By Mohammad Abubakr
Titanfall has been labelled as the most anticipated game of 2014, which is odd because I only heard about it a few days before release. It is an Xbox exclusive for consoles but we still get to play it on the PC. Developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, I knew what I was getting into when picking up this game.
Titanfall is a first person shooter (FPS) that feels like a mix of Call of Duty, Halo, and Mirror’s Edge. What this means is that you get solid shooter game play with the additional parkour movement capabilities (free running) found in Mirror’s Edge. You are rewarded for moving around and simply sitting in one spot is usually not the best idea. Masters of techniques such as double jumping and wall running will easily secure top ranks in the leader boards.
The campaign is played online with other players.
As the name implies, players are also given the ability to summon Titans, massive war machines, that can be both piloted and controlled by artificial intelligence to dominate the battlefield. As you would expect, these titans are very powerful and can change the tides of battle. Standard infantry will have difficulty killing these titans and will need to dodge all direct fights against them. This doesn’t mean that getting in a titan makes you invisible. Thankfully the game seems well balanced when it comes to titans versus regular infantry as these massive machines are basically sitting ducks. You will still have to play cat and mouse against titans but they are killable.
At first you will always be looking forward to the summoning of your titan, but over time you may even prefer the regular fighting style. I personally favour the mobility of pilots on foot instead of piloting titans but I guess this depends on your play style. Do you want to be able to move around the map quickly or pilot a massive war machine that stops for no one?
Killing titans with the anti titan weapon.
Even with the addition of titans and parkour elements to the game, it still feels like your typical console shooter. Many developers from Respawn Entertainment also worked on previous Call of Duty games and this clearly shows in Titanfall. If you have ever played the CoD series before you will get a similar feel to the game. This can be both good or bad depending on if you enjoy the Call of Duty series. I personally prefer more PC style shooters such as Counter Strike or Team Fortress 2 which feel like they are suited for mouse and keyboard play. It is important to keep in mind, this is not about console versus PC, I like both systems.
The game is very easy to get into and learn the controls. While you still need to aim correctly and make efficient use of every map’s unique layout, it does seem a lot easier than other shooters I have played in the past. Due to certain features such as no gun recoil and bomb throwing physics, there are less additional things to keep in mind when playing. However, coupled with the extreme movement capabilities found in Titanfall, there will still be a sizable skill gap between the average and professional players. Only by mastering the parkour offered in the game will you be able to become a top player.
Campaign narratives while playing online.
Titanfall focuses on offering a good multiplayer experience instead of coupling it with generic narrative single player campaigns found in other shooter games. The ‘campaign’ is all online and is played with 11 other players with a narrative playing in the background. You cannot really tell the difference between the campaign mode and regular multiplayer gameplay. Think of the campaign as a multiplayer mode with voices speaking in the background. That is all.
This might not be a bad design decision as almost all gamers nowadays play shooters for their online game modes. So for this reason, why should the developers waste time improving the single player when they can instead improve upon the multiplayer?
Online matches are played 6v6 on large sized maps which makes sense due to the massive titans and movement capabilities of pilots. Even these large maps will begin to feel small when you master the movement in Titanfall. Players will be accompanied by AI soldiers that will help to make the game feel more like a battlefield and not an arena. These AI soldiers are very easy to kill and therefore provide less points upon death.
Fighting inside a titan
Without any additional updates or downloadable content, there are a good chunk of maps available for play. These maps bring unique gameplay as some are more friendly to parkour than others. Players will need to change strategies and play styles depending on the map. You still play the traditional game modes such as death match and capture points which is a little bit disappointing. There is great potential for more fun game modes with the parkour, titans, and AI soldiers present in this game. I would love to see future game modes such as protecting your AI soldiers come out in the future.
This game aims to be more fun than competitive. Instead of offering players with a lot of content that will rarely get used, Titanfall’s developers aimed to deliver polished content even if it meant offering less. You will still get decent customization when it comes to your play style but you will not have as many options as in other games. This is not a bad thing as it is better to have less content which is useful than to have garbage that no one will ever use.
Beginning of an online campaign mission.
Conclusion: Fun but not worth the price tag
In conclusion, Titanfall is a fun game that does not last very long. Being the first in the series, it reminds me of games like Assassins Creed and Portal which were release to test the waters. There is a lot of interest for this game meaning that the sequel should offer a lot more content. You should definitely pick it up but not for the full price tag. I do not feel it is worth $60 as there are a lot of other games offering more content and play time for far less. If it is on sale, by all means give it a go but do not expect it to be a game that will take up all your time.
Graphics – 5/5
Built upon the source engine, Titanfall brings great graphics without eating up too many resources. We’re basically at that point in gaming where you will not see anymore huge jumps in graphics. Titanfall looks and plays great.
Control – 5/5
The controls are very easy to learn by being the same as other shooter games. The developers have done a great job making the additional parkour movement easy to use and feel natural. You will spend less time getting used to the controls and can simply jump in and play.
Features – 3/5
While the game does not have as much content as you would expect from a game with such a high price tag, it delivers the content it has with amazing polish.
Customization – 2/5
You do get the opportunity to change things such as weapon and titan layouts but there is not as much customization as you would expect from shooters nowadays.
Community – 2/5
I’m glad we don’t have the typical people you hear about screaming over their microphones but the game is very quiet. A lot of the times it feels like you are just playing with AI. There is not much making people want to communicate with each other.
Abubakr is a student studying computer science and is currently completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto. He is an avid gamer, technology buff, and an active writer and blogger at TheGameStack.