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Thursday November 26 2020

Titanfall surprise launches on Steam - is met with immediate "Mostly Negative" reception

Eurogamer - Sat Nov 21 12:00

Titanfall surprise-launched on Steam last night - and it was met with an immediate "Mostly Negative" reception.

Respawn's multiplayer-only shooter came out in 2014, and six years later it seems it is barely playable on PC not because of a dwindling playerbase, but because players can't actually play it.

Customers are reporting the game's servers are pretty much broken, and players are often kicked from multiplayer matchmaking. Even those who do manage to get into matchmaking are finding issues with the game thinking they don't have all the DLC map packs installed when they do.

The video below reveals the typical experience of playing Titanfall on PC right now:

"Respawn/EA are basically selling us broken abandonware on Steam," one irate Steam user, Matoro Zeliph said in a review.

"Sadly, the audio does not work and 9 out of the 10 times I clicked play it booted me to the main menu," added Steam user Elemental.

"The 1 time I did manage to get into the training, which I played through with a static-y noise every time a sound was supposed to happen. I restarted the game hoping that would help, which it didn't.

"I'm really hoping this will get fixed either by Respawn themselves or with someone finding out how to fix it. If that happens, I'm 100 per cent certain the gameplay will hold up to this day and I'll swap this over to a recommended review instantly."

The issue is exacerbated because Titanfall is an online-only game. Its story is told through multiplayer. Even its tutorial is played online.

So what's going on? Users on reddit familiar with Titanfall on PC spoke of an infamous hacker who has for some time now used a script to boot players from matchmaking.

"It's been going on for years and I just verified that it's still a problem," redditor capn_hector said.

"Respawn is just putting abandonware on steam and hoping that a few per cent of the players don't refund it."

This is not a new issue, either. Here's a post from redditor Hiticonic - dated a year ago - that details the same problem:

"Right now the game is basically unplayable and this has been going on for many months. Through simple exploits in the Titanfall servers and clients this person can crash game servers, end matches early and crash game clients. Slowly the playerbase has been dwindling even more because it's simply not fun to crash out over and over again. Respawn should either fix the game and servers or enable the dev console and release server binaries if they don't have the resources to fix these issues."

It's a shame Titanfall was released on Steam in this state, as it probably hobbles any chance of reviving the playerbase for the game. Titanfall does not show up in Valve's official top 100 games by concurrent player count right now. Hopefully now the game has launched on Steam, Respawn will sort its online out so people can actually play the game.