Whew! What a year it has been in the industry and specifically if your a “Next Gen Player” ( or would you now be considered a ” Current Gen Player” ?). The Industry has officially passed its 1 year mark and we are now moving full steam ahead with XBOX One and PS4.
Having lived through numerous generations of hardware cycles I can; with complete authority tell you that this generation was ushered with a tremendous amount of criticism and jaded perspectives than any other before it. In 2013 Gamers everywhere stood up and with a single voice ( or post on a message board) said ” Prove to me why I need to upgrade to the Next gen!”
Gone where the passionate gamers excited for the next big thing in gaming . Instead it was replaced by a world full of gamers who suddenly felt that the industry it so loved needed to rise to a certain level and that expectations needed not only to be met but shattered.
With all this riding on its shoulders as the first next Gen shooter of 2014; Titanfall was almost doomed to fail but the real question is…Did It?
Respawn Studios launched there baby back in march and the controversy kicked off immediately! The first batch of negative press centered around two major points. Titanfall did not have an “Offline Campaign” and it was also an XBOX/PC exclusive; meaning that Playstation gamers would not have an opportunity to experience this new IP. The hate this game received from the Sony fanbase was palpable
To be fair the game arrived in great shape from a technical standpoint. Running at 60FPS/900P on dedicated servers and little to no frame rate drop on large scale maps was a feat to be respected considering Fellow EA shooter Battlefield 4 failed to even have stable servers at launch! Titanfall is a great looking game and was a finely tuned shooter at launch.
If you ask a Titanfall player what the biggest reason he/she was disappointed with they will most certainly tell you ; Content.
Most AAA shooters these days will check off a series of boxes that is the industry’s barometer for value. Its a way of making sure that a buyer is getting value for there money and Titanfall dropped the ball in that regard…
Respawn knew this and immediately set out to correct its errors. Being a small studio meant that resources for actual game development was a tricky balancing act and while they openly admitted that they had to invest where the IP would make the most impact ( Doesn’t everyone play online multiplayer??) , they also understood the impact of not having certain features at launch.
Map packs in the form of DLC would not suffice for Titanfall. In order to move this franchise forward players would need more and I am happy to say that after 8 months of being in the world as a newborn; Titanfall has grown into a game that its creators should be proud of !
Lets have a look what has been added to Titanfall and why you should seriously consider jumping back and or purchasing the game in its current state.
Titanfall Launched with a healthy supply of maps that offered up a diverse landscape of battlegrounds. The strength of Respawns designs show through in the fact that they incorporate both indoor and outdoor environments catering to both playstyles of the game ( Pilot and Titan’s). The 3 DLC packs that have released since launch day have added even more variety while maintaining balance. The map packs where given names that tied them to the games fiction giving us yet another way to feel attached to the world that Titanfall takes place in. with 20+ maps at your disposal now you cannot fault Titanfall for having a lack of map variety!
Most shooters these days have the ability to set up custom lobbies for friends and rivals to create matches without having to rely on random matchmaking to get you into a game. Within the E-Sport community this feature is paramount. Although publicly stating that they did not build Titanfall with E-Sports in mind there was nevertheless a large portion of their community who expected it ( PRO among them). Not having this feature at launch threw a monkey wrench into hosting competitive events but the feature was soon added within a month or so afterwards.
Burn Cards/Black Market
The biggest gameplay addition to Titanfall came in the form of the Black Market/Burn Cards. This was a Meta game system that essentially allowed players to earn in game currency and then spend them on various items in a ” Black Market” menu such as the games very cool ” Burn Cards” . Burn Cards are essentially Titanfall’s Killstreak system with a twist. Rather than getting kills to activate special game changing abilities you can simply select 3 of them at the beginning of each match and acactivatehem at whim when you think you need them most. Prior to the Black Market players could only earn Burn Cards by winning matches but with the Black Market addition they could purchase packs of cards ( Ever play Magic the Gathering) and narrow the randomness of acquiring them.
With each DLC’s arrival Players where also treated with a Title Update that added in various new game modes to Titanfall’s rather small launch list. These updates showed that Respawn was paying attention to what players wanted in the game and fleshed out the fun you could have in an evenings worth of Titanfall gaming. Most notable was the addition of a ” Pilot Only” game mode sans Titans. It wasn’t in keeping the spirit of Titanfall ( The games title has TITANS in it folks!) but at least it gave you the choice to play a more CODish style game within the Titanfall universe. Titanfall now has a very robust playlist of game types and stands rank with other AAA shooters in the market.
This was a tricky one for Respawn to handle when developing the game. The potential was there to add Titan Graphic Meshes similar to what COD does with the various guns and uniforms in the game but at the risk of pulling players out of the world they crafted. Cosmetic customization these days tends to lean towards the garish and silly spectrum ( Call of Duty has pinks guns and players running around with Marijuana leaves painted all over there armor !) In the end we now have a ” Decal system” wherein you can emblazon your giant metal friend with various insignias ranging from flaming skulls to Respawns own logo just like the fighter pilots of yore.
Co Op mode
Last gen heralded in a new genre of game modes called Survival”. This game mode was brought to the gaming public courtesy Gears of War 2 and has since made its way into almost every video game since in some way or another. While not being a TRUE Co-Op mode in the sense that you aren’t able to partake in the games limited story ( although one would argue that Titanfall actually has a 6 man co op story mode in the way it presents it); you are able to join up with some mates and fight wave after wave of VERY smart enemy AI including suicide Titans hell bent on your teams collective destruction. This mode is called Frontier Defense and tasks players with defending a single point on the map in much the same way that MOBAS do. It is round based and gets increasingly harder as the rounds go by. Players are scored and ranked in this mode to create a sense of competitiveness among everyone. Frontier Defense was recently made available via a FREE patch and is the proverbial icing on the cake for the complete Titanfall Package.
Most FPS shooters these days layer on ranked play via a selection in the multiplayer menu as a way for players to decide if the want to participate in ranked play or unranked. Titanfall takes the same concept and injects a big dose of narrative flavor into it!
Each Pilot has the option of activating a ” Rank Chip” once they have attained a certain level. This chip can be turned on and off as the player sees fit at the beginning of any match thereby eliminating the need to have different play lists for the player. The Rank chip updates the player during the match with an in game voice as well as post game summaries. It is the coolest implementation of Ranked play I have ever seen in a competitive shooter bar none!
If you haven’t made the choice to pick up Titanfall yet , I highly recommend you do. In a market filled with First person shooters it stands out as something that brings a little more to the table. The developers have been diligent in fleshing out the core game and although the game should have shipped with all of this content at launch its a testament to the love Respawn has for the franchise that we are still enjoying and seeing new content added almost a year later.
Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash