Usually I wouldn’t be writing about a console title update but this one has some significance to Xbox One players. More importantly Titanfall players.
As previously said, the game is an amazingly well executed multiplayer shooter. However there was an extreme lack of content and variety at launch; some because of few maps and the rest due to players gravitating to certain modes (“Attrition” mainly) making it next to impossible to play any other game type.
During that time DLC maps in conjunction with modes added via title updates such as “Marked for Death” (like Gears of War‘s VIP mode). These have helped players revisit the game but haven’t gained a lot of traction. This is where Game Update 8’s new mode “Frontier Defense” comes in. For the first time players can team up against waves of AI combatants ranging from Grunts to Titans. Yes, it’s kind of like Horde mode in Gears of War 2 and 3.
The basic scenario is yourself and up to 3 other players must defend a point, called a Harvester, through five waves of increasingly tougher opponents. To assist players between rounds they are awarded sentry guns which can be positioned anywhere on the map. And they will be needed, trust me.
For a mode that was such a long time coming (and desperately needed) it is incredibly polished and well balanced. It’s a genuine shame it wasn’t available at launch because it is brilliant fun with friends and a massive boost to the game.
Additional gameplay tweaks change the default game experience. The first is a box located near the harvester that allows loadouts to be changed on the fly. This can encourage players to create very specialized loadouts and switch without having to die and respawn; a great feature to counter the new opponents players will face. These enemies include Titans with unique abilities, one ranged and the other close combat oriented, and a couple of Spectre types that will frustrate the hell out of you first time around.
Another change is the pilot respawn process which now involves the drop ship circling the battlefield before dropping the player off. Players can view the battle in progress and can even fire at enemies before they land. It is by intention a method of preventing players from jumping back into the game immediately, and encouraging players towards self preservation, but it is a damned clever way of doing it.
If anything, I hope that this is a sign we will see more AI modes added to the game. If we could reach a point where all parts of the game can be played with bots irrespective of how many real players are available it will boost the game immeasurably. The campaign missions are screaming for this feature and it’s inclusion could revitalize that part of the game.
Back in the dark ages, the original Unreal Tournament was a smash hit not only because of its brilliant multiplayer but because the bot integration was so good it could easily be played as a single player game. It justified the game purchase even if you never went online. I certainly played a lot of the game that way.
If Titanfall could offer that we could see the makings of a true blockbuster franchise that reaches out to a greater player base than ever before.