Falling for a Titan


Well it’s here, after much anticipation and a teasing beta, now I have the actual game in my hands!  Yes I am talking about XBOX ONE’s much anticipated exclusive (at least as far as it not coming to PS4) … Titanfall.  Developed by ex members of Infinity Ward, the guys responsible for the highly popular shooter Call Of Duty, this futuristic online-only game breathes some much needed fresh air into what was becoming a tired genre.

The basic concept is that you fight in two teams, at first on foot, but as you battle to kill the apposing team, each player is able to launch a titan… a hulking robotic exo-skeleton not that different to the ones seen in movies like Avatar and The Matrix Revolutions.  Then you battle either in or out of your Titan, as well as being able to free-run the environments on foot with wall running, double jumps and the like.  Its a great deal of fun!


It stings somewhat their isn’t a single-player story element, and just a bolted on multiplayer-campaign which doesn’t really do much that you can’t experience playing in the various multiplayer modes – just with added commentary and a few extra battles going on around you … it’s still games of Atrition (deathmatch) and Hard-Point (domination) overall.  A wasted opportunity … but this is at least made up for by 14 detailed and well designed maps that offer a ton of enjoyment, as does the deep and rewarded levelling and customization options.

As a big release for the XBOX ONE which continues to dwell in the shadow of PS4’s success, I think it’s a crowd pleaser overall and at least its aiming at the right audience.  Call Of Duty, Battlefield etc. all continue to dominate, so it’s a wise move making this a potential system seller.  I personally think it’s a mistake on Microsoft’s part to allow this to be released on the XBOX 360 as well, giving an excuse for the undecided console owners not to jump to a next-gen system just yet.  Halo didn’t require other formats to make XBOX sell, and neither should Titanfall.

titanfall screensot 1

There has been some controversy over Titanfall’s final display resolution of 1408 x 792p compared to the much desired 1920 x 1080p of full HD (something the PS4 seems to handle with ease).  I only have a 26” 720p display so … what’s it like in reality?  Its gorgeous!!  Very smooth at an almost steady 60fps (surely most important??) and with very detailed graphics, great lighting / shadow effects and large, complex environments.  Screen-tare does rear it’s head, but isn’t that noticeable.  On my TV such shortcomings like lower resolution are a non-issue and well, with the games I have played on the XBOX ONE, such as Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition … I can firmly say they are all slick, very detailed and attractive games that make me happy with my purchase.

So if you hanker for a new breed of online shooter, or just want that excuse to go for a new console … you could do far worse.  It really is a great game … lacking a little with no single player, but as a pure multiplayer experience, its fantastic.  Prepare for Titanfall!

Next-gen starts here

Well avid readers, I’ve only gone and done it.  No turning back now…

XBOX ONEFirst impressions?  Well I managed to get hold of the fabled ‘day one’ edition of the XBOX ONE, which for no other reason than the pure fun of it, comes with a limited edition day one controller, and you also get a day one achievement.  Add to this Forza Motor Sport 5 as a free download … and I’d say I got a pretty good deal.

Having spent the evening and part of the morning playing around with it … I am amazed just how much fun the hyped Kinect sensor is … I actually now couldn’t imagine the console without it and its voice commands, gestures etc. all work very well indeed, after a moderate learning curve.  It never gets boring telling the XBOX to switch to things, to pause Netflix, to record gameplay, to turn off and on – and it’s just so quick and fluid.  So yes a hearty recommendation there for Kinect from me.

The machine itself in operation is very quiet, although a little louder when a disk is playing.  But all very smooth – and this smoothness translates into gameplay, which seemed noticeably silkier than on say, the XBOX 360 or PS3 – maybe it’s that 60 frames per second thing.  Of the games I have played, I am currently enjoying Battlfield 4 – graphics are not a night and day leap from last generation, but very crisp and detailed with plenty of flashy effects – a good example of starting blocks for the power of XBOX ONE, which will reveal itself even more with future releases.  Killer Instinct which can be downloaded as a free demo is also fun, fast and very Street Fighter IV.

This is all very early days with the console … I have yet to quite get the hang of the game dvr functionality, and some apps like BBC iPlayer and Twitch are yet to fully materialize.  But so far, very pleased with my shiny new purchase!