Critics Corner: Titanfall

titanfall-headerAll the teaser videos, all the previews, and all the hype comes down to this. Hype doesn’t make great games. Even I’ve helped feed the machine with my column about how Titanfall could be transformative for the FPS genre. I might have been reaching since early reviews suggest that the story campaign seems tacked on. Mind you, I doubt anyone is buying a multiplayer-only game for the story mode.

Titanfall didn’t quite set the world on fire with the critics. Sure, it got a lot of 90s but a game with this much hype is the sort where you have your expectation set at 100. If you love multiplayer FPS game, you’ll probably love it. If you’re on the fence, it looks like it comes down to whether you prefer story or shooting. One will cause you to buy it and the other will cause you to pass.

Also, Polygon’s review indicates that Titanfall was reviewed in an enclosed environment, not in the live, retail environment so the reviews may not necessarily reflect the current state of the game.

Gameplay

“Titanfall gives you the ability to leap, climb, and wall-run your way around the map, and these simple actions create an exhilarating array of possibilities. No longer constrained by corridors and stairwells, you and your foes engage in high-flying, freewheeling combat in which the sheer joy of movement makes the familiar feel fresh and vibrant.” – GameSpot (9.0/10)

“All that complexity is expressed through a streamlined control scheme that doesn’t feel complicated. Double jumping is effortless, and wall-running is as easy as jumping toward a wall while running forward. It all comes naturally, and instead of feeling like work, Titanfall feels like a playground.” – Polygon (9.0/10)

“Superficially Titans seem to be the stars of Titanfall. Their arrival is right there in the title and they command attention whenever they are present. There are three variants of Titan: The Atlas, The Stryder and The Ogre. The Atlas will be familiar to anyone who played the beta — it’s the default Titan, with two Dash moves, moderate armour and a Damage Core, which allows it to deal double damage for around 30 seconds.

“The Stryder is the speedy Titan, equipped with three Dash moves, SFA armour and the Dash Core, which allows it to push itself at speed around the map without exhausting any Dash moves at all. The final Titan, The Ogre, is the tank variant. It can only dash once but can take a shitload of damage — and if it pops its Armour Core it can remain practically invulnerable for a fairly lengthy period of time.” – AusGamers (8.7/10)

“Where other shooters in the category have evolved over time, Titanfall today is clearly a first-release in what’s planned to be a long-running franchise. There are only five modes and all follow familiar tropes—team deathmatch (called Attrition), Hardpoint (which is Domination), CTF, Last Titan Standing (which actually isn’t that fun), and Pilot Hunter. The last mode, Variety Pack, just mixes up the modes as you keep playing.” – Machinima (9.0/10)

“Its reliance on tried and true modes and rigid maps stops Titanfall achieving its full potential. Capture the Flag, Attrition, and Domination are the best gametypes, but none of them show the same invention that’s occurring elsewhere in the title, leading to a feeling of natural fatigue. Some of the maps also feel too similar to each other, lacking in distinction, and campaign multiplayer is sadly non-dynamic.” – VideoGamer (8.0/10)

“The inclusion of NPC opponents, not to mention such useful armaments as the auto-locking Smart Pistol, make for a game that’s remarkably welcoming to newcomers, while providing enough depth in its environmental navigation to satisfy veteran FPS fans. In my experience with the game, fresh-faced players have been able to square off against highly leveled hardcore obsessives and and have a good time, and while there are obviously infallibly excellent players already dominating servers, even the very worst of players can find some CPU-controlled chumps to beat up on and make themselves useful.” – The Escapist (8.0/10)

“Contrary to concerns that 6-on-6 clashes would feel limited or antiquated as compared to what other popular shooters offer, each engagement between the IMC and the Militia is unmistakably action-packed. This is a bland descriptor to append to a first-person shooter, I admit, but it’s apt. Despite sporting a smaller player count than its cousins, the fruits of Respawn’s labor strike me as much more ‘alive,’ an event that the player is participating in versus a team sport.” – EGM (10/10)

Graphics and Audio

“The real star of this show is the map design, with environments that are perfectly suited for warfare. You’ll battle across multiple planets with diversified color palettes and unique geographies that make Titanfall’s worlds feel varied and full of spectacle. ” – GameTrailers (9.3/10)

Story

“Because Titanfall is online-only, its story mode is a series of nine multiplayer missions (all either Attrition or domination matches) playable from two different perspectives: that of the good-guy Militia, and that of the oppressive Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation. Clocking in at just over two hours each, their storytelling is unsurprisingly minimal; each mission begins and ends with an extremely brief in-game cutscene, and a handful of recognizable commanding officers show up in little windows to shout commands or move the level’s story along.” – OXM (8.5/10)

“While it boasts no single-player action whatsoever, there is a two-sided campaign to Titanfall, telling the tale of a conflict between the Militia and IMC – two rival factions that are battling over … something? They’re after fuel at one point, then there’s a lot of shouting and I kind of got lost because I was too busy shooting gigantic robots with my big rocket.” – The Escapist (8.0/10)

Overall

“This may not convert FPS nonbelievers, but it does tap directly into the veins of those already on a steady first-person-shooter drip who’ve long since built up a numb tolerance to what, in the wake of Titanfall, will seem like rote alternatives. For them, Titanfall is the 151-proof version of their favorite liquor: familiar in taste, but so much more potent.” – EGM (10/10)

“An evolution of the core Call of Duty concepts rather than a revolution for multiplayer shooters as a whole, Titanfall feels, in a way, like a hyper-budgeted mod that will only truly see its aims realised in the inevitable sequel.” – VideoGamer (8.0/10)

“Titanfall is also a worrisome product that delivers only a fraction of what competing games – including Call of Duty – do, for the same price tag. That sets a worrying precedent where gamers are set to get less game for the same money. As the next generation of consoles takes root, this is both a commercial and an artistic concern… So, while Titanfall delivers amazing next-generation action, its next-generation business plan isn’t nearly as impressive.” – The Globe and Mail (7.0/10)

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About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on March 12, 2014, in Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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