Titanfall, an Xbox One exclusive game, has had gamers everywhere excited and talking since its announcement. Does it stack up to the hype, or is Titanfall simply a mediocre experience? When the console wars were beginning to heat up during the third and fourth quarters of last year, Xbox made a startling announcement that the hype machine that was Titanfall would be an Xbox One exclusive. For many people, this was the decisive move that prompted their choice as to what console they would choose for their current generation gaming experience.
For those that are not on the forefront of gaming and have only heard of this game in passing, Titanfall was supposed to be a genre-defying experience promising first-person action game play like never before, with features that would change the way first-person shooters are played. All of this sounded great. Unfortunately, what players received would not be great, but this does not mean everything about the game is bad.
Because this article is not intended to be a scathing review or a rallying statement against this game, it is important to highlight the positives that are actually present. Gameplay revolves around multiplayer matches where the generic corporate bad guy, IMC, is pitted against the generic rag-tag Militia. The players take on the role of pilot for either of these factions, which allows them to call in and command titans. These game types are fairly standard to the modern first-person shooter, with the exception of Last Titan Standing which might be the best mode simply because it gives the players the most time within a titan. Piloting a titan is what the game tries to center itself around, and seamless switching from controlling a pilot to controlling the ironclad war machines is incredibly smooth in comparison to mech games of the past generations. Titans are entertaining, but the real fun lies in the maneuverability of the pilots, who can run along walls, and use jump-packs to perform a second jump in midair. The bells and whistles in Titanfall are nice, but Xbox One’s poster child falls short when it comes to separating itself from any run-of-the-mill, mediocre, shooting game.
The players can participate in a so-called campaign mode where there is a so-called plot that highlights certain characters and events that occur within Titanfall‘s universe, however the only difference between the campaign stages and the standard multiplayer matches is that sometimes players will hear annoying voiceovers from forgettable characters about events they are supposed to care about amidst the chaos. The campaign could be ignored entirely, if it were not for the unlockables that players get for completing it. On top of this, the storyline progresses the same way no matter what team wins or loses, effectively making the campaign able to be completed without even aiming down the sights of one’s gun.
As for the guns, players used to the selection offered in Battlefield or Call of Duty find themselves restricted. Pilots have ten primary weapons and three sidearms to choose from, with the primary weapons having a small number of attachments. Titans get a total of five primary weapons, and four ordnance weapons. Video games are at an age where customizability exhibits itself in nearly every game, and for an Xbox One game as supported and promoted as Titanfall is to provide the player with a mediocre selection of weapons with barely any customization options, makes players just wish there was more.
That’s the issue with Titanfall: there is just not enough stuff to make it a good game. Titans, wall-running, and double jumping may offer some neat features that can possibly be improved upon, but ultimately they do not separate the game from the rest of the lot. This shows in the games scoring. A quick glance at the Metacritic scores shows official reviewers giving praise, but the player base giving an average score of a disappointed 6.2: a score reserved for the boring and uninspired. With the player base expressing such dismay at this game, why are people still playing? The answer might be the worst part about this game: it is just barely fun enough for players to come back to in hopes of finding something worthwhile. If Titanfall cannot produce any expansions before its player base gets tired of the overall mediocrity, Xbox One owners may find themselves spending more time with games like Battlefield or Call of Duty for their first-person shooter fix.
Opinion by Michael Foster