Titanfall PC review | PCGamesN

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers; "Every player to trigger this exploit will be punished"

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

Titanfall

Titanfall PC review

Titanfall: a game far more novel than its aesthetic lets on.

Titanfall crept up on me.

I don’t exactly know how. It’s a game full of deafening explosions, the thudding impact of robots being fired into the ground from space, and nonstop machine gun fire. It’s hardly stealthy.

But it is subtle, despite its conventional appearance. My own initial reaction was somewhere between disappointed and quizzical, as that long-expected rush of excitement and novelty never quite materialized. But as I kept playing and got acclimated to some of Titanfall’s unique characteristics, something odd happened. Titanfall became a game that I never stop playing.

A Titan lands in front of the player's Titan as it puts flanking fire on an enemy inside a white glass-and-steel building.

Trying to fall asleep, I find myself reliving rounds and firefights from earlier in the night, thinking about what I could have done differently, or just done better. Cooking a meal, my mind wanders to map layouts, and better ways to take advantage of them. Even now, in the back of my mind, I’m debating tweaking my Titan loadouts so that I can better survive in tight spaces.

The joy of Titanfall is this cycle of play, analysis, experimentation, and improvement. It’s difficult to explain why, exactly, Titanfall succeeds where I find so many other games are discouraging and frustrating. Nevertheless, this shooter has its hooks in me more than any other since Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm and is probably the first mainstream shooter to really grab me since Bad Company 2.

Part of the answer surely lies with its brisk pacing: most rounds are just long enough to let me get warmed up and acclimated to the matchup without dragging out lopsided defeats or breaking the tension of a close game. Titanfall, like Counter-Strike, is the kind of game where one round only makes me more eager for the next one. When I’m terrible, I only have to wait a few minutes before I get another chance, and when I’m king, I’m like a gambler on a hot streak who can’t walk away from the tables.

A metal-suited future solider stands still as an SMG fires directly into her chest at point-blank range in Titanfall. Several unlocks and bonuses appear on the screen.

The other reason that Titanfall exercises such a hold over me is the way Titanfall encourages and rewards experimentation and versatility. Rather than going stale, Titanfall gets richer as I play more of it. It can be a twitch shooter, where I zip along rooftops and walls and before plunging two stories through a skylight, spraying automatic shotgun fire in every direction. Other times, it’s a tense tactical shooter. Still other times, it’s a stealth game, in which you can use x-ray vision or cloaking to stalk your victims like the Predator. 

Each style has its place in Titanfall, and I see other players being even more creative in their play. Better yet, each map and game mode seems to have different ways of rewarding (and countering) players’ chosen strategies. The variety I’ve seen is practically endless.

Even something as mundane as unlocks proves to be more interesting in Titanfall. Rather than just gating players’ progress to better weapons and special abilities, Titanfall simply expands players’ options. I had a breakthrough moment the other night when I was studying my stats and realized that, despite the fact that I preferred the feel of the semi-automatic rifle, I was a much better player with the basic carbine. It suited my style much more than the harder-hitting rifle, and let me get back to a more opportunistic, dynamic game than I’d been playing. Nothing in Titanfall is just a stepping-stone to something better, instead, everything is situational and personal, from the primary weapons all the way down to the gunsights and burn cards.

An array of three cards, each with a piece of art and a brief saying that explains the power up and its fictional origins.

The audio deserves special mention here, because it goes beyond creating vivid, noisy firefights and has actually become a major gameplay element. Titanfall is pretty much an advertisement for a good pair of headphones or a surround speaker setup, because sound effects are so distinctive and so convincingly located in a 3D space that listening is as helpful and important as watching rooftops and windows. More than once, I’ve heard a faint footfall in the background of a firefight and spotted someone sneaking up for a kill, and once I was able to track an enemy through a wall and around a corner thanks to the sound of her feet splashing in a few inches of water.

That level of immersion and focus is sustained by Titanfall’s stability and relative lack of hassle. Matchmaking is very fast and reliable, and I’ve never run into problems with instability. I’ve known a few other players who sometimes struggle to connect to the server, and more aggressive anti-virus software may cause some problems, but in my experience Titanfall has been problem-free.

The only caveat is that matchmaking can be a little uneven, especially if you are playing with a full team of six players. My team of casual gaming friends was routinely running into clans who just buzz-sawed through us, and we either had to leave or wait until their group started to break up and randoms were matched into our lobby.

Titanfall has more than a couple of good modes - but more are on the way.

Not every game mode is a winner. Pilot Hunt is simply Attrition, except that only pilot kills count toward victory. This eliminates what more skilled players might consider “trash” wins, where lower-skilled players can simply farm the AI cannon fodder for points, but it also means that the AI characters really do just become a meaningless distraction, rather than the more interesting role they play in Attrition. It really feels like what Titanfall needs for this mode is slightly smaller maps and no AI characters getting in the way of what could be a really dynamic run-and-gun deathmatch. Likewise, Last Titan Standing feels like a training ground for Titan combat, but not a fully-developed game mode in itself.

I’m also a bit crushed by what a missed opportunity the campaign proves to be. I didn’t have Tim’s issues with imbalance between the sides, but it is just a silly waste of time that you have no choice but to grind your way through.

But what really got to me is that, throughout the campaign, you see all kinds of crazy, amazing things happening in background. On the airbase assault mission, as the Militia bring down its defenses, you can see giant, terrifying dinosaurs start to overrun the perimeter and start ripping up the IMC installation. In another mission, the IMC lose a capital ship in orbit as the Militia hijack ground weapons to shoot it out of the sky. On Boneyard, flying bat creatures are plucking infantry off the ground and turning them into lunch.

Cockpit view from a Titan firing down the slope of a hill on an alien planet while little human figures and a few Titans battle in the valley below.

