The third and final DLC pack for Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall was released this week, but is it worth your time and money? Well, IMC Rising is consistent with previous expansions, bringing us three new maps each with their own theme that help to further our understanding of events unfolding after the conclusion of the game's campaign. Respawn developers expressed their desire to continue not only exploring new gameplay elements, but also to create pilot playgrounds that fit the expanding universe they've created. In this endeavour, IMC Rising may just be their greatest achievement yet.
Let's have a look at each of the three maps.
Sand Trap is set on an old Interstellar Mining Corporation fuel refinery containing precious reserves that power the massive Titans and spacecraft needed to keep up the fight against Militia forces. This is one of the most gorgeous settings to grace Titanfall multi-play. A distant moon sheds cool blue light over the wide open map which is highlighted in areas by flood lamps that provide wondrous contrast. Sand Dunes give us drastic changes in elevation making for some wonderful gunplay, as an entire Titan could be completely hidden just over the next dune! This map also features one of the longest narrow parkour hallways we've seen, allowing Pilots to traverse the map without exposing themselves to Titans. We found that this map plays best in Attrition and Last Titan Standing game modes, yet works well in them all.
Backwater has a comical premise, where we find that ex-IMC pilot turned Militia commander (and “alcohol enthusiast”) Barker has set himself and the Militia forces up with a comfortable income based on moonshining. This map has something of a Tijuana, Mexico feel to it with palm-tree-like vegetation and wooden structures adorning the landscape. We see piles of grain, silos and hay bales - all the things you'd expect on a moonshining camp a galaxy away, and all of which double as cover for intense gunplay. Attrition, Marked for Death and Capture The Flag stand out as the most play-worthy game types here. This was by far our favorite theme for any map yet released and the level design makes it the most colourful map yet.
In Zone 18, Hammond Robotics headquarters has been destroyed, causing the IMC to search out a new source of war machine creation. Zone 18 is a re-commissioned base-turned-factory with the most "traditional" Titanfall design of these three maps. Steel buildings adorn the environment, each conveniently named and marked, giving pilots an easy way to get to know the map - but also to describe their position and those of enemies to squad mates. A strip down the middle, dubbed by developers as a “Titan Highway” makes this map exhilarating once the big boys come out to play. Inside the buildings, unbreakable glass walls give combat on foot a new twist, and the giant green Spectre holograph is useful as cover in contrast to those on other maps. Interestingly, one room contains an unseen variety of Hammond cyborgs in utero! We found that this map works well in nearly all game types, each of which task players to engage the layout with distinct strategies.
IMC Rising's premises and level designs are the most diverse to date among Titanfall maps. The DLC plays as a natural extension of the campaign storylines, while achieving the Respawn developers' vision to provide new and exciting multi-player experiences. We enjoyed every aspect of this DLC and had nary a complaint to make. IMC Rising is a fitting send off to a game Xbox fans have come to know and love, one which immediately changed the way we view FPS titles. We now look to the future for assuredly great things to come from this franchise.