The Black Market is actually a cooler add-on than the paid DLC.
Titanfall: Frontier's Edge (PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release: July 31, 2014 (PC, Xbox One) / TBA (Xbox 360)
MSRP: $9.99 ($25 Season Pass)
Once again, Frontier's Edge brings three maps along with it, one of which is Dig Site. This is the strongest map in the group, and both the aesthetic design and layout are reminiscent of the Halo series, which is a good thing. The rock-lined walls definitely give it character, as does the giant saw spinning on the battlefield.
There are also a few cool hollowed-out tunnels that remind me of some of the desolate maps from Killzone, but with Respawn's own personal spin on it. The only major disappointment is that some of the higher-up areas are considered "out of bounds," forcing the player to retreat to lower ground or risk instant death -- it makes you wonder why those portions are even there, since most zones don't have that problem.
The good news though is that you'll actually remember this map when it cycles in.
Haven is another decent addition to the complete pack of maps, even if it doesn't help justify the cost of the DLC. It's similar to Angel City both visually and layout-wise, as it contains tons of buildings with vantage points and windows. It's bright and open for the most part, which is a stark contrast to many of the brown-hued stages that take up half the game.
It reminds me of a good Call of Duty map, but with the game's signature future-flair injected into it. It's a nice way to keep the map grounded yet memorable within the confines of the Titanfall universe. Having said that, Haven is so by-the-books that it feels weird once you realized you paid money for it.
Export, like Runoff before it, is the clear-cut worthless part of the trio. It's a boring industrial map that's as underwhelming to play as it looks. With a diverse color palette of browns on top of browns (and some muted indoor shrubbery for good measure), Export feels like a disjointed map that doesn't have a cohesive theme or layout.
There's lots of nooks and crannies with elevated ramps that make for decent Titan skirmishes, but overall it has that "been there done that" feeling that you really can't have with a pack that only has three maps. At one point I didn't even realize that I was playing a paid DLC map.
The Black Market update itself (which again, everyone gets for free) is actually a nice, non-intrusive little addition. Now when you go to browse your Burn Cards, you can simply press the back triggers to sell them, earning credits to invest in new cards or emblems. Now, you can buy packs of cards that suit your needs, all of which are fairly priced, and can be bought by earning credits through normal play. It probably won't reignite the community, but it's a great way for veterans to get back in the action and work towards something when they become bored of prestiging. It's safe from micro-transactions, for now.
At the present time however, I cannot recommend the Titanfall Season Pass, even if it discounts the overall package by $5. The first two DLCs simply aren't strong enough to warrant a full purchase, so hang in there for an inevitable Season Pass discount before you go all in. If you can't help yourself and want just one pack though, Frontier's Edge slightly edges out Expedition -- even if it continues the trend of one good, one decent, and one poor map.
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