There are two schools of thought on the delayed release of Titanfall for Xbox 360. EA's official position is that it's purely and simply a problem of technology, which sounds reasonable given that the Xbox 360 is made out of cheese straws and hamster wheels, while the Xbox One is crafted from chunks of prototype space shuttle. The foxhounds of the internet allege, however, that the publisher has actually had the Xbox 360 version chained up in a dungeon at Microsoft's urging while the current gen version goes on parade, sucking up the majority of first month sales. Having finally - finally! - gotten to grips with the port, I suspect that there's a grain of truth to both accounts.
At a glance, Titanfall on Xbox 360 can be hard to distinguish from the Xbox One game. True, it runs at a lower native resolution (600p versus 792p), special effects such as explosions aren't as lustrous, and object geometry is less complex, but the ever-reliable Bluepoint has done a decent job of hiding or mitigating the Xbox 360's memory limitations. The Titans you'll summon from orbit are still suicidally loyal hillocks of lumbering backstory, the environments remain alive with detail - literally so, when it comes to the alien pterodactyls on Boneyard - and the action is no less frenetic past the two minute mark, as Pilots, their Titans and a small army of AI goons move to the centre of the map.
The game's pace means that the graphical simplifications often escape scrutiny. Stop to sneer at a comparatively angular gun model or blurry texture, and you're likely to be shot in the back, though there are times when lingering over the deficiencies is inevitable, such as during a Titan boarding sequence or while hacking a turret terminal. The hardware gap is most obvious while fighting at range, in any case - outlines can appear splintered and objects are harder to make out at a distance, which may be why Pilot models sport brighter highlights on Xbox 360. Still, it's nothing that seriously affects enjoyment of the maps, classes, weapons, gadgets and upgrades, which are otherwise exactly as they are on the Xbox One and PC.
What does threaten the enjoyment at times is the frame rate, which is lower on average than that of the other versions and rather more prone to dips and surges, with some unsightly screen tearing when you pan the camera quickly (i.e. pretty much all the time). Performance is uncapped by default, allowing for a faster frame rate during quieter moments, but there's a menu option that locks it at 30 frames a second, for smoother but slightly turgid handling. Usefully, this option can be toggled during play, so if you need a bit more stability while attacking a flag, a quick trip to settings might be worth the risk.
Where installation of the Xbox One version is mandatory, there's no option to install Titanfall Xbox 360 to your hard drive, though the game does take a minute or two to "optimise HD textures" on initial start-up. The loading screens don't outstay their welcome when playing from disc, thankfully, and the networking is as fuss-free and robust as on other platforms, thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Live Compute support. I've had no problems finding a game on North American servers, and the most committed players have already clambered to the top of the progression ladder several times over.
Titanfall on Xbox 360, then, is much as you probably expected it to be: an acceptably compromised version of a game that belongs on newer hardware. If you've come fresh from the Xbox One version, the scrapes and smudges may be harder to forgive, but all the tricks, tools and features that make current gen Titanfall such a joy are present and accounted for: pecking at Grunts from a knifehold while defending a hardpoint; giddy ordinance rallies care of the Quad Rockets and Vortex Blocker; pounding your Titan through the enemy dropship like a man taking a mallet to a chandelier. The Xbox One's first essential purchase is also, it turns out, a game worth keeping your Xbox 360 for.
Read our Titanfall Xbox One review for a sustained consideration of the mechanics, modes and so forth. We'll have some comparison videos for you shortly. In the meantime, here's a slice of footage from EliteXbox360Gaming.
Bluepoint Game kicks anxiety to the curb with a smart, efficient port, that's fundamentally the same as Titanfall on Xbox One. If you can't afford a new console, save your pocket money for this.
- Still a brilliant shooter that bursts with new ideas
- No trade-offs in terms of maps, guns or headcounts
- Just about disguises the age of the hardware
- Enjoys the same high quality networking support
- Looks a bit less pretty, runs a bit less evenly