Here it is: the moment of truth! I have spent a generous amount of time with this multiplayer sensation known as Titanfall, and have now gathered enough information to write a review. As I booted up the game I was excited to finally see what all the fuss was about, because I’m clearly not a person who likes to be left in the cold when it comes to the hot sensations. So, what are my thoughts about Titanfall and all of the hype surrounding it? Well, it’s complicated.
Titanfall was developed by Respawn Entertainment under the publishing of EA, and many of Respawn Entertainment’s crew consist of employees that were important people in the Modern Warfare series in the Call of Duty franchise. So, when you first drop into Titanfall, things look and feel a bit familiar. The shooting mechanics all feel very much like an extension of the Call of Duty series, from shooting and sprinting animations down to the physics engine. However, a lot more of has been added to the formula here to stop this from becoming a Call of Duty clone. In this gamers opinion, it has surpassed that old formula in every way.
What truly sets Titanfall apart from other FPS games is its movement speed and freedom of movement. In this game, you have the ability to do wall runs and double jumps, which makes areas that would be impossible to access in other FPS games possible here. This sense feeling that you can go absolutely anywhere in the level, from the top of buildings or through normally out of reach windows, gives the game a constant sense of discovery as you consistently attempt to access new areas.
Of course, there is one other major feature that I haven’t even mentioned yet, and that is the game’s giant mechs called Titans. These Titans can be called into battle after a certain amount of time, and when you enter them you are now a giant beast. What’s fantastic about controlling a Titan is that it doesn’t feel clunky or restricted like mechs usually do in other FPS games. In fact, your Titan moves almost a swiftly as your Pilot does, as you can sprint and boost around levels very quickly. The Titan has access to a machine gun and missile launcher, and has a shield that recharges after a short amount of time and a health meter that depletes when the shield is depleted.
In terms of variety with your Titans, when the game begins you only have access to one “normal” type of Titan called Atlas. However, once you complete the two different online campaign scenarios (which I’ll get into later), you unlock a bigger Titan called Ogre that has higher defense and a smaller Titan called Stryder that is faster. It’s a pretty basic stat differential, as it all comes down to whether or not you want more defense, more speed or a balance of both. It would have been nice if there was a bit more variety with the Titans, as would be the ability to customize your Titans appearance.
For both Pilots and Titans you have the ability to customize your loadouts. You can pick your primary weapon, secondary weapon, grenade types and abilities. As you progress through the game and level up online you will unlock new weapons, skins and perks for your weapons. These all function very similarly to that of the Call of Duty franchise, as meeting challenges with specific weapons will also net you new enhancements.
Where Titanfall gets a little iffy is not in any of its mechanics or polish, but in the its lack of content. When you boot up the game you will notice that their are 3 modes to chose from; a “campaign” mode, a classic multiplayer mode and a training mode. Training mode is something you’re prompted to do right at the beginning and you never return to it, so that leaves you with two modes that will be taking most of your time. What’s most interesting about these two modes is that they’re very similar, as they are both online multiplayer modes. Classic allows you to play 5 different types of games; such as Attrition, Capture the Flag and Hard Point, and matches you up with players of similar skill.
The “Campaign” mode is almost exactly the same thing as classic, with the only difference is you will have little snippets of story playing before during and after the matches. They try to make what is happening in the story to affect the gameplay of the match, but it doesn’t. Through the course of the campaign you will play as either the IMC or Militia, and all games will be either Attrition or Hard Point. You may see or hear from story characters during the matches, but the fact of the matter is that if you lose the match, the story continues. It would have been nice to see this “campaign” mode feel more consequential, but sadly the end result feels more like an afterthought.
Going back to the classic mode, it is also a little disappointing that the game is launching with only 5 truly unique game modes. For a game that is so heavily focused on multiplayer, you would think that they would accommodate for the lack of a single-player mode with a lot of different game types, but this game ships with less modes than any other FPS multiplayer game that does contain a single-player mode. If this game were being sold at a cheaper price I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but the fact that they are charging $60 for essentially 5 multiplayer modes with the option for a tacked-on narrative is really pushing it.
Out of all the reviews I have written, this is the one that has me scratching my head the most. Here we have a game that is without a traditional single player experience that is still being sold for $60. You may be thinking, “Well, it’s a multiplayer focused game and that’s where most people will be spending the majority of their time with the game,” but even the multiplayer is surprisingly lacking. For Mike’s sake, there are only 6 multiplayer modes, and one of them is a grab bag of the other 5. Still, Titanfall’s mechanics are so smooth and polished that as soon as I begin playing I forget about its lack of features and just get absorbed in the gameplay. Titanfall is weak on depth of content, but from a pure gameplay perspective it’s very strong, so if you’re willing to accept that then you can have a lot of fun with the game.