As a gamer, I try to act in a way that only nets me the most fun but gives back to this hobby that I love in order to see it continue being healthy and thriving. Some of these habits are a no-brainer -- support the devs, avoid microtranscations and occasionally donate to the odd Kickstarter or two. Occasionally though, I falter and end up buying the occasional boost pack or eschew donating to a Kickstarter. Yet there are two golden tenants that I had promised myself never to break
1) Never buy a game from EA
2) Do not support Microsoft this gen
Which is why readers will find out that I'm reviewing Titanfall---
Thankfully, EA has provided me with an opportunity to play the game without breaking my tenants. As a result of a promotion, one could play Titanfall on their PC for 48 hours. That means, for 48 hours, I owned and could play Titanfall in full 1080p 60fps without forking over $500.
So is Titanfall the 'Game of the Generation' as it's been touted? Is it truly so good that Executive can use it to deflect answers involving the policies of their console? Let's find out.
-- BATTLESTAR GALACTICA IN NAME ONLY--
I came to this review with a bit of background knowledge that people did not understand the story. Nonsense, said I, there's no story or lore that I cannot get the gist of. To my shame, I still have no idea what the hell happened in Titanfall. As far as I can tell, there are two groups - the IMC and the Militia - and they seem to be fighting over something? I never thought I'd say this but for all the atrociousness that was the COD: Ghost's campaign, I had some semblance of what the stakes were. There's no rhyme or reason to what's going on. The two groups are in conflict and the drama playing in the background during the stages itself get drowned out by the cacophony of gunfire, explosions and your Titan's AI that you'll barely even hear yourself think. I can’t even tell if the story is riddled with clichés or something because it’s so barebones, so played as an afterthought, that analyzing it to determine how hackneyed it is would be nigh impossible.
You play as a faceless Pilot working for the IMC or the Militia. Aside from the monotone voice on your radio, both campaigns play out in the exact same manner. There is a big attempt at creating this illusion that the campaign changes whether you succeed or fail at an objective but it falls flat. For example, in the first stage, you have to secure fuel for your fleet. If you win the match, you secure the fuel but if you lose the match…you still secure the fuel.
I’m not really sure why they’ve added this. If it was actually mean to implement some sort of dynamic story progression, I would have been all over for it but the fact that ‘plot’ marches on regardless of whether you won or lost comes across as rather silly.
--EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH GIANT ROBOTS…RIGHT?--
Gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from the creators of Modern Warfare. You run, you shoot with ADS and score you points. Given the game’s futuristic setting, it’s jarring how low-key sci-fi are the weapons we’re using in this game. All in all, the weapons are boring and does nothing to reinvent the genre or even breathe some life into it.
Movement-wise, there’s a lot a praise being thrown around at Titanfall’s Parkour System. Indeed, the one thing that I liked about this system was the smoothness to how your character traverses his or her environment. Wall-running, jumping and activating the jump pack in order to grab unto an open window are all done with the smoothness you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed game.
Lastly, we come to the Titans themselves. These mechanical beasts descend from the sky as soon as you’ve racked up enough points from all the grunt killing. There is a sense of enjoyment to be had at jumping from a rooftop and landing on your summoned Titan but that loses its wow factor after the umpteenth time. When you’re in a Titan mode, the game still plays like a first person shooter. There’s no sense of scale and size when you can’t smash through a building or a blockade. You’re essentially playing the same game although slower and the stages got a lot smaller.
I’ll say this, the Titans lose their majesty when there is four of them huddled in the middle, punching one another like idiots…
--WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS--
Titanfall’s population, from what I’ve seen, is barely alive. I made sure to make the most of the 48 hour trial by strategically activating it during the weekend where I could give this game my full attention at specific time of the day. Sadly, no matter when I tried, I had to wait for almost an hour to get players to play opposite us in the campaign mode.
I lucked out and met a good, friendly group of players who agreed to stay on my team long enough to take me through the campaign (provided we found the required people to play the population) and, needless to say, their opinion mirrors my own that this game’s population is dead (with a lot more colorful insults thrown around)
Aside from the campaign, multiplayer modes are empty and even attrition takes ages to get going.
Titanfall is not a complete game. It’s a manufactured package built on an assembly line to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Everything about this game is orchestrated.
You get a half-baked narrative to make you think you’re making a difference. You have tons of mindless grunts for you to shoot and kill to make you think you’re an unstoppable badass. You get the chance to escape at the end of a losing match so you can, in the words of the devs, go out feeling like you’ve won. It’s the worst kind of trying to appeal to the masses and at times, kind of condescending. There is no single player campaign, the multiplayer modes are not varied and that’s when you can even FIND people online to play. It’s simply too light on content and too heavily dependent on multiplayer to warrant a $60 price point. Perhaps the XBO or the 360 version fares better in the multiplayer aspect. Who knows?
Pick this up when it’s cheap and at your own risk…