Titanfall Review - the CoD Killer?
Titanfall is Call of Duty with robots! You have your guns, attachments, and perks, and you kill the other team. When you do enough damage, or wait long enough, you get a giant robot exo-suit to jump into to do even more damage!
As powerful as the titans are, however, they are not overpowered death dealing machines that will alter the course of the battle. For every powerful item, weapon or accessory, there is a counter that lends a terrific sense of balance to the overall game
I liked Call of Duty, but after months of constant dying and never getting more than 5 kills in a row before being spawn trapped and destroyed, I lost the love. Titanfall has brought back the love of playing a team-based FPS!
I've been excited to play Titanfall since I had first heard about it last year, at the announce event for the XBox One. The visuals presented of pilots running, wall-running, double-jumping and taking on enemies while also avoiding giant killer robots, and then becoming a giant killer robot, were all too enticing to not want to learn more!
Titanfall is the first game by Respawn Entertainment, the company founded by former members of the Infinity Ward team who created Call of Duty. As such, it was often touted as a Call of Duty Killer, set to take the genre they had created and make it better! Many will likely disagree for many reasons, and I cannot say that it will halt the juggernaut that is Call of Duty, but I can say that it has created a new side-genre that is - for me, at least - a lot more fun!
While Call of Duty has guns, attachments, perks and killstreaks, Titanfall has guns, attachments, burn cards (one-time use perks), and "kits" for use on your titans. You design a loadout for your pilot (the soldier you run around as), and a separate loadout for your titan. At the beginning of a match, you jump out of a dropship and land on the ground, ready to start the match!
So is it a Call of Duty Killer, a wannabe clone, or something else altogether? Read on for my take on Titanfall!
When first announced, Titanfall was said to have no single player campaign, focusing instead on the multiplayer aspects of the game. While many people didn't like the idea of a shooter with no campaign, it did seem - based on the scope of a game that has both a standard shooter and a mech-piloting aspect - that being multiplayer only would be a full game, and not be missing out on the single player storyline that many were hoping for.
It turns out, however, that there is a sort of single-player mode that you can play. It consists of a number of missions that have specific goals, and explain some of the story around which the game is based. The IMC is a military and manufacturing juggernaut that is badgered incessantly by the Militia - kind of like the Rebels fighting the Empire, if you catch my drift.
The campaign is set up as a series of 9 missions which you fight first as a member of either the IMC or the Militia, learning their story and why they do what they do. I would tell you some of it, if I could remember, but this is where things get a little fuzzy. You see, you are actually playing in a multiplayer match in each of these missions, and since the combat is pretty intense, I didn't catch a whole lot of what the story was about. There was a ship that apparently crashed, a falling out between the leaders of each side who used to work together for the IMC, and beyond that, I am not really sure what they were fighting about or why the one guy left the IMC to lead the Militia.
Once you complete the campaign for one faction, you will unlock one of the locked titans (the Stryder or Ogre - only the Atlas is available at the start) and are then able to play the campaign from the other side of the fence, after which you unlock the other titan chassis.
The campaign seems more like a live training area after the training, where you complete against real pilots to claim objectives. The main problem I had is that I could not pay attention to the story (if there even really was one), and win or lose, the outcome was the same, no matter what. You still progressed to the next mission as though you completed whatever objective you were required to meet on the particular map.
Overall, the campaign mode seems like it is simply filler to the game to quell the naysayers who didn't like the "no campaign mode" chant that Respawn kept repeating. Beyond that, however, it has no real bearing on the game other than allowing you to unlock the other titan chassis' for your custom titan loadouts. If you are happy with the Atlas, then don't even bother with the campaign as it is simply a mish-mash of attrition and hardpoint maps with a background story that doesn't even matter.
The meat and potatoes of Titanfall is the multiplayer, and that is where you will spend most of the time when you play, if you even touch the campaign at all. Here you have a couple of different modes to choose from, and they are pretty standard fare.
Attrition is classic Team Deathmatch with a new name. Some of the slight differences you will notice are that you get points for taking out the AI players (grunts and spectres) as well as for killing pilots and destroying titans. Each kill has it's own point value, and while I cannot remember the specifics, I believe you get a single point for each grunt and spectre, and 4 for pilots. Dooming a titan will net your team 5 points, so obviously this is the most economical route to go, but obviously also the most difficult.
Last Titan Standing puts every pilot into a titan and drops you onto the battlefield. Once your titan is doomed, you don't get another. But fret not! When you eject, you can still help your team by rodeoing (jumping on enemy titans and shooting their brains out) or using your anti-titan weapon to take out the opposing team. Once you die as a pilot, however, you are done until the next round.
Hardpoint Domination provides 3 control nodes that need to be captured and held by getting within range and staying for a short time. The more players at a node at once, the quicker it is neutralized/captured. If an enemy is at a node when you are, the node is contested until more of one team than the other is in the area.
Pilot Hunter is basically the same as Attrition, except that killing grunts and spectres earn no points toward your team score, so they are more background scenery at this point. They can still damage you, however, so don't count them out completely! They do still earn build time reductions for your titan, as well, and speed the cooldown of your core abilities. So while they earn no points for the match, they still have a use in the mode, just not on the schoreboard!
Capture the Flag is fairly standard: capture the other team's flag while defending your own. If you kill the enemy flag carrier and then run over your flag, it is returned to your base. If both teams are carrying the others' flags, then no-one can score until a flag is returned. An interesting tactic that I have seen is to capture the flag and then jump into a titan. It is much harder to die in a titan than while walking around as a pilot!
It has been announced that more modes will be coming, but what they will be and how they will work has not yet been released.
I find the classic gameplay to be fun and exciting. I have played many shooters over the years, and this is the first time in a very long time that, in a multiplayer match, I have felt that I am powerful, even as an average player. I have been in the top 3 on my team several times, and even the top player in a match once or twice. I am by no means a great player, but seeing myself atop the list every so often makes me feel like I am a good contributor to my team. I think many people who are in the low to average skill level will find this to be the case as well.
I can't say enough about it - I simply love the gameplay, and it has brought back the love of playing multiplayer shooters for me. The game is balanced and fun, and has been thought out quite completely, in my opinion.
If you are tired of being destroyed in Call of Duty, give Titanfall a try and bring back the FPS love to your life!
Gameplay and Commentary
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