The FPS genre is one that has been slowly going into a state of boredom. Maybe not for everyone, but for some it has started to become pretty stale. Call of Duty releases every year and regardless of whom is developing it, it’s starting to show its age (finally). Now what can Respawn do, a company that started the CoD craze to begin with, to change the game? In a new generation of consoles, what kind of first person shooter can one create that would somewhat revitalize the genre in a new way?
How about we give everyone parkour abilities and throw in giant robots.
Yep. That’s how you do it.
Upon entering your first match on Titanfall, it’s going to feel like you’re in any normal first person shooter. Then you will start to utilize your player’s parkour abilities, using cloak to sneak up on enemies, and then have the ability to drop a huge titan on the map that you will be able to use to mow down your competition. Within minutes, you’ll get hooked. Whether you play hardpoint, attrition, or even capture the flag; it’s chaos, it is fast, and did I mention chaotic? With 15 maps, those maps are open to your imagination and your parkour ability. Being able to run from one side of the map to the other with no obstacle in your way to stop you, unless it is the enemy, is incredible.
Being a pilot, you have a lot of control of how you want to encounter situations. As good as you are a pilot, without something powerful to aid you, who knows what you would do. That is where the titans come in. Once they drop from the sky, everything changes. You can control them and hold down the opposition from doing anything or you can get out and have it follow and even guard you. That titan is your best friend. Regardless of loadout or titan type, you and he (or her, whatever you name it) will be what helps you and your team to victory.
When it comes to Titan vs. Titan action, your weapon of choice and how you use them, as well as your dashing abilities, become crucial. Facing off one titan alone can be something of a chess match trying to get the upper hand on the enemy to bring their titan down. However, when facing off against more than one, you either have to play it very smart or go in kamikaze style to take down one or even more of them if you possibly can. Players do like to get up close and melee a lot which ends up making Titanfall more like Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots. It is actually quite funny. If you melee an opposing titan when they are doomed however, he will go through the haul of the titan, grab and squish the pilot, and throw him like a rag doll in a way that is so awesome! Seriously, it’s that awesome. Makes you feel really good when you defeat a titan and do that.
Now one would think these titans are overpowered, which they are very powerful, but the game gives you a set of options in trying to bring it down. Whether you are in your titan or by yourself, there is always a way to bring down a titan. With rockets, satchel charges, any anti-titan weapons, or you can just jump on the titan and ride it like a cowboy with guns blazing; you do it your way or as a team. Now what makes Titanfall feel even better is that the games balance feels right. While I am sure through time hacks will find something that throws off the balance in the game, as of now everything feels really good and for the most part even.
While Titanfall doesn’t have an offline mode or single player, it does have a campaign. You and your friends, or random people online, are pit into 12 distinct missions with only two main game modes that you will be encountering as the story weaves itself: Attrition and Hardpoint. The story itself feels more like an audio log with a few cut scenes that get explained before and after each match. All you need to know is that you are fighting to take control of certain points, gathering “fuel”, or protecting specific landmarks that are important to the story. As a part of the Militia or IMC, you are either trying to take over something or trying to protect it. That’s really it. You run into characters but off the top of my head I can’t tell you who they are or if they have an important role in the hour and a half story. The two positives is that whether you win or lose any mission you continue to the next and in order to unlock the last two titans you must finish both sides of the story which is really the main incentive to playing the campaign. For the most part though, the story is forgettable.
Experience is gained for almost anything you do. Killing bots, pilots, riding on titans, and/or completing challenges keeps the EXP flowing. Some challenges are easy (kill x number of enemies with a certain gun) and others are time consuming (be in a titan for 2 hours) while others you will run into that you didn’t think were challenges. While you do gain a handful of your XP killing pilots, grunts, or doing match type specific things like capturing or defending the flag; challenges is what gets you the most XP. As a matter of fact, in order to progress to the games version of prestige (or what they call generation), you must complete certain challenges to do so. The highest generation you can be is gen 10, which has been achieved sadly to say after a week of release.
Now another thing that this game does so good, aside from giving you your own robot and throwing XP at you, is the ending of a match. We are so used to games ending, whether on the winning or losing side, and that being it. It goes quiet, black screen, and loads to menu. Yet never in my years of gaming have I ever played a game where losing or winning became a frantic sprint to an extraction point to kill survivors or leave the map with the last laugh. Just trying to survive and sneak onto the ship to escape provides a thrill. However, when you are on the winning team, it is just as exciting to pick off those pilots trying to escape your wrath and it is ever so satisfying when you and your team have the firepower needed to blow up the extraction ship, which takes a lot to bring down.
With only a handful of modes, there is only so much a player can do. Two of the five modes are already in the campaign and Last Titan Standing tends to stand out as the more boring of the modes. It pits every player in a titan and, you guessed it, last one standing wins. Picture it a royal rumble for titans. Attrition is your normal team deathmatch and hardpoint domination is pretty much your standard domination game type. Capture the flag on the other hand, while the concept has never changed, when you add titans to the mix and the parkour abilities, the game mode itself feels much different, chaotic, and fun.
For those who need an edge, the game introduces “Burn Cards” which are there to give help or even boost you in certain circumstances. You can either gain double XP, have grunts and AI enemies ignore you, or give you the ability to drop down a titan at the start of a game. These burn cards are gained from challenges and doing specific things in the matches you play in will help you collect more.
When the game was announced to be only 6v6 online with AI teammates on both sides to “help” the teams, people were skeptical. I was as well to be honest, yet these AI teammates, as dumb as they are, end up being very useful. Not for dominating points or killing others, but for players to feel like they are doing something. Sometimes players will play a CoD or Halo to have fun, relive stress, and avoid being that guy who is always on the bottom of the standings because they aren’t doing good killing other players. In Titanfall, with the help of those AI grunts, not only do players gain experience for killing them and end up feeling like they are providing something to any team they’re on; but it helps newcomers get into the game and not feel like they suck. Everyone can pick up and play and just enjoy themselves.
I do wish there were more game modes, weapons, and more specifically titan load outs or even other types of titans. You can’t edit the name of your load outs and you can’t even set up a party where just you and your friends play on whatever map and whatever mode. The game lacks things that have become the norm in other FPS games and this is a bit disappointing.
Also, wall hanging to camp is a douche move people. Douche move.
The servers, at least for my time of play, have done well. Obviously since it is an EA game folks are expecting issues, which has happened, but for the most part the online connection has been fine. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
I have done things in Titanfall that I never thought I could possibly do in other FPS games. Others can say the same from their experience. It is hectic, fast, fun, and an overall great experience regardless of a lacking story or limit on modes, perks, or even weapons. I’m sure the post DLC will offer enough to keep the game alive until we get to Titanfall 2, which you know is bound to happen. Respawn Entertainment has created a game that is worthy of being on the list with some of the best first person shooters in gaming. If you have an Xbox One, this is the game to have.
- Fast, Fun, Addictive Gameplay
- Frantic ending to every game
- Forgettable Story
- Lack of game modes
- No real customization options