by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
Jump, Forest, Jump!
Another key component of the pilots is their insane mobility. Every so often a game comes around that changes the gaming landscape. Whether itís a narrative element, a gameplay mechanic, a control style, or something else, it presents something new or different that is imitated in games for years after its release. Gears of Warís cover system has been in almost every third person shooter since 2006, World of Warcraft didnít invent, but solidified virtually every MMO clichť we see today, and many of the people who made Call of Duty: Modern Warfare gave us killstreaks and the multiplayer progression system that permeates a huge percentage of online shooters. Respawn Entertainment isnít completely re-inventing the genre in Titanfall, but I do think that the pilotsí jetpack-parkour free running could be something we see oft-imitated.
While not completely unseen in the genre before, I donít think anyone expected it to fit so smoothly or naturally. Itís like peanut butter and jelly, or grilled cheese and tomato soup. When I first heard the parkour elements would be a core part of the Titanfall experience I wasnít sure if it would fit with precision shooting and mech warfare, but now I canít imagine it being any other way. Itís as simple as running or jumping alongside a wall. Jump again to chain to another wall. Throw in a double-jump jetpack thrust and the controls literally couldnít be simpler. That being said, itís definitely an ďeasy to learn, tough to masterĒ kind of thing. While the controls take seconds to learn, itís the art of knowing when and where to use them that separates a good player and a great one. Being able to run from one building to the next, hop off a billboard, turn invisible for a brief climb through a window, then bank off a wall to double jump onto the back of a Titan is satisfying in a way I
havenít quite felt before.
Speaking of wall-running and creative traversal, the maps in Titanfall are pretty great. Each offers plenty of variety, from open areas to tight corridors, and present a wide range of visual themes. What makes their quality even more impressive is that each map has to function on two levels- on a macro level they need to provide the pathways and obstacles for large-scale Titan warfare, and on a micro level the need to have the intricacy and flow to support pilot-on-pilot combat.
Every map works for both, and Iíd be hard pressed to name a stinker in the bunch. The only thing Iíd like to have seen a little bit more of are some ways to interact with the environment. I understand that Battlefield or Red Faction levels of destruction just arenít a fit for every game, but it would have been cool for more interactive dino-monsters (which can be seen walking or flying around certain maps), limited destructibility, or hazards for Titans like falling pillars, electric puddles, etc.
It might rub some people the wrong way, but Iím largely okay with Titanfall being a multiplayer-only game. I think an awesome proper campaign definitely could be build in the Titanfall universe, but if Respawn wanted to put that much more effort into multiplayer, then Iím cool with it. In fact, I wish they would have completely omitted the rudimentary campaign altogether. I really didnít care about the story at any point, and I donít feel like I know much of anything about the world the game exists in. I played through it once, and I donít see myself ever going back.
Great sense of scale and action, tight controls, awesome parkour movement, and fantastic balance.
Disappointingly limited game modes, a very weak campaign, and no aesthetic customization.