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Review: Titanfall — Drop a Titan on It

by on March 12, 2014 10:00 AM 77

 

The amount of hype behind Titanfall is insurmountable. The term “most anticipated game” has been thrown around a lot for the last couple of years. Titanfall is not only one of the most anticipated games of 2014, it also has the added pleasure of being tasked as the game that will shift the tide of the so called Console Wars in favor of the Xbox One. It not only has to live to the hype, it also holds the future of the Xbox One and Respawn Entertainment in its giant mech hands. No pressure.

Lets get it out of the way. Titanfall is a great game. It takes familiar first-person shooter tropes and perfects them in ways that only the veteran talent at Respawn Entertainment could do. And the introduction of a well-thought out parkour system and the awe-inspiring Titans that you can ride or pilot should please your inner mecha fanboy.

The six on six matches offer a more intimate matchups where the solo efforts of a player carry more weight than games with higher player counts. The maps never feel too cramped, where you could get killed off easily, or too big, where the action feels like its a mile away.

TF_Lagoon_Pilot_Titan

The accessibility of Titanfall’s combat is a welcome surprise. I noted in my hands-on with the beta how easy it was for casual players to compete with veteran pilots with dozens of hours already logged in. Weapons like the Smart Pistol, which automatically locks on to targets, is a great starter weapon for newbies that are normally easily countered with quick-reflexes. At no point do you ever feel helpless or like you can’t compete, even when facing down massive death dealing Titans.

The speed of which the action moves in Titanfall is jarring at first.  The flow of combat and character development is what you would find in an earlier Modern Warfare game, though being called “Call of Duty with mechs” isn’t a bad thing.

Throwing some wall-running and and double jumps spices things up the combat in a meaningful way, while abilities like Cloak and Stim (which boosts health and speed) keep Titanfall from falling into finicky twitch-shooter territory.

TF_Fracture_Battle_0

Burn Cards also do their part by offering one-time use power-ups that you can use for one life. One card I had gave me a laser cannon that chews through Titans. I felt like a superhero taking out giant mechs from a window of an office, maniacally laughing at the fact that they couldn’t figure when the shots came from. My fun was cut short when someone came and snapped my neck. I think we lost that match, I didn’t care.

Calling down a Titan in the middle of the battlefield is exhilarating. Once a Titan is active, pilots will scramble for the advantageous vantage points and tackle the Titan in true David versus Goliath fashion. Titans are walking power trips and could easily be taken away from you if you get too cocky.

Titan-on-Titan combat is an interesting challenge — the three Titan types each offer unique playstyles. The Atlas is an all-around model that’s useful in all combat scenarios. The Ogre is heavily armored and great for taking on multiple Titans. My personal favorite, Stryder, is a nimble mech that runs circles around everything.

Each chassis can be equipped with different abilities like auto-eject or awesome looking Vortex Shield that catches bullets and throws them back at your opponent. Smart use of your Titan’s dash will mean the difference escaping to fight another day or dooming your poor walking tank. For example, putting a quad-launcher on a Stryder chassis gives you great hit-and-run capabilities.

Titanfall_FTF_1920x1080_0

Every kill you score shaves time off your timer, which allows you call down on a Titan from space. Even if you’re doing poorly you are always guaranteed a giant killing machine every three minutes. Better performances increases the frequency of a Titanfall.

As silly as it may seem, the inclusion of NPCs onto the battlefield really do add something to the fight. Playing a mode like Attrition, where killing NPCs depletes the enemy’s resource count, allows players who aren’t all that great to still run around and waste Grunts.

The game’s art direction at a glance doesn’t look at that impressive. We’ve seen war-torn future cities and space guns before. The real beauty, however, comes from the amount of sheer chaos that happens once a match opens up. If you take a moment (when you’re not skipping on rooftops trying to jump kick people) and just absorb what’s going on around you in a single match, you’ll realize that Respawn has done something truly special.

Take the stage Boneyard for example. At any given moment there are dozens of NPCs going around that will occasionally get eaten by the flying creatures that litter the sky, players zip-lining from the spine of what appears to be the skeleton of a space dragon, hackable turrets that shoot everything in proximity and oh yeah, Titans. You feel that you’re a part of a greater conflict as opposed to just being thrown into an arena deathmatch. I mean it still an arena deathmatch, but Titanfall just does a better job of hiding it.

