Having played Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and the remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare at EGX 2016 last weekend, I was very impressed with the former but disappointed, in truth, with the latter. Like most, I loved COD 4 when it came out all the way back in 2007, but times have now moved on. Being largely a graphical remake, it all feels very flat, slow and basic without any of the shiny features we now take for granted in our first-person shooters such as wall-running, double jumping and even sliding.
Granted, you can’t get a true feel for any game with one multiplayer match, so take this with a pinch of salt. I know you’re probably all screaming “but Modern Warfare was the best one”, and it was, nine years ago, so please hear me out.
I’m one of those mugs that has purchased Call of Duty every year without fail. I always say that I won’t due to it being mostly the same game with a new skin, but then I try the beta or play it at a gaming event and I get all excited again. So I buy it, get bored of it by Christmas, sell it; rinse, repeat.
On this basis, and having been underwhelmed with the two offerings of Call of Duty being dished up at EGX, I turned my attention to Titanfall 2. Could this be the answer to my FPS woes? Being a PS4 owner, I haven’t had much experience with the first game in the series and wasn’t sure what to expect when I found myself thrown into a multiplayer match.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t do very well at first. I did pick up some tips during my two hours in the queue from the trailers and gameplay videos, such as grappling onto an enemy mech to help destroy it – more on that later. I was very impressed with how smooth it felt, how seamlessly you could traverse the environment with double jumps, slides, wall running, jetpacks and grappling hooks.
Over the years, Call of Duty has introduced some of the mechanics that were featured and popularised in the original Titanfall – but they have never felt as smooth as they did here. In Titanfall 2, I swung like Spider-Man between two beams with my grappling hook, landed on a wall, ran across, double jumped and grappled to a rooftop where I flung myself into the air, over said building and onto an enemy mech. I felt badass. Such creativity, even with the introduction of exoskeletons and other abilities, has never been possible in COD.
Unfortunately, all of the classes available in the demo were preset, so I couldn’t look at how in-depth the customisation is compared to Infinite Warfare. Similarly to almost every first-person shooter on the market though, you’ll slowly be drip-fed new weapons and unlocks as you level up from playing games and doing well. It’s what we’ve come to expect.
The game mode we got to play was called Amped Hardpoint – though it’s not like Call of Duty’s Hardpoint, it’s actually more like Domination. There are three points to capture but the added twist is you can actually capture each point twice for double points. This adds an added strategy level after you capture a point of, ‘do I run to another or double up and risk being caught?’ It’s up to you.
You’re never far from the action in Titanfall 2. Its maps are smaller than its predecessor so there’s no pointless running once you spawn. Some Call of Duty maps can fall into this category, too, but one thing Titanfall fares better in is map diversity. Some maps are better for sniping whereas others are better to run and gun.
I should also mention that the grappling hook is a perk, so not every player has one. This means not everybody can get to the same places like in Call of Duty, giving you a potential upper-hand on your opponents. Everywhere I tried to get to I was able to; maybe not the first time around but using a combination of all the traversal techniques and map knowledge afforded to me got me there in the end. For example, I wouldn’t have known you could get on top of the building everyone was fighting inside of if I didn’t get picked off by an enemy up there first.
Titanfall 2’s match epilogues were another feature I appreciated, wherein the game continues but you don’t have the ability to respawn. It gives you a little something extra to play for, to either gain a bit of pride back or add insult to injury. The match officially ends when all of one team is dead once and for all.
Respawn Entertainment have improved on the mechs the first game became well-known for, and they’re more impressive than ever here. Huge metal killing machines that you can hop inside and control, Titanfall 2’s mechs may cause a lot of damage but also make you a giant target from the pilots and other mechs running around. They add a little spice to the first-person shooter genre that’s started to get a bit stale and repetitive over recent years.
Mechanical vehicles are nothing entirely new; vehicles are in a lot of shooting games in some way, shape or form. In Titanfall 2, their appearance is sporadic and well balanced; they’re fun to play but the core of the game is still an FPS as opposed to a large-scale robot wars arena.
Overall I had more fun playing Titanfall 2 than I have done the last several iterations of Call of Duty. Infinite Warfare is released on November 4, Titanfall 2 on October 28 and Battlefield 1 on October 21. With Battlefield getting a reboot of sorts and gaining a lot of traction and interest, I think Call of Duty could be in real trouble this year.
It’s unlikely anybody is going to purchase more than two first-person shooter games given how close their release dates are, not to mention the fact that Infinite Warfare is the last of the three to hit store shelves. It’s evident that Infinity Ward and Activision feel this way too given that they’re bundling their remastered Modern Warfare, the most popular version of the franchise, in with the special edition of this year’s release.
It’ll be very interesting to see the player numbers come early 2017, but one thing’s for certain, I’ll be picking up Titanfall 2; and, for the first year since it became a annualised game, I’m going to be passing up on Call of Duty.