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Titanfall: can Respawn convince millions to upgrade to Xbox One?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:00 GMT By Stace Harman

It may be available on PC and Xbox 360, but after hands-on time with Titanfall, Stace Harman asks if this Microsoft-exclusive FPS can push gamers towards a brand new console.

Titanfall_newart_crop

“It is Titanfall’s billing as a next-gen Microsoft exclusive that the Redmond giant will hope can help it deliver both a significant return and an important advantage over its rival.”

The new console generation is yet to boast a bona fide system-seller. Forza Motorsport 5 and Killzone: Shadow Fall give a glimpse of what the new machines are capable of, but there’s been no one single game yet able to coax millions of people en masse to shell out the small fortune required to upgrade to an eighth generation console.

Microsoft will surely be hoping that Titanfall proves to be that title. While this new first-person shooter IP is also set for release on PC and 360, it is Titanfall’s billing as a next-gen Microsoft exclusive that the Redmond giant will hope can help it deliver both a significant return and an important advantage over its rival. Certainly on paper it has the chops to deliver: developer Respawn Entertainment is formed of a large number of ex-Infinity Ward staff after being founded by former Call of Duty major-players, Jason West and Vince Zampella.”. What’s more, Titanfall belongs to that most popular of genres, the FPS, and features giant robots/mechs/Titans that fall from the sky and invite you to climb inside to wreak merry hell. So, are you ready to hand over your cash yet?

A recent preview event held in London gave me the chance to have my first prolonged bash at Respawn’s debut project and to find out whether its preview build can elicit the same excitement for its potential as I felt during my recent time with 2K’s multiplayer offering, Evolve. However, while I’m most certainly impressed by Titanfall’s bombast, bullet-play and balance of combat, it’s going to take longer to convince me of its staying power.

Titanfall Screen 1

Some of this reticence is due to the load-outs, maps and game modes I was afforded time with, which were fun but rarely breathtaking. Three game modes were on offer; Attrition, Hardpoint and Last Titan Standing, all of which offered variations on familiar FPS staples. Attrition serves as a straight-forward jumping-off point in which you start on foot as a pilot and aim to take out both enemy pilots and AI grunts to expedite the delivery of your titan.

It’s a straightforward death-match as both teams race to a fixed point-target and while seeing two titans clash amidst the husks of ruined buildings is initially a sight to behold, it lacks the strategic edge of the second of the modes, Hardpoint. This is a familiar point-capture mode in which both teams vie for possession of three command posts and it offers an additional method of scoring XP and points, aside from an out and out fire-fight. The final mode, Last Titan Standing dispenses of the necessity to earn a titan and instead everyone starts with a one of these hulking suits of mechanised armour, forgoes the ability to respawn and, as the name suggests, fights for points awarded to the team that possess the last remaining titan on the map.

“While I’m most certainly impressed by Titanfall’s bombast, bullet-play and balance of combat, it’s going to take longer to convince me of its staying power.”

Just one titan of the three was available here, which nerfed tactical considerations to a degree. The Atlus titan initially comes in two configurations of Assault and Tank, whose differences are predicated on the load-outs of weapons, tactical ability, ordinance and kit. Once you level-up, an additional load-out becomes available but it’s only once you reach level ten that you can start to customise each element of your titan and start to really take ownership of your character selection.

Perhaps the biggest revelation for me was that it was the foot soldiers – or Pilots – who have the most immediately recognisable options for varied tactics. Like the titan, a pilot’s load-out comes in two flavours, Assassin and Rifleman, with the former boasting the strategic edge in its equipment and abilities. At level five, you can add three customisable pilot builds to the mix and cherry-pick weapons and abilities of the predefined classes, as well as focusing on completing challenges to unlock additional mods for weapons and kit.

Titanfall Screen 3

Unsurprisingly, the pilots are much more nimble than the titans. They’re equipped with the ability to double-jump and wall-run which makes for tense face-offs in confined quarters and gives you a genuine fighting chance against the less agile titan-bound pilots. It’s also possible to mount an enemy titan from above and to go to work on its wiring, with the encumbered party’s only option for defence being to have one of their own team shoot you off or for them to disembark from their titan to take you on themselves. These abilities, combined with each pilot’s standard issue anti-titan firearm, helps maintain an excellent balance in the fight between pilot and titan and ensures that each round ebbs and flows rather than becoming a race to a titan-heavy end.

