by Brian Robbins
Microsoft has to be feeling a little bit nervous right now. The Xbox One is absolutely getting decimated by Sony’s Playstation 4. In order to stay in the console race with the new generation, Microsoft needs a killer app, or another Halo-like hit. It seems they’ve hit gold with Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall. After playing the retail version obsessively, I can confidently pronounce Titanfall as one of my all-time favorite games.
The first thing you need to know about Titanfall is that there isn’t an offline single player campaign. This is a shame because a world this rich could really benefit from a 6-10 hour immersive experience. What you get with Titanfall is an online only campaign. Basically, you control either the rebel Militia or the Star Wars Empire-like IMC. There are quite a few missions to smash, shoot and vault yourself through. Often there was so much action on screen that it was hard to listen to plot-building dialogue.
Truthfully, I was having so much fun playing the game as a multiplayer shooter that I hardly paid attention anyway. That’s the thing with Titanfall: it combines so many different experiences into one package. If I could compare it to other franchises, I would say it’s a masterful blend of Mechassault, Tribes, Halo, and of course, Call of Duty. It’s a welcome change of pace to have a shooter that isn’t part of the overly cliche military set. Everything just feels right.
When you finally get your boots on the ground, you’ll find a war-torn environment to vault through. That’s why this game reminds me so much of the classic PC game, Tribes. It’s all about movement on the battlefield. Your character is equipped with a jump pack, making him/her a gleefully nimble future soldier. It’s momentum-paced and a talented player could easily traverse the map without letting their feet touch the ground. Titanfall’s soldiers are like Master Chief with a case of Red Bull injected into his blood stream.
Besides all the jumping around, you of course have the massive mechs called Titans. You earn these massive metal machines by either waiting for the timer to finish building them, or you can shave precious seconds off of the time meter by playing the objectives or killing other soldiers. No matter how skilled you are, you’re going to be able to call these mammoths down before the end of the match. Near the end of the match, you’ll no doubt see numerous Titans battling it out in the field. To say it is thrilling would be underselling the point.
There are three distinctive Titans you can play around with in Titanfall. You have speedy Strider, who’s all about guerrilla like ambushes; the slower Ogre who has a massive pool of health; and Atlas, the best of both worlds. When you start the game for the first time, you’ll only have access to customizing the Atlas but as you finish both sides of the campaign you’ll be able to unlock the other two. It’s a carrot on a stick but when the game is this fun, who cares?
With all the jumping and mech calling you might be wondering about the actual core gameplay: the shooting. Well, you can rest easy- Titanfall has some of the most satisfying gun gameplay ever to be released on PC or on consoles. Whether it’s from the satisfying snap of the two sniper rifles you can unlock, or the shredding capabilities of the shotgun, you’ll feel right at home with these weapons. All of the Pilots have access to anti-Titan weapons as well, so you never feel completely helpless when one of the lumbering iron giants finds its way to you.
With my extensive time with the game, the only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of gameplay modes. I only really seemed to play Attrition and Hard Point, which are essentially Team Deathmatch and Domination from Call of Duty. The other modes are fun but they grew tiring after awhile. Hopefully Respawn Entertainment keeps updating the playlists so we can have a nice change of pace.
Another minor complaint I had with Titanfall was the weapon unlocks. You really only get three very limited scopes and the rest of the attachments are the standard silencers and extended magazines. For a game that’s bursting with creativity, I was hoping for something just a bit more inspired. Also, the customization of the appearance of your Pilot and your weapon is practically nonexistent. Hopefully this will be improved in the sequel.
I want to address one of the biggest concerns people had when they heard about Titanfall: the addition of bots in the multiplayer. The AI never seemed to get in the way and just added more variety and things to shoot at. You can even use them as a viable distraction against other human players as well. Overall, they enhance the gameplay.
Titanfall is one of those rare games that gamers absolutely have to get their hands on. Despite the limited campaign, and customization options, Titanfall’s other features easily make up for these miniscule shortcomings. I can’t recommend this game enough and truthfully, I feel like this title is enough to warrant a purchase of Microsoft’s new console. Do yourself a favor and experience what’s sure to be one of the best games of the year.