Titanfall Is First Must-Have Xbox One Game

Posted: Feb 17 2014, 11:11am CST | by , Updated: Feb 17 2014, 1:07pm CST, in Gaming


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Titanfall Is First Must-Have Xbox One Game

I haven’t been excited to turn on my Xbox One in quite a while—not since launch day, really, when I first played through some of the system’s launch titles like Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3.

For the past three months, there simply hasn’t been much of a reason to use Microsoft’s new video game console.

For one thing, I’ve been playing most cross-platform titles on the PS4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Tomb Raider both have a graphical leg up on Sony’s system. Other games do as well.

And while the Kinect 2.0 does have some very handy voice commands—I like not having to keep track of a controller while watching shows on Netflix, for instance, and commands like “Xbox Pause” typically work great—unless I’m playing games on the system, it’s usually not on as much as the PS4 or Wii U.

It wasn’t until I got my Titanfall beta invite that I was actually excited to turn on the Xbox One again. I’m sure I’m not alone. EA and Microsoft both have a lot riding on Respawn’s new shooter.

So far, the beta promises a very good multiplayer shooter. I’m impressed. This isn’t even my genre of choice and I’m impressed. Whenever something is this hyped, I find that I grow increasingly dubious, but Titanfall lives up to the hype—or at least, it comes close.

The game is fast. There’s a fluidity of motion that’s really gratifying. So many games treat movement as an afterthought, but in Titanfall you can run, double-jump, dash across walls—all of which is enormously gratifying. In a competitive multiplayer setting, it’s quite refreshing.

Sure, other games have similar abilities. Tribes: Ascend has a combination of skiing and jet-packing that’s pretty exhilarating, for instance. But Titanfall is very much a game in the twitch-shooter tradition of Call of Duty, and in that niche this feels new.

Titanfall makes you feel “superful.” Movement is only partly why. The AI “grunts” provide players with somewhat easier pickings than their human opponents. While you’re still facing off against enemy pilots and mechs, it’s really gratifying to be able to take down some enemy AI.

I’m not the best FPS gamer in the world, and it’s really discouraging in games like Call of Duty to just die and die and die, time and time again, while the five-hours-per-day players waltz over your repetitive corpse. Titanfall let’s you get some shots in, and that helps boost confidence. It has a cyclical effect, and pretty soon you’re doing better against human opponents as well.

One of the best things about Titanfall is the balance. Maps are balanced. Weapons—even the “cheap” smart pistol—are balanced. And the Titans themselves—enormous mechs that you can either pilot or use as companion AI—aren’t hugely overpowered. There were many times I actually took down more mechs than pilots.

I do wish that Titans could hover-jump a la Hawken. It’s irritating to be locked to the ground. But that’s a relatively small complaint.

I also wish that matches were more human-populated. 8 vs. 8 maybe, rather than 6 vs. 6.

But quite possibly my biggest gripe with the game has to do with what isn’t included. The lack of a single-player campaign is really unfortunate. I understand that the real longevity in games like this comes from multiplayer, but it’s nice to back that up with a solo campaign to help flesh out the story and game universe.

Respawn promises a narrative-based multiplayer mode, but from what I’ve seen so far that’s not going to add up to much. And even if it does, I wonder if it will really be a boon to multiplayer, or a distraction. Multiplayer maps are designed to be played over and over. Will story elements actually make this act of repetition less palatable?

Whatever the case, Titanfall is the first major release for the Xbox One since launch. It’s the only major release for the first part of 2014. As the Xbox One continues to trail the PS4, a great deal hinges on Titanfall’s success.

The good news for everyone is that Titanfall is shaping up to be just that—a major success and a nice double-jump forward for the first-person shooter genre. I’m not sure a game confined to competitive maps will be revolutionary, but it certainly gives the Xbox One a valuable IP (even if it is also available on PC and Xbox 360.) Ultimately, it’s just a very satisfying, extremely fun experience which, at their core, is what video games are all about.

I have faith—in spite of previous concerns—that Titanfall will have a smooth launch, given that Respawn has opened the beta floodgates in order to “break” the game prior to launch.

I think the only real question remaining is whether gamers will be willing to fork out full retail for a game that only includes multiplayer. We’ll find out March 11th, when the game officially launches.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

Source: Forbes

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