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By NAG3LT22-03-2014
CameronW (editor)

The Defence

Respawn Entertainment
Electronic Arts
Release Date:
US 11-03-2014
EU 13-03-2014

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon X2 2.8 GHz
Nvidia GeForce 8800GT
AMD Radeon HD 4770
4 GB
50 GB
10, 11

The Case

After coming full circle, the creators and former makers of Call of Duty have founded a new game studio, aptly named Respawn, under Electronic Arts. Four years later, their first game – Titanfall – is now available. It is a multiplayer-only shooter focusing on infantry combat both on foot and inside large armored mechs called Titans.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at what Respawn has been working on for the past few years and see how well it panned out.

The Trial

Titanfall is a multiplayer shooter that combines many different elements to provide its own unique experience. The player gets to play the role of a pilot that has the ability to use advanced weaponry. Pilots are very agile, with the ability to run along walls as well as double jump. The 12-player limitation may seem too small, considering the size of the maps, but pilots are not the only things you’ll find on them. There are AI controlled Grunts and robot Spectres, which, similarly to creeps in a MOBA, provide little extra danger, without being as damaging as a real player. The NPC presence and some pre-determined situations also make the game feel more alive and cinematic. Obviously the main attraction of Titanfall are the bipedal mechs – Titans. These bipedal mechs can be controlled from inside, but also can act autonomously without direct control. There are three kinds of Titans, covering the whole spectrum: from the fragile and quick, to slow and damage resistant.

Let’s go!

Let’s go!

There is a limited selection of weapons for the pilots and Titans. Pilots can choose from standard arms like assault rifles or shotguns as well as a unique smart pistol. They also always get to choose one powerful anti-Titan weapon. The tradeoff for the smart pistol (that keeps it from being unbalanced) is that while it can quickly deal with any of the AI opponents you come across, you have to lock onto a player three times before you can fire the unique homing bullets. This can take quite a bit of time when you’re in a fast-paced firefight with people constantly running out of your line of sight. If you are seen while locking on, you are likely to lose the skirmish. Each weapon, except the anti-Titan ones have attachments, unlocked by completing weapon specific challenges.

Even with all their power and durability, Titans are the fragile kings of the battle. The level design is good at providing both open spaces for mech combat and tight spaces and ways for pilots to hide and maneuver. While anti-titan weapons can do a considerable amount of damage, the rodeo is the most dangerous thing a pilot can do to enemy Titan. By riding on it, shields can by bypassed and the core health of a mech is attacked directly. Unless taken care of, a pilot on rodeo can destroy a Titan very quickly.

3 on 1 ends quickly.

3 on 1 ends quickly.

There are five different game modes available. Attrition seems to be the most popular, being more-or-less a standard Team Deathmatch scenario. The Pilot Hunter mode is similar, but only killing the pilots themselves count towards the total score. Hardpoint mode is a territory control mode, which gives points to the team controlling the majority of three available bases. Last Titan Standing is a single-life mode consisting of several rounds, where everybody spawns in their Titans and at the end, the team with no Titans left loses the round, even if the pilots are still alive. Due to low player count, the team which gets numerical superiority ends up winning the round most of the time. Finally, there is a classic Capture the Flag mode. Matchmaking system in place only allows you to constantly play one of them or rotate through all of them.

There is a progression system which unlocks new weapons and abilities as you level up. Just like in CoD games, there is a prestige system called “generations”. After reaching level 50, and completing some challenges, you can reset your level to get additional badge in front of you name and an experience boost to level up and unlock stuff again. Burn Cards are a bonus that you can earn by completing either matches or challenges. You are allowed to pick a maximum of three before each match and they can either last until your first death, or in some cases, they last until the end of the game. The total number of Burn Cards you can carry are limited so you’re encouraged to use them as much as possible. The bonuses given by the Burn Cards vary from being straight benefits to your weapon’s power to more interesting things like having all AI controlled units ignore you. The end of each match provides the last interesting activity – evacuation. The losing team must reach the evacuation shuttle in time, while the winners try to kill them all or destroy the shuttle before it takes off. This element softens the loss and thus makes the game more enjoyable.

Welcome to no-fly zone.

Welcome to no-fly zone.

