The first time you call in a gigantic robot mecha, called a Titan, you’ll find yourself looking up at the sky and see a Titan rocket towards the ground, ready to be piloted and cause mayhem on the multiplayer battlefront. It’s a moment of pure excitement.
I’ve roughly logged in two solid days worth of playtime into TITANFALL now, and all I can say is the experience when your Titan lands on the battlefield is still as rewarding as the first time I performed it. Though the action of calling in a Titan has become habitual, it’s still fresh and rewarding – it’s a moment which can change the fate of a match.
TITANFALL has been out a few months now, and while some shooters can lose appeal in that time, this game simply has not – it still has those fresh and rewarding qualities which keep you engaged and coming back for more.
It’s rare for a multiplayer shooter to get my blood going, to have me totally invested in the experience and to have me racing to level up as fast as possible. The only other games to do that were HALO 2 and CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE. TITANFALL has succeeded in this sense for me because it re-imagines how people play and experience multiplayer shooters.
At its core TITANFALL revolves around two types of gameplay: Titan and Pilot gameplay. Players enter a match as Pilots (special soldiers which pilot Titans) and after a period of time can call in Titans and choose whether to pilot them or leave them in auto-pilot. Either decision comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. A Titan enables you destructive force in the form of a mecha, while a Pilot is agile, quick, and if played right, can be just as menacing as a Titan.
Weapons, burn cards (which perform like one spawn life perks), and the various abilities which both Pilots and Titans can use follow this same pattern of balance which works quite nicely. Never have I felt that one weapon or perk was vastly superior over another, what it boils down to is how you use the items at your disposal. Each weapon has its trade offs just as each Pilot or Titan ability does, the same goes for most aspects of this game. Shotguns lose their advantage when it comes to distance, but if you build your Pilot to take advantage of its agility and ways to get close to other players this disadvantage can be minimized. Balance is what separates this game from other multiplayer shooters. More times than not it seems like players have to use the right combination of weapons and perks to be successful. This degree of customization makes TITANFALL accessible and fresh – there’s a freedom to explore different customization which doesn’t punish players for being bold .
Playing as a Titan or Pilot is a seamless affair. In terms of the Pilot, the most notable difference from other first-person shooters is the ability to run on walls – the ability which makes Pilots agile. It’s a skill which is easily mastered and redefines the way in which a player will perceive a map. Players will look for the best routes within a map to traverse as quickly and efficiently as possible. Piloting Titans is just as intuitive as playing as a Pilot – though wall running isn’t an option for these metal behemoths. Surprisingly agile given their stature, Titans in essence handle the same minus the fact that when a player’s Titan falls it explodes. This requires the Pilot to eject to safety beforehand which is fun experience in itself.
Where TITANFALL lacks is in the amount of game modes which players have access to. The standard team death match (Attrition), domination (Hardpoint), Last Titan Standing (plays like GEARS OF WAR but with Titans), capture the flag (named Capture the Flag) and Pilot Hunter (to win only Pilot kills count) make up TITANFALL’s multiplayer modes. It’s not much considering it is the only experience the game offers. A campaign mode is available but is a hybrid version of multiplayer/campaign which reveals little about what the game’s about and requires players to play multiplayer game modes in different story scenarios. After you unlock two different Titans from the campaign there’s little reason to venture back.
This lack of content effects the longevity of this game when you factor in its competition. Thankfully Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind TITANFALL, has begun to add its DLC options. There will be three main DLC purchases coming our way and the first one titled EXPEDITION is out now. The game mode “Marked for Death” has been added, a mode which one player on each team is “marked” and must be killed before your marked teammate is. It’s enticing and is refreshing after months of the same game modes. Also, a beta for a private match lobby is currently available, but is something that should have been available day one. TITANFALL’s first map pack is definitely worth the $9.99 purchase – each map is superb and adds to the overall package.
Respawn is making strides to fix this lack of content as the months pass which gives players a reason to keep coming back to the game. TITANFALL is innovative, looks beautiful, uses a similar CALL OF DUTY style level/prestige system which adheres to reliability, and implements enough “new “concepts to distinguish itself from its competition. With modern military day shooters dominating in sales it will be interesting to see how TITANFALL holds up when a new BATTLEFIELD or CALL OF DUTY come out. HALO has lost its command over the multiplayer masses to CALL OF DUTY and BATTLEFIELD has been the only game able to compete at its level. TITANFALL is a newcomer and has potential to take away from CALL OF DUTY’s fan base – we’ll see if potential reaches a substantial fruition to take down the CALL OF DUTY juggernaut.
TITANFALL is a must own for Xbox One owners, it’s a game which makes the early adoption of the system worth it. With a sequel on the horizon (coming to PlayStation 4 as well), TITANFALL’s future is bright, but is it bright enough to survive the popularity of modern military shooters?
Final Score: 9 out of 10