GVN Quick Review: Titanfall (Xbox One)

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: FPS
Release: March 11, 2014

I'm have never been more serious about something that I felt needed to be said.  Titanfall is one of the biggest overhyped letdowns and the first major disappointed of 2014.  Titanfall has received heavy praise from many of the big gaming publications.  So that makes it even more of a disappointment when you realize all you're playing is an online only futuristic Battlefield with mechs and parkour abilities.

It's fairly obvious as to see where Titanfall starts to drops the ball.  From the beginning Titanfall is an ONLINE only game with a short campaign mode and limited game mode appeal.  There is no single player offline experience to be seen anywhere.  Remember my issues with Diablo 3 being always online? With the exception of a short fifteen to tweny minute tutorial which gives you the baiscs of how to play, it's always online and always with other players.

The campaign mode allows you to play as one of two factions as they duke it out for territorial locations with a story that really has no substance.  Before each mission begins there's some dialogue and debriefing explaining the situation.  During said missions, there is radio banter between certain pilots ad commanding officers letting you know how the war is going.  The plot, the cutscenes and the banter are all truly pointless.

The gameplay to Titanfall is very simplistic to those who know how to handle a first person shooter like Call of Duty or Battlefield but there are some interesting mechaincs that do manage to make it feel fresh.  You have a set number of classes that you can retrofit along with loads of unlockable weaponry that you gain when you increase your rank.  Aside from that there are cards that you collect with varying abilities.  You can carry up to 3 in a battle and they can give you abilities ranging from speed boosts, changing your starter weapon or damage increase.  You also have a double jump and parkour abilities which makes it easy to blaze across the stage.  These abilities makes it interesting when looking for areas in the level to ambush opponents or finding shortcuts to reaching objectives.

The game does change when you summon your Titan, which is launched from orbit and lands in the combat hotzone.  Controlling your titan is rather easy, allowing you to run around building corners with ease, dodging incoming fire, performing heavy damaging melee attacks and even absorbing some enemy fire and repelling it back at them.  Depending on the build of your titan, you can even have yourself automatically ejected while your titan self-destructs and takes out any nearby enemies.  You or your opponents also have the ability to jump and latch onto other Titans and try to damage.  This is a very inconsistent tactic because it's very easy to kill the attached enemy pilot by jumping out of the titan and letting it run on auto-pilot and then shooting them in the back.

The combat zones, though there are a small number of which, does have tons of action taking place.  Sometimes the action can be distracting to the point of you losing your sense of direction even if you are familiar with the map.  One of my biggest issues actually involves trying to tell the difference between enemy drones and pilots.  In the game there are drones scattered throughout to help simulate the feel of a huge conflict going on.  There are also times where I have had a problem trying to figure out who was an AI character or a controlled player since the font over each character is really small and hard to read.

The matches themselves are really fast paced with lots of action going on.  Combat and the controls are very easy to work with no real hiccups anywhere.  It's very easy to perform parkour techniques to run alongside walls, double jump to the top of buildings and perform twitch reactions when you do finally figure out who is an opposing pilot player. The levels aren't really that big and it's very easy to get anywhere you need to be thanks to those added abilities.  Overall I did manage to find some enjoyment during the matches, but it was often short lived and I was turning of the game after a few of matches.

That is because a big problem rears its ugly head as you realize the gameplay modes are very limiting.  All you have is matchmaking and a leveling system that allows you to easily reach high level prestige ranks in no time.  The multiplayer modes are severely limited and I find that rather disappointing.  There is Capture the flag, attrition, Classic deathmatch, Hardpoints and Last man standing.  All modes aside from the classic deathmatch have an event called the epilogue.  Usually this involves the losing team trying to reach a checkpoint to be excavated.  You will easily experience all the game modes through the short campaign.  Each of the modes aside from gameplay aesthetics, really offer nothing new or exciting to be had.  You will have a feeling of been there done that with every mode.

Titanfall's graphics are real letdown for an Xbox One title.  Compared to a video of the Xbox 360 version, it doesn't even seem like we are playing a next gen title.  That's not to say Titanfall doesn't look great, in fact the level design and the detailing on the titans are great and the other areas like particle effects and damage decals on each of the titans are wonderful.  However at times the framerate does stutter as opposed to the Xbox 360 version and it does demerit the push to make this game a killer app for the Xbox One.

Overall I have to say without a shadow of doubt, that Titanfall is the most overhyped and underwhelming game I have played in a long time.  While the combat is enjoyable for small sprints, there wasn't enough to keep me sucked in.  The lack of original modes hurts and really limits interests to keep playing.  Controls and gameplay is very solid for the most part and the reward system is just like any recent FPS game that has come before.  I am severely disappointed in Titanfall.  Don't believe the hype.

+Graphics are nice and crisp
+Combat feels like you are actually in a war
+Tight and responsive controls
+Mecha combat is enjoyable
-Throw away story campaign
-Unoriginal and clich├ęd modes
-No offline modes
-Always online
-Xbox 360 version looks just as good
Overall grade: C-

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