It is What you Mech of it

Titanfall is an upcoming FPS from Respawn Entertainment, the makers of Call of Duty due for release on March 14th in Europe. There has been a great deal of excitement and hype around the release and after playing the recent beta I am here to give my thoughts.

The basic setup is two teams of six face off in various game modes, most of which we have seen in one iteration or another. Attrition is a team deathmatch mode that gives players points for kills, Hardpoint is a capture and hold and Last Titan Standing is as the name suggests a last man standing game mode but in Titans.

From the moment the somewhat lengthy tutorial loads you know that a lot of time and effort has gone into making the game feel as smooth as possible. Wall running and the Parkour elements are easily executed, and you never find your Pilot doing things he shouldn’t. After shooting a few stationery enemies you get to play around in your very own titan, which look like big hulking Mechs but in reality are just larger projections of the Pilot. The titans are high mobile, heavily armed nimble machines and other than jumping they can move round the maps with ease.

So lets get the negativity out of the way, yes there are bots in the game and yes there is a pistol that automatically locks onto enemies. Once you accept that they are part of the game and aren’t going anywhere they really aren’t that big of a deal. The two levels that were included in the beta were Angel City and Fracture, two very different maps. Angel City is tight narrow corridors, small passages and tall buildings where as Fracture is an open landscape with a few carefully place buildings to give the Pilot chance to escape the Titans.

A great deal has been made of the Parkour movement system and even I was surprised at just how fluid the actions are, bouncing from one wall to another to gain that bit extra speed or to reach that ledge high up above is all handled superbly. The clever inclusion of a double jump system facilitated by a jet pack has allowed Respawn to add verticality to the levels that games such as Call of Duty could never dream about. The movement system is so good that often performing that killer Parkour manoeuvre to get will feel better than the kills you have amassed by the end of the round.

This leads me on to the actual shooting mechanics, people who have played COD will feel more at home here than those who cut their teeth on the battlefield series. In fact previous battlefield players may find it difficult to adjust to the pace of the game initially. The guns feel satisfying enough but unfortunately the Pilots can’t take enough damage for true fights to take place, it’s a case of whoever ever see’s first usually wins. Enter the Titan, all players get the chance to call a Titan down as it’s on a time limit. This time limit can be reduced by performing certain actions in game, such as killing bots or Pilots, or just doing damage to them. The titan has a shield as well as a health bar and this allows some really interesting fights with Titans and indeed other Pilots who are well equipped to take down a titan on foot. Titan fights are interesting and can be a game of cat and mouse, being outnumbered doesn’t mean an instant loss, it just means you have to be a little bit smarter.

The rounds last anywhere from 10-20 minutes and this feels about right, although when you are doing really well you will want a few extra minutes. Games are setup using a lobby system similar to those found on consoles, and as of yet there is no option to customise the games or indeed hire a dedicated server. There is expected to be around 13 maps on launch and there will be the inevitable DLC at some point. There are 3 titans in the game and no plans to add anymore at the moment, although titans can be customised as can your Pilot.

Is this the revolutionary game changer for the FPS genre? After 10 hours with the beta I would have to say no. What they have got is a solid FPS game with really fun mechanics that all work together flawlessly. Which for a beta, is impressive. I am looking forward to the release and I will be sinking many hours into the game over the coming months. Check out the short gameplay video below, 10 minutes on Fracture in Hard Point mode.


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