While we won’t know who won the sales number battle between Sony’s prized champion franchise Infamous and Microsoft’s colossus known as Titanfall, we know these games are now in our hands and making our next-gen console purchases worth the money. Critics have given both games stellar reviews and both titles are in the running for game of the year. But which game was the superior one?
Since E3 last year, Titanfall managed to create a hype machine unlike any new IP has experienced in recent years. In the end, the game developed by the newly formed Respawn Entertainment managed to live up to that hype. Titanfall was a fresh take on the first person shooter. Nixing a true single player campaign in favor of a robust multiplayer experience, Titanfall pushed the boundaries of what a purely online game could get away with. The game mixed the simplicity of playing a game for fun with the complexity a war driven video game should challenge players with. Maps feel lucious but at the same time they don’t distract from your experience. Adding the element of controllable mechs to –what was basically– Call of Duty style multiplayer could have been a disaster. Instead EA now has a new franchise on their hands that will no doubt spawn numerous sequels. So far Titanfall has delivered on all its promises and is a clear favorite for Xbox One, if not all, game of the year awards.
Infamous: Second Son
While it came out a two weeks later than Titanfall, Infamous: Second Son is blasting through critics and sales figures. The game has a certain magic to it that’s created by its blending of concise next-gen gameplay with some of the most gorgeous visuals seen in gaming, ever. As someone who didn’t love or hate the first games of the series, my expectations weren’t as high as some. But in the first minutes of gameplay, looking at the sun move across this world and rendering lighting effects that were previously only able to be captured in IMAX nature documentaries, I was hooked. The game also makes the most life-like use of motion capture technology; characters are so fluid and real, you’ll almost believe there’s blood under those polygons. Second Son isn’t a perfect game by any means, but it does stand so far as (figuratively) the only EXCLUSIVE reason to own a PlayStation 4. Previously it seemed impossible to build another Infamous game after the events of part two, but this is a testament to Sucker Punch’s vision for an entire Infamous universe. Time will tell if they have any more stories up their sleeve.
Picking a best game between the two isn’t an easy choice. Titanfall and Second Son are two unique gaming experiences unrelated by any stretch of the imagination. To measure them by their flaws would just seem like nit picking which is frowned upon on the internet or so I’m told. For the sake of argument we’ll just pick out what challenges these games did not overcome. For all the glory that Titanfall throws your way; it’s simply missing a true narrative feel. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t take away from the gameplay experience in any way. But for all the prematch exposition you’re exposed to, gamers never really feel like they’re dropped in the middle of a great story. What would Halo be if we didn’t first put on the Master Chief helmet and follow his journey. For Titanfall to ascend to that stratosphere, it needs to have a protagonist that we can get behind and root for. Multiplayer is a great addition to the value of most games, but a great story builds up a universe, which makes gamers want to interact with it beyond the campaign. Infamous: Second Son stumbles in the little details. The game’s choice system seemed like a left behind little brother around all the sharp gameplay and visuals. While Second Son is beyond impressive, it does have an expiration date. Without constant content updates, someday we will get tired of Seattle. It was odd that a system whose goal is to connect us all wouldn’t push a developer for a way to extend beyond a single player experience in a franchise game.
We’re picking a game based on the next chapter of this new console war between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In this regard, Titanfall is hurt by having a 360 version. Look at it this way, knowing an Xbox 360 version of the game makes playing on the Xbox One feel like there could have been something more for us in Titanfall. Yes the other version was adapted by a different developer but there’s still a lot Respawn had to account for in the game’s code to have it be able to translate to a 360. Infamous: Second Son will most likely never see the caverns of the PS3, this is the first game of the new generation that feels like it could not have been out one or even five years ago. Infamous excludes itself and makes no apologies for it. While Titanfall is an amazing gem for the Xbox One, Delsin’s debut just fires on more cylinders overall.
We’ll see what sales reflect for the overall launch period in 90 days but in the meantime let’s just enjoy these stupendous gaming experiences.
Send all your love and hate mail to David on twitter. Drama is his Gatorade.