Release date: 14th March 2014
Type/genre: FPS with mech
Advised price: £44.99
No spoilers Included in this review
It’s always with a little bit of fear and trepidation that a reviewer takes on a triple A first person shooter multiplayer console game for a review. For whatever reason, in this genre especially, opinions are fast flowing and raw. FPS series fans always seem to take criticism or praise of one game over another as a huge personal affrontage to them, especially if the views of the reviewer aren’t exactly how they feel; more so than any other genre. Thrown into the mix, hype, sometimes excessive hype, console exclusivity, and put it altogether, and you have a heady mix of emotions and views for what is, at the end of the day, just another game.
So, disclaimer out the way, if you’re a fan of Battlefield, Call of Duty, Killzone, or indeed any other FPS, and you don’t like the fact someone could muscle in on your beloved genre and actually be any good about it, look away now, seriously, now would be a good point.
BOOM – Titanfall !
Titanfall is a multiplayer only, new IP, but it does have a story as such to set the scene. There is one, somewhere in here. Honestly, guv there is! There is a short prologue introduction to a world, where the very vaguest of narratives explain of a world and its resources that have been discovered, that then have two factions fighting over it. The Military IMC and the “Militia “. Even a multiplayer campaign mode that has 9 levels as one side to play through, that when completed, unlock items for multiplayer matches and then unlocks the same 9 levels to play from the other teams perspective, doesn’t really add much to the lore.
How does it work? Not sure to be honest. There is the minimal amount of storytelling to set up the MP match you are about to play. It’s very thin, but In short it’s a short introduction simply just to give you an excuse to go shoot things!
Did you like the game Mirror’s Edge? Do you understand what par quor is? Well your about to find out. Gameplay in Titanfall is thrilling. Player movement is no longer just about running around on the ground, getting from A to B. No here in Titanfall it’s about how much fun you can have running over, up and around things on the way. It could be argued that the player movement is a game, and skill, all to itself! Players can wall run, double jump, hang, and do it all over again and again, to higher and higher heights, and when strung together well, like it was in the game Mirrors Edge, is a thing of flowing beauty! You just sprint, jump, and hey, your wall running! Jump off, while still running and you’re now wall running on another wall.
Add to the basic player (Pilot) movement, you then have the extremely familiar gunplay. A basic choice of weapons, that are easy to use, very much in the style of Call of Duty, and are responsive, simple, but extremely effective.
Then, when you have earned enough points in a match, and you will pretty easily, you then get rewarded with your very own titan. This titan is dropped out of the sky to a point of your choosing with a dramatic BOOM, when it lands. Embarking on your ride ( or not, as you can activate your titan to either guard or follow you instead of getting in it ) will then open up pretty much the same sort of controls you have as a pilot except you can’t jump or climb. Other pilots can in fact jump on any titan and blow its brains out, and you if you’re in it at the time. Titan movement is slower and obviously a bit more sluggish than pilots, but they can at least make a small dash.
Controls are eminently pick up and playable even for new gamers to this genre.
Everything feels responsive, tight, and very controllable, and lets the player express themselves, be that wall running, or Titan lumbering, with ease.
Add to this the guns are simple to use as well, but do have their differences to master with each to add interest per weapon.
There are some other special titan uses like shields, smoke, and an alternate titan weapon, but they too are simple to get to grips with.
Like the whole of the next-gen console debate itself, games for whatever reason seem not to be judged on their game content, but their graphical prowess, and unfortunately Titanfall is no exception to this stupid rule. No, it’s not the prettiest looking game on next-gen, (at the moment, more of this shortly) and for technical geeks, it is only 792P, hardly a step up from the 720P most of the last generation games were designed for. However, the frame rate is for the most part silky smooth, and it does still look stunning as the vistas are gorgeous. Textures, and lighting aren’t exactly stellar, but the detail and shading is very good. Because of the excellent frame rate, it all feels, much more gorgeous than it actually is.
However; Respawn Entertainment have gone on record to say that although the game was launched at 792P, they intend to try to upgrade the visuals, with 1080p being the goal. Whether they do or not succeed, will just be gravy to what is already perfectly serviceable and pleasant to the eye game.
Audio, is similar to the graphics. It has its moment of spectacle, for example when a titan arrives of the battlefield is like an earth ripping moment of a space rocket launching and jaw droopingly awesome to listen to. The audio at this point gives such a moment of power and satisfaction it needs to be experienced. But with little in-game effects to work with, i.e. not a huge amount of ambient noise to give the settings life other than the chatter of machine guns, stomping of hulking titans, and the whomps of missile launchers, it again, to be honest does the job very very well, just nothing standout.
