Update: The review embargo is over. Read our recap of the first reviews of Titanfall here.
Original article: You won't have to wait much longer to find out whether Titanfall lives up to the hype. Reviews for Respawn's first game will begin landing on the morning of March 10th, a day before the game's North American launch on Xbox One and PC.
Other online-only games like Diablo 3 and SimCity couldn't be reviewed until launch day because the servers weren't up yet. However, Respawn already has the Titanfall servers online so that reviewers can try out the game. It's a great move because it means that gamers can read reviews on the game before they make their purchase.
The only downside to the pre-launch reviews is that they won't be able to account for servers' performance on launch day. There's only a small number of players online right now so service could be a lot smoother than it will be on March 11th, when a huge amount of new Titanfall owners log on. Respawn did stress-test the servers during the beta, for what it's worth. If you're still concerned about the servers' performance on launch day, though, I'd recommend waiting until launch day impressions start hitting the web.
There's a lot riding on the critical reception of Titanfall. Glowing reviews could be a serious boon to the game's sales. One analyst believes that the game could sell up to 4 million more copies if the Metacritic average is above 90 than if it's below 80. While the game has a lot of buzz, it's still a new IP so many gamers are in "wait and see" mode. They want to hear great things about the game before they drop $60 - much less an additional $500, if they plan on getting an Xbox One to play it.
An interesting subplot to the reviews will be the comparison between the Xbox One and PC versions. Microsoft believes Titanfall is a system-seller for Xbox One and has heavily marketed the XB1 version of the game. I'd imagine they're hoping Titanfall's Xbox One review scores are equivalent, if not better, than the PC scores. Another analyst believes that half of the first month sales will be on Xbox One, but that proportion could suffer if reviewers say the PC version is far superior.
Titanfall will be the first game released by Respawn Entertainment, a company largely composed of former Call of Duty developers from Infinity Ward. They're obviously hoping for a positive reception for their first project.
"I’d like to say that I won’t be crushed if it gets bad reviews as long as people like it, but I might be," Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella told Gamespot.
Reviewers playing alongside gamers who received early copies from retailers. Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella says that they're not banning anyone with an early copy as long as it was obtained legally:
"About playing early: We won’t stop or ban legit copies," Zampella said on Twitter. It is prelaunch, so there may be interruptions in service as we prep servers."
Titanfall will debut in Europe and Australia on the 13th, and then the UK and New Zealand on the 14th. The Xbox 360 version will hit all territories in the last week of the month.