Saturday, 23 August 2014

May the fall of titans begin!


Platform tested: Xbox One

I mostly played Call Of Duty Ghosts early this year for my multiplayer fix on the new consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. After purchasing Titanfall recently though, I realize I should have gone with the latter earlier! It would seem daring to create a new online shooter franchise in today's crowded market, somehow though, Titanfall manages to do things differently enough and ends up being a refreshing title for the genre. 

Titanfall is a pure multiplayer game, it features no singleplayer part, it basically focuses on what is clearly played the most in competitive games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. The game has a great training mode to get you familiar with the new ideas that are in the game. It's a perfect way to ease you into the premises of Titanfall, to sum up; the game plays like a fast shooter like Call of Duty with smooth 60 frames per second gameplay. However the scale of the maps are larger than CoD, but smaller than lets say a typical Battlefield map. The player has increased mobility compared to typical shooters; you can double jump, rocket boost for further distance and even wall-run! The latter being a fantastic parkour-ish way of traversing the maps and encouraging players to lift their heads and use the height of buildings, rather than just fighting on the ground.

Kills will earn you time off your Titan build time. A titan is a huge mech, which gets air dropped into battle after a certain timer has counted down. Once your Titan is ready you can either make it follow you around (a little boring, but useful when you need to hack or take over an area on foot) or jump into it and battle other Titans! Using a Titan is really fun, blasting away at tiny soldiers below or fighting a huge battle against another Titan. The game really ramps up the action; with Titans, soldiers and explosions on screen. It's chaos at times, but a well controlled chaos, giving me vibes from the excellent Unreal Tournament games. Maybe it's just the sci-fi look that gives me UT vibes, but I think it's the well balanced movement and fast pace that relies on the player being good at shooting AND moving (campers will probably not like the game).

Titanfall has all the "standard" multiplayer modes, for example; team deathmatch (called attrition), hardpoint domination (each team tries to control three areas of the map) and capture the flag. It does however have a few new ones built with the Titans in mind; "last Titan standing" puts all the players in Titans from the get go and the aim is to wipe out the entire other team, losing a Titan earns you no new one so the more people that die in a match the smaller their team gets.

You can also play an online campaign mode in the game too. Which basically lets you play through a set of story based missions for each of the two factions in Titanfall. The twist to the campaign though; it's online matches! Meaning that the people on the opposite team are players at home just like you, equally wanting to win. I really liked this idea, it makes you feel the struggle of trying to get a gold on each campaign mission a true battle against other players, rather than scripted and pre-defined AI fights.

Talking of AI. I really dig the AI soldiers Titanfall puts into it's matches. Apart from the other real, online players, all called "pilots", there are lots of AI soldiers and small robots on each team. These are basically cannon fodder, but they give inexperienced players a chance to get some kills in. It kind of rewards players with less skill and fills up the maps with more people, even though they aren't real players. I also really like that each match continues after the match is won by one team; the losing team must get to an escape point and try to evacuate the map. Giving a great sense of rush towards the end to either wipe out the other team or try escaping desperately!

Are there issues? Gameplay wise not really, I found the game balanced and the unlock rewards satisfying. Graphically there are some vsync issues with the game and the lobby system is a little slow compared to the fast Call of Duty ones. While the visuals do their job nicely, the game is no real graphics pusher. It looks smooth and the maps have a modern and cool art style which I like. The visuals do their job, but could have probably need some more polish and detail to compete better with other recent games. It runs quite solidly at 60fps though, which is the most important for this type of multiplayer game.

So Titanfall is one of the most fresh and original shooters I've played for a long time, everything feels so smooth, streamlined and well considered for making a great online experience! For me it felt like a cross between Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty; great gameplay, exaggerated movement and encouraging players to improve not just their shooting skills but also their movement and path choices when traversing the maps. The game keeps pulling me back for more, and one round ends up as many each time. Recommended as a great alternative to all the modern warfare shooters that are online these days!



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