Saturday, 15 March 2014

Titanfall review

Playing the full version of Titanfall is a peculiar experience at first. Never had I played a games beta as much as I had Titanfall and when Respawn finally allowed me to play a map other than Fracture or angel city I felt a little overwhelmed. Not only were all these new environments filled with other players much higher ranked than me (how do so many get these game so damn early?) But I also couldn't quit wrap my head around just how different these maps were.

The first map I found myself on (after skipping the tutorial every uncle and his monkey has already played) was called Boneyard. From the second the match started I knew things were going to be insane as I witnessed an npc get assault by some kind of winged demon bird thing that had swooped down from nowhere. The level really couldn't have been anymore different than the two in the beta. Gone were the greens and greys, In came yellow sands and giant skeletons of long dead giant beasts. Many have criticised Titanfall in the graphics department those issues, and I'll come to those later, can't detract from what is some truly inspired art design. All the levels in the game are vastly different from one another and each is unique in its own way. For example, as a contrast to boneyard we have Lagoon, a tropical themed outpost that counters the dusty sands of boneyard with still blue waters and signs that a more laid back lifestyle has defined the town. Some maps differ from those in the beta in more ways than ascetically too. In one I played, the map was dominated by giant automated gun turrets that can be hacked by players to fire on the opposing team and doing so earns you points for the hack. Another new feature was ziplines. Perfect for reaching hard points just a few seconds sooner.

The game modes in the full version I found myself a little disappointing. The game features very few of them and all of them I found a little samey. The exception though is hard point which anyone who plays cod will no doubt recognise. Where all the other game modes in Titanfall I found to be mere variations on the tired death match formula, hardpoint at least brings objectives into the mix. Hard points are three parts of the maps that are designated A, B or C. The objective is to take and hold this point from the other team. Simple but it just works so well in this game. I also found this mode to be the only one where Titans had a separate part to play, other than the usual stomp round and look for things to kill. In hard point though I often found use for my titan as a guard dog to protect me while assaulting objectives. Sometimes I even left my Titan to guard points while I ran off to capture the others.

Campaign too, I found to be a little lacking. Well, a lot lacking actually. You see Respawn will tell you there is a campaign and that it has been entwined with the multiplayer to create a new kind of experience. But it hasn't.
What campaign is really, is multiplayer with additional voiceover. Don't get me wrong, they are great voice over, top voice acting and all that, but that's all it is. The game modes play the same and are the same. In fact the only thing campaign does differently is force the player to play all the match types. Which is a negative when all you'll want to play is hard point.

I been quite critical of the game above so, for balance, at this point I should remind the reader that I love this game. Last month I wrote about how much I adored the beta for its freshness and fun factor. This is all still true of the full game. Its still the most enjoyable first person shooter I have ever played. When I die, I can't wait to respawn and when I game ends, I can't wait to start the next. It really is one of those 'just one more go' games.

Graphics. From what I can tell, things have pretty much stayed the same since the beta. The resolution remains a long was short of full HD and the frame rate problems from the beta remain, especially in titan v titan gameplay.
The problems with the games visual fidelity are a tad disappointing, but Respawn have promised further refinements are incoming and tbh this is a game more about fun then fancy anyhow.

Verdict: Titanfall fails to live up to the hype in a few minor ways by falling short on game modes and a handful of visual hiccups mar the experience just slightly and the campaign, hailed as the dawn of a new era for story driven multiplayer, is barely even what it claims to be.
But such things were never going to be what defined the Titanfall experience anyhow and what the game lacks, it more than makes up for in sheer, approachable fun. Repawn have crafted a multiplayer experience that arguably trumps all their competitors in this, their very first go and, while it won't win my game of the year, its certainly worthy of very high praise. It gives me shivers just thinking about what they'll bring back to the table with Titanfall 2 but one thing is guaranteed. They will have my preorder.

Graphics: 7
Gameplay: 10
Sound: 9
Story: 3