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In 2007, Jason West and Vince Zampella, as part of acclaimed developer Infinity Ward, once changed the first-person shooter genre forever with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The multiplayer mechanics that Modern Warfare brought to the table, including killstreaks, perks and a leveling system akin to an RPG game, would redefine the genre, cementing the legacy of these two creators.

In 2010, Zampella and West would famously leave Infinity Ward and publisher Activision to form Respawn Entertainment, a company that had one goal: to redefine the first-person shooter multiplayer genre all over again. The company's first game, Titanfall, has been surrounded with hype and rumors since its announcement in 2011, with the hype culminating in a very successful beta test shortly before the game's release. Does Titanfall redefine the genre? Or were Zampella and West just one hit wonders?

The short answer is yes, Titanfall lives up to the hype. The game feels familiar while simultaneously feeling fresh, mostly due to two elements: the game's emphasis on all things vertical and the eponymous Titans. To Call of Duty veterans, the initial gameplay elements feel right at home: you'll run, you'll gun, you'll create a class, you'll pick perks. Nothing new here, but you're quickly realize you're doing all your in-game actions faster and higher, thanks to the game's robust parkour system. In other first-person shooters, a sniper only has to watch his back when he's drawing a bead on you from a third-story window. In Titanfall, he also needs to watch his front as it's possible to parkour up the building and introduce his face to your dear friend Mr. Shotgun

While we've established that being a pilot is awesome, it's only half of the game. After a predetermined amount of time (which you can shorten by killing your opponents), you gain the ability to summon your Titan onto the battlefield. There is no greater feeling than calling forth a 15 foot death machine from the sky and knowing it's time to rain hellfire on your opponents. Piloting the Titanfall is similar to controlling your character, except what the Titanfall lacks in parkour it makes up for with fast dashes and the ability to throw your opponents munitions back in their faces. As a pilot, you're not defenseless against an enemy Titan thanks to all players having one Titan destroying weapon in their armory at all times, coupled with the ability to grab the back of a Titan and destroy its core. That's one of the best parts about Titanfall: the game always feels fair.

Which brings us to the removal of killstreaks, a game mechanic that often rewarded skilled players with more ways to kill their opponents while their opponents remained helpless. Titanfall removes the killstreak mechanic and introduces Burn Cards, one time use abilities that let you summon stronger Titans or gain new offensive abilities but only for your current life. Since all players have access to Burn Cards, they never feel unfair.

Titanfall is only 6v6, a far cry from other multiplayer shooters where 32 or even 64 players per match is the standard. However, Titanfall adds in a large number of NPC players on either side, making matches feel fleshed out and always giving a player something to shoot. When you factor in that Titans can go on auto-pilot, six players per side can jump to twelve quickly when factoring in both pilots and Titans. On paper, Titanfall may seem like it doesn't have enough players but it works perfectly in-game.

Titanfall is a multiplayer only game but ships with a wealth of content, including 15 multliplayer maps and five multiplayer game modes, not to mention a large array of challenges to partake in to unlock new gun customizations. There is always something to keep you busy and always something to be working towards.

Titanfall looks and sounds just as good as it plays and is one of the showcase games on the Xbox One, with the game being just as great on the PC. An Xbox 360 version is planned but will release a few weeks after. If you're looking for the next big thing in the first-person shooter genre or just looking for a new multiplayer game to play, Titanfall comes highly recommended.

tags pcxbox-360xbox-one

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