Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 (TBL), PC (reviewed)
This is not good.
No, no, we’re not referring to Titanfall. Well, not directly at least.
It’s just that every once in a while something shows up that leaves a trail of insults that would put South Park to shame, garner intense hatred for others’ opinions and result in what could quite possibly a complete and total severance from people whom you’d consider co-workers and friends…
…is what I would say if this were one of the many religious or Indian election driven debates that have been peppering the internet ever so often. Thankfully, the cause for argument is Titanfall. And the fine folks at iLLGaming are made up of sterner stuff. Or so it seems.
Without further deliberation, this is what happens when two of the site’s most diametrically opposite gamers (read this to know why) decide to play Titanfall. They are:
Sahil: runs the website. Too honest for everyone else’s own good. Voted Delhi’s most eligible bachelor by women over 30. Has played enough multiplayer shooters to pass off as an army reservist.
Rishi: fanboy of all things robots from Macross to Transformers. Rumour has it that he’d drop to the floor and cry, creating a scene at local toy stores until his parents got him Optimus Prime action figures. Given the way that story was narrated, we would not be surprised if this was a recent event.
Is the outcome as nasty as the nuclear fallout from an exploding mech or does it end up like the damp squib that was COD: Ghosts? Read on to find out.
R: So. Titanfall!
S: No. You mean: “So. Titanfall.”
R: Huh? I meant what I said. The exclamation mark was because it was AWESOME!
S: Eh? I don’t think so.
R: Giant robots! Parkour! Gameplay similar to the good old shooters from the 90s!
S: Was that the last time you played a multiplayer shooter?
R: Sick burn, bro. I’ve played a few but mostly Team Fortress 2, Battlefield 4 and the odd bout of Halo.
S: Wow. You have a lot to learn, son.
R: Meh. Say what you want, the game is super-newb friendly. Controlling a gigantic robot spewing rockets of death in every direction while trampling on my enemies never gets old. Muahahahahaha!
S: Calm down, I almost detected traces of drool while you were saying that. Odd, since this is a text-based conversation…
R: *wipes drool off keyboard* Oh shush, troll. What I’m getting at is, Titanfall is a lot of fun to play, regardless of how elite or not your multiplayer skills are.
S: Well. I agree. To a point. I found it more fun to play as the Pilot than a Titan, many times I didn’t even call my Titan, even though it was ready to drop down, in submission to my control. Pilots have good manoeuvrability. The game does a good job in realising vertical gameplay (with the wall runs and double jumps and all), and this can only be experienced when you play as a Pilot.
R: Here’s what I do: I end up trying to kill as many foes (Grunts or otherwise) and launch my Titan as soon as possible. I prefer the deliberate pace of play while piloting a mech combined with the fact that it complements Hardpoint, which is my favourite game mode as well.
S: Let’s agree to disagree. I feel that playing as a Pilot you have more control over the battlefield, especially in modes like Capture the Flag, which is the best mode hands down. Had super fun camping and sniping out the opposing flag runner.
R: Capture the Flag? Now look who’s stuck in the 90s, granpa! Gotta say though, the maps are pretty slick, don’t you think?
S: Level and map design is what Respawn has aced. Great maps. I hope we get new maps, and we can play them without those darned Season Passes.
R: Sure. Ask for the ability to play EA games without Origin while you’re at it. Speaking of which, I haven’t had a single issue in-game or out. Surprising, given how EA’s PC offerings have behaved in the past.
S: Did you mistake an Xbox One for a PC? Things weren’t that smooth on my side. Game crashed a couple of times after the EA and Respawn splash screen. It takes multiple attempts to get the game running, though sometimes it runs on the first go. At first I thought it was an issue with my machine, until I saw EA acknowledging these issues as well. I can live with this though, its not a major hindrance. And it’s the pain I’m willing to go through to enjoy the game.
R: My only grouse on the tech side of things was the amount of space the game consumed. 50GB is insane whichever way you cut it. I understand that this large install is due to uncompressed audio, but given how backwards ISPs are, especially in our part of the world, it is a bit messy to deal with. Besides, hard drive space isn’t exactly cheap here either.
