Enter Titanfall, developed by the newly formed Respawn Entertainment. Though new, Respawn Entertainment is built on the shoulder of giants….or more aptly, Titans. Formed from 30+ refugees of Infinity Ward, developers of many of the extremely popular Call of Duty games, many people had set the bar extremely high for what they expect from Titanfall. This would range from smooth and fast paced gun-play, to maps that encourage intimate but intense firefights. But being a new franchise, many gamers would expect something new and unique. Can Respawn Entertainment deliver? Keep reading to find out.
The game is well executed and contains all the hallmarks of a solid shooter including some novel twists. Beyond that, let’s get the big question out of the way…are Titans as awesome as they seem? Hell Yeah. The Titans add a layer to gameplay which is hard to express, other than how fun it is to see 2 titans duke it out with pilots trying to push the tide in their favor.
Titans aren’t the only thing getting the attention with this game. With the introduction of a free-running mechanic, players are now able to run, jump and vault above or through various obstacles on the map. Many games have tried to include this, but Titanfall definitely has one of the better implementations. The map design contributes heavily to the usefulness and entertainment factor of this mechanic. A titan must keep an eye out on buildings and ledges where pilots can jump out and lay down a world of hurt…rodeo style. This concept is one of the major ways Respawn Entertainment is able to properly balance giant fight robots against smaller and notably more squishy human players.
The only real novel element in gun-play would come in the form of the Smart Pistol, which allows you to lock on to targets and rapidly fire off a few shots. While it may sound completely broken, it can be surprisingly difficult to get lock when people are diving through windows or jumping off buildings. That being said, I was not terribly impressed with the rest of the weapons. Weapons on a titan had a sense of power commensurate to their size, while their human counterparts felt generic, and simply “adequate”.
The number of maps is simply adequate. We get a nice mix of maps with a few different game modes and terrains to keep players occupied. The weapon count is a bit light with only 1 or 2 weapons in each class with a few addons you can unlock through a simple progression system. I’d be curious to see what we receive in DLC packages, as EA has already started peddling their Season Pass DLC.
The biggest shame in Titanfall would have to be the campaign mode. As a multiplayer shooter, we really don’t expect much…which is fine. But we receive a few missions from each faction with some voiceover and less than memorable characters. The mission design is is pretty much a simple wrapper for a multiplayer match against other players. Again, for a multiplayer shooter, it is sufficient. For a franchise introduction, however, Respawn Entertainment definitely missed out on a crucial and important way to get people invested and interested in the universe they are trying to create. I could go on for another few pages about the missed opportunity and sadness I felt at wanting more information about the universe, such as “Why do Titans exist?”, or “Why am I diving out of this dropship when I can wait 4 minutes for a giant killing machine to drop with me?”, but where would that get us?
If you’re looking for deep lore, and an expansive universe with giant fighting robots…I’d pass on Titanfall. But, if you’re looking for a competent multiplayer shooter with solid mechanics, and intense and action-filled combat, I would recommend Titanfall wholeheartedly.