When a game like Titanfall receives as much hype as it has over the past year, there’s always a chance that it won’t live up to its reputation. From what I’ve experienced over the course of playing Titanfall‘s beta this past weekend, that simply isn’t the case. Respawn Entertainment has gone to great lengths to provide first-person shooter fans with a fresh multiplayer experience that exudes bold, fast-paced gameplay. It is familiar, but at the same time completely foreign. It is solemn, yet playful in nature. Titanfall truly is a thrill-inducing experience that pushes the boundaries of the first-person shooter genre in all of the right directions. Hit the jump to find out more about my hands-on experience with Titanfall‘s beta this past weekend on Xbox One.
After playing the beta rather extensively this past weekend, I found myself in awe of how unique Titanfall‘s blend of gun-based gameplay, parkour mechanics and mech battles truly is. In terms of HUD management, Titanfall requires far more strategy than other game’s in its class, relying on the player to manually manage Titan drops, damage increases and tactical abilities. And as hectic as that all may sound, the control layout on the Xbox One controller works surprisingly well, utilizing the D-pad for a variety of command inputs in conjunction with other button and trigger commands common in games like Call of Duty. But if there’s one thing Titanfall isn’t, it’s a clone of of Call of Duty and Battlefield. To demonstrate, let’s take a look at what makes Titanfall so unique.
What Makes Titanfall Worth Playing?
Parkour is Hardcore!
Mobility is Titanfall‘s greatest strong suit, allowing players to traverse its intricately designed terrains with ease. Want to get on top of a three story building in order to gain a vantage point over enemy pilots? No problem. Wall-runs and double jumps break level constraints players have become accustomed to in past games, allowing for a much more liberating type of gameplay that rewards those with a more polished skillset. Please note, however, that new players unfamiliar with the game should be able to pick up the parkour mechanics fairly quickly with some practice. Becoming moderately competent with the game’s controls is essential when maneuvering around structures and Titans and, honestly, there’s nothing more satisfying than blowing up a Titan with a rocket launcher from the top of a building. Still, you’ll need to be able to get there first before you reap the rewards of all out mech destruction.
Smooth Titan Controls
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit skeptical as to how well Titans would control in game before testing the beta. Luckily, I ended up being pleasantly surprised, as controlling the game’s formidable mechs is incredibly fluid and empowering. It’s almost as if there are two games in one – pilot warfare and Titan warfare. Although large and rather heavy, Titans are able to cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time due to their ability to sprint and glide great distances with their thruster packs. Because of this, gameplay is able to retain its momentum throughout almost the entirety of the match, which is something sorely lacking in games like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
When piloting a Titan, I felt incredibly powerful, easily smashing smaller NPCs and pilots on the ground. However, that feeling is often short-lived due to the introduction of enemy Titans on the battlefield shortly after going on a killing spree. As the maps become populated by enemy and ally Titans, the overall intensity of the game increases. Pilots are able to “rodeo” enemy Titans whilst blasting their mechanical brains out, or they can choose to ride friendly Titans in hopes of taking cover beneath the confines of their shields. The possibilities that accompany Titan warfare are nearly endless. Plus, the beta only introduced players to one version of the game’s Titans. Two additional Titans will be available for players to use when the game launches, making for even more diversity within matches.
Titanfall is an Immersive Experience
From the time you drop out of your ship to the final moments of escape for the defeated team at the end of each match, Titanfall prompts players up to feel connected to their pilots and their Titans. Messages from your commanding officer in the top right corner of your HUD and pre-rendered events involving NPCs are only a few driving forces behind the game’s dense atmosphere. When mixed in with player-controlled pilots and Titans, Titanfall creates an unrivaled sense of depth and originality without the use of a single-player mode. But what’s exciting is that this is only the beta. What I, as well as many others, have seen is merely a shell of what we can expect on March 11, which only makes me more anxious to get my hands on the final version of the game.
Location is Everything
The Titanfall beta introduced players to two different maps – Angel City and Fracture. Angel City is a rather large map with a multitude of different buildings ranging from small to fairly tall. While Titans are often limited as to where they can and cannot go due to walled off areas and such, I never felt inhibited by the level itself, allowing for balanced gameplay as both a Titan and pilot. This is key for pilots as I often found myself utilizing buildings and small hallways as a means of cover from enemy Titans. Understanding how to effectively utilize the parkour system is essential on this map due to the tight corridors between building in which players can wall-run to get to higher vantage points – something very important when trying to combat enemy Titans. Overall, Angel City is a great map for creating a break between pilot warfare and Titan warfare. Still, the two often come together in ways that offer up some truly exhilarating battle scenarios.
