Titanfall Review

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Titanfall is, without doubt, one of the noisiest, most precocious games I have ever played. If it were your child, you’d constantly be patching up it’s trousers and cleaning mud from its school uniform. Nothing would be sacred.  Your walls would be covered in crayon markings, you’d have broken bits of toy strewn throughout the house, the garden would be a crematorium for old teddy bears and you would never – ever – get any sleep.

Good thing it’s got an off button, then really.

Cripes this is an obnoxious game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see that as a significant negative, but it doesn’t lend itself to extended periods of gameplay.  Within moments of turning the game on, your aural and ocular receptors are bombarded with staccato gunfire, flashing lights and the ever-present stomping and whirring of the titular titans. It never dies off, either, every upgrade merely offering you a noisier way to kill your foes.

And that’s obviously the aim of developer Respawn Entertainment, a team comprised mainly of former CoD developers. You can clearly see the pedigree of Titanfall. Much of it feels like a completely untamed Call of Duty… with big stompy robots. Key elements of CoD, such as fast, visceral gunplay, upgrades and perks (or at least a perk-like system), have made it into the game, but the new level of depth offered by the titan mechanic makes for, I believe, a more enjoyable game than CoD.

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So, how does the game play? Well, think Mirror’s Edge meets Steel Batallion meets CoD. You, as a pilot, start the game with no titan (in most game modes). Killing bots, titans and other pilots, of which there are many, and completing the odd objective here or there, speeds up the arrival of your titan. These titans are awesome stompy robots that can be loaded out with a number of different weapons and gear to give you a significant advantage over those losers whose titans haven’t spawned yet. These titans can be ridden, controlled or simply left to their own devices in auto mode. Oh, and did I mention that they’re awesome?

However, as a pilot, either without a titan, or having set it on auto mode, you’re not completely defenceless. Respawn have done a good job of balancing the game to ensure that titans, while powerful in most situations, have definite weak points. One such weak point is their vulnerability to the rodeo attack, where an enemy jumps on your titan and unloads entire clips into the brains of your titan, bypassing shields and doing hideous amounts of damage. Similarly, pilots outside of titans can equip a stealth cloak, which makes them completely invisible to mechanised enemies, including titans.

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This balancing act is a good one, and shows the competence of the development team. Sadly, that competence doesn’t extend into the matchmaking system, which can be janky and slow, regardless of the game type you’re playing. Past that though, there’s very little to complain about. Yes, you could say that it’s not as deep an experience as you might wish for. Customisation options are a little light on the ground, and don’t do a huge amount towards giving the game good longevity. I also think that there’s a lot more the team could have done in terms of destructability, map depth and narrative. Indeed, if you had to describe the entire experience, ‘thin’ might be a good way to describe it. The game modes are all pretty similar, including CTF, Domination and Last Titan Standing, and without anything to really shake up the game, even the awesome thrill of riding a titan wanes after a while.

So, the run-and-gun gameplay is satisfying in short bursts, but the over-the-top nature of it, and the somewhat generic maps mean that you’ll rarely be playing for hours on end. But that’s no bad thing really. Having a game like this in your collection allows you to really appreciate the fun of a really in-yer-face game. And it is fun. It may not be a high-brow tactical shooter, or be a particularly deep experience, but with very competent core game mechanics, great balancing and the ability to drive big stompy robots, you can’t lose, right?

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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