The beta for Titanfall appeared a couple of weeks ago, and accompanying this upcoming addition to the well-flooded online FPS market are high hopes for Respawn Entertainment to initiate the much-needed ground-breaking innovation to the market. For that reason, the beta was a bit of a big deal; a pre-release taste test could have easily dissuaded some from making a full-price purchase if it underperformed. It is fortunate then that the beta proved to be the most entertaining first-person experience of recent years. Let’s just hope that entertainment may fester for longer than a weekend.
The basis of Titanfall is a standard 6v6 First Person Shooter; add mildly futuristic technology, a well-designed parkour system, and of course, colossal mechanical bodies; you’re left with a right bucket of fun. While the Titans themselves are the most-discussed element of Titanfall, the parkour system is much more intriguing; think Brink, but good. The inclusion of the double-jump, wall-running, and simple mounting abilities to the Pilot’s movement structure is heavenly, allowing players the opportunity to truly traverse their environment in three dimensions, as opposed to being railroaded along set paths in typical Call of Duty style.
Titans themselves are surprisingly versatile – I knew I would never be very good at fighting from within a behemoth of a mech suit, and the good news is that I don’t have to. Upon Titanfall (when the Titan falls from the sky – a fair namesake) players can simply select an automatic function, leaving the Titan to wreak havoc independent of human direction. The mech suits are easily operated, and though I was (as predicted) useless with them, it would be hard to deny how effective they can be; and more importantly how fun they can be.
The stripped-down version of the game made available in the beta did feel that way, with only two maps and three game modes to be slotted into, but the customisation options appear to allow a great room for growth in the retail release. The perk system for the Pilot and Titan is very interesting; it enables players to choose particularly distinct skills, yet doesn’t flood minds with a myriad of options. There is room for weapon and perk variation typical of current-gen military shooter style, but this class creation system is streamlined to the basics – you won’t find fifteen essentially identical assault rifles in Titanfall. Thank you.
The weapons each feel unique from the other and are fun to use intheir own fashion. Even the standard shotgun, assault rifle and sniper rifle feel satisfying to use, while of course the “Smart Pistol” is always a good laugh; locking-on to a handful of baddies and killing them all with a single click is already projected as being overpowered, but every other weapon feels sufficiently deadly; haters gonna hate, amirite?
If there is anything to express caution for it is that Titanfall was an absolute load of fun – but only for the few days we had to play it. I am not as sure it will uphold as a full-price release as I wish I was, with games playing out too similarly already. AI opponents, for instance, work as empty-headed cannon-fodder for the player to easily decimate, and seem absolutely unnecessary for a first-person shooter. They will capture Hardpoints as best they can but realistically pose very little threat, even in great numbers. With this in mind, battling human players is a greater source of enjoyment, but being pitted against six players feels too few for such an epic-battle-style game. In a perfect world servers would allow for a greater number of players, and the balance between pilot and titan would be adjusted suitably, but that’s not the reality we’re in. The reality is that Titanfall is going to sell like hotcakes, and judging from this taste, it deserves it.
These aren’t critiques but more whiney complaints from someone who adores the overall aspect of Titanfall and each major element of the game. Since the rise of the Call of Duty franchise has led to tedious and typical gameplay, the remnants of what Infinity Ward once was (now the team at Respawn Entertainment) are the best hope for redesigning the online FPS world, just as they did with Modern Warfare.
A lot of people are mad that EA is involved too but hey – they alright, bro. What’s important is that Titanfall looks awesome, and it does.
Titanfall is released on multiple dates through March on PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.