TitanfallXboxOne (6)

The rest of the level designs are a little less over the top, although I do like their variety in the sense that some levels clearly encourage the use of Titans while others are more about using your jumpjets to full effect. One of the cooler things is being able to cover the full length of the map without ever touching the ground, which is plain bad-ass.

The biggest weakness Titanfall has going for itself is its rather bland story. Since there is no single player, the plot is delivered through a competitive multiplayer campaign. The two-sided narrative has the military super-corporation called the IMC against the downtrodden Militia. You’ll play through each side in what are essentially a series of standard multiplayer matches with some dressings in the form of mid-match scripted events and pre/post-mission cutscenes.

The other problem with the story is all the juicy bits are told via radio chatter WHEN GIANT ROBOTS ARE TRYING TO STEP ON YOU. The action is so heavy that it’s easy to miss out on finer details of the Militia and IMC conflict in the frontier. Also, there’s nothing really compelling going on in the campaign outside of some really impressive explosions. The way I see it, the campaign is a good way to get some contextual information about the stages you’re killing folks in. As a bonus, completing both campaigns unlocks two chassis you can use for your custom Titan loadout.

Titanfall

So the ultimate question on everyone’s mind: does Titanfall live up to the hype?

I must have played around 25 matches in my short time with game and I can’t stop thinking about it. I have challenges I need to complete, more guns and perks to unlock. I love wall-running and double jumping across maps and landing on enemy Titans.

Titanfall doesn’t reinvent the first-person shooter but comes close to nearly perfecting it. All the elements that we’ve seen fail before in other games somehow fit each other so well in this one. Titanfall accomplishes what it sets out to do: being the killer app the Xbox One needed.

*Jorge Note* I played the retail version of Titanfall on Xbox One prior to the official release date. At that time, servers held up fine. I did play a number of matches after the it was launched to make sure we weren’t running into a Battlefield 4 situation. I had one disconnect after midnight and one very laggy match. After that, Titanfall played smoothly. I did have an issue trying join private parties before, which was apparently addressed in a patch yesterday morning.

rated rating-9.0
Review: Titanfall — Drop a Titan on It
  • Titanfall
  • Xbox One
  • Respawn Entertainment
  • EA
  • March 11, 2014
  • 59.99
  • Xbox 360, Windows
  • Review copy provided by the publisher.

Join the Discussion

  • http://www.twitch.tv/MC_A_DOT A DOT ASANTE

    Nice score.

    Wouldn’t mind trying it on PC

  • Krakn3dfx

    There are pretty obvious framerate issues and tearing issues that plague the Xbox One version. Performance isn’t even addressed in a lot of reviews for this game online, not just this one. Add to that the day that Titanfall releases on the XB1, XBL is down for 5 hours.

    Fun game, but there are a lot of sites glossing over graphical/performance issues with it unfortunately.

    • Zerosion

      First i’ve heard of it. I’ve had no issues whatsoever on PC.

      • Krakn3dfx

        Seems to be an Xbox One issue specifically, Eurogamer talked about it, as well as Jeff on Giantbomb:

        “The frame rate in Titanfall is uneven on the Xbox One and though it’s usually fine, it can get downright nasty in specific situations. In one Last Titan Standing match–where every player spawns in a robot suit–several players crammed their mechs into a tight area and began duking it out, and the frame rate dived down to what must have been single digits per second. Even out in wider areas, the game feels a little hitchy from time to time, and there’s noticeable tearing throughout.”

        • The_Relic

          In about six hours played so far I’ve seen no such issues on Xbox One. Though I now have a sort of blurry effect in my real world vision as my eyes haven’t re-adapted from darting about the screen to find my next move and stay alive!

        • Zerosion

          Interesting. Thanks for the info.

      • http://www.twitch.tv/MC_A_DOT A DOT ASANTE

        “There are pretty obvious framerate issues and tearing issues that plague the Xbox One version. Performance isn’t even addressed in a lot of reviews for this game online, not just this one. Add to that the day that Titanfall releases on the XB1, XBL is down for 5 hours.”

