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Is it worth waiting for Titanfall Expedition on Xbox 360?

Titanfall: Expedition is already out on Xbox One, but it's no secret that Xbox 360 still has more players. Dave Cook dives into the Xbox One version, records some gameplay videos and decides whether or not it's worth waiting for on last-gen.

Titanfall_expedition_war_Games

”I’ve seen a ton of folk comparing this map to Return of the Jedi’s forest world Endor, except there’s no furry little bastards with spears roaming the undergrowth. I’d pay good money to smash Wickett into a fine, bloody powder in my Atlas mech. Seriously.”

As I said in my Titanfall Xbox One review, the game's lack of solo campaign actually felt like a bit of a let down. Respawn has the foundation of an interesting new universe and plenty of lore on its hands, but the way it was presented through online play left me feeling cold.

How did the war between the IMC and Militia escalate so rapidly? How has Hammond Robotics managed to amass so much power? What does it look like when the IMC lands on a new planet and fights with alien wildlife to establish its Repulsor technology? There are so many interesting stories in there going untold that I'd like to experience in a narrative-led setting, perhaps even with a few co-op buddies.

Anyway, you may have heard that Titanfall's first DLC pack Expedition is set after the campaign's battle of Demeter, and sees the Milita scurrying off to frontier worlds to lick its wounds. The IMC is in hot pursuit, and this chase takes players to three new locations where they'll continue the fight. That sounds more than your standard map pack, right? At least there's more story to lend context to the new environments, right? Right?!

No. There's no new story here beyond what you read on the map loading screens. Perhaps I was over-zealous about just how far Respawn would go with this new content, but I was hoping to see new picture-in-picture exposition from the cast, along with slivers of plot that start to bridge the gap between Titanfall and its inevitable sequel. More fool me it seems.

Regardless, it's not all bad news as the new content here is still fun, so I've captured myself playing each of the new maps on Xbox One, along with some impressions that should tide you lovely Xbox 360 players over until the pack drops in June.

Swampland

I've seen a ton of folk comparing this map to Return of the Jedi's forest world Endor and I guess that's a fair comparison, except there's no furry little bastards with spears roaming the undergrowth. I'd pay good money to smash Wickett into a fine, bloody powder in my Atlas mech. Seriously.

Swampland is unique in that it doesn't feel like any of the 15 core maps. There are still metallic installations dotted around the environment, complete with windows to double-jump through and the occasional raised wall for sprinting along, but they still make for a great playground to your pilot's parkour abilities. These facilities are surrounded by water-logged clearings that offer Titans plenty of space for a rumble, while the trees are so tall they make for great mech cover.

Titanfall_expedition_swampland

Running across these sections as an uncloaked pilot is near-suicidal, so those on foot might want to stick with the structures and ancient ruins found on the ground level. These dark, stony caverns are great for hiding in when you want to clip a passing Titan's ankles with your Sidewinder or Mag Launcher, but have camper-spot potential. Nobody likes a camper Respawn, but then I suppose that's why the Satellite Uplink Burn Card and the radar ping skill exist.

Trees can be wall-run along, so there is potential for a cloaked pilot to score a rodeo or bound between them in the open areas - but this may take practice - and there are a few fallen trunks that can be used as bridges across the environment. It's complex map in parts, one that caters for both long and mid-range play, although I reckon those dependant on shotguns may be at a disadvantage once everyone starts getting their Titans.

It'll take time to learn, but the fact that seeking out those sweet skirmish zones and parkour-chaining lines is quite exciting in Swampland only proves that it's a well-designed locale.

The same can't be said for...

Runoff

Now, this is a tricky one because it has some well-designed sectors but Runoff's rusted facilities and militaristic interiors already feel too familiar. Compared to the fresh palette of Swampland and War Games (more on that in a moment) it feels like a dud, but of course, what you see and how it feels to play are two very different things. Plus, as you regulars may know I'm a 'benefit of the doubt' kind of guy.

The biggest draw here are the deep water canals running through the map. While they herd Titans into tense, close-quarter battles, they can prove potentially lethal for Pilots foolish enough to fall into them. The drop won't kill you of course, but you really don't want to be down there with four or more mechs stomping around nearby. If you do fall into a canal, you can try and fudge the wall-running to escape, otherwise you'll need to retreat to an alternate path.

Titanfall_expedition_runoff

So in a way the canals are potential killzones for those on foot, and as a hazard they work well, giving rise to long-range battles from either side. The neighbouring buildings feel too familiar though, with stairwells and zip-lines that can be used to reach higher ground. The focal point is a large balcony in front of the largest structure, that gives you both a grand view of the map, and leaves lingering players exposed to snipers.

There's huge scope for long-range battles in the open, while those packing the CAR SMG or EVA-8 will relish the indoor areas. Beyond the canals there are broad areas on higher levels that offer Titan traversal, and again, these sections favour cloaked pilots while those running in the open risk death with every step when the action is in full swing. Have a look at the video above and you'll see what I mean.

Runoff isn't all that exciting, but the same can't be said for the superb War Games...

War Games

Now this is what any good DLC map should be about. It needs to have some unique qualities that haven't been seen in the on-disc content, a fresh theme and new tropes. War Games has all of these from the word go, as the standard dropship spawn point is replaced with a scene that shows your Pilot in their VR pod. They boot it up in the same way as the core tutorial, and after a few moments you're warped to the virtual battlefield to raise hell. It's a neat touch.

Respawn has treated War Games like a 'best-of' compilation that mashes up the best segments of three core maps - Angel City, Rise and Airbase - to create some seriously fun parkour lines and skirmish zones. There are thin virtual corridors hanging over the map that enable you to chain wall-running over a great distance, but the catch is that they're see-through, so while convenient, you're using them at your own risk.

There's also red, glowing pitfalls that will kill you if you fall into them. In the video above you can see me actually stumble down one while in my Titan, only to eject at the last minute and boost back out. That clip shows my first match on War Games, and I had absolutely no idea those drops were there.

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Anyway, I like those hazards because they force you to become spatially aware while in a mech, and combined with the map's dense, complex architecture, you'll need to spend some time getting to grips with where everything is, and how to reach those sweet vantage points. I'd say that War Games is one of those environments that rewards the 'hang back and shoot from afar' methodology when using the R-101C Carbine, my personal weapon of choice.

With so many height levels, plenty of cover and no end of corridors, hanging wall-running points and interiors, every play style is catered for here, both in and out of the Titans. That can't have been easy to achieve, and the icing on the robot cake is the map's presentation. It's all neon orange and hazy blues that reminded me of Portal. Plus, enemies disintegrate into code when they die, which is pretty neat.

So there's two good maps in there and one unfortunate effort in Runoff, so for £7.99 I have to say that this isn't the strongest start for Titanfall's DLC season. But if, like me, you're already an invested fan in Respawn's shooter you'll likely overlook the dud in favour of having new places to shoot your mates.

That's entirely a personal preference of course. What do you think?

Disclosure: To assist in writing this review, EA sent Dave a Titanfall season pass on Xbox One.

About the Author

Dave Cook avatar

Dave Cook

Contributor

Living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Writing a game called Jettison and a book called Seventh Circle. Loves spicy food.

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