15 maps, and 5 game modes from the box, is a great amount of content to kick off with. Unfortunately there isn’t a huge amount of weapons to choose from as either a pilot or titan. Lobbies consist of 6v6 players but very interestingly the battle field for each side is populated with AI controlled grunts/robots. These bots have the purpose of never leaving the player too far from shooting something, but also a way of gaining points to earn towards reducing the time before players can deploy their own titan. They add to the confusion of a battle field.
Comms, and invites worked superbly well, and hit detection was spot on fantastic.
There is a question mark over longevity though. The best of the MP modes are Domination, and Capture the Flag. Other modes are standard Team Death Match, Pilot V Pilot or Titan V Titan modes. The question is the game could sorely need new game modes in a few months time, that no amount of new maps with the same modes will cover over. A map focused mode like Battlefields Rush, or Call of Duties Headquarters would be refreshing, as would Kill Confirmed or a more tactical Search and Destroy. It’s something to ponder that maybe free DLC could rectify, but for now at least you can fill your boots with what you have for a long while yet.
So when you put all this together, it seems odd that Titanfall is already being touted as being one of the best FPS in a long time. People who don’t own the game will be scratching their heads at statements like that as on paper, Titanfall actually has much less to offer than other FPS already on the market. So what is it that makes TITANFALL so special?
The answer is two fold. First of all, in gaming terms at least, it’s an engineering masterpiece! If all the best German car designers had to make a game, this would be it! EVERY piece of the gameplay, and I mean EVEYRTHING has been engineered to fit, and work PERFECTLY. It’s balanced to PERFECTION. You’re never quite sure what’s the best way to play as all aspects have their pros and cons. It’s classic paper, rock scissors, but with guns, grunts and titans! What makes this all the more stunning is, when you think about all the new elements of gameplay that have been thrown together for the first time here, it could have so easily gone wrong. But it doesn’t. In fact it gets everything so right!
Titans could have been overpowered, but they are not, sometimes you can own the battlefield, sometimes you’re dead within seconds! The AI bots could have wasted valuable time and computing resources, got in the way and not added to the game in anyway, but they haven’t. The free running all over the maps could have caused problems, glitches, but they haven’t as the maps are perfect in their size, shape, and layouts. Hit detection is probably the best in any FPS online.
If this is what spending the majority of your time designing a game and then making it look pretty later is like, then slap me sideways and call me Susan, give it to us this way every time!
But there’s more!
The second reason is, EVERYTHING you can see, or do in Titanfall is huge bundles of FUN! Just getting from A to B free running is superb and interesting, let alone the act of shooting things! There is no camping needed or involved in the gameplay as your simply encouraged to get stuck in somehow. You don’t get ANY rewards for sitting still. There is no sense of rage of when things don’t go your way as the game somehow manages to make you feel like a total badass and that your involved, even when you’re not actually doing very well or indeed getting hammered.
My first ever MP game I thought went so well, I was convinced that I’d finished top of the score board! But as the final scores came up, it was a huge surprise to see that I’d actually finished LAST, even though I’d gone 15-5 and had a great time destroying everything I saw!
Titanfall manages to make you feel like you’re a little boy/girl again, acting out one of those made up games you invented when you were five years old with your friends going pow pow, and you can’t but help but smile all the time your playing it. You can’t put a price on that feeling but if you did, and bottled it up to package it, you’d make a fortune.
Well newsflash, the gaming world has just discovered that package has a name. It is a game called Titanfall and it’s only to be experienced on the Xb1, 360 and PC.
NO other, and I mean NO other FPS MP game can touch Titanfall for making it SUCH a pleasure to play MP online FPS games. It’s so fresh for its simplistic all out approach, in how to make everything feel FUN! That statement is even more remarkable when you consider that is from DAY 1, out of the box! It’s all working, it’s all fun and it’s brilliant.
The noobs, and skilled alike are ALL welcome here. It’s so refreshing not to have to grind through hours and hours of gameplay, get demoralized by being owned in the process, just to figure out the learning curve of how to be effective, or indeed get better weapons. You are a badass from the very first moment, the very first game.
We ALL have a good time here, no matter what the skill level. But that doesn’t mean you can’t GET skilled playing this. With so many new gameplay elements the tactical decisions to learn with the wall jumping, uses of titans etc. that will sort the elite players from the rest.
So, finally when you add it ALL up, this is why this game is being touted as the best FPS shooter in a long time. It has reminded us veteran gamers, what made FPS fun in the first place, but has also welcomed newcomers alike.
It’s not the prettiest, not the deepest, but quite simply the most fun FPS available.
And it is true. Life IS better with a titan!
Reviewed by Cpt Blackadder1
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