Titanfall: Review

You will have a completely different play style in the game depending on whether you are controlling a pilot or a titan.  The pilot can zip anywhere quickly, which is perfect for anyone that likes their games to have a break-neck pace and with action constantly around the corner.  Getting into your titan forces you to change your mind-set, with your movement speed crippled and view of the world being slightly more open.  Deciding where to go might actually be harder in the titan, as getting cornered by enemy titans is a much more likely possibility and one that could be devastating to your hopes of a killing spree.  Playing as either the pilot or the titan has its advantages and disadvantages, which is great.  I probably prefer playing as the pilot, as it’s a little more satisfying getting the jump on people and taking them out as a person rather than using a railgun or a hail of rockets to stop an opponent in their tracks (although when you are on a roll in your titan you do feel invincible, which is fantastic).  Titan v Titan fights are a feature of the game that I’m sure many will enjoy, but I’m not too struck on it.  Dancing around slowly while firing at each other for the best part of a minute before someone inevitably gets doomed isn’t really my idea of dynamic gameplay.  It’s also rather frustrating when more often than not another enemy titan shows up midway and leaves me hastily getting my affairs in order.  With Titanfall you get a variety that makes every game different and exciting – and I’m having a lot of fun and success with it.

The game is filled with nice little touches that are perhaps easy to overlook but refreshing to see in modern shooters and make it far more accessible.  Earning your titan is never a chore, or difficult to do – as it’s simply based on time rather than your ability to rack up kills.  This helps those that aren’t as good at the game experience the fun of titans as well.  The better players are given a leg-up though, with their endeavours being rewarded with reduced build times (countdowns to your titan falling).  It’s perhaps the best solution out there to the idea of rewarding players, and beats the killstreak idea that the Respawn team helped pioneer during their time at Infinity Ward. The way in which Titanfall lets you play on after hitting the max level is pretty neat as well, with Generations allowing you to do everything again for that little bit of prestige but with XP being gained faster each time.  Instead of just grinding through levels, as well, regenerating requires you to complete certain challenges for weapons – which means you have to play the game in different ways to progress.  At the end of each game, the losing side will have to scramble to an evacuation point to extract from battle, which not only adds a bit more of a natural context to the game you have just played but also allows for a bit of inconsequential running around – as anything you do after the final whistle, as it were, doesn’t count towards the scoreboard.

It’s the little things that really set Titanfall apart, though.  Being able to change class when you are still alive, rather than waiting ‘til the respawn screen is really handy when you want to change things up.  There’s never an issue with having to find new guns or more ammo when you’ve burned through your supply, as you’re given more than ample reserves when you spawn.  Joining a game whilst it is in progress is never ideal, with most matches taking a while to find a natural ebb and flow, but the game will more often than not give you a dramatically reduced build time for your titan so that you can more or less hop into one straight away.  A lot of the little frustrations I usually find in shooters aren’t there in Titanfall.

Maps are a big deal in games, and Titanfall does well to get a balance right.  With 15 different arenas to go through that have contrasting styles and settings there’s always a fresh fight to be had in each game, which is great.  It’s incredible that the maps are so easy to traverse as both a pilot and a titan.  There are few places that a titan can’t get to that a pilot can, which helps balance things a little when it comes to fleeing the hulking death machines on your tail.  The maps are pretty big, but never feel too sparse because of how easy it is to get around and the population of AI players.  It’s something that Battlefield should take some notes from.  The settings for the maps are magnificent, with the general futuristic buildings and towns being coupled with some more surreal environments, such as a canyon filled with dinosaurs and dragons that actually move around the edges of the map.  These dynamic events are a feature that a few Call of Dutys have tried to implement with very little success, but Titanfall does them right.   The graphics are really good, but they aren’t quite hitting the levels that Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3 have set the bar to – but they don’t need to.  I’ve got a few favourite maps already: Rise is a relatively close-quarter to medium-range sort of battle, and things are relatively flat compared to most Titanfall maps – but it normally plays really well; Corporate really reminds me of Halo: Reach and it’s got a nice open feel to it with plenty of routes to run and Colony, a map that I really love because it showcases the fluid movement of the game as you can basically play the entire match by hopping from building to building and wall running everywhere.  It’s so much fun to go around killing people without setting foot on the ground.

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