I am a pilot, an elite soldier in the Militia against the IMC corporation. Our goal is to free the Frontier from IMC control, to give back the homes and lives to the people that rightfully deserve it. I am one of the few who has the ability to call a Titan into battle, a one man weapon of destruction that I alone pilot and I alone control. Prepare for Titanfall.
The FPS genre has lately seemed to been in a long stage of stagnation with the only two big contenders, Call of Duty and Battlefield, releasing yearly installments and while they might change little things or try to add to the franchises existing models, these new games don’t do anything to change or shake up the formula of the competitive first person shooter.
Titanfall seeks to be the game changer, the injection of innovation that the FPS genre sorely needs right now and the pinnacle of what other games of this type should be judged against in the next generation of video games. But does it live up to its incredible hype? No, not really but that doesn’t mean Titanfall isn’t a fantastic game.
When you start up Titanfall you’re given two options to get into the action: Campaign and Classic. Since the game’s multiplayer only, both options will take you through similar routes with Campaign being the games attempt at building on the setting it has created and Classic being multiplayer at its roots. Classic lets you choose from one of the game’s 5 game modes: Attrition, Hardpoint, Last Titan Standing, Capture the Flag, and Pilot Hunter.
Attrition is Titanfall‘s basic Team Deathmatch with both sides killing anything that moves for attrition points, Hardpoint’s your basic Domination/Territories mode, Last Titan Standing is a mode where all 12 players start out in their Titans and battle to the death, Capture the Flag is the same as it always has been, and Pilot Hunter is Attrition with Pilots only counting for points. These game modes are fun at their core but I can’t help but feel that Respawn could have tried to innovate here. However they do all fit the titles gameplay very well and that makes them all worthwhile.
Campaign is Respawn’s attempt to tell the story of Titanfall. The campaign is divided between the two factions: the Militia and the IMC. You are thrown into the campaign on either side and have to play your way through the story on that side before you can experience the other. The story’s told through audio clips before and during matches where the characters will often communicate with you via a video link like you would expect in a futuristic game.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the game any more viable or interesting. It’s hard to get someone to care about the 4 or 5 main characters, their motivations and goals, while you are hellbent on wiping your multiplayer opponents off the face of the planet.
The single player campaign also feels really short and doesn’t give you any motivation to care about the characters that they introduce to you since your only connection to them is them briefly yelling at you during your multiplayer matches. It would’ve been nice to give players more than two modes of play in the campaign – the only two modes you’ll encounter is Attrition and Hardpoint.
It doesn’t seem like it’d be hard to come up with an excuse for using the other modes like Last Titan Standing or Pilot Hunter, but with only two modes in Campaign, the storytelling’s awkward and makes you wonder why you’d want to play it over the regular multiplayer modes.
Even with the campaign failing to meet the expectations of a flawless single player and multiplayer integrated experience, Titanfall‘s multiplayer is where it shines and it shines bright. You can clearly see that multiplayer was Titanfall’s focus from the moment you start playing a match, the movement feeling smooth with the parkour system and with your ability to double jump, you can easily traverse the large scale maps and tall buildings that litter them. This is vital for a player on the ground as it allows you to avoid enemy Titans when you don’t have yours.
Gunplay feels standard with a variety of weapons at your disposal that all fit the normal FPS archetype. The guns feel good and it does fulfill that twitch shooting gameplay that I was looking for out of the title, with the automatic reaction whenever I came across another pilot being that whoever could aim and fire the fastest would be the winner.
Each pilot also gets an Anti-Titan weapon so that you can stand a chance on the ground against other players Titans. These weapons usually won’t let you take one at full health by yourself but they allow you to help out your teammates against others with supporting fire. Those looking for some more over the top guns have to look no further than the Titans themselves for that over the top itch. Titans have weapons that range from the Titan version of a normal auto and semi auto rifle to 4 barrel rocket launchers, an arc cannon that fires lightning, a triple barreled grenade launcher, and a plasma railgun. These powerful guns are a fun and wacky addition that don’t feel overpowered since everyone’s Titan has access to them.
Now that we’re discussing Titanfall’s main hook, let’s talk about the Titans themselves. There are three varieties of Titans: the standard Atlas model that does everything pretty well, the extremely mobile, light armored Stryder, and the big hulking tank that is the Ogre. These three varieties really give you a choice as to which Titan you think is the most important for you, although I wish Respawn had given us the option to customise them. Since this Titan is supposed to be yours and is an extension of yourself it would have been nice to at least be able to give it some personal touches but this option is disappointingly not present.
The Burn Card system’s another interesting addition and really helps spice up the gameplay in exciting ways. Once you’ve levelled up via playing matches and completing challenges, you will be given Burn Cards that are basically one time boosts to specific points of gameplay as it states on the card. Once you use a Burn Card, it’s gone and you can only use three in a single match. These cards do things such as taking time off your Titan’s build time, increasing movement speed, giving you a super-powered version of your standard weapon, and they even do things like doubling your EXP gained.
Burn Cards add a nice variety to gameplay that will be sure to help extend the game’s longevity as they can give you specific boosts in battle right when you need them. It’s a smart system and only adds to the gameplay experience here, which is already great by itself.
The maps are fantastic as well. Always feeling fresh and interesting, the idea of them being designed for large scale Titan warfare as well as small scale tactical pilot gameplay works very well. They all have a variety that is refreshingly nice and since you are given 15 of them to explore with the standard game, I haven’t really felt like I have seen a map too many times or am bored of seeing “that same map” over and over.
Titanfall’s a fantastic multiplayer experience with tight gameplay, great maps and refreshing ideas that help pave the way for the next generation of shooters while also injecting something fresh into the genre. Little touches like the Burn Cards help add to the already solid experience and even though the campaign is overall a letdown, the games easy re-playability and fun core gameplay help remedy it.
While it might never live up to its hype as the second coming of the FPS Jesus, that doesn’t mean it disappoints. Titanfall’s a fun time for anyone that likes a solid first person shooter and giant robot fights just makes things that much more fun.