Now that I’ve had an entire weekend to play around with the Titanfall beta on the Xbox One, I wanted to give a rundown of my impressions. I understand that this is a beta and things like frame rate issues and bugs will, hopefully, be sorted out in the final build of the game, but I’m still going to mention them as they are part of the beta.
Titanfall is a strictly multiplayer first-person shooter that switches things up by letting you pilot huge mech’s known as Titans, as well as run around the maps as a pilot. In addition to fighting off enemy teams of player controlled pilots and Titans, each team also has AI that runs around in support. These AI, known as Grunts and Spectre, are much easier to kill than pilots, but do add another level to the gameplay.
Let’s start with the very basics of the beta. There are 3 game modes available to play, Attrition, Hardpoint Domination and Last Titan Standing. Attrition is your basic team deathmatch. Hardpoint Domination is the same as “Domination”, if you’re used to Call of Duty. There are 3 points on the map that you must capture and hold, you gain points for each one you hold, and the first team to 400 wins. Last Titan Standing is basically just how it sounds, everyone starts with a Titan, but when your titan gets destroyed, that’s it, no respawns. However, you can still support your team as a pilot if your titan gets destroyed, but the winning team is the one that has destroyed all of the other teams titans. Of the 3 game modes, I still find the Hardpoint Domination to be my favorite, Last Titan Standing is fun, but it can be a very long game mode since you play rounds until a team wins 4 rounds. Obviously there will be more game modes in the final, so I’m excited to see what else they came up with.
Now let’s talk a little about how the game actually plays, and how you play the game. Last Titan Standing aside, you start each game as a pilot. Each pilot has a primary weapon, a secondary weapon and an anti-titan weapon, along with a grenade-type and a couple abilities. Pilots have the ability to move a lot faster than titans and can double-jump and run along walls. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about these aspects of the game, but they are actually a lot of fun. The ability to double-jump means that the verticality of levels increases, and the places you have to keep an eye out for enemies is enormous. Basically, if you think you can get somewhere, within the confines of the map, you probably can. Combine that with the ability to enter most of the buildings in the 2 given maps and it makes for a good variety of long range combat and close quarters combat.
In order to get your titan there is a timed countdown, but you can speed up this countdown by killing AI and pilots. Killing pilots takes more time off the meter than killing pilots does, but once that clock hits zero you can call in your titan. Once you titan is called in, only you can enter it; even if you get out of it in the middle of a battle, you are the only one that can pilot your titan. Other players can hop your titan’s back and ride along (if friendly) or try to bring it down (if hostile), but you are the only one that can ever be inside of your titan. This is good because I was definitely worried that if you didn’t get in your titan fast enough, other players could steal them, but they can’t. Once you have a titan you can jump right in him and pilot him as you expect, or you can set him to 2 different modes: the first being guard mode, where titan will just stay in one area and kill anything that comes near, the other is follow mode, where he follows you around and kills anything he sees. Guard mode works really well in hardpoint domination as you can set your titan to guard a capture point while you run and try and capture the next.
My overall impressions of the game are that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. It’s almost a mix between Halo and Call of Duty, but far less Call of Duty. You always feel like you’re in the action as, even though the maps are large, the ability to jump over everything makes getting back into the fight a lot faster and easier. And it’s because of this that when you die, you don’t get that upset. I think it also appeals to people that may not be as skilled in Call of Duty because the addition of AI players makes it seem as though you’re helping out your team even if you’re just killing a bunch of computer players. I have no doubt the game is going to be huge, but I don’t think it’s going to “kill” Call of Duty. The games play differently and will each still have their core groups of fans. I’ll definitely be picking up Titanfall as Call of Duty is starting to grow a bit stale, but I can’t imagine I’ll just stop playing Call of Duty all together.