        …..

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Unfortunately?

      Personally I feel some focus *too much* on framerate, and are losing sight on what’s really important in games.

      • Krakn3dfx

        So reviewers should go out of their way to not inform customers of technical issues with $60 products?

        Ok then.

        • ilovegoogleglass

          Butt hurt?

        • http://www.therealgamers.net/ Matt Clarmont

          Rarely does the average “framerate problem” affect the gameplay experience. Making a few frame drops sound like the fun was killed is irresponsible reporting. Report them, sure. But if they don’t impact the game much, that needs to be said too or the point needn’t even be brought up.

          • blessedswine

            im seeing screen tearing ALOT the framerate drop isnt horrific to the point its a detriment, but the screen tearing is annoying.

          • tech

            again, doubtful you play this on X1. screen tearing is rare if ever experienced. lol these sony bots.

          • Krakn3dfx

            “However, the effects vary: with little in the way of left/right panning, it manifests almost like a ‘wobble’ – noticeable, but nothing that unduly affects the quality of the gameplay. However, in the middle of pitched battle, with the player spinning around to tackle new threats, the tearing is very obvious and highly distracting.”

            http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-titanfall-next-gen-face-off

          • ps4lol

            LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUMB AS ROCKS WRONG MICROSOFT FANBOY SHILL…

          • Daniel Lawson

            I haven’t noticed any while playing

      • Averix

        After playing it for a few hours yesterday, that framerate and tearing issue really did bite into the game. If you’re trying to make an educated decision on getting the XOne or PC version, facts like that may drive someone to buy the other version. I only played through one of the campaign sides so far, but there is one other hugely annoying issue with it. The wait time for a match to start is 70+ seconds. Then after that time has elapsed, there’s another 30+ seconds while the level gets set up. Not sure if part of that is by design for the “story” to be told, but people in the lobby were sure complaining about how long it took over the headset.

        • ARkicktect

          “The wait time for a match to start is 70+ seconds. Then after that time
          has elapsed, there’s another 30+ seconds while the level gets set up.”

          –In my opinion that wait time, isn’t necessarily a wait time. During that time, you have to get your loadouts together. Remember you’re constantly altering your Pilot and Titan loadouts. So you have 70+ seconds to change your Pilots loadout which includes altering the…
          1.Primary Weapon
          2.Anti Titan Weapon
          3.Sidearm
          4.Tactical Ability
          5.Ordinance
          6.Tier 1 Kit
          7.Tier 2 Kit
          8.Gender? not really but it’s an option

          Oh let’s not forget you also need to change out your BURN CARDS before the match. So you have 70 seconds to get your pilot/titan together before battle. Anyhow, that’s just my opinion.

          • Averix

            Good points.

          • blessedswine

            thats a good point but i dont change my load out every single round nor will i, and sometimes you just wanna get on and play a quick round or two, and this game isnt friendly to the person who only has time to play 1 quick round with the over a minute to get it going.

      • ilovegoogleglass

        Lol true.

      • Axe99

        Not at all – I think the focus should be on fun. However, I think the level of focus applied should also be consistent. Other than a few obvious click-bait reviews that have rated Titanfall lower than it should have been (and all of these from less than reputable sites), it feels like the game is getting kid glove treatment. I’d also note that Dualshockers itself has a _lot_ of articles focussing on technical performance on numerous games, so given that, it’s hardly unrealistic for readers here to expect some discussion of it in the review ;).

        On the by, while I suspect there’s a deep desire amongst gaming media to see Titanfall succeed (it’s either that, or something murkier afoot – but if the glasses were any more rose-coloured on this one the Titans would be coloured red), and that this has flavoured many of the reviews, it’s fortunately a good game and it is actually a good thing if it does succeed, so it all works out well in the end.

        • blessedswine

          i feel like some of the reviews are not being honest enough and are praising the game as if its the second coming of christ. EGM gave it a perfect score seriosly its good but not that good. still think the Escapists review is the best and most well rounded i have seen.