Fracture, on the other hand, provides for a much more liberating style of play, specifically when controlling a Titan. Set amongst run down buildings, natural cliff formations and haphazard patches of foliage, Fracture often promotes Titan vs. Titan battles more so than pilot vs. pilot confrontations. Still, once your Titan bites the bullet you’ll be forced to do your best until the Titan countdown timer runs out, forcing players to move quickly from one place of cover to the next. Personally, I really enjoyed playing on this map, as it allowed me to experience a more unrestricted type of gameplay while piloting my Titan, making it perfect for game modes like “Last Titan Standing” – a game type that only focuses on Titan warfare. Hopefully Titanfall‘s full range of maps expand upon what we’ve seen with Angel City and Fracture when it releases next month.
What to Worry About if You Plan on Purchasing Titanfall
Sniping isn’t a Walk in The Park
I don’t have a lot of complaints about this game, but there’s one thing in particular that truly frustrated me while playing Titanfall and that is sniping. Specifically, sniping while using a pilot’s cloaking ability. To make a long story short, enabling your cloaking device causes everything to turn invisible…including the sniper scope’s reticle. I cannot tell you how frustrated I was when I saw this. Snipers are meant to benefit from the element of stealth – graciously offered up by means of the game’s cloaking mechanism – but that concept is quickly counteracted by not being able to get a solid read on where your scope is aiming while invisible. Thankfully, sniping isn’t a large part of this game, making the problem feel rather unimportant, but for those who do enjoy the element of stealth while sniping, it essentially discourages using that weapon class entirely.
To alleviate this problem, I found that utilizing an alternate scope for the sniper rifle – similar to ACOG scopes in other games – allows for a broader range of vision, thus making it easier to hit fast moving player-controlled pilots. So, although Titanfall isn’t built for snipers per se, utilizing the class more so along the lines the rifleman class in Call of Duty: Ghosts can prove to be beneficial.
How Many Game Modes Will There be?
The beta provided players with three different game modes to choose from – Attrition, Hardpoint Domination and Last Titan Standing. Although these game modes proved to be enjoyable, lacking any additional modes in the final version of the game could lead to gameplay becoming stale rather quickly. Some sort of capture the flag mode could easily end up in the game’s final build, as carrying a flag on the back of a teammates Titan would prove to extraordinarily fun. Even a free-for-all mode would usher forth a fresh mode for players to sink their teeth into. Whatever Respawn has up its sleeve, additional modes will be key to Titanfall‘s post-launch success.
How Many Maps Can We Expect?
Although the maps provided in the beta are very well thought out and provided for exciting bouts of gameplay, a larger lineup of maps will also be essential in the overall scope of this strictly multiplayer-based game. Diversity of maps – in accordance with game types – will keep players coming back each day to enjoy what Titanfall has to offer. Specifically, a more diverse lineup of maps would allow for strategic differences both for the pilots and Titans alike. Varying the number of open vs. close quarters maps is something that I, along with many others I’d assume, hope Respawn Entertainment takes into consideration. Otherwise, the $60 price tag may end up being a bit too high for some people to accept.
Weak NPC Enemies
To create a richer, fuller play experience, Titanfall populates its multiplayer maps with NPCs, allowing players access to easy kills throughout the match. While I thoroughly enjoy the added atmosphere brought about by the game’s cannon fodder, they are entirely too weak to pose any real threat to the player. My fear is that players, myself included, will become bored with the game’s weaker adversaries due to the absence of any real challenge. Adding additional difficulty settings for NPCs is something I hope Respawn considers in order to provide players with a more challenging experience. However, not adding in additional difficulty settings wouldn’t ruin an already great game.
So, from what’s been presented in Titanfall‘s beta, I think it’s safe to say that the full version of the game will provide hours of fun, provided it includes a wide variety of game modes and maps for players to enjoy. Through its immersive environments and unique mechanics, Titanfall really does seem to be the next big thing in the category of competitive multiplayer. Still, you don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy everything it has to offer. Let’s hope Titanfall‘s initial beta success carries over in the coming weeks.
If you have any questions regarding something not covered in this article or the video, feel free to ask in the comments sections below. I’ll be glad to answer your questions to the best of my ability.