X Box One Titanfall Review

TitanFall LogoI, just like everyone else who owns an Xbox One, couldn’t wait for Titanfall to release. It wasn’t my most anticipated game like it was for most, mind you, but I was still excited. So much so that I forewent getting a $10 gift certificate from Best Buy in order to get it at midnight through Gamestop (and I hate Gamestop). Now the midnight release was pretty uneventful. There weren’t as many people out, there was no game playing, balloons, and pizza being offered by Gamestop as you’d think would be…we kind of just stood out there until 11:59 in single file lines, and then got our games and left—pretty sad.

BUT when I got home, it was time to get on that Titanfall right? Well not exactly. It took about 20 minutes for the first match to start because the game could not connect to any servers and…I don’t know, serverside nonsense that should have been worked out before Xbox One’s hugest release of its life so far, released. So I actually went to go do something else. When I finally got the chance to play, it was about 1:30 AM, so I only played a couple of campaign missions before I went to bed.

TitanFall1In the morning when I woke up, I went straight back to the game, and ran straight into the same connection issues. But added to those, there was also an issue of the game having problems finding players to join my game…I really find that hard to believe. So with those two things combined, it was taking about 5+ minutes to start every. single. campaign match. I cannot express to you in words how annoying that was. Especially when you add to the fact that the “campaign” is simply a pre-set collection of multiplayer maps, cycling between attrition and hardpoint modes…with loud talking over your loading screens. No beautiful story revealing cut scenes, no real sense of progression; whether your team wins or loses any particular match, doesn’t even affect the outcome of the story. What is going to happen, is going to happen. It really feels silly because your commander is telling you that he needs you to accomplish a particular goal, yet even if you accomplish that goal, if it’s in the script for the faction you are currently playing to lose this battle, you’re going to lose. So then what’s the point of pitting my team versus their team? The way they did this campaign was a flat-out misstep. When I said there’s just loud talking over the loading screens, I meant it. I’ve played the campaign at least 4 times, twice from each side of the table, and I still have no idea what is actually going on in this world. I don’t know why the Militia is fighting against the IMC, I don’t understand why the IMC are the bad guys (I mean, aside from the fact that of course they are, they’re the evil large entity). There are personnel that switch sides at points during the campaign and when they were just telling someone on the other side that they were going to kill them, I have no idea how all of the sudden that happening causes them to be friends and then the one that won, to defect from his faction..? Yeah, like I said, I have no idea what actually makes this a campaign. What I was expecting when I heard that there was a campaign but it would be multiplayer only, was something akin to the way Need for Speed: Rivals plays. I was hoping for a persistent, or at least, semi-persistent world that simply had other people in that world, fighting to accomplish the same goals. I wanted a story that, even if it was silly, I could actually tell you what was happening in and why. I’m not sure what the reasoning was to make this game without a single-player campaign, but hopefully there will be one in Titanfall 2, because this game reminds me more of Halo and less of Call of Duty. I only play the multiplayer in COD, and only the single-player in Halo. What’s the difference? The world. The sci-fi setting of Halo and Titanfall really appeal to me, whereas the real world setting of Call of Duty truly doesn’t.

Titanfall2So, I guess what I’m saying is, this isn’t the shooter you’ve been waiting for, wait for Destiny or…something right? Wrong. No, this game is AMAZING. Although their idea of a campaign was a complete disaster and it takes entirely too long to get matches up and going, the reason it matters that match start times are too long is because when you finish a match, you are so incredibly amped up, that you just want to get on to the next one! Let’s talk first about the way you feel as a pilot. You are agile and lethal. Not until you get used to it, but when you do, the ability to run and jump up and along walls to get pretty much anywhere on the map you see, is so freeing and feels nothing less than fantastic. As my fiancée stated, it’s like that feeling you got when you played Mirror’s Edge for the first time, except with more bullets. Being a pilot allows you to get into buildings in order to take hardpoints that titans are too big to enter, it also allows you to stealth so that you are basically invisible to titans. This gives you a distinct advantage over them because it allows you to “rodeo” and very easily destroy them. And yes, this pretty much is what it sounds like it is. You can jump on one from on high, or just stealth and jump onto it from the ground; then your character will open it’s computer port and if you fire enough times into it’s “brain”, it will die. You are so versatile due to your speed and agility that I actually found myself oftentimes summoning Atlas (my beloved titan), and leaving him on autopilot as I stalked the shadows, shooting anything small that moved. In other words, the fear that when your titan is on cooldown that you will just be fodder, is totally misplaced. You will be just fine while waiting the two minutes that it takes for your partner to be re-assembled.

Titanfall3Now let’s discuss what happens when you summon the big boy. You want to summon your titan whenever it is available—even if you do not want to enter it at the time, because as previously stated, it can fight on its own, giving you another entity gaining points for you. Also, you get points for summoning your titan so even if it gets destroyed 10 seconds after it falls from the sky, you at least got the points for summoning it in the first place, and it will be ready again in no more than 120 seconds. Riding inside of your titan, you can see much more of the field than you can when you are on the ground as a pilot, you obviously are less agile, but not like a tank, you feel like…well, a mech. You can stomp on, punch, or shoot pilots. And man, does it feel good to smash a dude that shot you a few minutes ago. Duking it out with other titans feels like a match of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, well, with heavy artillery. And the whole scene is just high octane. It gets you AMPED! You can get out of your titan and set it to either follow you, or guard a particular location. After whatever antics you decide to get into on the ground, you can run up the nearest wall to your giant, jump into the air, and hold down X. Your titan will grab you out of the air and place you inside of its tummy. And the two of you take off to go shower destruction on your foes. This is something that you just have to experience for yourself to truly understand how elating that feeling is when this happens. Your titan becomes your full-fledged partner; one that has your back at all times, and it is excellent.

Titanfall4The points you receive during a match for kills, summoning your titan, taking and holding hardpoints, etc., are what’s used to level up your pilot and give you unlocks, which per the norm, is what you’ll use to customize him/her and your titan. There are no scorestreaks in this game. Instead, rewards are given out when you complete various challenges. Sometimes these rewards are what’s called burn cards. Burn cards give you a multitude of different boosts ranging from upgraded main weapons, to unending stealth, to taking over enemy AI. These boosts last until you are killed and you can start the next one that you have equipped when you respawn. Don’t be afraid to use your burn cards. You get them often and you can only carry a certain amount before you will not be able to gain anymore. This is a problem because not all burn cards are created equal. Some are more rare and therefore, more powerful than others, and if you do something amazing in your match, but your inventory is full, you will not get the burn cards that you would have gotten. You should use three burn cards every single match unless you don’t have any.

The frequency of burn card reception plus the fact that your titan is available every 2 minutes without fail, fit together to make Titanfall very accessible. I am not the best Call of Duty player, not even close. When I am playing that game, I oftentimes feel myself getting very frustrated because I just feel absolutely outclassed by my opponents. I never once felt that way in Titanfall once I got used to the mechanics of the game. There are still masterful players and bad ones, but if you actually take the time to learn how to play the game, you can certainly fit somewhere in the middle and feel like a killing machine while doing so. Titanfall has its flaws, but they are primarily limited to one facet of the game and are a menial setback to an otherwise incredible game. Titanfall offers by far, the most fun I have ever had playing a multiplayer shooter. It melds the polish of a Call of Duty game with totally new concepts and mechanics, and an unmatched accessibility. If you have an Xbox One, don’t think, go buy this game.
(Titanfall is also available on PC and will release for Xbox 360, but the version that was reviewed was Xbox One.)

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