The Titanfall Beta was a blast. The first week exposed us to the remainder of the loadout options, game modes, and maps. So where do I stand with dust settled and weeks gone by? Currently aching to play and mentally mapping out my course of action to mop up the remaining challenges to Regen, yet again.
Titanfall’s most redeeming feature is its inherent fun nature. In today’s seemingly jaded gaming community, success and self accomplishment is tightly wound with the satisfaction that is taken from playing. The genius of Titanfall’s gameplay is that we are constantly fed feats that provide a sense of worth. Wherever you may fall on the FPS skill scale, you will no doubt have moments where you feel that you, personally, triumphed.
These deeds start from even just the basics of the game: maneuverability. Any successful act of parkouring showers you with endorphins. With grunts, specters, and Titans mobilizing in the “normal” sense, scaling up and leaping between structures puts the player in a more powerful light. The joy from simply controlling your character is a brilliant choice and is masterfully designed even before adding in those epic occasions.
These “Xbox, record that” moments occur almost every match. In a genre that boils down to shoot him before he shoots you, Titanfall lends itself to war stories that you can’t wait to share. Everyone has them, and they permeate every review and gamer’s clip library. With the Titan/Pilot matchups mixed with a rush of aerial skirmishes, it is nearly impossible to miss experiencing similar episodes yourself.
Another tweak that I completely caught me by surprise was the Regeneration system. Similar to the Prestige ranks of CoD, hitting max level grants you the opportunity to restart and reset your acquisitions. However, the differences are what hooked me. Not only am I gifted with an experience boost with every generation, I am also presented with specific challenge requirements before I can continue the Regen process. So no longer does Time Played = Higher Prestige, you actually must earn every one by using specific guns or killing in more skillful ways. This may not cater to everyone’s desires, but I am addicted to this new approach.
The most obvious shortcoming of this title is the “campaign.” You play as one of the opposing sides through nine levels which unlocks a custom Titan chassis, then you repeat the same nine levels while on the opposite faction. We are thrown into the fray with no background on the war, time period, etc. and hunt for the opposing player-controlled enemy. With competition and stress of a multiplayer session comes focus. With so much focus on surviving and strategy, much of the narrative that was presented was lost on me. The bits and pieces that I finally heard made no sense without the context of the rest of the mission. If given control of my character, I’m not going to stand and watch a scene unfold. I am going to find the high ground and engage the enemy. I don’t think that the campaign was a complete failure, but a brave test on something that could be revolutionary.
Winning or losing held no weight when it came to the following mission, but imagine if it did. I could see a much more intriguing campaign with a dynamic story depending on the outcome of each match. While they haven’t quite ironed out how to do a multiplayer competitive campaign, I appreciate the attempt at something new.
Titanfall has roped me back into the FPS genre and has kept me playing for much longer than I imagined I would. They have presented us with a perfect mix of familiarity and innovation that makes for a captivating title. While the campaign was a “one and done” for me, competitive multiplayer, the heart of the game, was gold. This is a perfect title for the emerging Xbox One library.