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Titanfall (Xbox One) Review
on 14 March 2014
This is a long in depth review, if you want a quick opinion then skip down to my verdict towards the bottom of my review!
Titanfall is the most highly anticipated game to date as far as the next generation goes. There's been huge hype and Respawn Entertainment has promised a lot, So how does it fair and what do I make of it. First things first, Graphically Titanfall looks stunning, Yes I'm sure some among you are about to tell me that it's only 792p and not 1080p and therefore it's a total failure, only hardened fanboys will hold such a line. In reality its native pixel count means little especially as the game is up-scaled to 1080p by the console so in actual fact what you see on screen is 1080p anyway. The frame rate is perfect with no lag or graphical shudder! If there are any issues then the chances are it is your connection to the servers.
For those of you that are unaware I feel it necessary to point out what Titanfall is, it's a First Person Shooter and online multiplayer game and has no offline mode or single player functionality whatsoever so keep that in mind before purchase. If you want a very simplistic view then think of it as Call of Duty with Mech's (Titans) which you can enter and directly control or allow them to guard you in automatic mode. There are a few different game modes and 15 maps to begin with. Each match is limited to 12 players so 6v6 and in my honest opinion it works well especially when you have a few Titans on the map as any more and it would become crowded. Don't forget each player can have a Titan at the same time so potentially each map can have 12 players and 12 Titans plus the 12 bots on each team.
When you call in your Titan to drop at any location you choose, a force field immediately protects it from damage but also so it can't be stolen by another player which believe me is a good thing, without it I can tell you virtually every Titan that is called in would be stolen and part of the fun of giving everyone a chance in them would be lost. There is an automatic 4 minute countdown timer for each player after which you can call in your titan to drop but the timer can be reduced by killing other players and bots. There are three class of Titan; Atlas class which is the multi purpose Titan and the one you can use to begin with, Stryder class which is the fastest moving Titan and able to quickly move out of the line of fire and Ogre class which is an ultra-armoured Titan which is absolutely deadly especially when using the add-ons like the particle shield. Each type has a different "core" upgrade so the atlas can have more damage, and the Ogre can have a beefed up shield. The Stryder has a "dash" core upgrade for increased manoeuvrability.
When you're in the Titan you get to see the mini-map and the score at all times so you don't lose out on any info. The Titans weapons are deadly but also include releasing smoke and a vortex blocker which collect and fires bullets back at enemy Titans. The Titan naturally has a health bar and when it gets low you can eject which fires you up into the air and you can choose your landing spot either in safety or if you're lucky on an enemy Titan where you can remove some protective shielding and quickly shred the Titans health. You can also climb onto friendly titans and use them as cover. There are also numerous ziplines across many maps to which you can use to travel quickly from place to place but keep on your toes as enemy pilots may end up using them at the other way!
Speaking of "you", you play the part of a "pilot" and every pilot has a mini jetpack on the back which gives you a boost while jumping (you press jump(A) again while jumping to activate the jetpack boost). It makes climbing through high windows and indeed onto roofs quite easy. Not just roofs, you can also walk on walls (temporarily for a few seconds) and then use your jetpack to stay in the air, it makes moving from one building to another easy, it also makes the game more challenging as you never know where enemy pilots are going to come from.
The Pilot weapons aren't as extensive like in a call of duty or battlefield game but the weapons that are available are varied enough and include standard weapons for shooting other pilots and weapons for taking Titans down while on foot, just like Call of Duty you can create personalized load outs which saves you messing around for each match. There is a Smart Pistol which enables you to lock onto an enemy and the bullets tracks to the target without you specifically aiming, I've only been playing the past day but already it seems overused especially by campers. You also get things called "burn cards" which you unlock and can preselect up to 3 before each match, during the match you can chose to use one when you spawn the next time and they can be anything from reduce the waiting time for a Titan or more damage from primary weapons, once you die again that burn card terminates. Think of them as a single use perk to give you a boost but don't worry as you unlock plenty as you progress!
