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Titanfall (Video Game Review)

Titanfall is the much talked about new release made available for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC from Respawn Entertainment and EA. The game's popularity grew to amazing heights before its release after revealing several unique ideas that is a refreshing breath of fresh air for a first-person shooter genre that always seems to be attempting to catch up to the Call of Duty franchise rather than build their own title for gamers to enjoy. It's no surprise that Titanfall is indeed a very fun game to play online, and it combines plenty of different gameplay mechanics and original ideas that makes it unlike anything you've ever played. Still, not every idea included in the game makes for exhilarating gameplay or a title that must be owned by every Xbox One owner. Titanfall is a good game but not the best.

The first glaring flaw present in Titanfall is the lack of any real campaign or single player game mode. The game is meant to be played online in 6 vs. 6 matches, and rather than giving players a well though out campaign, Respawn decided to opt with a game mode where players could team up with five other players and battle against some AI opponents while minor story elements play out between missions. The narrative weaves a tale about a war between the IMC and Militia armies but doesn't introduce any really interesting characters and becomes boring before the first playthrough of the game has even been completed. Players looking for a good single player experience with be sorely disappointed with the release and should look elsewhere if paying full price for a game that is nearly online only doesn't sound appealing.

For the mistakes Titanfall makes in crafting a fun storyline, it mostly makes up for it in the game's online play. After completing a short tutorial, players can jump into online matches and begin battling online and working towards unlocking their first mech in-game. Titanfall is a first-person shooter that introduces whole new ways to move never before seen in any game. Players can run fast, run on walls and otherwise jump and jetpack across stages and through the air while firing guns at incoming enemies. Once enough kills have been achieved, players will be allowed to summon a Titan into battle and jump in the big rig to completely change how the game is played. While riding in the mech, players will be slower but vulnerable in different ways. The mechs have some defenses to keep enemy players from easily destroying the pilot, and of course, the mechs pack plenty of firepower to mow down enemy forces, but if an enemy soldier manages to get close enough to the Titan, it can be climbed and ended just as quickly as it arrived on the battlefield.

One of the cool ideas in Titanfall is the incorporation of AI minions like are seen in MOBA games and titles such as the Monday Night Combat series. These can be killed to work towards better unlocks during matches, but killing other pilots and mechs obviously yield the biggest rewards. Burn Cards are another neat feature included in the release that allows players to gain one time boosts during matches that can help turn the tide in their favor without completely breaking the balance of the game. Titanfall also boasts in-game challenges, such as killing a certain number of enemies with the Smart Pistol, that will unlock bonus experience points, new weapons and other unlocks. One other nice idea is how Titanfall does leveling up and progression. While it's not new for players to reach a level cap of 50 and then resetting progress to earn a new title and some other perks, Titanfall allows players to then unlock weapons and items faster after regenerating and nab some other cool items while doing so.

Titanfall comes with four different online modes to play currently. Last Titan Standing allows all six players on each team to begin inside of their own Titan with the goal to clear out all of the mechs from the opposing team. The mode is a lot of fun and the easiest way for players to experience some Titan vs. Titan combat online. Hardpoint Domination tasks teams with finding and controlling three areas of a map to earn points and eventually defeat the other team. The mode is similar to game variants seen in other shooters such as the Battlefield series but is still a fun addition here as well. Finally, Pilot Hunter is the typical Team Deathmatch variant with teams earning points for killing other pilots, while Capture the Flag is exactly what you'd think, though Titanfall's unique game mechanics does make the classic game mode feel a bit different each time played. It's a bit disappointing to see so few game modes included in a game that focuses so heavily on online play, but there is still enough here to keep players enjoying the game for months to come.

Titanfall does offer a good amount of maps to choose from in the game, which goes a long way in keeping gameplay fresh during long play sessions. There are 15 maps in total, and there a good variety of layouts and themed locations for players to explore and battle within. Some of the maps in the game include the large metropolis of Angel City, where players can battle it out in the city streets or take to battling on the walls and rooftops of nearby buildings, and the interesting Boneyard, where players will find ziplines to get quickly around the map while trying not to focus too much on the interesting terrain. Titanfall inexplicably leaves off the ability to vote for maps for the next game between matches, so players looking to play on their favorite map may get frustrated while waiting for it to show up.

Titanfall is an amazing game to see and play. The gameplay trailers seen before the game's release may have been something special to watch, but it hardly gives players the same appreciation as actually having the game in their hands. Movements are fluid in the game, and the Xbox One does a fantastic job of running at a smooth 60 frames per second even during the most hectic firefights. Moving around the map feels natural with some nearly automated movements that feels much more like moving around the world in a game like Prince of Persia or Assassin's Creed than any modern shooter. The game's excellent presentation is rounded out with a top notch sound design that makes each gun sound different and each summoning of a Titan something to fear.

The Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions of the game have some differences, but players who have yet to purchase an Xbox One can be sure the game is still well worth playing on the older system. The game runs at 30 frames per second on Xbox 360 and doesn't look quite as good as Titanfall while running on Xbox One, but it's still one of the best looking games available on Xbox 360 that doesn't feel outdated. Players who purchase the game on Xbox 360 will need to install the game's mandatory 1GB update to play the game on their console, but this is only really a problem for gamers with smaller hard drives or memory cards, since playing the game on any of the three platforms will require some form of download or install.

Titanfall isn't a must own game for Xbox owners, but it's a very solid online shooter that can occupy weeks of player's time before ever getting stale. Xbox One owners will likely want to pick up the title for the lack of many other new games available for the console, and Xbox 360 owners don't need to worry that they are purchasing an inferior product if they don't already own an Xbox One or high end gaming PC. Titanfall is a fun first-person shooter across all platforms, and only a certain selection of gamers will be disappointed with the lack of a real campaign and the few other problems the game brings to the table. Check out Titanfall on Xbox One today!

Titanfall is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Titanfall is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Strong Language & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Titanfall website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-12
  • First-Person Shooter Action on Foot and in Mechs
  • Online Leaderboards
  • Xbox SmartGlass Support
  • Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: EA
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: March 11, 2014

Score: 8.7 out of 10
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