Titanfall Review (Xbox One) – Gamechanger?

titanfall mech image

“All of the beauty and the ugly of the past years poured into hope. We have respawned.” That’s a quote from Vince Zampella, one of the creators of Titanfall. That quote perfectly sums up Vince Zampella and Jason West’s journey from creating Call Of Duty to their headline grabbing departure from Infinity Ward all the way up to the creation of Respawn Entertainment and release of their first game Titanfall.

Titanfall is the most hyped next gen game to be released yet. With the more common first person shooters like Call Of Duty becoming more and more repetitive a lot of people are looking at Titanfall to breath new life into the genre.Taking a stagnating genre and reinvigorating it is never easy but if anyone can it would be the guys who created the most known first person shooter out there.

In Titanfall you play as a pilot. You are called that because when you are not out shooting at enemies you are piloting a huge mech known as a titan. As a pilot your going to be fighting either for the IMC or the Militia. The militia is a group of civilians who have banned together to fight the IMC over their use of colonial resources. The IMC has been aggressively mining planets for their natural resources leaving them almost completely destroyed and expanding further and further into the galaxy with no one to really keep them in check.

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While Titanfall’s story sounds interesting the fact is its campaign mode is sorely lacking any type of story. The campaign mode consists of 9 multiplayer matches for each side of the conflict with a little pre and post game dialog that is supposed to drive the story. What you end up with is a disjointed mess of what feels like random missions. For a game with such an interesting setting I’m really disappointed the story wasn’t built up more. Its a huge missed opportunity that could have made the game feel more immersible but in the end Titanfall is really about one thing and one thing only, the multiplayer.

While Titanfall’s story might drop the ball Respawn managed to pick it back up and knock it out of the park with Titanfall’s fast paced action oriented multiplayer. Each match consists of 6 actual people for each team and some different AI enemy known as grunts and specters. These AI enemies are basically there to act as cannon fodder with Grunts being the weakest of the 2 AIs. Killing the enemy AI will give you points depending on the type of match you’re in but they will always take time off of your titan build timer meaning you get your titan faster the more AI you kill.

Currently there are 6 different game modes not including the campaign. They are: Attrition, which is like your standard team death match; Hard Point, which is like domination; Last Titan Standing, which kinda explains itself; Pilot Hunter where only pilot kills count; Capture The Flag, and a mode that mixes all of those modes together at random. I’ve played a good bit of each of these and found Attrition and Last Titan Standing to be incredibly fun and full of those “I can’t believe I just did that” moments. You’ll find yourself saying “Xbox record that” very often.

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Titanfall features 15 different maps set in varying locations. One map might have you in a tropical paradise ravaged by war while another drops you into a desolate desert setting. Each map was crafted with pilot and titan gameplay in mind. As a pilot on foot you can do all sorts of cool things like jump on titans to remove their core and blast away at it, run along walls and double jump to reach the highest points on the map and stay out of sight of the giant titans fighting in the streets below. Being a pilot on the streets leaves you vulnerable to all the enemies but as a pilot You also get some special abilities to to help you out. One ability will let you turn almost invisible while another increases your speed and health regeneration or if you like there’s one that will let you see through walls for a short time.

As a titan you have a few less options on where you can go since titans don’t jump but its more then made up for in the range of abilities the 3 different titans have. As you progress you will have access to all sorts of abilities like the plasma wall which you can shoot through but enemies can’t. Strategy is key when you’re playing as a titan especially in the last titan standing mode. It’s completely possible to kill off 2 or 3 titans single handed as long as you play smart and have a good strategy.

As you play you’ll complete challenges that will reward you with burn cards. A burn card is like a perk that only last until you die. There’s burn cards for both pilots and titans and can be used before respawning or at the start of the match. Burn cards come in all kinds of different varieties. Some of the more common types give you a more powerful gun or a longer lasting ability while rarer ones might give you a never ending ability or an entire titan to call in.

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At the end of each match there’s an evacuation for the losing team. From that point on death is permanent. Your goal as the losing team is to get to the evacuation point without dying and make it onto your getaway ship. As the winning team you need to stop that from happening either by killing the other team or destroying their evacuation ship when it arrives.

While Titanfall is an insanely fun game it’s not without its problems. The game itself feels like it was rushed. There is a surprising lack of guns to choose from. There are 1 to 2 different guns for each category like assault rifles and sniper rifles with a total of 10 primary weapons plus your 3 options as sidearms and your anti titan weapon. Even some key things you find in the most basic first person shooters is missing. Things like private matches and the ability to look at other players records are curiously missing. Respawn has said that some of these will be added in future updates because they didn’t have time to get them in there before launch further supporting the idea that the game was rushed out by its publisher Electronic Arts.

Some people have made a big deal out of the fact that Titanfall runs at a 792p resolution. I myself don’t consider it that big of a deal but did notice while watching someone play the PC version in 1080p that distinguishing pilots from the AI is much easier with the higher resolution. On Xbox One the best way to see who’s who is by watching their movements whereas on PC just looking at them can sometimes be enough. It was rumored that Titanfall might get a resolution boost before launch but that never happened however with Microsoft preparing to announce DirectX 12 at the Game Developers Conference which starts on March 18th I suppose anything is possible in the future.

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Another problem Titanfall has is its frame rate. Most of the time it runs at a smooth 60 FPS but when things get hectic it can drop tremendously. This typically only happens when there’s a lot of titans all battling in one area. Aside from that scenario the frame rate normally stays pretty solid. Respawn has said there is a patch in the works that will hopefully address this issue.

Titanfall is considered by some to be the first truly next generation game but honestly its not. Don’t get me wrong I love Titanfall but nothing about it screams this is only possible on next gen hardware. In fact with Titanfall releasing for Xbox 360 on March 25th its obvious that its possible on last gen hardware just without some of the bells and whistles your gonna find on the Xbox One version.

Titanfall is an overall great game. While its campaign mode and weapon selection might be lacking it still has enough content to keep you busy for a long time and that’s before the inevitable release of DLC. Titanfall’s multiplayer is fast and tremendously fun with lots of different levels that each require their own tactics. If your getting tired of the go here kill someone and respawn gameplay that many first person shooters seem to be falling into as of late then Titanfall is just what your looking for.