How does Titanfall on Xbox 360 and Xbox One compare?
EA and Microsoft made a mistake opting to release Titanfall on Xbox 360.
It’s been eight years since the console first shipped onto shelves, and the hardware just isn’t up to the task of delivering a next-generation shooter anymore. Titanfall on Xbox 360 is competent, but with Microsoft hinging a new system on a new IP, it should be throwing its weight behind a single version with full force instead of pandering to those unwilling or unable to make the next-generation leap.
If history taught us anything, it’s that when a publisher is reluctant to release a solitary screenshot, let alone a gameplay trailer, for an upcoming title it’s usually a sign of impending disaster.
While Titanfall on 360 did manage to circumvent disaster, it has barely managed to capture the speed, spirit and splendour of its next-generation cousin. Respawn Entertainment farmed development out to the ever-faithful Bluepoint Games – also known as the masters of the HD port – and, truth be told, the studio has done a better job than we ever expected it to. But Titanfall has already cemented its legacy on Xbox, and deserves to be better than average across all iterations.
Titanfall always felt like it was purpose built by Respawn to challenge Call of Duty for the FPS throne, but Bluepoint has only managed to deliver a competent alternative to Activision’s behemoth.
As the studio was forced to make compromises across the board to get the game running, it has left Titanfall sat in the shadow of its next-gen cousin – not to mention peers. The pace of games feels slower due to the reduced number of AI grunts and spectres filling corners of the maps. The shooting mechanics are looser (and borderline unwieldy) as the framerate plummets when action begins to ramp up.
Worse still, are the numerous technical problems plaguing the release. The fun of Titanfall largely comes from pulling off wildly complex runs across the environments – linking up parkour skills and expert gun-control to dominate the enemy team of pilots and Titans. But our experience with the 360 iteration had pilots interacting with the geometry in bizarre ways. Clambering up walls would often send our pilot careering off at incomprehensible angles. Wall-runs are cut short for no immediately apparent reason, and nobody ever wants to land on a roof, fall through it and end up in what we like to refer to as the negative zone. Despite being delayed, Titanfall on Xbox 360 could have done with a few extra weeks of QA.
Many of these problems aren’t a reflection on Bluepoint, but the ageing hardware that it has been forced to develop on. As you’d imagine, this extends to the graphical performance as well.
Titanfall on 360 fails to capture the sci-fi grandeur that made the Xbox One version so awesome. The environments, Titans and weapons are all there, but the textures are muddy and washed out. This is especially jarring when fighting at range: character outlines are tougher to make out at a distance which has inadvertently pushed many of the battles into close quarters, making it feel sometimes like a Call Of Duty skin with jetpacks. This isn’t helped by the near constant screen tearing, which fails to disappear even after a game install.
What threatens enjoyment even more is the frame rate, which rarely holds steady. It’s prone to dipping when doing anything from turning quickly, to running, to clambering into your Titan. While performance is uncapped by default, letting the game push a faster frame rate out during quiet moments, you are able to lock it down to a steady 30 in the menu – this does little to help matters, causing the already loose handling to become heavy and often unwieldy.
All of the maps, modes, weapons, challenges and burn cards have made their way to 360 – and the core experience can still be fun if you somehow avoid the technical problems for a round or two, but there’s no two ways about it: one of the best multiplayer games in years has been reduced to an average shooter on the platform, and just goes to show how clever and nuanced Titanfall’s design really is. Titanfall on Xbox 360 is undoubtedly the worst way to experience what is otherwise the multiplayer game of the year.