There are 15 maps in the game, each of which is distinct and has its own story played out on loading screens and in the level design. The maps range from a section of a large city and a military base to a destroyed vacation resort, but there are more map themes in game as well. Nine of the maps are in the multiplayer campaign, which provides some additional story to them.

The campaign itself is quite disappointing. Each mission is simply a standard attrition or hardpoint match with some storyline additions in the background. The maps in campaign and classic multiplayer differ mostly just in the pre-round cutscene and starting locations. There will always be some chatter from characters during the mission and some small scripted sequences will happen. These cutscenes do not affect the gameplay in any meaningful way. No matter who wins each level, the main story will not change except for small details in the dialogue. If you want to unlock all of the Titan chassis for custom loadouts, the completion of the campaign for both sides is required. The campaign just serves as a tour of the game to familiarise yourself with maps while playing the same enjoyable game modes. There can be problems with matchmaking, as the game can sometimes throw you back to earlier levels if it cannot find a lobby for the part of the campaign you’re on.

Let’s roll!

Let’s roll!

The technical side of Titanfall is unimpressive. Fortunately, unlike some other EA games, Titanfall works well and seems to be bug-free. In terms of graphics and system requirements, the Source engine, even with all of Respawn’s modifications, still shows its age. 3 GB VRAM requirement for the highest quality textures comes as a result of the lack of texture streaming. All textures are loaded constantly and if your card does not have a large enough memory, constant swapping with RAM will drop framerate even on the very capable GTX 770.  Fortunately, Respawn has adjusted the textures in the settings below maximum after Beta, giving more priority to the textures often seen up close, while sacrificing the quality of environment textures. The particle effects provide some life to the levels, but there are some quite noticeable draw distance disappearances for smaller objects. One spot where Respawn really succeeded was in the game’s animations, which feel very fluid and natural.

The audio in Titanfall is decent. The distinct sound effects for movement, weapons, and Titans allow you to hear and understand your surroundings quite well. Due to the small teams, the voice communication is quite simple to use. However, Respawn’s decision to force everybody to keep 35 GB of uncompressed audio on disk is very annoying. They did this to meet quite low minimum CPU requirements by avoiding audio decompression, but annoying everybody else in the process. Finally, there is a way the game handles servers. Microsoft’s Azure cloud server platform is very robust and powerful, and can scale based on demand. As many different users use it, there should not be any problems with Titanfall servers even when everybody decides to play the game at the same time. On another side – as soon as EA drops Titanfall’s support, they will stop paying for the servers. In addition, depending on where you live, there might not be any Azure servers close to you and you will be out of luck.

The Verdict

Overall, I found Titanfall to be a very enjoyable action shooter that brings something to the table for gamers of any skill level. There are AI controlled bots which will provide self-esteem for less successful players, while the best will find a lot of flexibility. Do not expect to play competitively in public matches, as random elements can change the situation too far from perfect balance. The graphics are nothing too be too excited about, and the forced matchmaking system is too limited compared to freedom of user-run servers in other games. However, as long as EA supports the game near you, Titanfall should consistently remain playable without problems. If you like short matches and playing just for simple fun, Titanfall is a good game to get.

Case Review

  • Good Maps: 15 maps featured in the game are both quite different and well balanced.
  • Fun: There are many possibilities to excel at for players of any skill level.
  • Balance: There is no ultimate force, each approach has its pros and cons.
  • Animation: The movement look amazing, the different ways to get into a Titan all look good.
  • Microsoft Azure Servers: The connection quality can be very good, but matchmaking is the only option available.
  • Weapon Selection: There are less weapons than in most modern war shooters, but they are well balanced.
  • Online Campaign: Almost no different from standard matches, including only weak narrative.
  • Graphics: Even with all modifications, Source engine shows its age in both underwhelming visuals and passable performance.
  • Install Size: Forced 35 GB install of uncompressed audio.
Score: 4/5
Fun multiplayer shooting action.


You’ve heard it all before – “Titanfall is just Call of Duty with mechs” – to which some will respond, “No it’s totally not!” To all you fans - yes, Titanfall IS Call of Duty with mechs. To all you haters - shut the hell up. Call of Duty with mechs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Both games succeed at what they try to accomplish. They’re both fast and fun – if a tad mindless – examples of multiplayer shooting at its (almost) finest. Titanfall evolves the formula originally set by the CoD franchise with a number of well-implemented features that cater to a whole host of new play styles. No longer is it about either camping or rushing. You can still do that, but now you can also get on top of buildings with the jetpack and the parkour mechanics. You can also call in your very own titular “Titan” mech that can take quite the beating before biting the dust. Maps are larger, more open, and they all cater perfectly to all of these playstyles at once. There aren’t any Nuketown or Operation Metro style maps to be found here. No map will force you to play in a way you find uncomfortable.

