BY KYLE VAN DEN HEUVEL
Whenever there is a new console release, there is an odd period of time when the console has only previous generation games and no games in which it can taut as “next-generation.” When the Xbox One released last November, it entered into this phase just like every other console. However, with the release of “Titanfall,” it can be said that the Xbox One now has a game, which it can say is “next-generation.”
“Titanfall” is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Respawn Entertainment, a studio that was formed by the former heads of the company that first developed “Call of Duty”: Infinity Ward. The main plot for the game is that you are a soldier in either the IMC Army or the Militia, two factions fighting over an area called the Frontier. What sets this game apart from other first-person shooters is a focus on fast-paced movement and the fact that you can call upon giant rideable robots called Titans, which can give you a big edge in combat. There are the standard game modes like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch (called Attrition). While there is a Campaign mode, it is nothing more than playing a few of the multiplayer modes with extra cutscenes.
Since this game does come from the former developers of “Call of Duty,” you might expect that this would just be “Call of Duty” with piloted robots or “mechs.” This is both true and untrue as, while there is a definite influence from “Call of Duty,” there are a few key differences that make “Titanfall” stand on its own. Moving around by using your jump jets to hop on buildings feels really satisfying and very different to staying on the ground like in “Call of Duty.” The Titans are also a big game changer as it gives you an advantage when you are in one, but makes the game feel very different when you fight another Titan. The game also puts AI controlled grunts to fight with you, so the map is filled out with a whole army, rather than only the 12 people who are playing. The AI is pathetically easy to take care of and are mostly put in order to feel like there is something going on everywhere in the map.
The gameplay itself is top-notch as the maps are well designed and the gunplay is fun, both on foot and in a Titan. However, there are just a few small quirks that keep it from being truly great. The story is lacking, as each side’s story is one-dimensional and incredibly uninteresting, for what’s supposed to be a story-based campaign. The lack of variety in the modes is somewhat set aside by the fact that they are so fun to play, but there should be more added down the line. Also, there is no team balancing, so if one team is dominating another, expect that team to keep on dominating until everyone leaves. All in all, though, it is a well-made shooter, and if you like multiplayer games, you should definitely take a look at it.
“Titanfall” is available on the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC for $59.99.