Titanfall: Your Titan Is Ready

By Luciano ‘Blaze Jedi’ Del Valle

Hello everyone! ‘Blaze Jedi’ of Stressed Iron Gaming here to discuss the Titanfall series.

The original Titanfall was multiplayer only and, along with the subsequent ‘frontier defense’ mode (think horde mode from Gears of War or firefight mode from Halo 3: ODST), was not a good example of the Titanfall experience. Its popularity wasn’t helped by the fact that it was initially an Xbox only release. However, the original game was pivotal in changing the way mechanics in mainstream games (looking at you, Call Of Duty) ended up.

Developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA (Oh God, EA), it was one of the first ‘next gen’ FPS games to introduce a true sense of balance. I never once felt as though I was going to be demolished simply because the enemy had their Titan (think 2-story bipedal Gundam) before I had mine. The series makes it easy for us pilots (the player) to take down these mechs even when just shooting with a rocket launcher and hoping for the best. I would train my friends in aggressive tactics against titans by continuously assaulting them until they learned how to deal with it. Rage ensued but they’re now titan killing machines (+1 Point for Blaze).

Another aspect of Titanfall that made it appealing for all players was the different chassis of titans that were available. Want to play fast? As a tank or sniper? There is a titan for that. Each titan is fairly easy to learn once chosen and the titan vs titan combat is simple. Some call it rock, paper, shotgun but really, if you know what you’re doing, even the low health titans can fight off and wreck the tank classes. Some of the imbalance in titan vs titan battles occurs due to abilities that can be spammed but usually they are fairly easy to work around. It is certainly more balanced than the titan vs pilot fights, some of which you simply can’t win, particularly on occasions when there are multiple titans against a single pilot.

“Want to play fast? As a tank or sniper? There is a titan for that.”

Titanfall also introduced an awesome movement system to make the game feel fresh and new. It was so enjoyable learning how to run and gun in this new system and single-handedly made me get back into the competitive gaming world. Fast paced gameplay combined with a kick-ass soundtrack in an environment where one mistake can kill you? Yes. Please.

The movement system took me by surprise. I really thought that the game’s wall running would be nonsense but I’ve never been happier to be wrong. In the game world, your pilot has a jump kit that gives you the ability to boost jump, take no fall damage (you’d die A LOT otherwise) and wall run or glide depending on how fast you are going. This decision to add the jump kit to the game world was an awesome choice and has made for some high energy escapes as well as funny moments with friends who are not used to them. It’s quite hilarious to watch your friend flail about as they try to get used to their new found movement freedom. It’s a great break from the tried and true shooter method of ground base combat only, such as the standard Call of Duty shoot and sprint. The fun really comes in when you learn how to sprint across the map in seconds and take the enemy team by surprise.

Another thing that Titanfall does very well is the introduction of ‘burn cards’ instead of kill-streaks. Burn cards, which you can now see in Halo as REQ packs, started life in the original entry as three cards you can pick per game. These cards would give you bonuses for each life and included; a free titan drop, amplified weapons, the ability to spawn as a spectre to confuse enemies and more. In Titanfall 2 you could pick a burn card and work to earn that card every time your Titan goes down. Ironically, the burn cards never really felt overpowered. In fact, one of the most annoying weapons from Titanfall, the smart pistol, made its way into Titanfall 2 as a burn card instead. I wish there were more burn cards but, for what it is and how it works, I love them.

“I wish there were more burn cards but, for what it is and how it works, I love them”

Though I love the series, it does have some striking bad points that are worth noting. Some of this does not apply to me but to my friends and experience with other players. Titanfall’s lack of a dedicated solo campaign, in a time where single player games were dying, is astounding. The only available campaign was a series of multiplayer missions with cinematic introductions, outros and dialogue during the mission, depending on whether you were winning or losing. It was good to be able to stay in the same lobby for the entire campaign but was otherwise difficult to follow. There were some awesome moments in the campaign  such as the Battle of Demeter (I’d love to see that mission again) but, otherwise, it was very lacklustre and effectively just a multiplayer game with a story. Titanfall 2 improved on this by having an amazing stand alone storyline.

In terms of difficulty, the series has a huge learning curve. It goes from running up a hill to climbing a mountain almost immediately. I’ve seen players stick to the Call of Duty tactics just because they do not want to learn how to be a pilot. An old gaming buddy of mine who, surprise surprise, was always bottom board, claimed he couldn’t be a great pilot because the movement system was too confusing. Granted, the abilities and fine tuning of the system take a lot of getting used to. I didn’t think it was too difficult but, then again, I’m me and my friends are not. I remember helping them learn how to move on every map just so they can keep up. Does that sound cocky? Oh yeah. But they now know how to move and can keep up in PvP Multiplayer and Frontier Defense modes when I need an extra hand.

“The series has a huge learning curve. It goes from running up a hill to climbing a mountain almost immediately”

Learning how to control your titan is also an issue. In Titanfall 2, a lot of players I’ve come across do not understand certain titan abilities and often die in combat because of this. While they are not hard to learn (you can read their blurb and develop a general understanding), I can sympathise with difficulty mastering the titans. Each of them has pros and cons the player has to learn and the story mode classes essentially replaces these negatives with plot armor. A little training, however, goes a long way. Finding a titan or two you like and sticking to it is certainly the key to this game.

Overall I would say Titanfall is an enjoyable game. You can pick it up for sale very often, with Titanfall 2’s most expensive version often on sale for 5-15 USD. However, at this stage of the game I would not recommend going in alone. Grab some friends, jump in and learn the game together! Even if you only buy it for PvE modes and campaign, it is worthwhile and offers hours of gameplay. My team continue to play the game and always find matches even with the increasingly small player base. We’re always having fun, kicking ass and taking it to the enemy. I would rate the Titanfall series around 4 out of 5. While it is really fun to play, that steep learning curve could be a deterrent to new players. Like I said before, the movement system also takes some time to get used to. Go try out Titanfall 2 now! Or don’t. It’s up to you!

Overall
3.5
  • Gameplay
  • Audio / Visual
  • Future Classic
  • Controller Smashability
  • Memories

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