March saw the release of arguably the highest profile release since Grand Theft Auto V last year, as Titanfall landed on Xbox One and PC, followed by the 360 version in April. For such a game we didn’t want to leave our review up to just one writer’s opinion, so we’ve pulled together Greg, Derek, Dave, and myself to answer 6 key questions about the game.
Pilots, standby for the Midlife Gamer Titanfall Roundtable Review.
1.) What’s been the best moment you’ve pulled off so far?
Greg: That’s a toss-up between the moments I’ve stood in the open battlefield, lured in my enemy and dropped my Titan on them as they got close, or when I rode a enemy Titan, destroyed it, got launched into the air by its nuclear ejection, landed on another enemy Titan and repeated the process not once, but twice more. I’m going with the second one. Nothing makes you feels more like a badass than jumping from Titan to Titan then finally landing on solid ground surrounded by their debris.
Derek: Cheap and horrible as it is, it would have to be getting a Ogre Titan burn card drop at the start of a match (against some low level guys on the Campaign match), and proceeding to demolish the opposition. Seeing guys stop dead in their tracks as an ogre charges them 10 seconds into a match is a great feeling. Think I left that match 18 pilot kills and 20+ grunt kills to zero deaths.
Dave:I started off being rubbish at this but over time I’ve got much better, my favourite moment was sniping a pilot trying to hide in a building with a Sniper Rifle, would my Kinect listen to me to record the moment? Nope!
Matt: The one that sticks in the memory is being outnumbered 2 to 1 in a threeway Titan battle. Despite holding my own and reducing both to under 50% health, I was unknowingly slowly being shepherded towards a cliff face and was eventually meleed off the edge to my seemingly certain death. Instead of plummeting to my doom, I quickly ejected from my stricken Titan, flew into the air, unloaded a clip of anti-Titan fire, before rodeoing onto the back and destroying it. Leaping off that one, I managed to catch onto the top of the other Titan, unloaded a few clips into that one and brought it to it’s knees. I’m not even going to lie, I felt like a God at that moment.
2.) How does it perform on your chosen platform?
Greg: Originally I picked it up on the Xbox One, which handled it wonderfully. It was fast, smooth and crisp, although the loading times weren’t great. However, I also picked it up on Xbox 360 to play with more of the Midlife Gamer community, and it runs marvellously on that platform too. There’s a downgrade in visual performance, it’s not as fast and smooth, but it has very little affect on how it plays. Although the Xbox 360 version does have some pretty terrible clipping issues during the mission introductions; flying through walls and witnessing horrific character model merging is common, and some of the character models’ faces are terrifying.
Derek: I double dipped. PC and 360 and would have to say, even though the PC version looks better and plays significantly better, my chosen platform would be the 360. For a title that is obviously this gen, running on a last gen console, I would say Im thoroughly impressed with how it turned out.
Dave: I’ve got the game on my Xbox One and it’s been great, the servers have been a bit flakey recently, but apart from that it’s been lag free and good fun!
Matt: Before Titanfall’s launch the developer Respawn were preaching the mantra “frame rate is king’ and were targeting a solid 60fps but, for whatever reason, this doesn’t seem to have come to pass. I’ve come across several significant frame rate drops, some of which dropping into locking to a single frame for over a second and, alongside this, Titanfall also sports some of the worst screen tearing I’ve ever seen. Load screens before matches are lengthy and seemingly have little relation to the progress bar. It’s hardly a visual spectacle either, with it all generally feeling just like a gently polished version of a previous-gen game. Respawn are supposedly looking at various ways to boost the performance of the Xbox One version and, despite how overwhelmingly fun the game is, I do believe that fixes in this department are much needed.
3.) What’s impressed you the most?
Greg: When I first jumped into a game on the Xbox 360 version, the lack of difference between it and the Xbox One version was certainly an impressive feat. Otherwise I’d say it’s the way it makes you feel like a powerful hero for your team. Only having six players per side enhances your importance amongst your team, and your wall running, Titan wielding and felling skills are juxtaposed against the AI Grunts and Spectres with their more tame abilities. It’s so accessible that the elite six players that make up your team all get to feel like a badass.
Derek: Again, this is perception based on my chosen platform, but the fluidity, speed and pure adrenaline filled enjoyment you can get from extremely close matches is there in abundance on the 360. Tight controls, fluid freeform parkour and balanced Titan/pilot/grunt battles all suck you into what is, a fantastic, competent competitive FPS.
Dave: I love the speed and movement of the pilots, you would think that the Titans were the most powerful, but a clever pilot can be much more deadly.
Matt: I absolutely love the fluidity of the combat. We’ve spent so long playing shooters in one particular style, suddenly being able to jump considerable distances, then running up the side of a building, before clinging to the wall and unloading a clip into unsuspecting pilots down below is a breath of fresh air. Once you get the hang of the maps, it’s fairly easy to get from your starting spawn to behind the enemy in just a few seconds, and it’s genuinely exciting.
4.) What has disappointed you the most?
Greg: Only having three Titans is a little disappointing. I assumed there’dbe more options in terms of chassis, weapons and abilities for your Titans. But it’s a disappointment that’s quickly forgotten once you’re playing.
Derek: I know this may be contentious, the laughable story mode. Imho, they shouldn’t have even bothered with it in the form it currently resides. Stereotypical and hollow characters, (antagonist with South African accent, thats not been done before, has it?), missable plot points, and scripted outcomes all go towards making a frustrating mess that I really just did not care about at all.
Dave: The campaign is pretty pointless to be fair, I’d rather they had spent more time getting things like Private Matches and customisation sorted out first. Apart from that I’m really enjoying the game!
Matt: When the internet had a bit of a hissy fit about 6v6, I was a staunch defender of Respwan’s choice. After all, when I played it at Eurogamer I certainly didn’t feel like it there was an issue with it, the game felt fast and frantic. And yet, now I’ve got the finished product, I’m not absolutely sure it was the right choice. Take issues like balancing out of the equation, I’m talking purely numbers. The maps can sometimes feel empty due to lack of pilots and grunts, and I’ve had more than a handful of moments of wondering “Where the hell is everyone?”
5.) Based on the score you have given, what could have been done to improve it?
Greg: The most obviously things are more maps and a private game option, both of which are coming in DLC and patches. Other than that the main thing would be reducing the time spent in lobbies. That clock counts down from 90 seconds and could easily be halved. New weapons and Titans sounds like a good idea initially, but in order to get them to balance with what’s already available it would be a huge undertaking, time better spent on a sequel.
Derek: Simple. with so few weapons, and so few titans to choose from, how about being able to customise your character? or your weapons? or how about your Titan? Decals, paint jobs, outfits. I mean everyone looks exactly the friggin same. The only variation comes in depending on weapon/skill sets you pick, but why do I have to equip a smart pistol (which I intensely dislike) in order to look a certain way? bit of an outdated concept there. I mean, let’s be honest here, if Giddens can’t get his bright pink Titan there is no justice in this world
Dave: At the moment there seem to be loads of connection issues, mostly while waiting in lobbies so they could really do with sorting that out soon. I think it would be great if they could introduce a Forge like mode so that we could create out own games types, though I can’t see them doing that just yet.
Matt: I’m happy with the number of maps out of the box, but more guns and customization options wouldn’t have gone amiss at all. Apart from that, as I said above, I would have liked numbers to higher, either in terms of pilots or even just grunts. Make it feel like a war, not just a skirmish.
6.) Does it live up to the hype?
Greg: Not really. It’s a cracking game; the wall running, fast paced shooting and Titan combat is great fun and brilliantly melded together, but It’s not the evolution of multiplayer that it boasted it would be. We’ve seen this experience before. Mech Assault on the original Xbox pulled off exceptionally well balanced Titan combat, Tribes and Section 8 both pulled off the fast paced, highly mobile pilot combat. Titanfall brings it all together in a compelling way – makes it fun and accessible – but it’s not new or an elevated version of the multiplayer we’re all familiar with. That seems to be a job for future titles like Watch Dogs and The Division.
Derek: No, and in my opinion it never could. It appears mass hysteria is still prevalent in the gaming community, and the sycophantic praise in the Titanfall previews made it out to be the greatest game that ever was, or will be. It’s not.
Dave: I think it does, COD has had it’s moment and I was really looking forward to the change in style, it reminds me of Halo 2 and the fun I had playing that. I’m looking forward to the new maps too.
Matt: I’m not sure any game could have lived up to the hype placed upon Titanfall. Ridiculous title as it was, having people describe it as ‘saviour of the Xbox One’ is a phenomenal level of pressure to bestow upon a game. Titanfall is, however, a much needed evolution of the somewhat tired FPS-genre that’s been dominated over the last 7 years by Call Of Duty. It’s also a great start by Respawn, they’ve given themselves a wonderful base to build on it future installments. If Titanfall 2 manages to improve upon this iteration, then other shooters should be very concerned.
Midlife Gamer Roundtable Score – 8/10
So there we have it, our Roundtable Review for Titanfall. Do you agree with what we’ve said, did we score it too low (or even too high), or is there something that you feel could be improved that we haven’t touched upon? Let us know in the comments below.