13 months later hearing the “Your titan is now ready” feels as good as the first time. I still find myself looking up to the sky as I call mine in, because watching a 20-foot-tall titan onto the battlefield from the Heaven is a glorious sight that you can’t get tired of.
The game focuses on its excellent multiplayer modes. The only thing you can do singleplayer is the helpful tutorial where you can learn and practice your parkour-like move set, execution move, smart pistol, rifles and obviously your titan. Other than that, the action will be always online with other folks to kill. There is some sort of attempt of a two-sided campaign into the multiplayer through a fixed set of maps, in which NPC faction commanders give context to the goals and game modes of each battleground. The only thing you can get out of this mode is that 2 factions are at war and that’s it – the story is reduced to background noise. But not being able to focus on the story because you are having too much fun is never a bad thing.
If you are thinking about spawning Titans all day long, let me tell you they don’t give you a free win by any means. Pilots have many tools and abilities to balance out the odds. They can become invisible or use stims to run at inhuman speed through the battleground. You can even hop onto the titans shoulders, pop the cover and start shooting the head. On the other hand, the movement of the titans are swift and smooth and you are not required to press weird combinations to execute badass moves. They also have many counters like dashes, Electrical Smoke, Vortex Shields or Particle Walls.
If this is not enough for you, you will be glad to know there are 3 completely different Titans. You have the Ogre, which is engineered to be the ultimate battle tank, in Titan’s clothing. As a consequence, the Ogre places a premium on its armor and offensive capabilities. If you prefer the other extreme you have the Stryder, faster than every other Titan, and finally you can opt for the jack of all trades, the Atlas.
Titanfall progression system is a shy wink to RPGs, and also a smart and logical one. You can reach up to level 50, and then regenerate yourself and become level 1 again but with faster XP gains and a badass tag in the matchmaking lobby. Levels will unlock you different tools and weapons, but none of them are more powerful – just different. At level 1 you have a Sidewinder rocket launcher to destroy titans while on foot, and as you level up you gain access to MGL, a magnetic grenade launcher that fires magnetized grenades and that will attach to Titans.
You also get “burn cards” – single-use perks that last the duration of one life. These cards are rewards for completing various challenges and scenarios. Once players unlock the Burn Card feature at level 7, they will be able to access the Burn Card menu option from the main menu or in-game lobby and choose which Burn Cards they would like to equip. You will unlock up to 3 slots at level 20, and all of them have different abilities and strategic purposes. A card can give you a permanent stim boost effect, useful for Capture the Flag mode, and another card can grant you double XP for hitting titans, useful for Last Titan Standing.
And yet with so many tools and options, everything feels balanced. You will never be a demigod simply by getting access to specific cards or weapons – your skill is what will you give an edge.
All 3 expansions are free to download now, and they provide different maps among other things. Every single map is completely different, and they all adapt very well to each of Titanfall’s game modes. Truth be told tho, this is largely because each different mode is mostly a slight variation of the main concept. Last Titan Standing gets you in a titan from the start and flanking becomes essential, while Capture the Flag is a mode we all already know. Attrition is a point-based team deathmatch, while Hardpoint domination is best described as Battlefield’s Conquest. Finally there is Pilot Hunter where yeah, you guessed it, you get points for killing pilots – not titans.
Titanfall is a fusion of well known FPS games and modern design ideas. It fuels an otherwise typical game with titans, cards and perks, it includes many different types of weapons and every single kill feels rewarding thanks to the balanced state the game achieves. The well designed maps avoid the typical “best loadout”, and everything becomes dynamic and situational.