It seems like everything that has happened with the Xbox One up until the release of Titanfall was just preparation, at least in the view of Microsoft. Practically every advertising campaign that Microsoft has run for the Xbox One has included Titanfall, ignoring the fact that it wasn't supposed to come out until early 2014. Nevertheless, Titanfall is finally here - is it the killer app that Microsoft was hoping for it to be?
In a a single word, yes. Titanfall is the evolutionary step that so many people have wanted Call of Duty to take since their last step into the modern day with Call of Duty 4. The elements that Titanfall adds make the formula more interesting than it has been in years - and really move the genre forward as a whole.
Perhaps the biggest modification to the formula can be found in the name of the game itself. At the start of every match, a timer in the lower right hand corner of the screen begins to count down. When this timer ticks to zero, a giant robot called a Titan falls out of the sky and lands on the ground for you to climb into and fight everyone else. This timer can either tick down at a normal rate, or the player can make it go down faster by making kills and taking objectives.
One might expect that the ability to pilot giant robots might make the game completely unbalanced, and in the early going this certainly seems to be the case. Every time you step into a Titan you feel like you can take on the world, and to be sure, if you're playing against people who haven't played a lot of the game you will absolutely wreck shop. The beautiful thing about Titanfall is that once everyone learns how to best use their abilities both on foot and inside of Titans, the game becomes almost completely balanced. Pilots (people running around without being in a Titan) are given a significant number of tools that allow for the killing of Titans, while Titans have a natural advantage due to their size and firepower.
The core of Titanfall absolutely lies in its competitive multiplayer mode, which include versions of Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Capture the Flag. The selection ends up feeling a bit sparse, but the number of unique maps found within the game, a total of 15, helps the game feel a bit more substantial.
The game does have a campaign mode, but any time spent playing it is actually spent in a special multiplayer mode that has simply had a radio drama layered over it with talking heads in the top corner of your screen. You are never at the center of the action, only helping NPCs off screen make that action happen by fighting against other players. You can play the campaign twice from both perspectives, but there's really no reason to. The campaign is shallow, short, and extremely uninteresting - even the story's setup about humans colonizing other worlds leading to a massive civil war is extremely tired.
There is already talk of a sequel to Titanfall, and that certainly seems like the series will certainly come into it's own with more game modes, a more fleshed out story, and perhaps a few more weapons to play with. That said, this first attempt is still easily one of the best if not the best Call of Duty style shooter on the market, and everyone that has ever liked that type of shooter should definitely give it a try.