The first wave of next-generation FPS games starts now, with what I think is arguably the most talked about title since its first showing at E3 last June. As you know, Titanfall was Microsoft’s “oh, wait we have one more thing to show you” during its Xbox One press conference. Since that day, we’ve all been lapping up every nugget of information about the game. So does it live up to expectations? Well in this writers opinion, of course it does.
The game is the brainchild and debut game of new kids on the block, Respawn Entertainment. The developer that was formed from the remnants of a group of ex-Infinity Ward staff (The guys who created the Call of Duty franchise).
Why is this Call of Duty link important? Well, it seems that the team have brought the ever so unique Call of Duty flair for over the top moments to Titanfall. Nevertheless, unlike the Call of Duty series, Titanfall deals out these moments mid game rather than in cutscenes or far in the distance as you walk by. So that makes Titanfall unique…
So what’s it all about?
Back to the game, the basic back-story of the game is a sci-fi staple – Two warring and alternative factions, the Militia and the IMC, fight it out across hundreds of worlds using some serious firepower, other future technologies (EMP grenades, etc.) and of course the reason for the name of the game – Titans, the huge battle ready mechs.
Titans are oversized mechs that each player can summon at certain points during a battle. Once you are inside your Titan, you can rack up some serious damage and devastation and access to your Titan only comes once every two minutes or so, meaning it never feels repetitive whenever you climb inside.
When not in your Titan, the player is a free running master and can run along walls, leap up buildings and generally keep moving in any direction. This level of free-flowing, bullet whizzing action hasn’t been seen in a first person shooter for quite a while.
I think these two elements, the titans and the free running pilots, are what really sets Titanfall apart from other FPS’s.
Yes, it’s online only
As you’ve probably heard by now, Titanfall is an online multiplayer game only. There is no single-player mode and I know that will put off many gamers and truth be told it put me off, but only until I actually played the game.
Once you start the game, you’ll find yourself not minding and jumping straight into a campaign mode, which sees you take part in nine rounds of six vs six multiplayer matches woven together with plotlines and specific events to make it seem like a mission with a story. Nevertheless, because the story is essentially told through radio contact with a gruff mission advisor, it’s easy to miss plot points and just focus on the destruction of the competition.
Multiplayer, Multiplayer, Multiplayer!
The true focus of the game is all out free running war through multiplayer battles. Attrition and Hardpoint are classic Team Deathmatch and Control Point modes, while Last Titan Standing and the new Pilot Hunt (like Attrition but only killing rival Pilot will earn points) and Capture the Flag modes are also variants on well-worn themes.
My personal favourite was the Last Titan Standing mode, which starts you in a Titan and when it has been destroyed, you are left to duke it out as a Pilot. The winning team is that which has at least one Titan left in play.
So are these the true next-gen graphics we’ve been waiting for?
When it come to the graphics of Titanfall, some people and other sites have been a little put out that the Xbox One version only runs at 792p rather than the previously promised 900p but when I had few seconds to look around in battle I found it all looks stunning regardless. The sheer amount of action on-screen at once was pretty impressive and I can only think this comes based on the back of the new Xbox One infrastructure.
It does make me wonder though if and how the Xbox 360 version will cope with this level of on-screen carnage.
If you’re one of the people who have been put out by the 792p display, note that Respawn hasn’t given up hope of supplying a 900p upgrade patch in the coming weeks/months.
Titanfall is available exclusively on Xbox One, Windows and on March 28th, the Xbox 360.
The Verdict & Pros and Cons
- Fast, fluid player movement is a game changer
- Superb balance of play between pilots and Titans
- Game modes aren’t particularly imaginative
- Campaign storyline stuff is thin on story