Titanfall is a brand new franchise from the creators of Call of Duty: 4 Modern Warfare. The creators left Infinity Ward and started their own studio called Respawn Entertainment. With the crazy success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the developers have finally decided to create a brand new multiplayer known as Titanfall. The game itself is a take on unique asynchronous multiplayer gameplay. The game feels quite fresh and innovative thanks to its fast-paced wall-running/parkour system, titan implementation and AI bots that are actually an important part of the game during the matches.
Titanfall is one of the most anticipated multiplayer games for Xbox One, Xbox360 and PC in 2014. Thanks to it’s original E3 2013 reveal at Microsoft Conference and reputation behind the original Call of Duty creators this game has generated massive amounts of hype ever since. After personally seeing the game at its first showing at Microsoft’s E3 2013 Press Conference I was quiet eager to try out the game as soon as possible due to the simple fact that the gameplay just looked amazing. I am quite happy to inform that after numerous days of playing Titanfall Beta, it’s safe for me to say that it’s a ton of fun and that the hype is not false. First and foremost let’s talk a-bit how Titanfall game-modes, AI, titans and pilots work.
The beta had 3 playable game-modes called Attrition, Hardpoint and Last Titan Standing. Attrition plays pretty much like a regular Team Deathmatch with the exception that killing enemy AI bots will actually give you points for your team besides killing enemy players and titans. While the game-mode is nothing really new, it’s still nice to see that the AI bots play an important part in the gameplay of Attrition mode.
Hardpoint is similar to Domination mode, where players must secure points A, B and C and hold it for as long as possible to gain points.AI bots are also present in this mode and are important to kill if you want to reduce your countdown timer for calling your titan. Last Titan Standing is probably the most weakest game modes of Titanfall. Due to a simple fact that it’s just a short match of 6v6 titans going against each other. Whichever team’s last titan stays alive wins the match. There’s not much to it, especially considering that you don’t even play as the pilot.
The beta only provided 2 maps which are Angel City and Fracture. Angel City is a small map, with an urban setting and a ton of vertical gameplay. Thanks to the game’s impressive parkour, this map is extremely fun to play. You can jet-pack your way into windows, wall-run up to rooftops and snipe down enemies, jump inside buildings from the top and jump on top of enemy titans to take out their cores. The narrow roads also provide tactical titan gameplay, simply because there is not that much space for the titans to use. You have to learn the map if you want to flank your enemy titans and be able to stay alive. It’s also a ton of fun for the pilots to watch titans fight each other through the windows while they’re trying to capture objectives inside buildings.
Fracture on the other hand is a much bigger map, with much more space and less buildings to hide in. The map takes outside the city/downtown area. Expect to see pipes, rocks, lots of debris, rubble empty land masses and industrial office buildings. There are not many places to hide from the titans and you have a much higher chance of getting killed if you’re outside of a building. Knowing the ins and outs of any map will still help you to survive longer. This map wasn’t as much fun to play as Angel City, but it provides a different play-style both for the pilots and titans because it’s much more open. In the end, both maps are equally enjoyable based on what kind of gameplay you prefer for yourself.
The beta only provided a single playable titan which is the Atlas. Atlas is just your regular run-of-the mill titan that is balanced between both slow and fast, and medium damage. Meanwhile, the other two titan classes Ogre and Strider were not playable in the beta and will only be available in the full game once it releases on March 11th 2014.
As far as the titan gameplay goes it’s quite unique and a lot of fun. It really adds a new dimension to a multiplayer games, because now there is a completely different being in the battlefield besides having a regular on-foot run’n’gun gameplay that we were used too. Titan’s gameplay is slower, but still fast-paced in it’s own nature, but the best part is that it’s very well balanced and a lot of fun to play. One of the most unique things about Titan gameplay is that a player can leave their titan and set them on auto-follow or defend position mode to do their bidding for them. Meanwhile, the AI is never as smart as the player is, it’s still a great option if you’re trying to capture an objective and wanting the titan to defend it.
Pilots can also jump on titan’s back whether they’re friendly or not. If they’re friendly the pilot can try to fend off enemy pilots while the titan is carrying them and fighting the enemy team. If you jump on an enemy titan, you can shoot of their main core to destroy them, unless the pilot gets out of the titan and takes you out. Innovative gameplay mechanics like these really help to shape up Titanfall’s unique and fun experiences that have never been done before in multiplayer games.
Titanfall also has a loadout system that’s somewhat similar to previous Call of Duty games. You can level up in the game while playing multiplayer, complete challenges that are divided into tiers and eventually hit new ranks that allow you to customize your loadouts. As you go higher in multiplayer ranks you also unlock new equipment, weapons and more. Each player has 2 separate custom loadouts, one for their pilot and another for a titan.
As you play the game you will also be able to earn something called Burn Cards. Burn Cards are a new take on perks. The unique thing about them is that they’re one time use during a match and you can only use up to 3 Burn Cards. Some Burn Cards make you run faster, others can buff your weapons and so on.
Once you’re in a match you can choose which Burn Card you want to use and once you die or the match ends the card gets burned and you no longer have it. Obviously if you die more than 3 times and you used a card each time you were alive then all of the Burn Cards are gone. This is an interesting system that makes the perk system more intriguing than in previous multiplayer games because of the one-time use factor. The card I’ve seen and used seemed to be fair to me and the fact that you can’t spam them is a great thing for balancing. However, we need to play the full retail game to see how the Burn Card system plays out for everyone else in the long-run, but so far it seems solid.
I am happy to inform that the beta ran very well on my PC at maxed out settings and that it caused me no issues with the exception of game crashes that occurred multiple times due to the simple fact that my Nvidia drivers were not up-to-date. Other than that, Titanfall runs on Valve’s Source engine that’s well-optimized and is scale-able on low-end and high-end rigs. If you don’t have the best PC in the world, you should still be able to enjoy Titanfall even on a low-range or mid-range PCs as long as it’s not more than 10 years old.
As far as the graphics goes Titanfall is not a true next-gen looking game. However, thanks to the updated source engine the game looks decent. It has it’s own art-style/look that fits good with its theme of titans, pilots and environments. The game has a fantastic sense of scale that creates a somewhat next-gen feel. Overall, the game does just enough to pass on for next-gen title thanks to its good optimization, feel, 60 FPS and innovative asynchronous multiplayer gameplay.
Titanfall has a lot to live up to as it nears release. I was satisfied with what I played during the beta and that my expectations were pretty much on par. Some of the expectations were even exceeded. However, we still need to see and play the other two additional titan classes, and the rest of the maps and game modes. Look forward to our final and super-detailed review of Titanfall next month.