      • disqus_TCr2DiTW3m

        same with the 1080p thing. kids these days call the game garbage and completely disregard it if it doesn’t hit the magical 1080p

    • truthtellerdealwithit

      Cant bite the hand that slipped $$$ in your pocket *cough* M$ *cough*

      • Krakn3dfx

        I don’t think it’s that. I think with EA/MS it’s more of a fear with a lot of sites that if you do bite the hand, you risk no longer getting early review copies and hardware that makes it possible to do the job in a timely manner. Gaming journalism is such a weird thing in comparison to other industries because a lot of the success of a site comes down to quick and dirty review write ups that don’t get buried by a dozen other sites that get their reviews out earlier. I don’t envy the people who do it, but I also don’t base any purchasing decision on what a lot of them say when they deflect or ignore obvious issues.

        • truthtellerdealwithit

          Oh i agree

        • TristanPR77

          Totally true, well said.

        • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

          @Krakn3dfx:disqus I can’t speak on behalf of other sites, but I can assure you that there’s nothing we stand to lose from giving someone an honest review score. Check on our history of reviews and you’ll see games that we’ve reviewed run the gamut of scores, starting as low as a 1 (Sony 1st party game). Another thing to make note of is that we’re not listed on Metacritic — which is unofficially the litmus test for folks in the games industry. Anything below an 8 on there and people’s jobs are on the line. But we’re not part of that.

          Having early access is a great thing… but if it comes at the cost of sacrificing integrity, we’d be the first to blow the whistle, I can assure you of that.

        • Jorge Jimenez

          There was no deflection, I simply had no issue with the framerate that effected my experience with the game. There’s no grand conspiracy, I just really like the game.

          • spideynut71

            The sad thing is, there’s a lot of people who don’t know the difference between connection lag and frame drops, and are complaining about fps, when they’re trying to play online with some crap DSL or entry level cable connection.

      • http://dualshockers.com Joel Taveras

        So if we enjoy iNFamous next week does that mean we’re in Sony’s pocket?

        • truthtellerdealwithit

          Didnt mean it in that way. Meant it as ‘you give our game shit, you wont get to review our games anymore = less views for the website = less $$$. Which is the kind of shit microsoft do’ not Sony or Nintendo. Just microsoft. Not that Microsoft paid you to like it :P

          • Mitro Nzongo

            grow up man

          • truthtellerdealwithit

            Ok xbot :)

          • Ian Williams

            and phony pay off too. Troll harder.

          • truthtellerdealwithit

            Never heard of Phony who are they? Troll harder

          • Ian Williams

            Wow I’m impressed by your stupidness. Troll harder.

          • truthtellerdealwithit

            Thanks, im not impressed by yours though. Troll harder

          • Ian Williams

            Nor the bs you put on forums either. So please troll harder.

          • truthtellerdealwithit

            Umad? Troll harder.

          • Ian Williams

            Madder than you read and think I am. Troll harder.

        • Jeff Pee

          You can’t win them all man!

          Once they see your site name, DualShockers, they automatically assume you’re a pro-Sony site. It doesn’t matter that you guys are just posting stories, good or bad, which is what a site like this is suppose to do. When they see that you’ve posted 5 “bad” stories about Xbox and only posted 2/1 “bad” story about Playstation in that same time period… you’re automatically a Sony Fanboy, They don’t take into consideration that maybe, just maybe, Xbox hasn’t had a lot of good news at the time. If the Playstation was going through the same thing, I’d like to think you guys would post it just the same.

          What these fanboys want from you guys is to just post “good” stuff about their console/team and post all the bad stuff about the other console/team. It’s this “cult” like mind set these fanboys have. They abandon reason for blind unflinching/unquestioning loyalty.

          Looking forward to the InFamous review next week, good or bad.

        • Daniel Lawson

          yes you dirty sony pony-xbot!

      • Ian Williams

        Cough phony cough. Paying off n4g ign neogaf, need I go on. Cough. Must see a dr

    • DollMighty8313

      Titanfall gets a worse rating in your eyes because the XBL service had a very unusual disruption on launch day? How in the hell?

    • tech

      lol. You clearly have an agenda. ‘glossing over performance issues unfortunately’?