Meanwhile, I am playing 6-on-6 deathmatch in a drab gray-brown level where I shoot at bog-standard military dudes with bog-standard weapons.

That’s not a problem in the multiplayer matches. The action is too good to care about the palette and the theme. But the campaign could have helped establish a world and, maybe, some reason to give a damn about why voice actors are trying to talk over your game.

And that’s maybe Titanfall’s biggest, and most forgivable flaw: it looks less interesting and novel than it actually is. It’s such a fresh take on the military shooter, splitting the difference between the more deliberate pace of games like Battlefield and Call of Duty and the kinetic excitement of games like Tribes or even Counter-Strike. It just takes a while to see that, because Titanfall’s presentation is so conservative.

9/10

Login or Register
3
+3
-0
Xenographer's picture
10

Wow, so this is a game actually worth playing. Shame I'm behind the Great Firewall. I'm going to miss out on all the excitement...

2
+2
-0
Quantieme's picture
6

I've got to say I'm enjoying the game a lot so far, the matchmaking needs a lot of work though.

2
+2
-0
ScytheMonkey's picture
44

Big fan as well. I had a similar experience where at first glance I wasn't very convinced, but I found that I kept wanting to play. And sure enough the game just feels richer the more that I play. I also do get echoes of Tribes, one of my all time favorites. Something to do with high speed tightly controlled game play, where every time you die you know you made a mistake that got you killed. I love BF4 and don't play CoD, but I find that Titanfall is so much more reliable about delivering fast fun to me. BF4 inevitably involves hunting for the right server then dealing wtih stacked teams in 30+ minute games, etc. Titanfall I can be in a game within 60 seconds of launching the game, and 10 minutes later done.

2
+2
-0
avatar
88

Beta didn’t convince me. I’ve seen everything this game uses in its gameplay: big walking tanks – check (Mech Warrior), simple twitch gunplay – check (CoD), acrobatic stuff – check (Tribes), bots in PvP (DotA, LoL), gameplay modes – check (nothing new here as well). So basically it feels old tried regurgitated and lacking that something, that “umph” which keeps you in the game.

1
+1
-0
avatar
2

So titanfall came out, and I got it, it is after all why I bought the xbox one. The sheer laziness of the game design is the most reprehensible and disgusting abuse of a publisher/designer taking advantage of an idiot fan base. The game is so boring to look at and so mind numbingly terrible to play. I feel like the one sane person in a world full of crazy idiots. That might make me the crazy one. But since titanfall has come out I've played it for 5 hours and 36 min. My pilot/identical pilot avatar to ever other player is a level 37 and I hate the game, not only that but I've put over 30 hours into plants vs zombies 2. So has everyone in my sphere of influence aka my friends list. It's only about ten people. However if 11 out of ten people would rather play a 30 dollar game with FREE Dlc what does that say about your 65 dollar shooter? PvZ has CUSTOM avatars so I'm not getting killed by the same identical polot/titan every time. This one little feature would have made a world a difference. Or an actual campaign. Or more then 5 game modes, or a third leg extinction /zombies play style, or more then 3 titan chassis, or a ffa mode, or an offline mode, or better matchmaking, or better textures and graphics, a little more effort in any ONE of these areas would have made most of the other faults bearable, because yes, it is fun to wall run just like it was in brink, but seriously respawn I gave the beta a lot of leeway and considered it great, but you made no improvements. I really expected more and with all of your reactions I'm really ashamed to be part of the gaming community. Troll all you want but please if your answer is something inane like "leave the community then", or "go play plants vs zombies" just stow it. Every where I look from Facebook to nvision titanfall is in my face, I'm so sorry and sad to see you all "believed the hype". Just a bunch of disgusting melodious malcontents and as I said I'm sick to death of this game and those who arbitrarily praise it as anything other than what it should be... A 15 dollar arcade title.

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
Guild Wars 2: Tyria prepares for war with the return of the Living World Season 2

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2: Tyria prepares for war with the return of the Living World Season 2

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers;

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers; "Every player to trigger this exploit will be punished"

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

What to do in Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris: Murder, stealing and a bit of detective work

What to do in Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris: Murder, stealing and a bit of detective work

Take a free weekend break in Arma 3

Take a free weekend break in Arma 3

Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

WildStar's Carbine Studios loses over 60 staff in NCSoft

WildStar's Carbine Studios loses over 60 staff in NCSoft "restructuring"

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty will come to PC

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty will come to PC "as soon as possible", and a beta is being considered

Look at Dark Souls 2 through new eyes with the first-person mod

Look at Dark Souls 2 through new eyes with the first-person mod

3D Realms rises from the grave with a 32-game anthology

3D Realms rises from the grave with a 32-game anthology

World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

Civilization: Beyond Earth review

Civilization: Beyond Earth

Civilization: Beyond Earth review

Past Team Fortress 2 Halloween events reactivated to warm you up for Scream Fortress 6

Past Team Fortress 2 Halloween events reactivated to warm you up for Scream Fortress 6

Risk of Rain patch 1.2 adds killer chef and Aliens-inspired Loader

Risk of Rain patch 1.2 adds killer chef and Aliens-inspired Loader

Dota 2 players outnumbered all 99 other games on Steam's most-played list put together today

Dota 2 players outnumbered all 99 other games on Steam's most-played list put together today

Assassin's Creed Unity system specs are as steep as Notre Dame

Assassin's Creed Unity system specs are as steep as Notre Dame

Nvidia now support DSR scaling for GeForce GTX 500, 600 and 700 Series graphics cards

Nvidia now support DSR scaling for GeForce GTX 500, 600 and 700 Series graphics cards

Warframe Archwing update turns you into a rocket-powered space ninja

Warframe

Warframe Archwing update turns you into a rocket-powered space ninja

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies