If you’ve been online any amount of time in the past few months, you’ve seen hype for Titanfall. Well, the game’s here… did it live up to the colossal expectations everyone had for it?
For the most part, yes, and those places where it doesn’t quite reach the heights we imagined it to aren’t that far out of reach.
Titanfall, created by Respawn Entertainment, which is a team mostly made up of those who created Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, sets to reinvent the modern FPS by combining all of the elements that you love from the genre – fast-paced action, snappy and responsive controls, and weapons that just feel good to use – with new additions, like giant mechs, parkour, and “Burn Cards,” which are Respawn‘s way of not having “killstreak” rewards but at the same time still including something for those who perform well in battle.
Graphically, the game’s a beast on either the Xbox One or PC (the Xbox 360 version hasn’t been released yet), so that should put some of the concerns over resolutions to rest. Naturally the PC version can look better depending on your rig, but things look darn pretty even on the lowest settings, and there doesn’t seem to be anything to complain about from a performance standpoint. Battles are fast, fluid, and feature a LOT of things happening at once, but my modest machine was able to keep up just fine.
As for gameplay, Titanfall is the first major FPS release that I can think of that completely omits single-player modes (except for the tutorial), instead opting to tell a campaign story within the confines of specific multiplayer modes and maps. It… kind of works. You’ll encounter soundbytes and cutscenes from your commanding officers as you progress, and luckily the story is tailored to continue even if your team doesn’t win a round, but you’ll be so busy playing you won’t even notice. I think it has something to do with oil. I’m not even joking, I’ve played this game for 12 hours and have no clue what the story is, other than “those guys shooting at you? They’re bad.” Which is bad if you, like me, actually get something out of an FPS game’s story mode, but it’s really not missed.
What you’re here for is the multiplayer (as if you had a choice), and it’s done well, with some caveats. Each match is 6v6, with a bunch of NPC “grunts” filling out your squad and making for easy cannon fodder. At least on the PC it’s hard to get a private game going with just your friends… the option’s not really there, but Respawn has promised it will be soon. Matchmaking is fluid (except for the typical day 1 stumbles). As you battle you’ll unlock the chance to rampage through the battleground in your very own Titan, which is awesome, but Respawn has made sure that both players on the ground and those in the mechs are actually fairly evenly matched. I never once felt like I was completely out of my league, which is saying something.
The only other downside I can think of is a very minor one: you’ll need to use EA’s Origin service to play on PC. It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but for some people it is, so know that going in.
Overall, Titanfall can’t live up to the massive hype – no game can – but what’s there is extremely solid and just plain fun. If you like FPS games, you could do a lot worse.