S: Well. If you have a semi-decent PC capable (I rock an Nvidia GeForce GTX 770) of playing the game, you definitely have the means to get by such hurdles. That goes for anyone worrying about these issues. And if a 50GB download is such a glaring issue, just get a physical copy right?
R: And miss out on the lovely savings of approximately ₹1K that EA’s Mexico store has it for?
S: How do you obtain such a deal?
R: While I haven’t done it, tons of others have. Using a VPN.
S: You’re just proving my point: if people are willing to go through the hoops to save a thousand bucks and use a VPN, something like a 50GB install is a moot point. Stop dragging this out, quite unlike Titanfall’s superlative tutorial.
S: Exactly! Loved the tutorial: no bullshit, “this happens like this, bye bye, all the best”. I want all games to have tutorials like this. No nonsense stuff. Just like the story campaign.
R: Oh. You mean the boring one and a half hour or so of mandatory play if you want to unlock every titan in the game? I see its value in terms of introducing us to the universe, but it felt like I was forced to play it to get access to every mech. It didn’t feel compelling enough. Would have preferred it if I could unlock them by just playing regular multiplayer matches.
S: Campaign is short, but I kinda like this format. Rather than going for a scripted single played experience like COD and BF, this is basically multiplayer with a plot attached that I don’t care for (and neither should you). But it succeeds in introducing you to the world, so you’re ready for the real thing, which is multiplayer of course.
R: Ummm…sure. It’s just that I spent more time customising my Pilot and my Titans instead of being emotionally invested in the game’s lore. There might be potential in it, but the way of presentation wasn’t that effective. Much like the game’s AI.
S: You’re referring to the Grunt and Spectre AI? Why do they just stand there? There are tons of them! And they don’t even shoot back. It’s infuriating.
R: Well. To me, they’re important because they don’t make me feel like a complete and utter failure in online multiplayer games as I can kill them and most importantly, they let me call down a Titan faster.
S: True, but ditzy AI aside, it doesn’t help me from not feeling that I’m playing COD and BF all over again and getting in the rat race of levelling up and completing pre-defined challenges and unlocking iron sights and scopes. While I’m having a bloody good time playing Titanfall, I’m sick of this generic path. Innovation is needed in the progression element here, seriously.
R: I know right? It’s a bit of a dichotomy. On one side, the core game elements are fantastic. A mix of fast, twitch-based pilot shooting and deliberate mech combat, while the surrounding elements outside those moments of melee-ing your friends in the face are fraught with modern day design choices that could have been structured better.
S: A problem with these type of games: What’s the motivation to carry on? Once you’re level 20 or 25? Yes, you do have the greed to level up and unlock more stuff, but they really shouldn’t be pulling that anymore, because we have the same things in COD, BF, Payday etc. and the motivation to play the game after 20 hours of gameplay just goes away.
R: Yes, you end up playing it for two reasons. The most obvious being those few moments of fun, the other being a sort of gnawing compulsion to unlock everything. The latter reasoning ends up being a monotony over a period of time. Just like other contemporary shooters.
S: Oh, but the similarity to other shooters extends to matchmaking,which itself is a weird beast. Quite a few times I got matched in a team of sub-level 10s (which was my level at that time too) against a team with everyone over level 40.
R: You too? Faced the same issue in almost all my games. It seems pretty unbalanced. Luckily the loading times and latency have been good throughout. Helps that they have a Singapore data centre. Ping times were never more than 80ms, and this is on a 1Mbps connection.
S: Have to argue about the long term life the game offers. A short story campaign, only a handful of modes and maps, nothing else. Definitely not worth of the ₹3.5k price it commands. While this is definitely a well-made game, it does nothing ‘revolutionary’ per se, and I guess it will be forgotten soon and won’t be asked about again. By the end of 2014. But lets not take anything away from the game, for Titanfall is still damn fun to play, its fast-paced, action filled, and can get a little too intense at times. But the shine wears off after 25 hours.
R: Tsk-tsk. Such pessimism. Though I do think that a multiplayer-only game does not warrant such a high price point. This, along with the game’s umpteen flaws aside; it’s still worth playing simply because it’s more fun than most other multiplayer shooters out there.
S: Uh, Rishi…
S: You’re drooling again.
R: *wipes drool* Piss off Sahil.