Finally the wait is over and Titanfall is among us. The expected FPS of Respawn Entertainment, exclusively for Microsoft consoles and PC, arrived in stores after making a lot of talk, not only for the great promises but for the two minds that "hide" behind this ambitious project, among which we find Vince Zampella, former boss of Infinity Wards and father of the series Call of Duty. But let's see together if all this waiting has been paid off.
Version tested: Xbox One
Standby for Titanfall
The first thought that can go through your head looking at the images and trailers released in recent months is that Titanfall is nothing more than a simple COD clone with robots. Fortunately for us, this is the most wrong you can think of and we had a taste of its potential a few weeks ago with the release of the closed beta that dispelled all doubts. Yes, even Titanfall is basically a decidedly Arcade FPS, dedicated to competitive gaming and devoted to fast and furious action. But Titanfall is something more, something really new in a playful landscape, that of the first person shooter, stalled for several years where the usual ideas are swiped and recycled and where the capitalization of profit prevails over good ideas and the desire to innovate. . Titanfall in this is second to none and it is not only the characteristic of the Titan, the mech that will come to our aid during the games to reflect the "novelty" but precisely in the dynamics that are created during the clashes and consequently the fun that it springs from it.
The player, once on the pitch, opens up a whole series of possibilities and the gameplay is molded to his desire, allowing him to put into practice the most curious and bizarre strategies thanks to the acrobatic skills of our avatar. Our soldier will enjoy a strong propensity for parkour, which combined with the standard jetpack, will allow him to defy the normal laws of gravity, climbing everywhere, double jumps or long wall runs. Think about starting with your character at the meeting point of the map, starting to run and then disappearing among the buildings, running on the facades to push you higher and higher to get the better of your enemies. Do you think that while you are moving you will meet another soldier and start an aerial combat, all this in the running, without a moment of hesitation. The feeling that comes from it is something adrenaline that pushes the player to take risks and do even more to lead their team to victory.
Clash of the Titans
Then there are the Titans, the imposing robots that we can call to our aid and that we can use to our advantage and pilot in all their might by exploiting the firepower at our disposal. But the titans will also be able to act in freedom, and if abandoned we can give them simple commands such as to defend a certain area or follow us around the map. At the start of each match, each player will have a 4 minute waiting time before they can call their titan. However, this time is subject to variations, in fact, the better our performance on the field, the shorter the time required before we can see it fall from the sky in all its grandeur. Making a kill therefore becomes fundamental, not only for the purpose of victory but also for strategic ones. In addition to the pilots, aka human gamers, Respawn Entertainment has decided to fill the more than vast game maps with numerous bots, divided between simple soldiers and Specter, fighting androids that if hacked can be used to our advantage. It must be said that the choice of resorting to bots, limiting online games to only 12 human players, may seem quite questionable, especially if you compare these numbers with those of a competition that tends more and more to numerous matches. However, it must be said that the intentions of Zampella & co. there was to be able to keep the games as balanced and enjoyable as possible. Here, the use of an AI within the game serves more as a filling and ploy to reduce the time for the titan's call than a real challenge, as they will often remain helpless as you pass.
The Titan gives you a hand
However, where Respawn Entertainment has done a great job is in balancing the various components of the game. The idea of uniting players on foot and titans on the same map could seem an element of discrepancy to the advantage of the player who had called their vehicle first. In reality, thanks to a very careful study of all the elements that are introduced in the games, even a player armed with goodwill and atlectic skills is easily able to take down one of the massive mechs with his own hands. The choice was to equip the titans with greater firepower but at the same time with make them quite vulnerable by pilots who decide to "ride" one to hit them in their Achilles heel. The personalization of your pilot is also good, with a selection of weapons that allows you to customize your arsenal at will, both offensive and defensive, as well as unlockable support upgrades and the anti-titan weapon, essential to face the dizzying enemies. Even the titans can be prepared depending on the style we decide to use, with three configurations of exoskeletons ranging from the tactical and defensive one and the more agile and devoted to attack. Also for the Titans there will be the classic perks, skills to unlock or improvements for weapons obtainable only by leveling up or completing certain challenges. To all this is added the introduction of Burn Cards, special cards that can be equipped for a maximum of 3 at a time and can be used before taking the field or during respawns, and which momentarily add further abilities, such as greater firepower or to reduce the time required for the descent from the sky of your own titan. New cards will be obtained by winning games and completing the numerous challenges proposed by the game.
These, now present in almost all games with an online component, concern numerous aspects such as the use of weapons, kills or game time in the various modes. Once finished we will be rewarded with experience points that will allow us to level up and in turn unlock the equipment for the higher classes. Reached the maximum level, 50, it will be possible to make the generational leap, a sort of prestige mode that allows us to restart from the first level and further motivate our game.
