It's arrived, but does Titanfall deliver?
It’s the day that Xbox One fans have been waiting for, EA Games and Respawn Entertainment’s sci-fi mech shooter is now on the shelves.
In the future the human race has harnessed the power to bend space, creating a new frontier among the stars. But all is not well, with the resource deprived civilian Militia and the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation engaged in bloody conflict.
EA Games have bet big on Titanfall. Unlike most of its peers, Titanfall is online multiplayer only. There is no single-player campaign. It’s a bold move, and one that could easily alienate gamers who prefer a solo experience.
On the surface the game is a fairly standard team-based sci-fi shooter experience; two teams battling it out across a set of familiar match types. Go deeper and things start to get interesting.
Taking the role of a pilot, players can jump, climb onto buildings and wall run. Combine all three and you are in twitch-fingered ninja heaven. The vertical gameplay that Titanfall employs is breathtaking and allows for some pretty spectacular moves.
Each side is beefed up by AI controlled infantry. These grunts serve to offer up a bit more resistance and give the newbies a way of progressing within the game without having to confront veteran players.
After a couple of minutes of play, pilots are notified that their Titan is ready. With the press of a button the player’s huge mechanised exoskeleton thumps to the ground. As Titans enter play everything changes. These huge armoured beasts can easily take on enemy infantry, and yet they are very vulnerable to attacks using anti-Titan weapons.
There’s also Titan-on-Titan skirmishes, with the metal hulks trading bullets and rockets in devastating battles. These epic confrontations end in explosions, pilot ejection or, my favourite, pilots being physically torn from their Titan and thrown to one side.
Pilots can get in and out of their machines at any time. Unmanned Titans can be ordered to follow their pilot and will stand their ground if assaulted.
With game mechanics like this, the possibilities are practically endless.
Titanfall has two game modes, campaign and classic, plus an in-depth training sequence. The training programme starts up automatically the first time you play and is worth mastering if you want to succeed online.
The campaign mode provides a rudimentary narrative and background to each round. It is effectively a mix of all of the different match types with an introduction and outro.
Classic mode allows players to choose which match type that want to play. There’s your usual variations on team deathmatch, capture the flag and domination as well as pilot-only and Titan-only bouts.
For the review I’d been playing on servers based in Asia. Just before going to press, EA Australia announced that Australian-based Titanfall servers will be going live on Friday which will allow New Zealanders to connect to games hosted a lot closer to home.
Titanfall is a fantastic shooter and one that takes a tried and tested formula and builds upon it. The result is an amazingly fresh, innovative experience that is quite unlike anything that you've played before.