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Respawn’s First Title: Titanfall Review

Respawn’s First Title: Titanfall Review

Filed inside: Reviews

It’s been five years since Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare 2, arguably one of the best FPS to hit the market in recent years. But the broken records and festivities were cut short for two of the developer’s leads. After battleing legal troubles with Activision, Vince Zampella and Jason West left Infinity Ward, and soon after formed a new company: Respawn. Titanfall is the groups first title, and their attempt to carve out their own chunk of the FPS market. The premise for Titanfall is refreshing in its own right, but does the title have enough entertainment factor to be a true genre contender?

Graphics

From a visual standpoint, Titanfall has a leg up on the competition. The title simply looks and feels better when compared to Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts. It’s nothing that is spectacularly mind blowing, and we can’t classify it as the best looking shooter we’ve seen, but it still manages to bring a lot more to the table visually than its current competition. The environments hold a lot of detail, and remain small scale enough that developers could focus on intricate textures and additional objects. There are many things to see, spanning across 15 separate levels, and you really have to admire the amount of visual detail that was put into the creation of these futuristic locations.

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Animations and movement look good from a first-person perspective, but characters can sometimes appear glitchy when climbing and double jumping from a third-person perspective. Being an FPS it is difficult to gauge how your own character is animating, but after observing other players, most of the movements are solid. Titans move with a subtle grace, and watching them interact and battle one another can be quite entertaining. You may even find yourself distracted sometimes by the epic battles that are going on around you.

Sound

Much like Battlefield 4, there are a multitude of things going on around you during a Titanfall match. Gunfire, loud explosions, and the massive stomp of mechs are just a few of the audible treasures that lay in wait. You’ll even have AI strategists barking orders at you and giving you pep talks every now and again. There is a lot going on at one time, which is both a blessing and a curse when you’re engaged in a heated multiplayer match.

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It is unlikely that the speakers on your television will do the soundtrack much justice. When things become overwhelming, it can be difficult to hear enemies around you, or discern where certain gunfire is coming from. The minimap is your best friend in these situations, but a good headset or surround sound system can do wonders. It’s amazing just how much more you hear with a quality earpiece, and the overall experience is amplified ten fold when you’ve got headphones.

Gameplay

Generally we would include a separate section to discuss both single-player and multiplayer elements, but Titanfall is a completely online, competitive experience. Even the campaign takes place across a plethora of multiplayer game modes. At no point during your venture will you be facing a team composed of completely AI enemies. There are always real players lurking just around the corner and it really amps up the action and danger factor as you play.

Imagine the speed and arcade action of Call of Duty, married with the futuristic feel of Halo. Add in some powerful mechs and some acrobatic movements and you’ve got the basic recipe for Titanfall. We’ve seen shooters in the past that make use of unique movement, but never in such a finely tuned manner. Each level is a superfluous paradise, filled with hundreds of exploration possibilities, allowing for an almost endless mass of tactics. Titanfall‘s smooth movement system allows you to double jump, wall run, and vault your way across buildings and obstacles. There are so many situations in which you find yourself climbing to new heights, and reaching platforms that you would originally think are uninhabitable. Through a series of bounces, chain jumps, and vaults, you’ll never run the same path twice and it offers up a lot of refreshment each time you revisit a level.

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But if acrobatic bliss isn’t your forte, you can still find comfort in a variety of weapon types and skills. There isn’t an abundance of weapons to choose from here, and you aren’t going to find the same locker of gun types that you would on a traditional shooter. But developers managed to include a series of weapons that will appeal to a variety of play styles. From automatic rifles and pistols, to three-round burst carbines and sniper rifles, there are enough weapons here to fit into a variety of situations. Abilities also help to accommodate to certain skill sets. There is a cloak for those of you who prefer to sneak through the shadows, or a stimulant pack that will allow you to vault and wall run even greater distances. However you prefer to play, you’ll find a series of weaponry and skills that cater to your specific talents.

There is a lot more content here than one would think. Developers managed to pack in over 15 different maps, across five different game modes. Attrition acts as the game’s standard mode, requiring players to lay waste to enemy AI, opponent pilots, and hulking titans. Points are awarded for killing anything in your path. Last Titan Standing skips right to the mech action. There is no respawning in this mode, and the first team eliminate the other is the victor. Hardpoint has you vying for control of three points. Each area owned will cause your teams score to slowly tick upward. Points are awarded here for both attacking and defending flags. Capture the Flag is a FPS mainstay and no different in Titanfall. You’ll attempt to capture the enemy flag while defending your own. You are allowed to carry the flag within your Titan, making for a much more interesting assault. Last but not least is Pilot Hunter, which acts much like a traditional Deathmatch. Unlike Attrition, players can only score points for their team by killing real enemy pilots, not AI.

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This is the type of game that takes a long time to get “old.” You’ll be hard pressed to experience the same match twice, and with all of the vantage points to explore and fifteen levels to wage war in, we see this title capturing fans attention for the long haul. The gameplay is truly king here, and we commend developers for bringing for an experience that is not only refreshing, but manages to work well, stay balanced, and ooze entertainment.

Overall

Titanfall is a supremely entertaining arcade experience. It’s fast-paced, caters to a variety of play styles, looks great, and sounds even better. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a refreshing and successful addition to the FPS market, one that has been recently over saturated with military style shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. But all the entertainment value aside, developers have laid an impressive foundation on which to grow.

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In the new age of DLC-riddled games and updatable software, Respawn has the necessary tools to help their release grow for years to come. It would be rather easy for developers to introduce additional weaponry, skills, mechs, and even game modes. We see a lot of growth possible for this title, specifically on the front of DLC packs and expansions, similar to what Battlefield 4 has done by introducing new maps and even modes. We are hopeful that Respawn continues to develop this release and that we see new add-ons appear in the near future.

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Written by Russ Boswell

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