The new FPS released by Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, hit the XBox One exclusively for the next gen consoles on March 11th, 2014.The developer is Respawn Entertainment, who is headed by Vince Zampella, the genius who brought us hits like Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare, as well as its second blockbuster installment, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2. This time around, he broke his ties with Infinity Ward over some legal hassles, and formed up cleverly named Respawn Entertainment. Creating a new franchise was a daunting task for this seasoned video game pioneer, but it is one that Zampella and company were totally up for. Always looking to forge new trails in the lucrative gaming industry, they got to work. Backed by Electronic Arts, Zampella signed a console exclusivity deal with Microsoft, basically depriving Sony the rights to play the game on its platforms, and that is where we will start.
Its no secret that the Playstation 4 is outselling the XBox one in America by a definite margin, and an even higher margin worldwide (http://time.com/27049/the-playstation-4-won-february-but-by-a-lot-less-than-it-did-in-january/). PS4 owners have the luxury of a system that boasts the most powerful next-generation hardware, and not by a negligible margin, either(http://www.ign.com/wikis/xbox-one/PS4_vs._Xbox_One_vs._Wii_U_Comparison_Chart). It is fairly evident that the specifications of the PS4 are much more in line with what gamers expect out of a next gen console, and this has been echoed by some of the industries best and brightest developers and publishers. While XBox has focused on the living room, the multi functions of the Kinect, and other things besides games, the PS4 has crept in and garnered gamers respect and confidence, which is apparent just from Sony’s sales figures. That is not to say that Microsoft has totally abandoned games though. It is a gaming console, first and foremost, and that is what the crew out of Redmond, Washington wants gamers to realize and not forget. Microsoft is betting that Titanfall is just what the doctor ordered for gamers intent on purchasing a next generation workhorse, and after extensive time playing the title (over 28 hours thus-far), I tend to agree with the notion that this is definitely a system seller, and the lack of a Playstation 4 port, while bad news for Sony’s gamers, is a definite feather in the cap to Microsoft. The game is beautiful, and shows off the XBox One’s new hardware in a way that is sure to get gamers excited, and hopefully bump those sales figures in a northerly direction for the Redmond based Microsoft.
Microsoft has pretty much hitched itself to the Titanfall wagon, due to the exclusive nature on next gen consoles. Yes it is available on PC and 360, but the edition that is the most hotly anticipated is definitely Microsofts XBox One version. This is the XBox One’s first hardcore, new franchise blockbuster, one that it is looking to capitalize on with sales of its console. (Microsoft is including it in a next gen bundle that drops the price of the XBox One significantly with a digital version of the game for basically free),WalMart has even gotten in on the party, and dropped the price of an XBox One even further to 449.99, and they included TitanFall at no additional charge. Very soon, other retailers started following suit, thus executing the price cut at the retailer level instead of waiting on Microsoft to lower the inflated price of 500. (http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/21/xbox-one-titanfall-bundle-price-cut/ ) Microsoft is looking to make a statement with TitanFalls release, and it seems that statement has found an audience. Sales figures in February show that Microsoft, while still lagging far behind Sony’s Playstation 4, is gaining traction with the anticipation of the release of Titanfall, exactly what Microsoft was hoping for. (http://time.com/27049/the-playstation-4-won-february-but-by-a-lot-less-than-it-did-in-january/.) Sony, as of right now, lacks that fire-starter, that wonderful blockbuster, system seller of a game, a must have title. Microsoft bet on the right horse, and it looks that it will garner positive returns because of it. Early sales figures of Titanfall are overwhelmingly positive, and due to the lower priced bundles, XBox Ones are flying off of stores shelves as compared to earlier in the year. The game has received glowing reviews, and for a brand new franchise, that is definitely not the easiest task to accomplish. Having a blockbuster title like Titanfall, while not the sole reason for the sudden success of Microsoft’s console, is most certainly a motivating factor in most gamer’s minds. And rightly so, because the game gets so much about the FPS genre right.
You really cannot compare Titanfall apples to apples with any Call of Duty installment, or for that matter, any other First Person Shooter. It plays differently, it looks different, and it is meant to be as such. The graphics of Titanfall look crisp and beautiful, even without being cast in native 1080P on the XBox One. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/03/10/respawn-may-patch-titanfall-for-higher-resolution-on-xbox-one/). At 792p, it is still high definition though, and I know that for a faction of gamers, the lack of a native 1080P is very disappointing. Given the lack of 1080p at the games launch, It SHOULD NOT be a reason not to pick up a Microsoft XBox One console, or especially the game itself. Respawn themselves have even commented a patch bringing the XBox One’s game up to native 1080p later down the road is in the works, it just might take a little longer than some people would like. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/03/10/respawn-may-patch-titanfall-for-higher-resolution-on-xbox-one/) The game plays wonderfully, blending fast paced arena like combat with high tech mechanical behemoths, looking to crush opposing players into the mud. Don’t get me wrong though, when playing as a pilot versus a hulking titan, there are multiple ways and opportunities to take down the towering titans, and it does not feel as unbalanced or as one sided as one would imagine. The games balance, as well as the revolutionary flight/jumping mechanics work very well, as does the gun-play and movement. Even though a player is in a titan, it feels like an extension of the player himself, making for a more natural mode of game-play, one where movement is not something that has to be planned, its one that comes very naturally. The movement of the mechs are fast and precise, and of course the firepower is overwhelming, especially against players on the ground without a titan. One cannot simply state how much fun it is to walk around in a huge transformer like monster machine, looking to obliterate the enemy. One simply has to actually experience it, and the only console on which to do so is Microsofts XBox One. That is exactly what Microsoft is banking on, and from my time with the game, it is my opinion that it was indeed a well founded and well planned out move, quite the opposite one might expect given Microsofts moves as of late.
While Microsoft has had plenty of reasons to turn gamers away in the previous year, from the DRM policies, to the no used games policies,(both of which they backpedaled on), to the “underpowered” hardware as compared with Sony’s Playstation 4, this is definitely one thing that Microsoft has gotten right. (http://semiaccurate.com/2013/08/16/xbox-one-backpedaling-chronicles/ ) It seems that they are turning their attention towards games for their platform, pure and simple. Its no surprise that a change in leadership has just occured at Microsoft, from the CEO, to the head of the XBox division. (http://recode.net/2014/03/20/in-first-big-exec-confab-new-microsoft-ceo-says-company-needs-to-be-full-of-challengers-and-not-followers/) It is a philosophy that will only strive towards success, and one that might bring gamer’s attention back to their console. Microsoft might have taken some time to get its next gen policies right, but it would seem that they have finally come around, either due to gamer backlash, or the sales figures themselves. With that, Titanfall perfectly delivers on the note of bringing an attractive, brand new, innovative blockbuster franchise to a next gen console, all while maintaining accessibility, gameplay and polish, as the game simply looks astonishing, as it is easily the most handsome in the current crop of XBox One games. This is one game that will drive sales of the console, and as word of mouth gets around, it can only mean good things for Microsoft and its shareholders bottom line. The game packs a whallop of assortments of FPS elements from other shooters, and blends them together seamlessly. It has familiarity, Titans, jetpacks, fast paced action, upgrading, and much much more. DLC is guaranteed to expand this games horizons, and look for Respawn not to hold anything back, from new game modes to new weapons, and even new Titans. Sony is definitely wishing they had this franchise in their catalog, and for good reason. This new franchise is a Titan of a force to be reckoned with, and it strengthens Microsofts pitch that they are still about games, and dedicated to games. Maybe they were focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time, but if Titanfall is any indication of future success, Microsoft can’t be anything but pleased.