So, I’m sure there weren’t a lot of doubts out there, but Titanfall is an immediately impressive game. Respawn, being made up of the minds who changed online shooters forever in Call of Duty 4, has quite the gem on their hands here.
Fast, furious, explosive, and an absolute marvel to look at, Titanfall is exactly what every trailer and preview before this has pinned it as: a resurgence of life in a genre that had been losing it. As familiar as it may seem to any Call of Duty player at first, the moments evolve and change as the match goes on, and it endlessly encourages you, the player, to try new things, to take risks, and rewards you for them. You don’t quite have super powers, but almost any improvisation can be reworked into a very real and very spontaneous solution to problems around you.
Here’s an example. You quickly learn that Titans have their advantages and their disadvantages, and one of them is the complete inability to gain higher ground. With the speed and jetpacks on the Pilot’s side, they can gain higher ground and decimate Titans if you know what you’re doing. While hulking about in my machine, I turned a corner and found two Titans staring at me. That’s not good. I immediately thought, “I need the higher ground.” I jumped from my machine, and using wall runs, scaled the tallest building in the area. My Titan aptly distracted the two warmachines I ran into, and from the rooftops I pounded away at the health bars of my enemies with an ally Pilot who just made it to the scene. After adequately lowered, I jumped from the rooftop, into my Titan, and with its hulking robot arms, ripped the Pilots out of their softened scrap metal. It was awesome, and absolutely seamless.
A simple idea, brought about by what I had learned from just playing the game, lead to a fantastic, and very “set piece” moment with absolutely no scripting necessary. On average, I see about three of those per match, and it doesn’t even phase me anymore. Jumping out of a Titan, into a building, taking out a half dozen enemies, then popping out the opposite end of building, back into a Titan is just old hat to me. That’s nuts! And that isn’t to say I don’t get those thrilling moments anymore, but they just get crazier and more bombastic after every match.
On top of that, the new game mode here, Last Titan Standing, is extremely different than either of the other two standard play modes offered. Each match starts with 12 Titans on the ground, and when one team loses all of its Pilots or machines, its round over. With everyone in Titans, you get a glimpse of something that you rarely see in an average game: all out mech warfare. These matches really do come off as mech games instead of first person shooting, even though they’re both happening simultaneously. It’s excellent to see the entire sensation of the game change from game mode to game mode.
The only thing the beta doesn’t give you an idea of is the extent of the content to come. There are only a small handful of weapons available and one of the three Titans, which is a very small fraction of the final game’s offerings, from what I understand. It’s a small peak, but as an excited player, it’s frustrating not to have the full monty in front of me. But I’ll live.
I’m very excited for Titanfall, and we’ll no doubt be discussing it at IrrationalPassions.com when it releases on March 11th. Until then, stay tuned.