I’m not a big fan of first person shooters. There, I said it!
It’s heresy, I know. How could someone from my generation not be into super repetitive gameplay, short and unoriginal single player campaigns, and cowardly camping a-holes who do their darnedest to make online multiplayer as un-fun as possible? Maybe I’m being a little too harsh. Then again, I really don’t think I am. I’m truly in the minority, I guess.
So, when I heard about Titanfall, I just shrugged it off as another boring and unoriginal first person shooter. And when I heard it wasn’t going to even have a single player campaign, I literally laughed out loud. I couldn’t help but think it was just a cheap cash-in on the genre.
Nevertheless, the hype for the game was otherworldly, so when the beta was opened for all Xbox One owners (and yes, I was one of the poor saps who bought the system on launch day thinking that there would actually be a good number of games to play on it right out of the gate), I thought I might as well give the game a shot. Turns out, I was blown away.
The first thing I noticed was the graphics. Now, I’ll admit, I am a bit of a graphics nut. It’s not anywhere close to the determining factor in how much I like a game, but I definitely appreciate it when it’s there. Titanfall is beautiful. The colors are vibrant, the lighting is realistic, and the textures are crisp. This is truly a next-gen game. I haven’t seen any screenshots of the Xbox 360 version, but I can imagine it will look pretty good on that system, too.
The next thing that stood out, and probably the most important thing for any shooter, is the controls. They are as smooth as silk. The default controls are mostly the same as Call of Duty (aka: the most overhyped franchise ever – sorry CoD fans), and other elements like wall running and double jumping are as easy and intuitive as they could probably ever be.
And seriously, the new gameplay mechanics are really what make this game shine. Wall running in a first person shooter is sheer brilliance. And don’t even get me started on the mechs, or Titans, as they’re called. They completely change how the genre is played. There’s no more just blindly sprinting around corners and through the streets on a multiplayer map. The Titans can kill you in an instant. Players can kill them too, but if they take one on alone, they have to be either extremely good, or extremely lucky. And once you get your Titan, other players better run for cover.
And how do you get your Titan, you ask? After a match begins, a two minute timer counts down. Once it reaches zero, you will have the option of calling your Titan down, hence the name Titanfall. You can call your Titan sooner, however, by racking up kills.
What’s more, concept art for the game was recently released, showcasing – get ready for it – giant monsters! Now, at this point, it’s not known if the monsters will interact with combatants on the map, but here’s to hoping they will. Seriously, as awesome as this game is, having giant monsters interrupt a firefight would be just amazing. Then again, they might just be a part of the background, or not even in the game at all, but honestly, why tease us with them if they aren’t part of the gameplay?
Now, so far I’ve told you everything about the game except how it’s actually played. Matches are played with two teams of six, and there are three game modes in the beta: Attrition, Hardpoint, and Last Titan Standing.
Attrition is a point match. Teams have 10 minutes to earn 250 Attrition points, or XP. If no team has 250 XP by the end of the match, the team with the highest number wins. There is also an epilogue after a match, where the losing team has the opportunity to evacuate the map via an extraction point to earn some extra XP before the match truly ends. The catch here is that respawns are turned off during this epilogue portion of the match, so it is much more difficult to get that bonus.
Hardpoint Domination is a bit like capture the flag, or more appropriately, capture the bases. There are three neutral spots on the map that the two teams must fight over. When a team controls a spot, or Hardpoint, they begin accruing XP. The more hardpoints that are controlled by a single team, the faster XP is built up. Whichever team reaches 400 XP first wins. There is a 15 minute time limit, however, and if that time is reached before a team has 400 points, whichever team has the most points wins. Like Attrition, there is an epilogue to the match where the losing team has to try to escape. The rules are also the same.
Last Titan Standing is the final game mode in the beta. In it, players are placed in their Titans at the beginning of the match, and they must work together with their team to destroy the other team’s Titans. The catch? There are no respawns, so once a player dies, it’s up to the teammates to pick up the slack. Like the title of the mode suggests, once a team is completely wiped out, it is game over.
To sum it all up, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this way about a shooter since Halo 2 on the original Xbox, and that is a very very good thing! My only wish is that they would have put in a campaign mode for single player or co-op. With this much potential for sci-fi mayhem, it’s really hard to believe that there’s not one.
So, what do you guys think? Will Titanfall be the shooter we’ve all been waiting for, or is it just another addition to an overdone genre? Comment below!