Prepare for “Titanfall!”
“Titanfall” is first real blockbuster on the Xbox One and is the first game released by Respawn Entertainment, the new studio created by the makers of “Call of Duty,” ex-Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.
For years, shooter games have been trying to be more like “Call of Duty,” and the formula has become pretty stale. “Titanfall” feels very different than any other shooter on the market. You play as a very agile Titan pilot with a jetpack and several parkour tricks, like wall running. The way you can move drastically changes the way you would normally play a FPS game because you can jump from buildings and shoot down other pilots in midair.
A few minutes into each round, giant robot Titans begin falling from the sky. After hearing the phrase, “Your titan is ready,” you can summon a Titan of your own. The pilots can get inside these 24-foot tall, heavily armored titans and really devastate their opponents. You don’t have to get inside the Titan; if you want, you can just ride on it while the computer AI controls it like a giant robot bodyguard.
The story of “Titanfall” is told through campaign multiplayer. The action and story play out seamlessly by introducing the story into the match structure. As you are playing a multiplayer match, there are scenes that are taking place that put context into whatever you are doing in the match. Each online match has a beginning, middle, and end act. Another way “Titanfall” is different from other shooters is there isn’t a single-player campaign. “Titanfall” focuses on 6 vs. 6 online multiplayer. Not only is there no offline single-player, you cannot play alone. If you don’t have anyone to play with, you will be grouped together with people on the server and AI-controlled bots. There are actually two campaigns you can play, telling the story of both sides of the war between the IMC and the Militia; there are about 15 story missions in total.
When the action gets going, you won’t care what the story is; it is a frantic and fast-paced battle of scales. You have little pilots that can move fast and duck into small corridors, making them invisible to Titans. Then you can summon a huge robot that can dominate the battlefield. It isn’t quite a story of “David and Goliath,” however, because a skilled player can take down a titan on his own with one of those little pilots thanks to the use of some of the equipable abilities, such as cloaking and high speed. Once you get close to a Titan, you can use your jetpack and get up onto its shoulder, pop the cover off, and shoot the guy driving it, effectively ending its use. When it comes to the Titans themselves, there are three different types named Ogre, Stryder, or Atlas. Each type plays very differently.
The Ogre is a beast with big grenade launcher; he is slow-moving compared to the Stryder, which moves fast with machine guns. The Atlas is the happy medium between the two and is good at both long and short range attacks. As you play, you earn XP, which allows you to receive perks, weapons, and new gear. Once you hit level 50, you can trade in your levels for a new title and some really cool anti-Titan weapons you can use from level one going forward. Another power up is “burn card,” which is a single use item that will last for one life which will grant you abilities such as unlimited grenades and other powerful upgrades.
Aside from the great gameplay, there is also a ton of different match types you can play. There is a match like a standard team deathmatch, there is another where you have to defend a small territory, a last Titan standing mode, and something similar to “capture the flag.” Each of the modes have something interesting to offer veterans and people who are new to shooters because even if you can’t keep up with human-controlled players, there are AI bots running around you can kill to keep you in the action.
Overall, “Titanfall” is a fantastic new first-person shooter. It is very balanced and fun to play; each of the 15 maps is a blast and all make great use of the different types of gameplay styles that are available. “Titanfall” is much more than “Call of Duty” with giant robots; it is a original shooter with very fresh mechanics and fun online gameplay. If you are a shooter fan and have an Xbox One, you need to pick up this game.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]