Titanfall screenshot
Titanfall screenshot

It's been the standard for online shooters for decades. When the match timer expires or mission parameters are met, the game will come to an abrupt close, flashing up a screen of the final scores or, if you're really lucky, displaying a short cutscene of the loser's base exploding in a shower of flames. Exciting? Absolutely not.

It's an afterthought, essentially, and much like every other developer out there, I had never really considered how much of a difference experimenting with such a seemingly disposable piece of design can make. But the increased level of immersion offered by Titanfall's Epilogues – the short, action-packed sequences that round out each multiplayer game - is another small, yet remarkable spark of genius that Respawn's debut appears to be laden with.

Titanfall's multiplayer is surprisingly simple to describe. It's a seamless blend of the old and new: the fast-paced nature of Call of Duty's twitchy online shooting moulded with new traversal mechanics and explosive juggernauts to create a familiar yet unique sci-fi shooter. Imagine the fluidity of Mirror's Edge's navigation with guns and mechs layered on top, and you're partway to picturing a typical Titanfall battle.

The matches themselves are fairly typical of the genre. Kill enough men and you'll be able to call in a bonus – in this case a Titan – and kill even more to win the game. But rather than pulling up a win or lose screen, when Titanfall's matches come to a close, they're really just getting started.

Once the battle is over, Respawn's great white hope seamlessly enters into an 'epilogue' state, a short post-match event that sees the losing team evacuating to their dropship and the winners attempting to hunt them down. Kill anybody on the losing team and you'll earn a considerable amount of XP.

Epilogues last a mere 30 seconds or so, but the dynamic twist to the core mechanics dramatically alters the atmosphere and mentality of the match. Temporarily dismissing the rest of the game's smart, team-based approach, Titanfall suddenly ascends into an intense, all-or-nothing game of cat & mouse, as one team desperately seeks refuge in the dropship, while the other locks down the city to cut off their escape. Players stop what they're doing to make a dash for the exit, the horizon aloft with jump jet infantry urgently bouncing between buildings to reach their ship, as Titans swat them from the sky. In the game I played, the losing team's alleviation at making it to the dropship was suddenly shattered after being shot out of the sky by a squad of Titans.

“You get that dramatic finish where you're hopping onto the dropship with one second left to go,” Respawn community manager Abbie Heppe explains, “and it's rewarding because even if you lose, you still have a chance to score points, you have a chance to earn XP. I think adding that kind of stuff in helps players who maybe aren't as good who just want a second chance.”

Having only played a single game of Titanfall, it's impossible to tell whether such an ostensibly cool mechanic may soon grow tedious. But it's moments like this that, in a sea of relatively standard first-person shooters, help elevate it above the rest of the pack.

Respawn could have easily crafted another Call of Duty clone - and in some ways it has - but Titanfall's innovations, no matter how slight, make it one of the most exciting next-gen prospects out there. It may not have what it takes to overthrow Activision's giant from the off, but Respawn's behemoth could eventually have the legs to stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the genre's titans.

New stuff to check out

8 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ cynicalcookie

Q1 2014.
Posted 21:42 on 02 September 2013
cynicalcookie's Avatar

cynicalcookie

when is it out
Posted 21:35 on 02 September 2013
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

Xbox is the CoD console it gets timed exclusives etc ps4 gets the stragglers.
Posted 18:40 on 30 August 2013
Camodude98's Avatar

Camodude98

The problem with titanfall is that it isn't on ps4 meaning it can't be the cod killer
Posted 17:37 on 30 August 2013
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

I look forward to seeing if this does actually hold up from day one of playing and doesn't get old fast, I have always hated the abrupt end to online games especially when your about to get a kill but as you press fire it's game over! been able to finish that shot and then have the panic run bk to your ship to get out alive sounds like a great premise and one I'm sure will be copied into the future of online games.
Posted 14:08 on 30 August 2013
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

It was my understanding that the 300 word count was only for the main review the one that has the score on it as to allow ppl to get the things they need to know out of the review quickly and how it scored rather than a 2 page essay of descriptions leaving separate articles like this to be more descriptive and wordy, also titanfall isn't out till next year so maybe it will drag you into next gen after all.
Posted 14:04 on 30 August 2013
Slender_Man_co's Avatar

Slender_Man_co@ altaranga

I bet you if Dave reviews GTA V there will be more than 300 words written. A review which is a sum up telling you if GTA V is worth your time and one or two more articles about specific gameplay features that work or don't or talking about what Rockstar learned from feedback on GTA IV.
Posted 10:44 on 30 August 2013
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

When I heard that Burns (I think it was him) had handed his pass to Scammell so he could go and play Titanfall at GamescomI feared the worst. I just knew there was going to be a hands-on preview cum Respawn suck-up.

And here it is.

But here it isn't, either.

I'll hand it to you with this one, Scammell, I enjoyed reading this. Titanfall wasn't on my watch list, but it is now (even though it's next gen, and I don't think I'll be adopting a PS4/XB1 until at least well into next year). The epilogue twist seems like a nice touch, but that's not really the reason why this game has now entered my "Would like to play at some point" list. Reading this piece I get a strong feeling you are genuinely excited about this game, and that's infectious. I'm not 100% convinced about how "innovating" a 30 second add-on is from reading this piece, but overall I have to say... nice one.

As an aside, I did a quick word count and it came to just over 600. I'm guessing you know where I am going with this already. Seriously now, enough of the 300 word reviews already. This article wouldn't have read nearly as well if it had been half its length. Bogus headlines and an apparent inability to put commas in the right place aside this dude can actually write (yes, you heard that right folks). As can some of your other, non-video production staff as well. Please, please, please let them loose on some of your future reviews (such as GTA V) just to see what a difference it can make?
Posted 10:34 on 30 August 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 14/03/2014
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: EA
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 593
View Full Site