Sometimes the tiniest change can have the biggest impact. Titanfall’s take on first-person shooters offers the latest innovation, even bigger than adding the titans (human-piloted mechs) themselves. That change is the movement. Despite a shooter’s POV display, it’s always been essentially a two-dimensional affair.
Titanfall adds substantial verticality and that makes an immense difference. When I went back to playing Halo 4, I was really annoyed that I couldn’t run up walls. What kind of futuristic super soldier can’t jump more than a few feet? Spartans are strong enough to flip a tank with one hand but can’t kick or punch holes in a wall to climb it? Boring!
There’s no way to play the campaign without an internet connection. It’s annoying. I play at odd hours but sometimes I can’t because there aren’t enough people online.
At first, I thought the Titanfall maps were a little small, but I was still mentally in a two dimensional shooter mode. The more I explored the wall-running and parkour abilities, the more I realized the maps were much larger than they appeared. I’ve yet to see an aspect of a building in the map that you can’t climb around, hang on to and hide in.
Then there’s the titans. You can get in them and pilot them yourself, you can set them to follow you, and you can stop them to guard a point. Personally I like to have mine follow me around and bust heads if someone is trying to sneak up on me.
I’m using a 360, and though there was a lot of drama about the Xbox One requiring an internet connection constantly and Microsoft backing off that decision, at least on the 360 version there’s no way to play the campaign without an internet connection. It’s all multiplayer. The campaign is just a story with other people playing the opposing side. It’s a little annoying since I like to play at odd hours but sometimes I simply can’t because there aren’t enough people online. It would be great if the game would fill in with bots.
The story itself is a little thin and frankly I didn’t pay much attention to it. I do however, like the commentary, Halo-style, when you’re doing well, they will say things like “You are dominating that pilot,” or “he’s going to hold a grudge.” It’s a nice twist instead of just yelling out your achievement (like Halo). it seems like someone’s really watching you and encouraging you, the only problem is it gets a bit repetitive.
Sometimes I think that the era of the shooter may be coming to an end. Call of Duty and Battlefield are always slick, but they lack personality and creativity. Then Gears of War’s horde mode was so ground-breaking it nearly became a requirement for all shooters after. I think 3D movement is going to do the same for future shooters. Two dimensions are just not enough.