Much has been made of Titanfall’s six-versus-six player limit but, unsurprisingly, experiencing it in person reveals it to be as a result of a careful balancing rather than an arbitrary and artificial cap. Although neither of the maps that I played were particularly memorable, both offer decent support for a mix of 12 human players in addition to a number of AI grunts and Spectres (more powerful soldiers that show-up once players start calling-in their titans).

In fact, each map is apparently capable of supporting up to 50 combatants, provided that 38 of them are AI foot soldiers. This suggests that should a mode exist in which titans are vetoed then the player-cap could theoretically exceed 12. However, trying to fit significantly more than 12 titans on a map at any one time could result in pandemonium as allies try to manoeuvre out of one another’s way and the street sections descend into farcical gridlock.

Titanfall Screen 3 (2)

By the end of the three-hour preview session I’m left impressed but not blown-away. Titanfall feels like it will live or die on its ability to offer a personal and highly customisable experience and to assess that I’ll need to spend time with all of the titan classes, some additional game modes and a handful of more varied maps. For now, it’s certainly fun but, on this evidence, I don’t feel that it’s quite yet the game that will make people sell their children to raise the money for an Xbox One. Maybe that’ll come with the game’s release next month or the DLC that’s planned for later this year.

Titanfall is set for release on PC and Xbox One from March 11 in the US, March 13 in Australia and March 14 in Europe. The 360 version will be available two weeks later in each territory. Registration for the beta is live now.

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48 Comments

  1. No_PUDding

    Jason West left like a year ago… It’s not headed up by both of them, only Zampella.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. OlderGamer

    Screw Titanfall. Play Hawken on PC instead. Or you know, just play TF on PC too if that is your bag. Really the hype this game is getting is sad. To each their own ofc, but to me Destiny looks much better(only comparing because of legendary studios bringing new IP/games). But if you like run n gun, and want to play Mechs, play Hawken.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. MFBB

    Yeah I also think Destiny and The Devision are both so much more interesting than Titanfall.

    But I never liked any Call of Duty and Titanfall is just that + a mech as weapon.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Stace Harman

    @No_PUDding Of course he did. Thanks for the spot; flagged-up for amendment.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Legendaryboss

    No. It won’t. If we are talking 360 to One: theres no reason to Titanfall is available on 360 2 weeks later.
    PS3 to One: Maybe.
    PC to One: See 360, – 2 weeks.
    Wii U to One: See PS3.

    If it were full on exclusive i would say most definitely, but this MS exclusive thing people are chanting? No.

    As for Titanfall i fear it was overhyped (Looking at preorder estimates, that payed off) and now many people will literally be expecting the second coming of Jesus when they play or have played it.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Xbone

    6v6? Filled with brainded bots? LOL NO THANKS

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Legendaryboss

    @Legendaryboss Also certain previews noted the COD with mechs stance after they played it. Which is a plus.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. schrodinger_cat

    Titanfall sure looks promising, but not quite MS would hope…Clearly, there is a awful lot of a marketing behind this game

    #8 1 year ago
  9. polygem

    well, in my current situation it would be a H U G E downgrade :)

    #9 1 year ago
  10. polygem

    edit:
    i hope that – at some point – this year – destiny – will come to pc

    #10 1 year ago
  11. CyberMarco

    @polygem PC beggars, go make a petition or something…

    #11 1 year ago
  12. X14EVR

    millions have already upgraded to the glorios xbox one and sony might be ahead in sales now they will all come crawling back when they realise they have made mistakes by buying consoles aimed at cheapskates and children have fun playing games that have no story and only have instructions like dont starve what the fuck is that? can hardly even call it a game
    im enjoying playing titanfall and ryse while you all try to copy the pc shitty race playing indy games that have no funding because publishers no nobody is going to buy

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Mike W

    I don’t think this is going to be the system seller MS hopes it will be. Maybe if it was a “true” exclusive to the XBO and wasn’t on the 360 and PC, then maybe.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Mike W

    @X14EVR

    It’s not that serious kid, grow up.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. X14EVR

    @CyberMarco this ebsite has to many pc beggars now i need to go find a site that has less so there is better conversations all i see around here is stupid ps4 and pc talk about shity indy games

    #15 1 year ago
  16. polygem

    @X14EVR

    try this one then:

    http://officerandagentleman.net/education_page.htm

    more educated plus more gentlemen

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Mike W

    @OlderGamer

    I agree, I think it’s going to have a niche audience (I could be wrong though) and I think anyone that has a XBO is going to probably pick this up if this is their type of game. But I think MS would have put the XBO in a nice position, if TF was just coming out for that system.

