Titanfall Review

Written by Rick Lane

March 17, 2014 | 20:38

Tags: #titanfall

Companies: #respawn-entertainment

The liberating kinesis of the Pilots is aided by superb map design. While conceptually Titanfall's maps aren't the most memorable, with quite a few variations on the "prefab sci-fi colony" theme, in terms of structure they're excellent. Each is crafted in such a way that you're constantly urged to move both horizontally and vertically, carving your way through the AI grunts and Spectres to build up Attrition points, hunting down other Pilots as they leap nimbly from building to ground to the back of Titan and onto a building again. For Pilots failing to keep inertia usually means death, but it is worth stopping briefly atop a building to survey your surroundings and plan your next move, and there are good places to sequester yourself as a sniper, although safety is never guaranteed. It might not take long to experience Titanfall's map roster, but it will take months to master the flow of their walls, rooftops and alleyways.

Titanfall Review

Then of course there are the Titans themselves. The first time you drop a Titan into battle is the giddiest of thrills as you watch it rumble through the planet's atmosphere, wreathed in fire and trailing smoke, before it slams into the ground with such force it sends out a shockwave that rattles the surrounding landscape. Later on this moment becomes something to savour, and you'll find yourself deliberately holding off pressing that most inviting of keys while you search for the optimum landing point; either somewhere safe where you can attack from unexpectedly, or right in the thick of the action. For bonus points you can drop your Titan on top of an enemy Titan, obliterating theirs in the process.

The Titans also go some way to solving another big problem with larger-scale FPS', which is that vehicle combat is for some intangible reason never quite as enjoyable as being a straightforward infantryman. Thus the idea of making Titanfall's vehicles much larger infantrymen is theoretically ingenious. Unfortunately, because Titanfall's Pilots are so delightfully nippy, it doesn't quite come off as well as it deserves to.

Titanfall Review

Still, piloting Titanfall's mechs has its own pleasure, especially once you've unlocked enough customisation options to kit one out according to your preferences style, and mastered the twin arts of strafe-shifting to evade enemy fire, and the brilliant Titan punch, kept for close encounters. Piloted correctly, they're far more manoeuvrable and powerful than they initially appear.

Your relationship with your Titan also depends on the game mode you are playing. In standard Attrition, the temptation is to remain in the cockpit until you're forced to press the "Eject" button (another one of Titanfalls lovely little features). Conversely, Hardpoint Domination and Capture the Flag will coax you out of your metal death-cocoon more often, and use the Titan's autopilot mode. Setting your Titan to guard the exterior of a hard-point while you defend the interior is a sensible strategy, while the Pilot's nimble feet are better suited to racing a flag back to base, leaving your Titan behind to deal with anyone chasing you. That said, it is also possible to jump into your Titan while holding the flag and simply try to batter your way back to safety.

Titanfall Review

Yet despite what mode you're playing, Titanfall's games are very structured, choreographed so that they crescendo from Pilot combat to pilot/Titan combat to all-out-Titan combat before concluding with an Epilogue, where the losing team must escape via Dropship while the winning team hunts them down. It runs the risk of becoming repetitive, so Titanfall is careful to ensure you have plenty of strategic options each game, through the presence of your Titan, the wide range of customisation options, and best of all, Burn Cards.
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