      You haven’t played it on X1 it is obvious, as there are no graphical/performance issues. After 9 hours on the X1 version last night, and a completely seamless, smooth experience with not framerate or tearing, I think it’s safe to say that you are wrong.

      • ps4lol

        LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUMB AS ROCKS WRONG MICROSOFT FANBOY SHILL,

    • avi

      quit being butt-heart.
      you’re being pathetic.

  • ilovegoogleglass

    Nice review Jorge!

  • http://www.craveonline.com/ Jonathan Leack

    Great review Jorge. See you online!

  • Vious

    in 2 days i’ll be joining in

  • Vious

    drop a titan on it

  • RandomBallz

    Great site guys, I have to disagree with review. It’s multi only with a paltry 6vs6 max and the performance issues weren’t addressed at all. Framrate dips into the (teens?) when mechs are close and screen tearing is prevalent, on X1 at least. 8.0 is a more realistic score and I feel like the sites that gave it an 8 or so will come out looking better in the years to come

  • redavutstuvader

    GTA 5 was pretty screwed up at launch and still got great reviews regardless of framerate and slowdown

  • Dan

    I’m level 6, which admittedly only took me about 4 matches. But I didn’t have any slow down. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But maybe it just needs a patch.

  • Tony Polanco

    Can’t a reviewer genuinely LIKE a game without being accused of being paid off by a publisher? Do you honestly think anyone on this site is paid by any publisher? I’ve done a bunch of reviews for this site and haven’t seen a single cent. Maybe the checks haven’t cleared? Give me a break.

    Also about the technical issues this game is having. Have you stopped to think that maybe Jorge didn’t mention them because it didn’t affect his enjoyment of the game? Maybe he didn’t have as many issues as others have. Jorge did his job: To review the game he played. To talk about HIS experience with it. If he had no issues with the game’s frame rate or whatever then why should he talk about that?

    Some of you guys need to chill out with this conspiracy stuff. Just because a reviewer likes a game or didn’t experience issues that others have doesn’t mean that there is some dark motive at play behind the scenes. Maybe (gasp) he actually LIKED the game.

    • Ian Williams

      They’ve all trolled over from phony gaf

    • Jorge Jimenez

      I do like the idea of getting a review copy of a game in a suitcase full of cash or USB sticks full a Bitcoins (cuz that’s how Bitcoins work, right?) with a note saying,

      “You know what to do, Jorge.”

    • Daniel Lawson

      you only really have issues when every possible titan is on screen at the same time… this was an issue in the beta if I’m not mistaken… personally haven’t run into that issue since I’m not found of giant titan brawls

  • disqus_TCr2DiTW3m

    why does this guy have to explain himself about his review? he liked the game, get over it. i haven’t had any framerate issues, opening night i never had any xbl interruptions, so if i wrote a review, i wouldnt say anything about it either. I’m excited to see if infamous gets over a 6.5, i expect to see all these same fanboys in here calling it a payoff. oh wait, infamous is a ps4 game so if it gets a good rating, its because its just a good game.

    • superkarma

      I’m excited to see if Sony pays Amazon to delete valid reviews, just like Microsoft did to remove valid reviews for Titanfall.

  • Karlo87

    Hmm, might try it out on PC when it’s on sale or something, doesn’t seem like it’s anything special or worthy of rushing out to buy.

  • tech

    Great game. Deserving of the score. Surprising coming from Dualshockers. I think the Sony force is definitely going to be in tears over it though.

    • superkarma

      In tears over a COD clone? Doubtful. Not to mention, it’s available on PC as well.

    • ps4lol

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUMB AS ROCKS WRONG MICROSOFT FANBOY SHILL.,..

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Man I wish this came out on the PS3/4 :(. However, no game will ever make me bend over and buy an Xbox One. Besides Titanfall Xbox One really has nothing to compete with when Infamous: Second Son comes out, along with the other handfulls of first party games Sony pumps out.

  • Gamez Rule

    How this game on Xbone gets high scoring is beyond me..

    Titanfall Xbone = Screen-tear City, with really low frame-rates, with added pixelation, all of which must give gamers a poor experience due to the compromised performance issues?

  • Thats Mr. Smoove
  • Thats Mr. Smoove
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