The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall has been a bit of a mystery. While EA and Respawn have been showing off the Xbox One and PC versions of Titanfall to the world Bluepoint Games has been quietly working on the Xbox 360 adaptation expending every effort to make this version match the gameplay standards of it's next-gen counterpart.
To be brutally honest Bluepoint seems to have managed to do a better job of optimizing Titanfall to take full advantage of the Xbox 360 than Respawn has with getting the most out of the Xbox One, although there newness of the Xbox One hardware has a lot to do with this as well.
The thing is, Titanfall had to be good. There was no other option for Respawn. At least half of the development team consists of former Infinity Ward developers. These are the minds behind the remarkably successful Call Of Duty series, a core group of people that have defined what makes a great multiplayer FPS.
At its core Titanfall is a brand new experience. Blending eye-bleedingly fast free-running combat between pilots to the slower and more delieberate Titan combat into one experience is new. Yes, we have impressive FPS experiences like COD and Battlefield and we have some compelling mech combat games like Hawken but Titanfall comfortably combines both in one balanced experience. Couple this with the new Epilogue dynamic that sees the losing team fighting to reach their evacuation dropship before the winning team wipes them out adds a bit more spice to play that the old-fashioned "You Have One/Lost" message and fade to black.
The other point of interest with Titanfall is how it plays with the modern conventions. Respawn has built a game that sits between Call Of Duty and its EA stablemate Battlefield in terms of gameplay. The two main modes that they use to build their campiagn mode around – Attrition and Hardpoint Domination – exemplify the two main approaches to FPS multiplayer that is taken by the two pillars of the FPS genre.
Attrition is the fast-paced team deathmatch mode that draws very strongly from the team's experience in building the Call Of Duty series, cleverly appealing to that audience while still embracing Respawn's embellishments. On the other hand Hardpoint Domination is a game mode that draws of Battlefield's core Conquest mode. Controlling the three Hardpoints on the map influences how quickly your team accrues points towards victory.
Both modes play at lightning-fast pace but they are painfully easy to get to grips with. Progression is very generous too. Weapons, custom loadouts and other gear unlock and a steady pace either by reaching assigned levels or meeting some of the game's numerous challenges so there is always some kind of reward for even the poorest of FPS players.
There are other modes. Last Titan Standing offers a challenge to those that prefer the Titan Combat. Pilot Hunter is a tough mode for experienced FPS players who prefer the challenge of hunting down other human players. There's also a Capture The Flag mode in there for good measure. Respawn has also include a Variety Pack option which randomly selects different play modes whenever a round ends.
As mentioned earlier, Titanfall's visuals on the Xbox 360 are pretty impressive. It does struggle with a bit of texture pop-up now and again but it's nothing too drastic. Bluepoint has also kindly added a frame-rate lock option which allows players to choose between a cap of 60fps or a locked rate of 30fps. With the cap there is some screen-tear which disrupts the fluidity a bit but the frame-rate bounces in between 60fps and 30fps fairly comfortably. With the frame-rate locked at 30fps it does provide a bit more smoothness and stability to the visuals. It's very nice to have the option and this is probably one of the first games on the current-gen to give player the option at all.
Wher Titanfall is a bit disappointing is the Campaign Mode. It's a nice idea to string some multiplayer rounds together in some kind of narrative but, it just switches between Attrition and Hardpoint Domination modes and it feels entirely too short. Many players seem to have abandoned the Campign Mode after the first IMC playthrough, blissfully unaware that there is a second playthrough as the Militia which unlocks the heavily-armoured Ogre Titan for use in the Titan custom loadouts. That they have abandoned the Campaign Mode so quickly after launch also makes it difficult for newer players to give it a shot as they may be waiting some time for the matchmaking servers to get them a game.
Titanfall is still a revelation on the Xbox 360 though. While the game has clearly been built with the Xbox One and PC in mind it works wonderfully on Microsoft's aging 360 hardware providing an experience that is almost identical to how it plays on the Xbox One but at a lower screen resolution. It's almost so good that there's really no need to upgrade to the Xbox One version... Almost.
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