It's safe to say that Titanfall is the first highly-anticipated next gen (or should I say current gen) game for 2014.Developed by Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall received some huge hype at E3, and it was well deserved. Although the game is not perfect, it's heading in the right direction to be one of the iconic game franchises of this generation.
A TITANIC ACHIEVEMENT
A Big Fight - I remember that I was a little bummed out when I heard that Titanfall would be limited to 6v6 matches. With only 12 players on the map, I felt that it would make for a barren battlefield. Boy was I wrong. What Respawn Entertainment did to combat that possibility of an empty map was to create an active battlefield. When the battle starts, squadrons of AI controlled soldiers will land as well. They'll fight the good fight, but they're not a real threat to the other team nor are the enemy bots a threat to me. Instead they're kind of like cannon fodder.
So why is this genius? Because it gives me something to do that can benefit my team and I. Every one of these grunts gives a bit xp and cuts down on the amount of time it takes for to call for a Titanfall. That makes it beneficial to drop a few of them as I hunt down enemy players. The other reason it’s a genius move is that it helps a player's confidence. Let's face it, everyone is going to have their off days where they can't get a kill. In the case of a game like Call of Duty or Battlefield, you would end up with 0 kills, a ridiculous amount of deaths and a bruised ego. By killing the grunts in a match, at least there's something helpful to do rather than help the other team up their score. It doesn't seem like much, but this is what helps players get over the fatigue of getting stomped all the time online.
Two Kinds of Fighting - Obviously, there are two kind of gameplay: On foot and in the Titan. Both are different, yet the choice of switching between them and combing them makes the combat so interesting. As a pilot, it's all about mobility and speed. It's a great feeling to run from one part of the map to another as if I was in some parkour YouTube video. Although it feels like Call of Duty, it's so much different. I don't feel like I'm stuck going down one alley where I'm a sitting duck for campers. Instead, I can climb up the buildings and maneuver around potential traps. Then when I'm tired of running and hiding, I call in my Titan and start rushing the other team. Then if I want to, I can have the Titan follow me around and defend itself while I make my way through building and on rooftops to find an enemy pilot. Once again, this helps breaks the monotony of a game.
A Beautiful Battlefield - From the Titans to the landscape, this game is great to look at. The maps are big but not empty. There are plenty of buildings that have such great detail on the maps that are filled with lush green scenery or a desert wasteland. To make a comparison that seasoned gamers would get, it's like taking the big maps of Battlefield and throwing in all the structures one would find on a Call of Duty map.
A New Way to Tell a Story - When the news hit that Titanfall was going to be multiplayer only, people did lose their proverbial shit over it. The anger was funny to me because we're talking about the creators of the Call of Duty series, not BioWare or Irrational Games. Did they really think that because the main guys were forced out of Infinity Ward that this would free them up to pen their great opus?
In any case, there is a campaign and it's done in a new way. The campaign is done via team matches. You're either on the side of the Interstellar Manufacturing Company or the Militia, and the story plays out like you're a regular soldier. Not some super soldier that’s changes the tide of the war, but actually part of a team that have to work together to win the war. I loved it because of that. Although it does blow that you may be on a team of incompetent players causing your side to lose, the victories are much sweeter.
FALLIN' FLAT ON YOUR FACE
About That Story - As much as I enjoyed the campaign, there are some faults with it. The big one being, I have no clue what the hell happened. All the cutscenes happen on the battlefield. When you start the match, the commanding officers discuss why you're at that location and what your mission is. Then throughout the match there will be certain story updates. When a side has won, then there's a final conclusion of what happened on the battlefield and how it pertains to the war. Even when I tried to pay careful attention to the narrative, I still had no clue what was happening. Maybe it was my mind being occupied on how I was going to kill the other team or maybe the story was not presented in a proper sequence that would make sense. Whatever the case is, I finished the game having hardly any clue what I had won or lost.
What Else to Do - Even though Titanfall has a similar amount of online modes as Battlefield or Call of Duty, the game felt a little light on content. The matches are fun, but there was not enough variation. In the end, aside from the CTG mode, the multiplayer was either territories or some kind of death match. There's plenty to unlock as both the pilot and Titan have various weapons, equipment and skills available, but when most of my time is killing other player over and over again, it gets a little boring. Even with the various challenges that require me to use all the weapons and fun ways to kill other players, I wasn't compelled to keep playing after a while. Respawn mentioned that more content is coming which could add some space to the mix but that content is still a ways off.
Who’s Who on the Battlefield - As I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of action going on in the battlefield. There are robots, grunts and minions that act as cannon fodder. The problem is that on certain maps, these weaklings look almost like the pilots on the other teams. Multiple times I was surprised to find that the enemy I snuck up on was not a pilot as I hoped so I can net some big points, but it was a grunt giving me a miniscule point for my team. With so many bodies on the battlefield, I would have liked to see Respawn make it a little easier to discern who are the pilots and who are the trash mobs.
Titanfall is a lot of fun. That first time you call a Titan, you get giddy. The problem, however, is that there needs to be a little something extra to make the game special. When it comes down to it, Titanfall feels more like a proof of concept than anything else. It's definitely worth buying for those interested in some frenzy multiplayer action, but it's simply not a "must buy."