OSW Review | Titanfall


PS4 has managed to build itself a decent little library of exclusives over the past year. Big hitters like infamous & Killzone are out already. Driveclub & Bloodborne are around the corner, & there’s already a wealth of exclusive titles available. Unfortunately Xbox One hasn’t fared so well with exclusive titles (Killer Instinct & Forza 5 aside), but it does have arguably the biggest exclusive of them all, Titanfall. Coming from ex Infinity Ward developers (COD: Modern Warfare), the hype surrounding this game was crazy. Could it possibly live up to it, or even surpass it? Let’s find out.

Developer: Respwan Entertainment (2014)
Console: Xbox One
Reviewed by V1

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Titanfall is a first person multiplayer shooter. It’s a multiplayer only game, meaning there is absolutely no single player content whatsoever (unless shooting CPU bots counts as single player). It pits teams of 6 against each other in a number of arena based games, with the winners, erm, winning! Everything controls perfectly, exactly what you’d expect from ex Infinity Ward developers. So far, so COD you may be thinking, & you’d be right up to a certain point. But does COD have giant 30ft mechs that are flung from orbit & have rockets salvos, 50cal machine guns, electric smoke & laser shields! No sirs it doesn’t, & I bet it’s sick to its stomach because these Mechs are fucking awesome!

Most matches start out with all 12 pilots on foot, with the Titans on a countdown timer until they can be called into action. This timer can be significantly shortened by killing other pilots or Titans. I really like this mechanic because it means that every player will get to use his Titan at least once per match (you’d have to shockingly bad to only get it once!), & better players can have many Titans fall in a single game. These Titans are an absolute joy to use too. They feel so powerful & weighty, & can absolutely wreck pilots/other Titans if used correctly. Instead of jumping, Titans use a dash mechanic to cover ground quickly. This allows you to get to objectives quickly, but it can be used defensively to avoid incoming rocket fire or melee attacks. It can also be used offensively to dash melee another Titan or simply dash over Pilots & squash them for an easy kill.

Yep these Titans are a lot of fun to use, but it’s not like the Pilots are bad. I actually prefer using Pilots over Titans because they’re so fast & nimble. Pilots can use their double jump & parkour abilities to move around maps much faster than Titans can. These abilities allow you to scale buildings in seconds & bound across rooftops. It’s this speed & agility that makes them more than a match for a Titan in the hands of a skilled player. Pilots also have a special anti-Titan weapon specifically for taking down these mechs. It’s this perfect balance between speed & movement versus power & shields that create one of the best multiplayer experiences around. It’s also possible to call a Titan without getting inside. Instead you can have it follow your pilot around like a personal bodyguard, taking out other pilots & titans around you. This is another great feature that allows more choice in how you play the game.

Much like COD there’s also a fairly deep character customisation component to Titanfall. Here you can choose your type of Titan (only 3 so far) as well as your loadout & special abilities. There’s plenty of choice to develop your own personal style of play, as well of additional abilities & weapons to earn as you progress. Burn cards, earned by completing challenges, can be used as a once-off power up during matches. These can grant you a more powerful gun, shorter time for Titanfall or infinite grenades for a single life & are a fun addition. You’ll be playing these across 15 diverse maps & 5 different game modes. These game modes are fairly standard & include takes on team deathmatch, domination, capture the flag. There are also Titan & pilot modes, but I feel these take away from the feel & balance of the mixed modes. These modes are lots of fun, but will start to wear thin eventually (especially after all weapons are unlocked). It’s a shame because Titanfall is so much fun to play, there’s just not much to do before you’ve seen everything it offers. Of course there are more maps available as paid DLC, but I only review content on the disk or updated for free.

There’s also an abysmal attempt at a single player campaign. It basically cherry picks multiplayer matches & adds a random speech at the start to try & add a bit of background. Your’re forced to play twice if you want to unlock custom loadouts for two classes of Titans. This just feels like padding….. to the worst part of the game! It’s just poor & in my opinion actually damages the game. The laziness of it all just grates on me & I would’ve been happier if it was just left out of the game completely. Stick to your guns & keep it multiplayer only like you said. It’s an addition that just smacks of boardroom politics.

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Titanfall is a very good looking game. It runs at a smooth 60fps & has very few technical problems i.e. texture pop in, frame rate drops or screen tearing. So from a technical standpoint Titanfall is exceptional, but its art direction is rather bland & sterile. Lots of greys & browns on maps, only a few deviate from the norm (Lagoon being one of the few maps to add a dash of blue). Character models look excellent but could easily be from COD or just about any other shooter out there. Like I said earlier, everything looks great, it’s just kinda soulless.

Music in Titanfall has the same dilemma as its graphical presentation. It’s technically fine, just a bit generic & wholly unforgettable. It’s a shame because there are some beautiful moments to be found in the soundtrack (I’m listening to it now actually), but these get lost in the monotony of military drumbeats & that Hollywood-style action music. Maybe if the game had a singleplayer campaign, with the same music highlighting epic moments or set-pieces, the music may have had more of an impact.

There is some voicework in Titanfall. It’s minimal & it’s fine. Nothing worthy of praise, nothing too awful. It’s simply there in the background.

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Bah ha ha ha ha ha! Something about two groups, the IMC & Militia, fighting over something or someone. I think the IMC are the bad guys (being a corporation), but it’s never really explained who they are or what their motivations are. The Militia are a band of pirates & ex militants who fight the IMC. Why? I don’t know & the game didn’t give me a reason to care. But hey, we have mechs, so who gives a fuck right? Well, I do! I’m a big fan of story in games & this is just fucking laughable. Even a single cutscene as the game is installing would’ve given a bit of backstory, a reason to play these multiplayer maps again & again. But no, in Titanfall you murder to make your rank increase. End of plot!

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Good Points:
• Fantastic controls
• Awesome mobility with pilots
• Titans feel very powerful
• Great balance to gameplay
• Lots of customisation in loadouts

Bad Points:
• Not enough maps
• Very few game types
• Not supported well with post release content
• Pathetic single player attempt
• Generic, overly familiar presentation

Overall: Titanfall is a really great playing multiplayer shooter, with a disgustingly lazy attempt at a single player campaign. It plays like a dream & has lots of different gameplay mechanics to master. Unfortunately it’s very short on content & any extra is behind a pay wall. It feels like a great intro to a new franchise, but needs to add new ideas, more game modes, bigger maps, bigger matches (maybe 12 v 12) & a single player campaign if it wants to be among the best the genre has to offer. As it stands, Titanfall feels like a great proof of concept & not much more. 7/10

7-10 stars


Release Date
October 12, 2014