There is a lot of driving Fall of the Titans. Not only is it the first game in a brand new first-person shooter franchise, it’s also the first major title for Microsoft’s Xbox One console. Although developed by a third-party developer, Respawn Entertainment, the game is exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms: Xbox One, PC, and Xbox 360 in a few weeks.
It has been hyped and launched for months with a flashy global marketing campaign. Statues of Titans, the massive mechs that give the game its name, have popped up in cities around the world. Ads abound on TV, billboards, the web, Twitch, and YouTube. Fall of the Titans goes out of its way to make sure everyone knows about it Fall of the Titans and anyone who wants to play it: it’s not to be missed.
Still higher expectations Titanfalls pedigree. While Fall of the Titans is Respawn’s debut game, the studio is heavily staffed by former Infinity Ward employees who left the company amid lawsuits and bad blood. Infinity Wards Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has come to define the twitch multiplayer first person shooter: tight maps, countless unlocks, and a gameplay style that rewards quick reflexes over critical thinking.
It might be a new franchise from a new studio, but Fall of the Titans nevertheless follows Modern warfare footsteps to error. There are new gimmicks to it Fall of the Titansof course, but this game could have been called Call of Duty: Robot Warfare and no one would bat an eyelid.
We’ve looked at the game’s basic design elements in our first look at the beta and launch day impressions, but to recap, it’s a 6v6 online multiplayer shooter. A few minutes into each match, players (“pilots”, in in-game terminology) can summon their giant Titans, which they can get in and drive around or put into auto mode. When they run out of their Titans, pilots can park their way around the map, double jump, run into the wall, hang in place, and pull themselves up on buildings. In addition to the usual array of weapons – assault rifle, sniper rifle, submachine gun, and so on – there’s a nifty smart gun that locks onto enemies, giving you a one-hit kill.
Even with (potentially) six pilots and six car Titans on each side, the maps are big enough to feel a little thin. To make things feel a bit more populated, players are joined by a number of NPC types: grunts and humanoid robot ghouls. The threat of both is low (though not zero) so for the most part they’re just something to harvest for extra points, these people are only really a problem when you’re out of ammo.
In most game modes, there is an epilogue after the game is won. Survivors of the losing team can flee to a dropship to be rescued. If they successfully get there and if the dropship isn’t destroyed, they get a nice XP bonus for it.
The final twist is burn cards: single-use bonuses awarded for completing certain tasks (for example, killing a certain number of grunts). Each burn card earned can only be used once, and the bonus – shorter time to get your Titan, more powerful weapons, faster movement, among other things – lasts until you die. Up to three cards can be equipped and used per round.
There are a handful of broadly similar game modes. Attrition is essentially team deathmatch: players score points for killing enemies (pilots, grunts, ghosts, Titans), and the first team to reach a certain score wins. Pilot Hunter is functionally the same, but points are only scored for killing pilots. Capture The Flag is, well, capture the flag. Hardpoint Domination has teams fighting over three points to capture and hold on the map.
All of these modes, in my experience, degenerate into something essentially deathmatch. Even when there is a target, as in the case of CTF and Hardpoint, scoring kills is beneficial, as it reduces the time it takes to get your Titan. The result? There is always a strong incentive to DM. This makes the game feel very one-dimensional, without diversity and variation. While the fun was in short spurts, it didn’t draw me in the way the Battlefield series for example.
The only mode that really changes the basic parameters of the game is Last Titan Standing. In this mode you spawn in your Titan and there is no respawning. The winning team is the first to destroy the enemy team’s Titans. In this mode, unlike the others, careful play and team coordination are rewarded and deathmatching is penalized.