Within the first five minutes of my first match in Titanfall, I said to myself, “This reminds me a lot of Halo 2”. Yes, this is a bold statement, as Halo 2 is a game I had very fond memories of as a child and was the first online game I ever got sucked in to. But here we are in the year 2014, and saying Titanfall is a lot like Halo 2 is a back-handed compliment. Titanfall feels like one of the most balanced shooters to come out in the past decade, but by the same token, feels bare bones in comparison to other games out there.
Looking at the load out options for the pilots and titans, I could really tell Titanfall was made by the guys who created the original Modern Warfare. The two games have the same amount of customization options, but one of these games came out seven years ago. I understand that some things need to be sacrificed in order to make the most balanced experience possible, but at a $60 price tag, I expect a greater variety of options. Allegedly Titanfall was made in a pretty quick period of time and had to go through hell just to get made, so I give it a pass. Because as a game, Titanfall is a blast. There never really feels like there is a dull moment. But at $60, the price is just too steep. This is why I feel as if Titanfall could have benefited more as a free-to-play (FTP) title.
The common “hardcore gamer” hates FTP. When they think of FTP, they think of Candy Crush or a generic shooter where you pay to win. They ignore titles such as Warframe and Team Fortress 2, which in my opinion, have perfected the FTP formula. In both these titles you aren’t ever paying to win, bought items can be earned in the game without paying a cent and many of these items are purely cosmetic. Titanfall could have adapted a similar practice. You want a blue Titan? Well it could be yours for a dollar. Want a different type of shotgun with different properties, but still just as balanced as the basic model – well then there you go. Team Fortress has done this with their weapons. Each class has a multitude of primary, secondary, and melee weapons to chose from, but none are better than the other. If Titanfall is so concerned about balance (which they should be) it would be no problem to have a slow trickle of weapons to ensure balanced content. At $60, EA would look like the bad guy for charging money for these items. But for free, you can’t really complain.
I want to look at another EA game and how they handled online: Mass Effect 3. The way online was handled was perfect. Free DLC packs were released throughout an entire year thanks to people spending real money on blind packs that contained new characters and weapons. These blind packs could also be bought with in-game money, which wasn’t even that hard to get, but if you wanted them faster, you spent two or three bucks. Titanfall could have gone the same route. Have the game be FTP and let the masses go to town on blind packs. And if they didn’t buy blinds, then EA could have sold new stages and maps. If Xbox and EA are all for the FTP initiative, then it should have been a no-brainer to make Titanfall the first BIG FTP experience. Besides, burn cards are just begging to be bought for cash.