    But I never saw the hype for this game when they showed it at last year’s E3, but that’s just me.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. X14EVR

    @Mike W why would xbox want tf? hats hats hats hats hats hats hats pay us for more hats pc games are fucking stupid

    #18 1 year ago
  19. OneLifeCycle

    No it will not. Their mistake? Offering it on the older 360 platform as well.

    Does MS even know what they’re doing? This entire XBone thing is a circus. I can’t take anything they do seriously. It all just makes me laugh. Are they going to offer all their future exclusives on the 360 platform as well? I’m sure that’ll boost XBone sales tremendously!!!!

    Yay for Microsoft hilarious business decisions!!! So fun(ny) to watch all this unfold.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Mike W

    @X14EVR

    ??

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Cobra951

    @Mike W

    Some canned wisdom should be obvious to you by now: Do not feed the trolls.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. TheKeyPit

    I’m really looking forward to a good multiplayer game for xbox one. There won’t be one until Destiny later this year. Until then, Titanfall will be played and enjoyed.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. boiled lobster

    (Q) Can Respawn convince millions to upgrade to Xbox One?

    Kissing nearly 650 dollars goodbye (Xbox One + Titanfall + tax) is not an impulsive decision. It is tearfully calculated.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. fearmonkey

    Why would anyone buy an Xbox One to play Titanfall when it will be better on pC? If it was like Halo and not coming out on PC, thats different.

    buying a $500 console and a $30 to $60 XBL sub to play that game or spending slightly more to get a PC that plays better, I wouldn’t think it will be anywhere near the system seller Halo was and is going to be.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. BrokenSpline

    @fearmonkey

    And not even that with the system requirements you can have a 5-7 year old high spec machine and play the game.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. PS-FART

    @OneLifeCycle
    Do you need bones for your holes? :)

    #26 1 year ago
  27. PS-FART

    @OlderGamer
    Screw you idiot ! ho ho ha ha :)

    #27 1 year ago
  28. dkpunk

    I’d love to see these comments brought up at the end of the year. This will sell a boat load of XB1′s. Anyone that says otherwise is delusional.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. _LarZen_

    “can Respawn convince millions to upgrade to Xbox One?”

    From what I have seen on Twitch and Youtube today I would say a big YES on that question. This is a system seller.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. marporte

    It would have probably sold more X1 units if it was no pc or 360 version available. It seems like EA wanted this to go multi and MS paid to get it as a console exclusive. Based on the fact that Destiny, Division, and COD is coming out on all platforms we will see a TF 2 that hits all platforms because EA wants those sales and leaving Sony out of the market is not making them money. Even though people talk crap and make fun of COD 90% of the people who do still buy it. EA wants the shooter market and with BF4 glitching across the board and MoH out of commission, TF will might be their flagship shooter for multiplayer. MS should have bought the rights to TF instead of GoW but EA wouldn’t sell their best shot at dethroning CoD or Halo.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. MrSec84

    Why would anyone consider this a selling point for the Xbox One, I mean you can either get a dirt cheap Xbox 360 & a sub to XBL if you simply want to just play the game or spend less than an Xbox One & XBL for a better gaming experience.

    When you take the cost of an Xbox One & Xbox Live (needed for anything online) that’s £463.99.

    A gaming PC, with the following specs:

    FX6300 £82.53
    2GB HD7850 XFX GPU £118.95
    8GB 1866MHz DDR3 G Skill £60.85
    24X DVD Re-Writer (Bluray not needed for PC gaming, but add an extra £32.20 for Bluray RW). £11.79
    1TB HDD £43.26
    Windows 8 £71.94
    ASUS M5A78L-M LX3 Motherboard £34.08
    CiT Templar Micro ATX Interior Mesh Case with 500W 12cm PSU £27.04

    All comes out at £450.44 on Amazon UK, so to game at a level noticeably better than XBox One you can do it for around £13 less.

    If you need Bluray then you can pick up a drive for about £44, but here you have a system with an 8X (vs 6X in Xbox One) bluray drive, twice the hard drive space & will run many games natively at 1080p, depending on the settings this could be 60FPS, so much higher than the Xbox One, for less than the price of that console with XBL.

    This PC will no doubt run Titanfall better than the XBox One.

