March 11, 2014, 6:00 AM —
It's March 11th and Respawn's TitanFall is finally here, at least for the PC and the Xbox One (and Xbox 360 version will follow). EA and Microsoft have been working hard to convince us that this is the game release of the year. So is it?
I don't know. Just between you and me, I often write these blog posts the evening before they are published. So as I'm writing this post, I'm waiting for the game to unlock. The reviews have been solid though. Joystiq gave it 4.5/5 stars and Polygon gave it a 9 out of 10. If you prefer video reviews, Adam Sessler did a good one for Revision 3:
Of course all these reviews are based on playing prior to launch. Remember how much game journalists loved EA's SimCity reboot? Then the game launched, the servers all crashed and no one could play it. I have to give a shout out to Game Informer who have decided to hold off on their review until they see how the game plays after launch when the public is swarming the servers. I found it interesting that in some sense Respawn is already putting distance between themselves and any server launch issues. Talking to Engadget, Respawn engineer Jon Shiring said:
"One of the really nice things about it is that it isn't my problem, right?" Shiring says. "We just say [to Microsoft], here are our estimates, aim for more than that, plan for problems and make sure there are more than enough servers available -- they'll know the whole time that they need to bring more servers online."
Thanks to Joystiq for calling that quote to our attention. And to be fair it sounds a lot worse out of context; the whole post at Engadget is worth a read. It's basically about how TitanFall is kind of a giant proof-of-concept for Microsoft's Azure cloud as it pertains to gaming.
I was going to skip TitanFall since $60 is a lot to spend on a game you know you're going to suck at, and that you're never going to play enough to get good at. But thanks to the power of social networking, I found a way to get the game (for PC) for almost half off. There's a Russian retailer selling the game for 1,199 rubles, which works out to $32.96 US. They accept PayPal and the game is delivered in the form of a product key that you can redeem on EA's Origin gaming service.
Now, let the buyer beware. I went through the process, got a key, fed it into Origin and have TitanFall pre-loaded, but I haven't played yet. For all I know I'll boot it up and the HUD will be in Cyrillic and the voice-overs will be in Russian. Or (more realistically) I'll only be able to play with others using the same version of the game. I'll try to update this post ASAP letting you know if my copy worked normally.
[Update: I managed to jump in and play a quick match before work and everything seems normal with the copy of the game purchased through the Russian retailer.]
And that's about all I have to say about TitanFall except that I'm glad it's out, and not just because I want to play it. Microsoft has been so focused on pushing the game that they haven't seemed to have time to promote anything else for the Xbox One. I'm looking forward to hearing about other games coming to the platform in the coming months. Once the TitanFall frenzy calms down some, perhaps we'll finally get news of other in-bound titles.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.