Titanfall – Taking Big Strides or Baby Steps in the FPS Arena?
Let’s cut to the chase on Titanfall as by now, if you don’t already have it, you know what it is. It’s for now, the killer app for the X-box One (and PC) and it’s supposed to re-invigorate the stale shooter market, which it does in varying degrees.
So rather bore you again with what it is and how it plays, I will just stick to my experience with the game.
So, of course you have a tutorial that you have to go through to access the rest of the game and while for some, it may seem like a pain to go through as many of us undoubtedly have played shooters, this one to me was very helpful considering there are small nuances that differentiate this over other shooters. If done correctly, you can be finished in about 15 to 20 minutes and from there, you can play the campaign.
The campaign itself is very forgettable and contrived and to be honest, I really don’t remember much of it as I played. The thing is, the campaign itself makes us the player, more of the background for the main characters and the outcome of your match really doesn’t change it one way or the other how you progress in the game. I mean if you lose the campaign, it’s not like you have to start all over or suffer some kind of penalty for losing. I can say this, as a multiplayer campaign, the main thing I was worried about as far as system lag or dropout never affected my gameplay and my online experience was smooth. If I had any complaints about the campaign mode was how unbalanced the teams were. Rookies seemingly were always on the Militia side as more experienced players were on the IMT side. But I really don’t think anyone cared. Not to mention, there wasn’t a lot of variety in the matches played during the campaign as you mostly play attrition and 1 or 2 domination matches. But again, I don’t think anyone really cared. Most of us played really just to level up and unlock new items as we played. The catch is of course once you finish the campaign mode, you get a new titan for your trouble.
I would say that this may be one of the draws to the game that in some matches, although teams can be unbalanced, you are only as good as your FPS skills are and even then sometimes t doesn’t matter as in this game, death can come from anywhere at anytime. Furthermore unlike some games like Call of Duty and Battlefield where it may take many, many hours of grinding to level up, I felt that with Titanfall you don’t hit that early grind wall. Also after level 4, you open up challenges and many of these aren’t so hard to accomplish and add to your XP as you go. One of the things I did like with this game is that it borrowed from Battlefield, the idea that your points come from many different sources and not just from how many kills you got. To be honest, in some matches I found myself taking more time to hunt and take down other titans than I did calling my own and man it was a perverse sense of joy me being like a level 6 taking down a level 20 titan! Of course also, what is a FPS without customization? Once you get enough unlocked you can go crazy with the amount of items that you get.
Another point that I did like about the game is that you aren’t limited to fighting against players in the matches. In order to make the battlefield feel fully fleshed out and chaotic, there are also AI grunts added throughout so that way battles aren’t just 6 vs 6 humans…it’s their AI allies as well. Some are cannon fodder and some can be just as tough as human players but again, I did like the idea of this addition to the game so that way it didn’t feel like you were always fighting against humans.
So, do I have any complaints? Well, of course. Graphically, it’s a mixed bag. The cut scenes (for the few that there are prior to going into battle) for the forgettable campaign mode are just lousy. Maybe it’s because like every other FPS, you have to give up something in order to have a stable server, but once the battles commence, it becomes a pretty game. My biggest knock on it however is the lack of multiplayer modes in the game. You only get 5 to choose from: Attrition (team deathmatch), Hardpoint Domination, Capture the Flag, Pilot Hunter (in which only player kills count), and the round-based Last Titan Standing where you start off in your titan. Ok so consider us spoiled but when you do look at how many modes there are in other FPS games, it was disappointing to have so few and yet basic options. And while this isn’t necessarily a knock on the game, I DO have to say that in some modes, it’s best to play as a team especially in domination. A few times when I played with people I knew, we always stood a better chance of winning matches by coordinating our tactics rather than just run hodge podge all over a map, so on that I could say it’s a good game for partying up with friends.
So how about Titanfall and sales in the long run? I do suspect that this will be the game that starts pushing the X-box One out of stores and really show what it can do. Microsoft may have knew what it was doing awhile back when they locked the exclusivity rights up early on because if this was a multisystem game, the X-box One would be dead in the water so this is the game that they need to push it out in this crucial first year. As far as longevity of the game itself, I am hoping to see with some of the DLC, maybe we get a few more multiplayer modes and possibly new titans.
All in all, it is indeed a fun game. It’s a game that many of us have had fun with since probably the MechWarrior days. While I don’t think that it will revolutionize the FPS market, it does add something to it that we haven’t seen. The game itself is player friendly, levels up well and of course is very fluid in gameplay. If you have an X-box One and only casually like playing shooters like myself, this one is worth looking into.
3 out of 5 stars
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