Depending on whom you ask, "Titanfall" is either the best thing to happen to multiplayer shooters in years, or the overhyped product of an easily dazzled games media.
Either way, the game finally arrives today (March 11), and the reviews are in. If you're one of the few who's on the fence about "Titanfall," read on to find what the heavy hitters of games criticism think about it.
"Titanfall" is a multiplayer-only shooter for the Xbox One and PC (an Xbox 360 version is due out later this month, but there will be no PlayStation version).
Players take on the roles of foot soldiers in a futuristic war for resources between two factions. They can duke it out with guns and rocket launchers on foot, or summon gigantic mechs — robot-like weapons — called Titans. The balance between powerful giant robot and agile human soldier keeps the game fast and exciting.
We gave Titanfall 4 stars out of 5, praising the frenetic shooter for its inventive design, explosive gameplay and accessible mechanics.
"Many multiplayer shooters make you grind away to access their coolest features, but 'Titanfall' lets you punch giant robots in the face from the get-go," said Mike Andronico in his full review. "Features like the Smart Pistol make novice shooters feel powerful, while there's no shortage of intricacies for competitive players to master."
Despite our positive experience with the game, we did note that solo-minded players might be turned off by the lack of a dedicated single-player campaign.
On IGN, reviewer Ryan McCaffrey decided to hold off on a final score until he logged more playtime, but his review is generally positive.
"'Titanfall' represents a potent fusion of established and modern design ideas, creating a tense and rewarding balance of power and moment-to-moment unpredictability," McCaffrey writes. He does lament, however, the game's sparse customization features and the few multiplayer modes it offers.
Gamespot's Chris Watters awarded the game a 9 out of 10, highlighting how both the on-foot and mech combat excel, and how the well-designed maps highlight each mode's strengths.
"The high-flying action intertwines beautifully with the brutish, tactical Titan battles, creating battlefields that crackle with possibility," Watters explains.
The reviewer comes down somewhat harder on the game's story mode, which is still multiplayer only, describing it as uncreative and lacking.
Arthur Gies reviewed "Titanfall" for Polygon and gave the game a 9 out of 10. He also praised how well the on-foot and robot combat modes complemented each other.
"'Titanfall' has all the makings of the next big thing," Gies concluded. His complaints mostly referenced the game's frame rate, which can dip well below its advertised 60 fps when the screen fills with robots, pilots and rockets.
The Escapist (4/5)
For The Escapist, Jim Sterling took the reins and gave the game a 4 out of 5. "Titanfall" was overhyped, he said, but still delivers where it counts.
"Respawn Entertainment most certainly satisfies, providing a solid shooter with a laudable amount of unique extras draped over a durable and familiar framework," Sterling wrote. He also pointed out that the game's weak writing and well-worn central shooting mechanics held it back a bit.
Like McCaffrey, Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead explained that he needed more time to test the game's servers before assigning a final score. That said, he was pleased with the game so far.
"Quite simply, if you feel like you're in danger of falling out of love with multiplayer shooters, 'Titanfall' is the game to win you back," Whitehead claimed. The story, the frame rate and the familiarity of the core mechanics were all sticking points, he said, but not deal-breakers.
Ludwig Kietzmann at Joystiq gave "Titanfall" one if its most enthusiastic major reviews, awarding the game a 4.5 out of 5. The gameplay hit almost every cooperative and competitive shooter sweet spot for him.
"'Titanfall' isn't tuned to perfection for everyone yet, but it starts as a smart, swift and startling movement in well-traveled space," Kietzmann writes. That said, he also thought the story was inoffensive, at best, and offered little for players who prefer support roles in cooperative shooters.
The game currently sits at 87 (out of 100) on Metacritic, with more scores coming in as the day progresses. Generally, reviewers adore the balanced combat, the forgiving loss scenarios and the satisfying feel of controlling Titans. Users tend to dislike the game's bland story and occasionally choppy frame rate.
If all of this sounds good, you can download "Titanfall" for Xbox One or PC right now. If not, the ultra-difficult action/role-playing game "Dark Souls II" also arrives today.