There’s little denying that 2013 was a marvellous year for videogames, a well deserved swan song for the sternly loyal long lived last generation of consoles – Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. 2013 was arguably one of gamings best years in recent memory. But who cares, old game is old – right? The moment Playstation 4 and Xbox One were released last year gamings most dedicated communities suddenly cast their expectant gaze forward. So then, to celebrate the beginning of 2014, and a hopefully yet another fantastic year for gaming we’ve decided to count down a top ten list of our most anticipated titles slated for release this year, now it’s time for #4 Titanfall.
Mechs are uber cool, that’s just a universal truth, right? I cannot recall a period in my life where there wasn’t a beloved mech dominating pop-culture, whether it be Power Rangers Zords or Metal Gear REX in the 90′s or modern day films like Ironman and Pacific Rim which both star the high powered armoured suits. Now developer Respawn Entertainment is ready to tap into the awesome power of the mech in their forthcoming first person shooter Titanfall – though it’s a pretty safe bet these mechs won’t be piloted by teenagers, or used to slug it out with five hundred foot monstrosities. Not that the absence of those two attributes should temper your anticipation. Production on Respawn’s first ever title is headed up by Vince Zampella the co-founder of Infinty Ward, and staffed by a huge portion of former employees from the Activision owned developer best known for their creation of the monolithic global phenomenon Call of Duty. In essence the same people who revolutionized online FPS are going to try to replicate past successes with their new IP, Titanfall which comes to Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC later this year – an incredibly exciting prospect.
Like it’s bombastic military shooter elder brother Titanfall is a game that prioritises the online multiplayer experience, so much so that it completely omits a single-player campaign. Total absence of single player is almost unheard of in the console realm, whilst PC exclusives like Planetside 2 and Counterstrike are proof the concept can work; testing the theory on a home console is truly ambitious. Let’s not forget though these are the developers who made online multiplayer virtually a requirement, if anyone can set a new standard Respawn can. The decision to cut the single player “fat” is a wise one that affords the developer a single minded focus on constructing a stellar competitive online experience – a better use of their finite resources than building a supposedly necessary sub par campaign. Strangely this is potentially good news for traditionally single player games, if Respawn proves online only games can be both great, and sell, then other publishers may move away from dubious shoe horned in multiplayer modes in games like Tomb Raider.
Regardless of whether or not Titanfall actually has any impact on industry standards it certainly looks to be shaping into a fantastic title. Every journalist whose been lucky enough to play early has had nothing but positive experiences to relay, showering praise upon the shooter in the form of excessive trade show awards. Crammed with intense fast paced gameplay combined with heaps of slick acrobatic movement capabilities Titanfall is a game characterised by it’s blurring non-stop action – blink and you’ll miss it. Insane wall running, incredible leaping and responsive shooting all make Titanfall sound like Call of Duty on a week long sugar rush; that’s before you even factor in the inclusion of the powerful Titans. A selection of different variants of the mechanical beasts are on offer each with their own disparate advantages – some are smaller agile suits and others are lumbering behemoths.
Of course no big title is without scandal and Titanfall is no different as a recent revelation drew controversy when it was noted the games max player count is twelve, broken down into a six vs six match. Though much of the community have seen the newly announced player cap as a hindrance the reality is that Respawn will have tested the game to death before drawing the conclusion that twelve players preserves the best balance of high paced action. More players would result in sensory overload whilst fewer would leave noticeable gaps in high octane fire fights. Don’t worry though, maps won’t be devoid of bodies to shoot at as in addition to human players an unspecified number of AI’s will join the fray.
Titanfall is undoubtedly the premier next gen exclusive for Xbox One, fortunately those without the cash to early adopt the system can pick up the game on either PC or Xbox 360. That’s just as well since Titanfall looks to be one the best upcoming games of 2014. Fans of unfathomably fast paced FPS like Infinity Wards Modern Warfare Call of Duty games should absolutely not miss this. Zampella and his team have revolutionised the genre before – who knows maybe they’ll do it again. Besides, mechs are uber cool, right?