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Titanfall (PC) impressions: Frenetically fun robot violence -- when the servers work

Hayden Dingman | March 12, 2014
I could probably write my Titanfall review right now. I've played about fifteen hours of the game, all-told. I've finished most of one of the multiplayer "campaigns," though everyone left our server before we completed the whole run. I've ranked higher than the beta's Level 14 cap. I've killed some people. I've killed some robots. I've run on some walls.

I could probably write my Titanfall review right now. I've played about fifteen hours of the game, all-told. I've finished most of one of the multiplayer "campaigns," though everyone left our server before we completed the whole run. I've ranked higher than the beta's Level 14 cap. I've killed some people. I've killed some robots. I've run on some walls.

I understand Titanfall well enough that yes, I could write a review.

But I won't. And Battlefield 4's continued server woes are the reason why. And, well, I guess SimCity's high-profile connection issues, too. After two high-profile online meltdowns from EA developers last year, I'm just not willing to formally review and score this online-only game prior to seeing how the servers hold up for a few days after launch. I hope you can forgive me.

That being said, here are my impressions after playing the PC version.

Did you play the beta?
Well, did you? Because wow, Titanfall's full release feels pretty damn close to the beta. More maps, more weapons to unlock, more options, another assault rifle, another sniper rifle, another shield-type thing for your Titan. Different in the particulars, but largely the same ideas. This is still Titanfall.

And that's not a bad thing. Titanfall is a lot of fun. For the benefit of those who didn't play the beta, I wrote a fairly extensive preview here. Read on for a summary.

Titanfall is, in many ways, exactly what its critics claim: Call of Duty with giant robots. That description's more than a bit reductive, but it's apt — this is the same arcadey, fast-paced shooter action that defines Call of Duty, which of course is no surprise considering many of developer Respawn's key players came over from Infinity Ward following the Modern Warfare 2 royalty debacle.

There are some key differences. The giant robots, of course, which are called Titans and come falling out of the sky like some post-apocalyptic song by The Weather Girls. You can either control your Titan directly, gaining extra armor and firepower, or let the AI control it. The latter essentially gains you a giant buddy who draws fire and distracts enemies while you run around picking them them off from behind.

Also you occasionally call your Titan down on top of another Titan and crush the enemy underneath your giant metal heel and it feels so damn awesome.

The other key difference is mobility — an important trait of shooters in the '90s that fell to neglect in the Halo/Medal of Honor/Call of Duty/Everything is so Realistic era. Titanfall's soldiers jump, double-jump, wall-run, and wall-climb with ease, sprinting around levels and leaping large obstacles in a single bound or five.

 

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