Titanfall review round-up: 'Plot? Narrative? We've got giant robots blowing each other up'

The reviews are out and the verdict is in: Titanfall is a game, not a novel

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The Independent Tech

Titanfall has now officially launched in the US and the reviews from the lucky individuals who got their hands on an advance copy are also in. The verdict? Well, it's positive across the board – although there are few consistent caveats.

For a start, most of the sites note that they've only been playing the game on dedicated servers that might not accurately reflect real-life conditions. No lag is a must for an online-only title, and this part of the story will play out - for good or bad - over the next week.

The review from Edge congratulates Titanfall on giving "new life" to the arena-based combat of the Call of Duty franchise, noting that "It's easy to turn your nose up at Titanfall's populist provenance, but to do so is to do disservice to an intelligent, modern and exciting game."

Polygon start off their review with the same comparison, noting that the key innovation for Titanfall is probably the sense of "mobility" describing how Pilots - the human characters - can "double jump thanks to a jet pack, and also run along walls, vault over obstacles, hang off ledges and even fly across the map on well-placed ziplines."

Feeling a little lost? Click here to read our guide to Titanfall

All of the reviews make it clear that in terms of gameplay this is a fluid, well-balanced and enjoyable experience even if - as Eurogamer point out - there's "nothing technically new here".

"Mech suits and parkour are hardly unknown quantities in gaming," writes Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead, "but what [game developer] Respawn has done is to combine these elements - along with a generous spread of other intriguing concepts - with a simple, confident control scheme and a punchy style that not only revitalises these potentially tired ideas, but the first-person shooter genre itself."

Despite these (and many more) kind words, none of the reviewers were impressed with the game's 'single player campaign' or with its attempts at a story. Dan Whitehead calls the latter "as clichéd as it is shallow" while Gamespot is more charitable, noting only that "the narrative elements are very minimal."

To be clear: there is no single player campaign in Titanfall, there's simple a loose framework of minute-long cut-scenes, draped loosely around eight multiplayer matches strung together in sequence, with the player locked in to fighting for a specific faction.

Edge's review is particular disappointed by this, especially when it is compared to the "branching narrative" that was originaly promised.

"Fully-realised, this new way of producing a singleplayer-type experience in multiplayer could have been genre-changing. As it is, Titanfall stops lamentably short of realising its full potential in this regard," they say.

However, this isn't to say that that is a terrible game. By all accounts it's the best title for the next generation consoles to come out so far in 2014. It's not one you'll play for the plot, but with all the robot-exploding fun you'll be having, who cares?

Stay tuned for our own Titanfall review

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