    My point here is that there’s more of a reason to get a gaming PC like this than an Xbox One, because it will play the game so much better.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. MrSec84

    @MrSec84 I should have written:

    “If you need Bluray then you can pick up a drive for about £44, but here you have a system with an 8X (vs 6X in Xbox One) bluray drive, twice the hard drive space & will run many games natively at 1080p, depending on the settings this could be 60FPS, so much higher than the Xbox One, for a bit more than the price of that console with XBL.”

    #32 1 year ago
  33. marporte

    @MrSec84 I have to agree with you on that. Unless MS has a major true exclusive that is only on X1 it will boost sales to a degree but it won’t equal to what Halo did for the original Xbox. Dead Rising (which is probably limited because Capcom has backtracked on RE 4 and put it on 5 other platforms) and Forza 5 (which is pretty cool) are the best exclusives and they haven’t turned the tides yet. The halo 2 remake will push some units for the Halo 5 beta and when MS starts churing GoW remakes it will bring some. E3 will be MS time to wow gamers because they put their foot in their mouths too many times. Nintendo lost this gen in console and all MS needs to do is get something amazing that is not on 360 or PC.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Reddpayn

    @MrSec84
    Hey, that pc is worse than ps4 or maybe as good, but ps4 costs 350 pounds. So why bother to buy that pc to play titanfall? Btw how much does the building work cost for the rig?

    #34 1 year ago
  35. thegrimmling

    I don’t think this game will be a “system seller” for Xbone.

    It is a great concept, but the limitations in matches and being released at the same time on PC and 360 will kill it.

    Also, from the trailers I see a lot of flash, but no substance.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. mistermogul

    I’m not getting an X1 so will grab this on PC if it’s a must-have. Problem is I don’t like the fact there is no SP campaign so will likely give that a miss also…

    #36 1 year ago
  37. klarax

    If the news is true and xbox one version runs at 792p. Then its best to get it on 360 as TV’s dont really support 792p. And it will look really rough

    #37 1 year ago
  38. MrSec84

    @Reddpayn Building a PC is like putting lego together, you just buy the parts you want, maybe watch some videos on youtube to get a good general idea if you’re not familiar with how to do it & then do it yourself.
    There’s no extra cost, what I listed is the full price.

    As far as specs goes the point of my comment was that you could build a rig that runs games significantly better than Xbox One for cheaper than the console, with a years XBL membership (as far as the DVD RW model goes).
    This release of Titanfall isn’t going to come to PS4, so comparing specs & how things would run on PS4 is a bit redundant.

    As far as horsepower goes, it’s CPU is better than the 8 Core Jaguar in PS4 & Xbox One, by quite a wide margin, the GPU is a bit weaker than PS4′s, but still more powerful than Xbox One’s & the system has other benefits, like a larger HDD, better multimedia functionality than both, access to a larger catalog of games & it’s customizable.

    Games like BF4 run better on a 7850 rig, native 1080p, with high settings at 60FPS, which is better than both consoles.

    I was being generous to Xbox One when I only compared it with one years Xbox Live, assuming you game on the system online for 7 years, buying it now, with the addition of that 7 years of XBL (£34.99 per year) adds up to £244.93 + £429 = £673.93, so you could have around an extra £200-£220 to play with when it comes to parts.

    Chuck an extra £110 on a Saphire R9 280X or R9 270X for £40 over the 7850 in my original build.
    Get a better case, power supply.

    The FX6300 is fine, but you could spend £25 more & get an FX8320.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Reddpayn

    @MrSec84
    Thank you for your answer. It is delightfull to see that somebody can make a good and convinient answer to my pretty agressive comment.
    But i highly doubt the fact that the rig you mentioned could run bf on high 1080p 60fps . Mainly because ps4 version probably has better optimization and the consoles architecture differs a little from pcs

    #39 1 year ago
  40. _LarZen_

    @klarax Please tell me you are trying to make a bad joke…you cant…cant be that dumb?

    #40 1 year ago
  41. livewired500

    I could see this being a seller to those people that were already going to buy an xbone, but are just waiting for something to play on it. But for those who already own a 360, they probably won’t chunk down $600 for a game they can pay $60 for. It might be a true system seller if it wasn’t available on last gen hardware.

    I was kind of excited about this game, but don’t know if I want to shell out $60 for it. With the amount of high quality titles on the PC for well under $40, that is about the max I would want to pay for this game. But you know EA and instead of lower the price of entry for a new ip to increase customer base, they will do the opposite.

