Titanfall is the big Xbox One exclusive the industry was starving for for a couple of months now. It's the big game that is supposed to sell and justify the purchase of the Xbox One for many. To some extent it does this and it doesn't. Whether or not you think it's worth spending $500 to play is up to you. Is the game good or bad? Well it's neither. It's fantastic.
While Titanfall is most certainly not a CoD clone, it shares some notable aspects from the military shooter series (something to be expected by a game helmed by the creators of CoD4: Modern Warfare) which mostly boils down to running, shooting, grenades and aiming your gun with similar controls. Left trigger is to aim down the sight, click down on the left thumbstick is to sprint, etc. But that's where the similarities literally end. Everything beyond this takes more inspiration from Halo and Mirror's Edge, if anything at all.
Pilots (or players, rather) have a variety of abilities that are unique to the title. Wall running, jumping and all around parkour is fairly integral to the pilot experience. Imagine this; you spot an enemy titan (or mech) circling past a building not far from your front. You use your jetpack (double jump) to boost up toward the building wall, leap from the wall then jetpack a second time to reach the top. From the roof, you can use an anti-titan weapon to deal excessive damage to said enemy titans (which can open you up to vulnerability from enemy infantry pilots) OR you can jump on top of the titan to deal direct damage to its inner circuitry (this can also leave you vulnerable).
It's all about picking the best strategy and every second you make choosing and doing count toward every round. It is quickly paced like Call of Duty but it handles it so differently and uniquely that it feels very fresh and very much unlike most other shooters that spend most of their time copying as oppose to innovating.
Titans are another beast entirely, and yet not that different. The game tells you that the titans are an extension of the pilot and this could not be more accurate. Sans a jumping or parkour ability, titans play almost identically and almost as smoothly to pilots. Due to the customization options, titans require a whole other strategy altogether. You can use a fast moving titan with low health, a slow moving titan with a lot of health or an average titan in between. Titans lumber about and pose great threats to any infantry. They can also dash around speed up their movement, but this is limited. Items like the vortex shield offer an increased amount of strategy and require different skills to master. Taking on titans, pilots or AI is all about strategizing and prioritizing and then utilizing your own skill. Special abilities such as temporary overshield or extra dashing are also present options.
Speaking of AI, the grunts and drones from the two factions serve little purpose other than cannon fodder. They do however fight back in groups and will definitely kill you if allowed to roam freely without any sort of opposition. Killing them although reduces the time to gain use of your titan (or your titan's special ability if you are already in possession of one). The AI give the illusion that the fights are of a grander scale than they actually are and can be annoying. But they serve well enough of a purpose to the game as you may expect.
Hands down the biggest letdown in the game is its campaign. While The Last of Us is lauded for its amazing single player mode, the multiplayer mode is mostly seen as an afterthought. It's almost exactly the opposite situation with this title; Titanfall's campaign is dull and uninteresting. The characters are mostly forgettable and only until the climax does it ever feel like there is any actual story going on. The story will progress whether you win or lose (keep in mind, the campaign is ALSO multiplayer and pits you against other pilots) the same way with minor variations no matter what you do. There is an achievement for winning every round but that is about all the good you will get from this mode.
It's worth noting that the online connectivity is actually a tiny bit laggier than the Beta version I played and I have experienced a few drops. A little disappointing, but a small issue overall.
In spite of this campaign and a few other minor issues, the game is amazingly fast and fun to play. It's an excellent alternative if you're sick of CoD or any other mundane shooter franchise that hasn't felt fresh for the past few years. If you have an Xbox One or a nice PC, go get it. You won't regret it.