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Titanfall Review

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Titanfall

From a technical standpoint, most gamers should have no problem running Titanfall, as it uses a modified version of the Source engine (probably the most optimized engine in the world). One thing that should be noted, however, is that the game is currently capped at 60 frames per second, which could be a problem if you run a 144Hz monitor, and to a lesser degree if you run a 120Hz monitor. There is a workaround to unlock the cap – which entails enabling in-game v-sync, but then forcibly disabling it in the driver control panel – but then you'll suffer extreme mouse lag, stuttering, etc. Respawn is supposedly going to add "better support" for 120Hz+ monitors in a future update, but whether that means a removal of the cap entirely has not been stated.

Though the 60 FPS cap is somewhat disappointing, don't go thinking this is some shoddy port, because it certainly isn't. Aside from perfect keyboard and mouse controls, there are all the advanced video settings you'd expect from a AAA PC game, including lighting quality, shadow detail, effects detail, model detail, impact marks, ragdolls, and most important to me, field of view. Field of View goes from 70 to 90, which is a bit on the low side (I typically choose 100-110 when possible), but I found 90 to be surprisingly good, never once feeling sick after a long play session like I typically do with a narrow field of view.

 

 

 

 

With all the settings turned up, Titanfall's graphics are fairly good. It's not going to wow you compared to something like Skyrim, but it's certainly up there for an online shooter, and its animations are quite good, too. That being said, one thing the game is not is colorful. While a couple of maps, like Lagoon, add a splash of color, most maps are dominated by shades of gray or brown. A lot of maps do have their fair share of vegetation and blue or red lighting that add a little spice, though. One thing the game certainly has going for it, both from a visual standpoint and a gameplay standpoint, is that the maps are extremely varied. Oh, and possibly best of all, there's no fear of one map getting the majority of play time because there's NO MAP VOTING! As much as I love me some Counter-Strike, it does get a little tiresome that everyone seems to just want to play de_dust2 90% of the time. I think it's refreshing that you never know what map you'll wind up on.

 

 

The other major graphical aspect of the game and perhaps even the most important, is the GUI or HUD. It's so jam-packed with information, yet surprisingly doesn't feel cluttered. Everything you'd expect to know is displayed, but more importantly it's displayed realistically, as if the HUD is projected in your visor, both as a pilot and as a Titan. The mini-map appears in the top-left corner with allies displayed in blue (or green for party members) and enemies displayed in red. Small dots equal AI, large dots equal pilots, and triangles equal Titans. It's so useful that I've found myself referencing the mini-map more so than in any other shooter. The rest of the HUD contains your current faction, mode, timer, and score in the lower-left corner, and your experience bar along the bottom center with your tactical ability and ordnance above it. As a pilot, the lower-right corner shows your weapon and Titanfall timer (or what mode your deployed Titan is in), while as a Titan, it displays your weapon and Core Ability timer. The other major differences between the HUDs of pilots and Titans are that the Titan's shield and health are displayed toward the top-center, and the edges of the screen are slightly obscured by the frame of the Titan, with the "glass window" also visible.

 

 

The main "technical" aspect you'll want to be aware of (aside from the Origin requirement) is its always-on requirement. That really shouldn't be all that surprising considering it's an online-only shooter, but it's still worth noting. When you launch the game, you're presented with a fairly barebones menu containing five choices: Play, Intro, Options, Credits, and Quit. You cannot access your Loadouts, Challenges, or Stats without first clicking on Play, which connects you to a Data Center (aka servers). In the lower-right side of the screen, your Data Center is displayed, which you can click on to change. You can select any region you want, but obviously you'll likely want to stick with the one closest to you; for me, that's "East US".

 

While you can set up Private Matches, doing so still uses EA's servers. I personally don't care so much about this, but I know a lot of people do, so it's something to be aware of. The biggest problem with how the servers operate is the insane amount of time you have to wait in between matches – 90 seconds. It would be nice if, once two full teams were formed, the countdown automatically reduced down to maybe ten seconds. Having to wait 90 seconds after a match when you have two full teams ready to go is just a waste and leads to people dropping before the timer runs out. The other thing worth mentioning is that, when you connect to a game mode for the first time in a play session, it may put you in a game already in progress instead of a lobby. It can be frustrating being put onto the losing side of a match with no hope of victory, but in my opinion, it's the best way to ensure fuller servers, so I'm okay with it. Besides, it seems people care way more about KDR than win percentage when it comes to shooters, so does it really matter if you're put into a no-win situation?

Overall, I never experienced any severe hiccups, glitches, bugs, or crashes. There was one time where I couldn't connect to the server, but that may have had something to do with my alt-tabbing out while it was trying to do so. Once I restarted the game, it connected just fine. It should also be noted that I personally launch the game through Steam and in order for the game to be properly recognized by Steam (so that I can get the Steam Overlay), Origin needs to be closed before launching the game. Because of this method, NVIDIA ShadowPlay doesn't always register, which is why I alt-tab out and back in, which fixes that. It's a minor thing, but if you want to use Steam Overlay and NVIDIA ShadowPlay, now you know what to do.

The only other technical aspect I'll mention is that the game is freaking big – 50GB big! This shouldn't be a major problem for most of you considering the price of hard drive space these days, but it's something to keep in mind if you were thinking of installing it on a gaming notebook only equipped with an SSD, or if you happen to have a bandwidth cap. The issue I have with it is that it could have been completely avoided – for comparison, the Xbox One version is a mere 17GB. Why such a big difference? A whopping 35GB of the 50GB total is decompressed audio! The rationale behind that is to support low-end machines because dual-core CPUs would have had to dedicate a huge chunk of one core just to decompressing audio. So while high end PCs and even moderate PCs could have easy handled decompressing the audio, supporting dual-core CPUs meant sacrificing hard drive space. This wasn't an issue with the Xbox One because it has built-in audio decode in the hardware itself. And if that wasn't bad enough, for some reason, the last major update required the audio to be unpacked again, wasting more time.




  1. Titanfall Introduction
  2. Titanfall Page 1
  3. Titanfall Page 2
  4. Titanfall Page 3
  5. Titanfall Page 4
  6. Titanfall Page 5
  7. Titanfall Page 6
  8. Titanfall Videos: Last Titan Standing & Hardpoint Domination
  9. Titanfall Videos: Capture The Flag, Attrition, & Pilot Hunter
  10. Titanfall Conclusion
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