Among the many modes, there is "Last Titan Standing" where by everyone starts in a Titan and although you can get out of the Titan once it is destroyed that's it, you won't be getting another one, the team that has the last Titan standing on the map wins and believe me it forces people to work together rather than everyone going lone wolf. Hardpoint mode is where each team tries to hold 3 points on the map like domination, at the end of each match the losers have to try and evacuate on their drop ship by getting to it in time before it evacuates unless you've been killed while escaping. The winners get to place the final nail in the coffin by destroying the drop ship before it evacuates although that requires lots of co-operation and firepower! The third mode is Attrition which is essentially team deathmatch. The fourth mode is called "Pilot Hunter" where basically you get a point each time you kill an enemy Pilot which helps boost your teams score and certainly moves your attention away from Titans and onto Pilots (so best played for those that prefer ground warfare although the Titans and bots are still there but you don't get points for them) There is also a capture the flag mode.
So where's the catch you must be asking? Well there are a few, firstly you get AI controlled bots on the map which drop on the map with you as allies (and the same for the other team) which you can take out but half the time you can get confused between them and actual players, meaning half the time you get killed by a real player while your looking at these stupid bots (think of the dumbest bots you've ever come across and that's how they are). Secondly, there are connection issues with servers disconnecting although considering the game has only just been released I suspect those problems will be sorted out pretty quickly.
Now some people have said that the environments should be destructible like in Battlefield, personally I think that would be a mistake as you do require cover from the Titans, on a plus side all the buildings have multiple ways in and out so campers beware, having said that all the campers I have seen so far tend to stay on the roofs!
Pros: Fantastic non stop competitive action * Graphics do impress and frame rate is smooth * jetpacks and ability to run on walls is awesome * using a Titan feels brutal against pilots and makes you feel epic * titan vs titan battles are well balanced * playing with friends takes this game to the next level * Some of the best Multiplayer maps I've seen in years with good variety * Pilot and Titan weapons are awesome * 6v6 player count works well when you factor in Titans and bots * Audio including the music is gorgeous * People who spend whole matches camping in Call of Duty won't last long in this!
Cons: Bots are stupid and only serve to boost XP and shorten the wait for your Titan * so called "multiplayer campaign" feels pointless (effectively it's multiplayer with set objectives and audio chit-chat to provide a background to the story), it feels like an afterthought to be honest * Smart pistol is already overused * Servers need to balance players out more i.e. you sometimes get a whole team of level 1's on one side and a bunch of level 30s on the other * EA is the publisher so I worry about the prospect of micro transactions and server stability moving forward!
VERDICT: The people at Respawn Entertainment were the original creators at Infinity Ward of the Modern Warfare series of games. After Modern Warfare 2 had been created they left due to a disagreement with Activision regarding the direction they wanted to take the series, so they went and created their own company (Respawn Entertainment) and Titanfall is the first fruit of their ideas. You can tell in more ways than one the links between this game and the original Modern Warfare games in the way it plays while on foot, with the map designs being spot on with a good combination of close quarters and long distance on each map and of course the ability to scale building at the same time. Titanfall is a great multiplayer experience and if you like first person shooters then this is a must for any gamer to get.
I'm not going to over paint the canvas and say it's the best game since sliced bread as without the titans in the game it's very similar to call of duty but with less features and fewer game modes, with the titans however, you have two battles going on; the one on foot between pilots and pilots and the other between titans and titans. When the two meet and you're stuck in the middle the action never gets dull to say the least. In a nutshell the more you play, the more you want to play and from one gamer to another I hope you enjoy this as much as I am!
Update 14th March: the amount of trolls writing duff reviews and down voting reviews is a disgrace. As testament to this my review was down voted 3 times within 20 seconds of me writing it yet it takes a few minutes to actually read it. Some people need to get a life!
Update 28th March: Respawn Entertainment have said they are now addressing the server balancing problem by using the "internal skill data", They have said this should lead to better matchmaking but it may take slightly longer to get into each match.