Review: Titanfall

Titanfall Info
TF Story
The story of Titanfall pits the IMC against the Militia. The IMC are trying to gain control over a series of planets known as The Frontier. The residents of these planets had finally decided that it was time to join forces to form the Militia. In doing so, they wanted to regain control of their respective planets and drive away the IMC. Both sides of the story are told and it’s up to your interoperation to decide who is in the wrong. The story isn’t fleshed out but the general premise is set up to ensure that you have an understanding of why you’re fighting the good fight.

TF Presentation
The world of Titanfall is larger and more varied than any other first person shooter that I can recall playing. The game takes place across 15 different locations and each look just as stunning as the next. One minute you’ll find yourself in a dark corridor and the next you’ll be strolling through a vast jungle. The artists of this game really did well to convey a wide variety of different planetary location.

The sound design in the game is equally as thrilling as the graphics. The sound of your Titan dropping onto a pilot or the robotic squeal of a grunt are all extremely satisfying. Set scenes that take place throughout the campaign are epic and visually remarkable.

TF Gameplay
At first glance, the gameplay of Titanfall looks like your typical new-age first person shooter. As you continue to play through it, it’s obvious that it’s much deeper than this. Microsoft’s Cloud Servers are taken advantage of to free up more of the Xbox One’s processing power and boy does it show. Being able to Auto-pilot your Titan whilst being at the other side of a huge map is no easy feat and Respawn have managed to nail things like this without sacrificing the game’s ability to run.

Titanfall’s campaign consists of 9 levels and is playable from both sides of the war. You’re able to play as the IMC or Militia to begin with, then you have the choice to replay through the story from the other side’s perspective. The campaign consists of five Attrition matches and four Hardpoint Domination matches. These are just regular multiplayer matches with a cutscene at the start, and usually some epic set sequences throughout the level that you would not normally experience in a multiplayer match. I can see why Respawn wanted to go in this direction with the campaign. Essentially, they have decided to use the rock-solid multiplayer matches with slightly altered levels and cut scenes in order to give players an immersive basic introduction to the world of the Frontiers, IMC and Militia.

Honestly, I was slightly disappointing with the fact that Respawn didn’t take the extra time to create a dedicated campaign. We’ve seen first person shooter series such as Battlefield and Call Of Duty with extremely epic campaigns and I can’t help but feel that Titanfall would’ve pulled off a solo campaign incredibly. The world and art design intrigued me more than just about any shooting game that I can recall in recent times.

Titanfall’s core gameplay is so great because it is almost perfectly balanced. It has a maximum limit of 6v6 players and I feel like Respawn got this balance right. I never felt like the huge maps were overloaded or felt like I couldn’t find anybody. This would’ve been the biggest task with creating a game like Titanfall. You have the Pilots, which are extremely small and agile and then you have the Titans, which for the most part are slow-moving and gigantic. It sounds like it wouldn’t work in theory, but it does.

Among the battlefield, there are also a number of bots. These come in the form of Grunts and Spectres. Whilst the bots provide little challenge, they still add to your overall game score and also lower your Titanfall build time. They make the maps less lonely, and always keep you on your toes.

Attrition mode is your standard team death match. Players are required to kill Pilots, Titans and bots in order to get to the required team score first. I found that Attrition was good to learn the basics of Titanfall, but this mode is nothing unique and shares a lot of similarities with other first person shooters. Pilot Hunter is extremely similar to Attrition with the exception of Grunts and Spectres counting on the scoreboard. Whilst they will still lower your Titan build time, you will have to be extremely careful about when to kill them as it’s a much riskier choice.

Hardpoint Domination is all about capturing and holding three key areas, known as Hardpoints. You can capture these Hardpoints by neutralising the area by killing any enemies, and standing in the area for a certain amount of time. Once you’ve achieved this then it’s your main goal to defend your area. For every 2 seconds that you hold an area, one point is earned for your team. I really enjoyed this mode as it really requires you to think about your positioning within each area.

In Last Titan Standing, each player starts as a Titan with the sole purpose of knocking out each Titan one by one. When you’ve been ejected from your Titan, you will live your last legs out as a Pilot. Once your pilot has been evaporated you’re out of the game for that round. The winning team will be the last Titan or Pilot standing.

My favourite match type by far is Capture The Flag. CTF is extremely addictive and seems to play on Titanfall’s strengths more than any other match type. There are two flags on the fairly large map and it’s the Pilot’s and/or Titan’s job to escort the flag from one side to the other. The entire match is extremely tense as you need to be quick to avoid pursuing Pilots whilst keeping clear of any Titan sight.

As you progress through the game, you will have the ability to upgrade your Primary Weapon, Anti-Titan Weapon, Tactical Abilities, Ordinance and Kits. On top of that there are also a number of Burn cards to collect and use throughout the game. These are really the only thing that keeps the game feeling fresh and motivated to keep playing and that ultimately is my biggest problem with Titanfall. Whilst it is one of the most solid new franchises that has been released in recent history, I have to question just how much longevity the game has? Hopefully DLC will release with new game modes and keep the game feeling fresh.

On the game’s release last Thursday, EA announced that Titanfall would be getting local servers here in Australia. Once I was on the Australia servers, my ping dropped from around 150 to 10-15. Keep in mind that these servers are apparently not using Microsoft’s Azure servers and are instead using EA servers located in Sydney. They are still in Beta and not without a few problems. I found the game to be a little bit jumpy at times but it’s nothing that lowers the experience. The Australian servers are still far better than the other alternative and I’m sure that they’ll only get better as the weeks roll on.