Ryan Mottola ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
There are few better examples of pure power in a first person shooter than playing a pilot in Titanfall. If you’re the first player on the map to drop your murder machine from the sky, there’s a short period where you are the metallic reincarnation of death. Nobody can stop you from stomping and gliding your way across the battlefield, disintegrating everything that moves. Once those other titans show their faces, the real competition begins. You’re forced to rethink the way you use your weapons and tactical abilities. The real game begins.
You still feel like a champion, even on foot, despite hardly actually being on the ground. The parkour system is incredibly fun and equally as smooth. There’s enough leeway between jumps that riding the wall is easy and accessible. Just like the titans can crush pilots, the pilots can crush the grunts flooding the map; they’re just begging to be obliterated. They make you feel powerful and actually affect the outcome of each match. For players matched with opponents of a much higher skill, there are always grunts to count on for your score.
The most unique part about Titanfall is the integration of campaign play into the multiplayer. The somewhat rich story continues with each map as you play pre-assigned game modes. You’re randomly assigned to a faction for the entirety of the campaign, and are immediately thrown into the political turmoil. The Frontier Militia, a group of pirates and mercenaries, is trying to stop the IMC from draining resources from frontier planets. Bonds are made, old relationships rekindled, and moral standings are swayed. It’s a strong narrative that holds its own, but it’s no The Last of Us.
The random gameplay assignment is a smart way to help players discover each type of match the game has to offer while keeping them engaged. The only problem is that the competitive aspect detracts from the story, but this is okay when you get to play the campaign again as the other faction upon completion. Especially for players who enjoy story as much as competition, Titanfall has a really refreshing take on game narrative. There’s an option to play classic multiplayer without the story, but there are still unique narrative aspects. The biggest example is, after each match, the losing team is forced to try and escape the map in a shuttle while the winning team hunts down the remaining enemies and destroy their shuttle. It’s a refreshing break from the pressure of winning.
While there are the usual game modes, like Hardpoint (domination), and Capture the Flag, Titanfall uses its unique game design to create two original experiences. The first, and most-played game type is Attrition. It’s very similar to Deathmatch, but calculates every last drop of mayhem that occurs. Killing grunts, spectres, and titans, as well as pilots, adds to the overall attrition score; First to reach 250 wins. This is perfect for the casual shooter, who can stick to killing NPCs if they’re behind. The second unique game mode is, appropriately, Last Titan Standing. Each player starts in a titan, and must destroy all of the enemy team’s titans. There’s no respawning, and you can’t get a new titan. Everyone is rampaging through the map, crushing everything in their way and slinging missiles and lasers in volleys. Like the other modes, these are both six on six.
The graphical assets, as with almost all modern games, are stunning. Outside of each map is a taste of the world created in the Titanfall universe, with giant dinosaur-looking creature and crumbling monuments. The textures are sharp and have a nice futuristic grunge appeal. The minor detail in the rusted shades of metal and the armor design on the titans make for a strong, immersive experience.
The biggest problem with Titanfall, and it is rather enormous, is the lack of content. I could count the list of weapons, titans, and perks on three hands. Though there are “customizations” for each weapon, they’re not about unique gameplay, they only upgrade. For example, although each weapon type has different mods like silencers and grips, every single player uses the extended magazine because the other mods offer practically nothing. Respawn is offering DLC in the near future, which may offer new weapons and titans, but it’s not a community-friendly approach to their game. Nobody likes to play “DLC the Game.”
Although the Replay value of Titanfall is theoretically infinite with the online campaign, the lack of choices and different play styles is going to hinder the overall life of this game.
Overall Grade: B