Titanfall – Early Impressions
Let’s face it, if you own an Xbox One right now, there is a strong chance you picked one up to play Respawn’s new shooter, Titanfall.
The game is finally here and I picked up a copy to play over the weekend. As a huge FPS fan, I’ve been interested to see just how far Titanfall pushes the genre and, ultimately, whether it is deserving of the hype it has created. I certainly enjoyed the beta but wasn’t exactly blown away.
To be clear, this is by no means a final review. The game is still young and I would imagine Stimo will take the reigns on that one anyway, but here is a quick rundown of what I think so far…
Make no mistake, this is multiplayer game through and through. After wading through a slightly tedious training level, your choices are to either play through a series of pre-determined matchups in campaign mode, or you can skip that and just hop into classic matchmaking. As I have no real interest in the storyline, I must admit I spent all of my time switching between a couple of match types in classic mode.
Before we get ahead of ourselves though, let’s talk about partying up with friends. Hold the front page ladies and gents: it bloody works! Simply press RT to bring up your friends list, select who you want to invite and, bam, you are in a pre-game lobby together and can search for a match type. It’s a little depressing I am so excited about that given we are in 2014, but its the first time I’ve seen it work in an Xbox One game so that’s reason enough to celebrate in my opinion.
After partying up with a couple of friends, we played a series of matches on Attrition (TDM) and Hardpoint (Conquest). The matchmaking process was nice and quick and, aside from a couple of hiccups where one of us was randomly kicked out, we were able to get into lobbies together very easily. So far, so good.
Out of the two modes we tried, Attrition certainly seemed the more fun of the two. It’s far too easy when playing Hardpoint to fall into lobbies where players are simply camping on rooftops, picking you off from a distance. Yes, I appreciate that is the very nature of “capture and hold” game types like this, but the game’s open levels make it more of an issue here than normal.
Attrition on the other hand is very fun and can be extremely frantic. Some of the larger levels did seem to suffer from the small lobby sizes and therefore felt a bit sparse, but others are brilliant and constantly keep you on your toes (personally, I love “Lagoon”). Speaking as someone who adores fast-paced arena shooters like COD and Unreal Tournament, I found a lot to like here.
In terms of gameplay, despite articles online suggesting this isn’t “COD with Mechs”, to me that is exactly what it feels like – but that’s a good thing. There is a lot of hate for the COD series these days and, yes, some of them are better than others, but there is no denying the gameplay in those games is absolutely spot on. Responsive and satisfying; these are two things that FPS’ absolutely must have and fortunately Titanfall nails both of them.
That’s not to say the game doesn’t bring anything new to the table of course. The aforementioned mechs are a joy to pilot, while the new double-jump/parkour system feels very natural for the most part and really creates new options when traversing the battlefield. I did find myself accidently wall-running sometimes when I simply wanted to jump through a window, but these instances were few and far between and certainly not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the gameplay is absolutely on point and a lot of fun.
To be honest, aside from the occasional control issue and a few balancing issues (the Carbine is far too powerful currently), the gameplay is practically perfect. Easy to pick up but very satisfying; that is the sort of formula that keeps people like me coming back for a long time.
The only negative points I can see so far are actually related to things when you are off the battlefield. Firstly 90 seconds is far too long to wait in between rounds. Yes, it can be handy if you want to tweak your loadout, but 60 seconds would have been sufficient. Secondly, there is no option for the lobby to vote for what map they want next. That is simply a no-no, when it comes to online FPS’. Sure, people are enjoying playing all 15 maps right now and hunting for achievements, but a few months from now they are going to want a bit of control over what map they are playing next.
Other than that and some “OK” visuals (they’re fine, they just don’t feel next-gen), Titanfall is a very solid FPS and is bound to offer up hours of enjoyment over the coming months. Is it a game changer? From what I’ve seen so far, not really. Instead it feels like the love-child of COD and Battlefield, which is something I can work with 🙂
Dave – NGXN