Players only have access to ten primarily weapons, which covers shotguns, assault rifles and SMGs, which is very small when compared to Call of Duty, a franchise which give the player choice between over ten different assault rifles alone. There is also a lack of customisation on each weapon, with players only being able to change one or two things. Whilst this leads to a balanced game, the like of variation available can make the game very bland, very quickly. It just feels as though there isn’t a lot of content available for the £40/$60 asking price. Then again, what is available has been finely polished so it’s hard to argue.
It’s obvious that this is only the starting point for what will be a killer franchise, however Titanfall isn’t as revolutionary, or even evolutionary, as some other journalists have claimed. Instead, it feels like a small stepping stone across a pond, a pond which leads to something very special on the other side. It’s just a bit of pity Respawn couldn’t take us to the other side first, instead making us jump to a stepping stone first.
– Excellent, fun, engrossing gameplay
– The game is well balanced and fun
– Very easy to pick up and play.
– Not a lot of content for the asking price
– Can get a bit boring after a while due to the lack of customisation on offer
– Game isn’t as optimized as it could be
Check out their release gameplay trailer down here:Related: Respawn Entertainment, Review, Shooter, Titanfall