Balance and ingenuity are two areas that multiplayer focused first person shooters rarely specialize in. But a couple weeks ago, a magnificent game fell out of the sky and managed to excel in both of the aforementioned areas. Crafted by Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall is the killer app for the Xbox One (it’s also available on PC and will soon be on the 360). It is easily the best online first person shooter I’ve ever played, and here’s why.
Before the game even came out, I heard comparisons to Call of Duty ad nauseam, and let me tell you, those comparisons very misleading. Do you run around and shoot people? Well, yes, but that’s first person shooters in general. The aspect that separates Call of Duty from Titnafall is its twitch playstyle. Everything moves really fast and hesitation means that you’re dead, often slightly before you actually realize it. But unlike the multiplayer in the Modern Warfare series, it feels like you’re given much more of a fighting chance i.e. Black Ops. Also, first person shooters don’t have giant mechs…and wall running, and jetpacks…Yeah anyone who tells says something like “Titanfall is just like every other online shooter” clearly hasn’t played the game.
So here’s a summary of the mechanics: you get an assortment of weapons to pick from, most are typical like the assault rifle, shotgun etc with other unique additions like the Smart Pistol which can auto aim if you let it lock on (it’s awesome) which you can add attachments to, you get to pick an anti-titan weapon such as a homing rocket or charge rifle (think the Spartan Laser) a side-arm (1 of 3 different pistols), a tactical ability which is either cloaking, running really fast, or radar that lets you see through walls, ordinance which are different grenades and explosives, and then you get to pick kits that range from improving your parkour abilities to increasing the descent of your Titans. And then there’s the Titans themselves. There are three different kinds, a variety of different weapons to equip and even more abilities.
While the selection might be slimmer than that of most online shooters where there’s like ten different assault rifles to choose from, Titanfall beats out it’s competitors by making each and every selectable weapon worthwhile. While in other shooters, there might be ten assault rifles, but only maybe three will be worth picking, each weapon and ability in Titanfall is crafted for a specific play type. No matter what kind of player you are, you’ll be able to find that perfect loadout and if you’re one of those people who give every loadout a try, then you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Going back to the balance, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Titan or on foot, everyone is given an equal chance at besting another, to which, in the end, it all comes down to skill. Pilots can jump aboard enemy Titans, tear off their armor and hit their weak points. Or, they get pot shots from a distance with their anti-titan weapon. Pilots in Titans can either run over enemies, punch them into a literal cloud of blood, use abilities like electrical smoke to kill the pesky pilots on their backs, dash away from enemies, or exit their titan and try to kill them on foot while the titan’s AI operates on it’s own. No matter what the situation you are always given a slew of options which is something that’s very rare for a online shooter.
The wall-running and double jumping not only works perfectly but also manages to inject even more uniqueness into an already standout title. I felt like a super soldier, decked out in the latest and greatest tech and leaping from building to building. The Titan combat itself also makes you feel like an empowered badass. Dueling other titans is a blast, where the abilities each player picked and their skill with their loadouts really comes into play.
There are some minor problems in Titanfall. There is no campaign mode, well, there is…kinda. It’s online only and honestly it’s nothing special. I had no idea what was going on or what my team was fighting for and thus I easily forgot about it shortly after playing it.
Titanfall is a great game. I could go mentioning the complete lack of any server issues I ever experienced while playing the game, which is a first for a multiplayer driven first person shooter, the next gen look and the variety of different game modes. Titanfall is easily the best game out there for the Xbox One, the first major contender for the 2014 game of the year, and out of every multiplayer first person shooter I’ve ever played, it’s definitely my favorite.
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