When I say Titanfall is the best in history, I don’t make that statement lightly. I’m a BIG Call of Duty fan. Since Modern Warfare 2, I have put in over 1,000 hours into those games. I am also a big Halo fan and have played Battlefield and Crysis a fair amount as well. Titanfall is better than them all. I went into the game expecting for the most part a 50/50 mix of Halo and CoD. I was wrong. It is about 25/25 and 50% something we have never seen. Titanfall is the best, because it excels on every single facet of the game.
Titanfall is completely all online multiplayer, and I love that about it. Every year, someone is bitching about how CoD’s campaign is a joke because it’s only 4 hours long. Respawn has completely eliminated that complaint with Titanfall’s campaign. Instead of going through a story by yourself and playing against an AI controlled enemy, Titanfall’s campaign is still a competitive online multiplayer mode. To give the game some substance and a backstory, the campaign in a separate multiplayer lobby and is broken into two parts, the IMC story and the Militia story. Each consists of 9 multiplayer matches with a predetermined match type that comes with a narrative before and during matches. The IMC campaign is first and once completed, you can then go through the Militia campaign to see the story from the other perspective, which was a really cool feature. Also, by playing the campaign you are able to unlock two new types of Titan chassis, the Stryder and the Ogre, which gives you great incentive to complete the campaign. You can also play through the campaign with your friends, with all parties getting credit for each campaign mission completed. The only things I would have liked to have seen different are for both the campaigns to be slightly longer and for the story to be more multi-tiered than it is so winning or losing a level would have more consequence. In the end, they are small complaints that are quickly forgotten once you dive into Titanfall’s terrific new take on FPS campaigns.
The heart of any game is the gameplay, and that is where Titanfall truly goes above and beyond. The shooting mechanics are fantastic and are really similar to a CoD or Battlefield type of feel. The gun designs are pretty basic and it has the same aim down the sight style shooting that you use most often in those games. But that’s basically where Titanfall and CoD similarities end. If you try to play Titanfall like CoD, you will get slaughtered. Trust me on this. Taking the large jumping aspect of Halo, Titanfall has completely revitalized how you get around the map and how to formulate your strategy. The parkour aspect of Titanfall is what makes it so dynamic and different, and it is your single greatest weapon. Not only can you take large leaps, you can also double jump. This allows you to travel much farther and climb much higher. More important than that is your ability to wall run and wall hang. You can run horizontally along walls for a surprisingly far distances and can stop at any point and wall hang for a few seconds. This is important for several reasons. One is travel. Once you get used to fully taking advantage of the parkour (which is harder than it sounds), you can get across all the maps with surprising speed. This is especially helpful in the Hardpoint and Capture the Flag game modes. Two, you can climb surprisingly high up on almost every level. That coupled with the ability to stop at any point and wall hang and take aim completely changes the aspect of all the strategy we are used to. High ground is king, and if you find yourself running along the ground, you best be aware. You can literally be shot from anywhere.
If that wasn’t already enough, you also have Titans to contend with! Titan gameplay is far superior to what I imagined it to be. The controls are extremely smooth and surprisingly simplistic. Yet the strategy of fighting in a Titan is anything but. You can fight from far away, or up close. There are weapons designed for both. There are four different shoulder mounted backup rocket weapons, each with its own advantages. Timing is a large factor in Titan combat. The two most useful shields are the vortex and the particle wall. Playing a game of tennis with bullets and rockets as vortex shields hurl fired ammo back and forth is both nerve racking and amazing. Your boost is your most valuable tool as not only does it make travel faster, strategic moving during Titan vs Titan battle is the key to success. Titans are far from invulnerable though. Which was a nice touch. I’m not worried when I face another single Titan. I’m far more worried about the other pilots (players) running around. The combination of them having anti-titan weapons along with the fact that it is fairly easy to jump onto the back of a Titan and shoot directly into it. Don’t want to confined to your Titan? No problem! You can put your Titan on auto-pilot, allowing you to run around freely. You can command it to follow you, and it will act as a guard dog for you. Or you can command it to stay and guard a certain point of interest. Being in a Titan, you will sometimes dominate, but sometimes you will also be constantly plagued by mere pilots swarming around you. And that is a truly great thing in this game. Eventually, your Titan’s health will get depleted one way or another. When it does, you become a doomed Titan. Yet, I love that the battle isn’t over. You can continue to fight till the bitter end and go down with the ship. Be careful though. A melee attack from an opposing Titan while you are doomed will literally rip you out of your Titan and kill you. It’s even more awesome than it sounds. Smart pilots will fight until the last second and use the eject feature to escape death. The ejection seat shoots you REALLY high into the air and allows you access to the very tops of maps. My favorite sequence I have done involved doing this while playing capture the flag. I invaded the enemy’s base in a Titan and stole their flag. My Titan became doomed shortly after so i ejected and immediately cloaked. I managed to land on a small metal bar at the very top of the map and proceeded to parkour my way across the map before cloaking again and dropping down onto a teammates Titan and riding that into our base for a flag capture. It was amazing, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I can do.
The level design and perk and load out systems are also a breath of fresh air. The level designs on many of the popular FPS’s have become stale as they often just recycle old layouts and disguise them as something else. Titanfall’s levels are gorgeous and brilliantly designed. All of them were created with the parkour system in mind. As you continue play, you will find more and more ways to get across the map. They are all multi-tiered so there is always action going on above or below you. Also, all the levels are huge, which really lets you take advantage of your parkour and Titan skills. A few of the levels are almost completely indoors, which makes Titan battles much more interesting and challenging.
The load outs are simple, but exactly what you need. You have your basic primary weapon slot, where they have one gun of about every variety you can think of. Not a lot of unnecessary overlap. You have a sidearm slot, where you can choose one of three pistols, and you have an anti-titan weapon slot. You have an ordinance (grenade) slot as well with a choice of four. Then, instead of perks or on map power-ups, you have a tactical ability slot and two kit slots. With your tactical ability you can choose to see through walls, increase your speed and healing, or a cloaking device. I have yet to find anything more useful than your cloak. The two tier kit slots are designed to enhance your abilities depending on what type of player you are, whether that be run and gun, stealth, ect. They have also added burn cards. You can select three per match and can activate one at a time and they last for as long as you stay alive. They range from major weapons boosts and enemy alertness to increasing speed and Titan abilities. All things are unlocked by leveling up by playing through the game and through specific challenges posed to you. It’s an extremely simplistic, yet perfect design.
Overall, Titanfall has surpassed almost everyone’s expectations. It’s so much more than just another FPS, and in the end I believe it will have changed the game for what players look for in a shooter. Every aspect of the game was expertly designed. The amount of hours I will put into this game makes me fearful for my marriage. Every time I sit down to play, I’m able to pull off something I have never done before. And I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Simply put, there isn’t a game on the market right now that you will have more fun with. If you haven’t bought it yet, go do so now. Prepare yourself to have a blast, and prepare for Titanfall.