independent

Saturday 30 August 2014

Refreshing new twist on FPF format

Published 18/03/2014 | 05:34

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IT'S safe to say that Titanfall is far more than the Call-of-Duty-with-robots that many critics instantly dismissed it as. Titanfall, as it turns out, is an invigorating multiplayer first-person shooter that melds fresh mechanics with familiar ones, creating a spectacular new moments almost every time I play. I only wish there was more of it.

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Right off the bat, Titanfall carcves a very particular niche for itself in that it has no Single Player mode to speak of, other than a short but concise tutorial. What's most impressive and unique about this game, however, is that it somehow manages to retain both a credible and very fun balance between two distinct opponents, jet-pack equipped soldiers, and towering twenty-foot mech robots.

One of Titanfall's great strengths is the simplicity and natural feel of movement. Whether you're jetpack-jumping and wall-running as a pilot, or dashing around with your titan's lateral jets, you just aim at where you want to go and press A. You'll never wrestle with a video game-y quick-time event or button-mashing sequence in order to execute a badass move. It always happens in the most straightforward way it can.

Each of the three titan varieties feels different and has its situational usefulness. If you prefer to go toe-to-toe, equip the Ogre with the Triple Threat grenade launcher, kit it out with the Particle Wall force field that temporarily protects you from incoming fire on one side, and you'll pack a devastating punch. But if you do, the nimble, dash-happy Stryder can actually run circles around you, peppering you with chaingun fire and bombarding you with the cluster bomb ordnance ability as it goes. I came to prefer one extreme or the other, but the Atlas is a good middle-ground between the two.

All of the maps adapt very well to each of Titanfall's game modes, but that's largely due to how they're mostly slight variations on the strong main concept. Last Titan Standing issues everyone a titan from the get-go and makes teamwork and flanking strategies essential, while the threat of titans carrying the flag crowns CTF as an especially appealing team exercise.

Attrition is point-based team deathmatch, making use of the aforementioned enemy-pecking-order economy, while Hardpoint Domination is like Battlefield's Conquest and myriad other similar modes over the years. And then there's Pilot Hunter, which is identical to Attrition except that destroying titans carries no payoff if the pilot can safely eject before detonation, because your team only earns points for killing pilots.

Titanfall represents a refreshing new twist on the very tired, and very old FPS format (ironically, some of these offending releases feature the word 'modern' in their titles).

Content-wise, Titan is a little on the lackluster side, with game modes coming in a bit short on numbers and a disappointing amont of customisation options available. Fortunately, with the gameplay being so satisfying, and the potential for future updates remaining a distinct possibility, Titanfall is a solid recommendation and an absolute blast to play with a few friends.

Gorey Guardian

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