A campaign mode is available in addition to the standard multiplayer, but it’s laughable. It’s essentially standard multiplayer with bots and some cutscenes. It doesn’t even matter if you win or lose, the outcome is exactly the same no matter what. Worse yet is that you’re actually forced to endure this “campaign” twice in order to unlock the other mech types. The bots are also incredibly stupid, but they add to the experience, making you feel like there’s a big battle going on in every match and you’re this superhuman who can only be stopped by a select few others on the planet. However, it all feels a little sloppy in execution. In fact, Titanfall feels sloppy in several other areas too. One thing you’ll notice is that the price you pay for the amount of content you get is nowhere near justifiable. You have a decent selection of large and detailed maps for a MP-shooter, but the few game modes available are all uninspired, unoriginal, and woefully outplayed at this point. The new mechanics do add some longevity to these old modes, but not enough to last forever.

Games that aren’t about challenging weapon handling, teamwork, or tactics need other things to compensate. Most modern shooters compensate by adding a plethora of unlockable weapons, attachments and other customizable bits and bobs, but Titanfall doesn’t do a very good job here either. There are only three pistols, practically a single primary weapon of each type with a couple of unlockable scopes and silencers for each, and some special abilities for both pilots and Titans available. It’s bare bones, to put it mildly. After only a few hours, you have seen and tried it all, and you’re expected to grind through the monotonous game modes through prestige level after prestige level. In the end, Titanfall is a solid shooter that you can have a lot of fun with, but the fun won’t last for very long before you’ll likely get bored. You might at this point start asking if it was worth dishing out full price plus ten dollars/pounds/euros/whatever for the game in the first place when other games do very similar things for a fraction of the price. It needs more content, but you won’t get any more of that unless you want to flip up your wallet and start paying even more.

Score: 3.5/5


Titanfall, Call of Duty’s dirty little step-brother and the successor to the throne, is out in the wild. The game had a difficult birth, with the mess between Activision and the original CoD creators, but has as good of a gene pool and probably a clearer vision than the world’s biggest selling game. You see, it is impossible to talk about Titanfall without mentioning Call of Duty as those games have the same roots and target the same audience.

Titanfall, even though it’s using a completely different engine, looks, plays and feels identical to Call of Duty. The game has practically identical UI, very similar “loose” hit detection and mostly identical controls. However, the game is not a straight clone. It is more like an evolution. Titanfall employs AI bots in the battlefield to keep the action going, as well as for players who have trouble shooting other players but still want to have fun with being able to kill something. After you do get enough kills or spend enough time in the match you get the option to deploy your very own large robot mech, or “Titan”.This is the feature that helps Titanfall stand out from the crowd. Even with Titans on the field you are free to choose if you want to play on foot and leave your Titan in guard or follow mode to be controlled by the AI, or if you want to jump in and wreak havoc on your enemy.

Unfortunately as fun as the multiplayer can be, Titanfall has a lot of shortcomings. A lot of people don’t care for the campaign. While some might not consider this as an issue, the multiplayer aspect of the campaign is very shoddy. It’s just the same as multiplayer mode through all the maps, with some mixed modes and a background story that is sometimes very hard to listen to because of the intense matches being played. The main issue with the story is that you have to finish the whole “campaign” for both factions in order to unlock all the different Titan chassis. That means doing the same maps/modes, just from the different end of the map. Another huge let down is the lack of content. Even though there are quite a few maps, the amount of weapons, gadgets, perks, accessories, and skins is pathetic. This notion is just strengthened by the premium price point. So if you don’t mind not having a proper single player, few guns, and a high price but the same fast paced action as Call of Duty, then go and call down your Titan, as you’re going to have a blast.

Score: 4/5
Comments (3)
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Posts: 341

Call of Duty Mech Warfare 4.

Posts: 1317

That's why the bots and smart pistols are there, man. No skill needed! :p

Posts: 1548

Either its just my luck or I'm getting old but people are kicking my ass