"Just how original is Titanfall?"
I wondered as I booted up the game. Well, the menus at the very least did not impress at all being rather bland and boring but then again menus don't matter. At all. Gameplay is where the beef is at. I started off with campaign and couple of hours swiftly went by.
When I finally finished the first half of the campaign, I had to admit that Titanfall was great fun with plenty of action and fun. I was overjoyed when I finally destroyed two titans in row in a 3 vs 1 titan battle against my own titan and finished the last one off with a rodeo attack on foot. That really seemed to be quite a feat considering that normally I didn't get very far in my titan. But on the score screen another player on my team had killed about 20 players and 13 titans in the whole match so I had nothing to brag about, really. It has gotten only better after finishig the whole campaign and playing other game modes.
But on the other hand matchmaking doesn't work that well. Sometimes I had to wait several minutes with my team being full and the other team being totally empty before the matchmaking system found someone. That was in classic mode as well, so there was no problem with no one being that far in the campaign. Why not split the current team in half placing half of us in the other team? There's also zero balance. There's a great deal of shooters where if one team is lacking players an automated system just places either the best or the worst player into the other team depending on how well the other team is doing. Titanfall does not, however. It happened quite often that one team had an average level of 10 with 4 players and the other had an average level of 40 with full team leading to complete curb stomp battles and it just didn't feel very fun anymore.
And the AI controlled troopers, now that's a thing everyone should complain about. Yes it makes the map seem a bit more alive and yes they are great decoys but I haven't seen this stupid AI in a long time. They spend more time getting in the way than being useful as I have never seen the AI even achieve one player kill in dozens of battles. I have gotten killed a few times because a AI on my own team blocks the doorway and does not allow me to run away from an angry titan, a grenade or a player.
There's also the AI of titans in auto-mode. I call my titan, get assassinated by a player and then spawn on the other side of the map. I put my titan on follow mode to meet me half-way but what does my titan do? It stops following me and engages the enemy titan who is shooting at it and just stands still. By the time I reach my titan it's too late.
The campaign story while nice that it's there is well, uninteresting and falls into the background while enemy titan is trying to step on you. I have no time to listen to some radio conversation that happens in background while I'm in the heat of battle.
Okay, time to get to my original question: "How original is Titanfall?". I have played a lot of shooters, and most of them are modifications so I can confidently say that Titanfall does nothing new. Wallrunning? Brink did that. Double jump? Team Fortress 2 and few more. Stealth? Titanfall did that rather boringly. Customization? I'm disappointed by the lackluster options in Titanfall.
Titans? Mechwarrior Livivng Legends mod for Crysis immeditaly came to my mind when I heard of Titanfall and it did that so much better. Not only you had a greater variety of mechs, you also had a greater variety of weapons. Not mention that indeed, mechs did go nuclear there with a much bigger explosion complete with brightening a pitch black night to daylight levels and a shockwave that knocked down trees and buildings. And you could eject and continue battling on foot having the advantage of a jetpack. And some mechs came with a rocket boosted jump ability which I'm sad that Titanfall is lacking.
Titanfall just takes a lot of ideas and gently mashes them together. Some are rather sweetely executed while some are done mediocerly. I like the mobility on foot and battling other titans on foot or in my own titan and all of that is well animated with cool parts such as entering your titan. But the AI is noticably on rather poor side causing some unneededly frustating moments and customization is also poorly executed.
Still, it is a fun game and among AAA games there is nothing quite like it and while it's not a king of shooters material, it is fun with great action. But I hope future DLCs add more customization options. Honestly. I want more variety.