    That brings me to my last point, EA. EA has lately proven they know how to and will screw up just about every game they touch. I would never pre-order or get overly hyped for a game they have any involvement in. Sure as anything I would not purchase an overpriced voice activated cable box add-on for a potentially DRM and microtransaction riddled, unfinished, underdelivered, or all out broken game (reference EA’s game releases for the last few years).

    #41 1 year ago
  42. justerthought

    Can Respawn convince millions to upgrade to Xbox One? Not if they see the PC version first and realise the XB1 does not have the balls to run it. MS have eyes bigger than their belly for keeping this off the PS4 which would run it like the PC version. It does not appeal yo me so I’m missing nothing.

    #42 1 year ago
  43. boiled lobster

    The Titanfall audience and Xbox One’s target audience couldn’t be more polar.

    Titanfall needs core gamers en masse before its nickel-and-dime scam (err, DLC) will work. But the Xbox One consumer that Microsoft doggedly pursues is unlikely to have the time nor inclination to play games obsessively.

    Getting group A to embrace the gaming habits of group B while marketing to group B will be a tough sell, never mind a buy-in cost that borders on insanity.

    #43 1 year ago
  44. antraxsuicide

    Millions is a little extreme, but the idea is correct. TF is the only next-gen game with this much hype around it. InFamous and Destiny wish they had this kind of positive buzz surrounding it.

    As for the platform argument: by that reasoning, no one would ever buy consoles. A PC like the one mentioned above would be cheaper than any console after just 2 years. But look at that: consoles are selling like crazy. People who buy consoles (the X1′s target demographic) have already written off PCs because they’re PCs. The reasons for this have been covered ad nausea for years, and they still hold true.

    As for the 360, most people won’t even know it’s on the 360. All of the commercials will only mention the X1, and GS, Best Buy, etc… will push the X1 version to sell X1′s. That makes more money for all parties, so they’ll downplay the 360 whenever possible. They’ll talk like the 360 version is the worse version (which it probably will be), and that’ll push the customer into an X1 purchase.

    Remember Rule #1 of sales: if the customer saw TF advertised for the X1 and went to the store, they already wanted to buy the console. Otherwise, they’d stay home. They just want the clerk to give them any excuse to buy it.

    Customer: “So TF is only on X1?”
    Clerk: “No, it’s also on PC and 360.”
    Customer: “It’s better on the new console though, right? Because I don’t have a PC.”
    Clerk: “A little better, yeah.”
    Customer: “Well, I think I’ll pick up the best one.”

    Boom. Clerk pushes more money into his register, and MS sold another unit.

    #44 1 year ago
  45. M. K.

    There’s still people who think it’s better to buy a PC to play a game? Are you serious? Jesus, stay away from this topic, such comments are totally useless. Look at the feedback the game is getting from players(!) Buy and play is the motto, not “I could configure an awesome machine with just 50 bucks in my pocket” bullshit.

    Sill missing my permission to login on the mobile website guys :(

    #45 1 year ago
  46. polygem

    buy a pc. play dayZ. forget about titanfall. maybe play hawken instead….or wait for destiny to buy one of these consoles if you really have to.

    #46 1 year ago
  47. polygem

    you´ve heard it here first: this is NOT a “hardcore” game, this is the definition of a casual shooter. nothing wrong with that but this is as laid back and unchallenging as possible. it was clearly the goal to make this game playable for everyone, again, no problem, but do not expect some depth in this one. it´s a casual shooter through and through, from menues to gameplay. nothing hardcore about this game at all. it´s a mainstream game like mario but with guns and mechs…mario is more challenging though. much more.

    #47 1 year ago
  48. MrSec84

    @Reddpayn That PC rig I posted can run BF4 on high at 1920X1080 60FPS.

    Look on Youtube, loads of people are doing it.
    A 2GB 7850 will run this & many games on high settings 1920X1080 60FPS.

    This game runs locked on lower end cards like the 7770 with better settings than Xbox One.

    The fact that PS4 doesn’t run BF4 better than a 7850 rig kinda disproves the whole better optimization point you’ve made, PS4 has a slightly more powerful GPU than a 7850, either the drivers haven’t been optimized yet or the devs just haven’t optimized the games yet.
    I expect things will improve as time goes on, but for now the multiplats are running better on that kind of hardware.

    #48 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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