BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Titanfall

MY RATING:

I’ll admit it up front: I’m not much of a gamer. The extent of my gameplaying abilities are pretty much limited to games from the Halo franchise, which I really love because of it’s a great military SF story. In the past year, I’ve been pretty interested in a new game that’s been winning a ton of awards, Titanfall.


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Titanfall is all about mechs: the trailers released for the game show frantic game play on city streets between armed soldiers and hulking, two-story-tall war machines. It looks awesome, and it’s easy to see why Microsoft is looking to position the game as a major platform. It worked for Halo back in 2001, and already, it’s a good assumption that the game will sell pretty well.


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The mechs are glorious. The first part of the book covers them nicely, from the general purpose Ogre to the heavy-duty Titan and the quick-footed Stryder. These are awesome machines of war, carrying lots of firepower. The book goes on to cover quite a bit more than just the mechs: the pilots and foot soldiers, starships, planets and landscapes, even native wildlife.


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The major drawback to Titanfall is its lack of a single-player or story-driven campaign. Rather, the designers have opted for a more straightforward approach: make the entire game multiplayer. It’s not a bad move on their part, but it takes a lot of the excitement away from the game that had been building for me. The Art of Titanfall helps restore some of that excitement. In between the lines, hints of a greater story start to emerge from the characters, ships and planets. It feels like a lot of missing potential; hopefully some of that will come out in the game over time.


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The Art of Titanfall is worth picking up for the fantastic artwork alone. That’s probably the case for any art book, but this one in particular ticks all of the boxes for someone who likes military SF. The industrial hardware and weapons of war are presented in the best sort of detail, the kind only concept art can come up with. I wish that they’d devoted a little more space to showing off the game’s key feature — the mechs — but everything else just about makes up for it. I might not be much of a gamer, but I certainly love the look of what they’ve come up with.


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