It's COD with robottoni
But let's see together what Titanfall has to offer in terms of content. The absence of a single player component should be immediately reported. However, before starting a witch hunt and marking Titanfall and Respawn Entertainment as heresy, it must be said that since its announcement it was the intention of the game's authors to focus more on the multiplayer aspect, offering a more satisfying experience from this point of view. . Debatable or not, the choice not to devote to a story mode, however, makes sense if you go to think about what is offered by the competition with stories that barely reach 5 hours and offer a decidedly negligible and easily forgotten single player experience. The absence of the single player, however, is partly buffered with the presence of a multiplayer campaign, which brings together two teams of players allows you to live a choral experience, in which the facts that led to the clash are told the two factions in the game the IMC and the Militia.
This introduction on the one hand appears well studied and presents itself as a valid alternative to the classic competitive multiplayer. On the other hand, the whole structure of this campaign, as well as its brevity, make everything appear smoky and poorly delineated, so much so as to make it almost superfluous and an appendix to an initial tutorial that gives the player a general smattering of the mechanics but not the necessary experience. to go straight into battle. The feeling you get from playing this campaign is that both in the event of a match victory and defeat you don't change much in terms of history, making everything appear rather approximate.
Once the campaign is archived, which becomes almost mandatory in case you want to unlock the two additional Titan models, most of the time you will spend it in Classic mode, the core of Titanfall. Here is contained the classic multiplayer, the hub to access the various types of games such as Attrition, the 6vs6 team deathmatch or Pilot Hunter, variant of the game where the score will be outlined only by the kills of the opposing pilots and the team that reaches the maximum points will win. More classic than ever instead Control Point, a very normal King of the hill and Capture the Flag, which from the name you can understand very well what we are talking about. The only original mode we find in Titanfall is Survival Titan, a deathmatch in which the player will start the game already aboard the titan and to win it will be necessary to stay with at least one robot. If our titan is destroyed we will be able to continue fighting as a pilot, until we are killed. In that case there will be no regeneration and we will have to wait for the end of the round to be able to return to battle.
To these options is added the variety package, which is not a playlist of maps that with cyclic rotation allows us to vary game modes. From this point of view we would definitely have expected more, given the propensity to play online only, just to make the player's experience even more varied.
Heart of steel
On the other hand, the speech is better with regard to the game maps, about fifteen arenas all well studied and balanced to adapt to the game modes. From the placement of structures and scalable elements to the expansive battle areas where the titans can do battle, everything is perfectly set with maniacal care. Even as a variety it amazes for the attention to detail although in many levels there seems to be a massive recycling of some structural elements. Each map is impressive, with a 360 ° development of its playable extension, with an emphasis mainly focused on the verticalization of buildings. Beyond the beauty or otherwise of the maps, which is always quite subjective from player to player and always linked to the mode you are playing, it is nice to note how much fine work has been done to create very balanced maps that avoid consolidated attitudes. in the various online fps as the figure of the camper.
If on a playful level, Titanfall is a real breath of fresh air, it certainly cannot be said that it is a graphically next-gen title. We had already had a taste of its technical power from the beta, but despite the hopes and some broken promises over the course of development, the game is almost identical. Titanfall is powered by Valve's famous Source Engine, a graphics engine that is more than decent but which by now, even if in a modified version, is affected by the weight of the years and never manages to express the true value of Titanfall. Instead, the great artistic value that moves on good levels should be rewarded. In addition to the excellent level design work, which we appreciated on all fronts, also the artistic direction and the atmosphere that you breathe are those of a first-rate sci-fi title. Suggestive past and successful light effects have the better of a polycount much poorer than expected, but where you can turn a blind eye you are overwhelmed by the grandeur of the settings and the majesty of the titans, which once used will make us change the perspective making us feel truly 5 meters tall and strong with our armor. The resolution is repeated in the one already seen in the beta and stops at 792p, using textures that are not exactly defined and often with washed out colors, an element that often accentuates the similarity between some maps. On the other hand, the frame rate is excellent, always firmly on 60 fps except allowing yourself a few weaker moments when the action becomes chaotic on the screen. More annoying instead the tearing of the image during the most excited phases that hopefully will be solved with the next updates promised by Respawn Entertainment, aimed at remedying some graphic imperfection and an increase in resolution. The sound sector is also excellent, which in addition to a complete adaptation in Spanish (where among all we find the inevitable Pietro Ubaldi) we find a full-bodied set of music and special effects that will identify the player in the action, catapulting him with full force on the battlefield .
✓ Balanced gameplay
✓ Great variety of action x Technically not next-gen
x Few online modes
x Absent single player and forgettable multiplayer campaign