Chrome and Blood: 24 hours with Titanfall

“The bigger they are the harder they fall”.

That was the phrase uttered to me the first time I destroyed an opponent’s titan by jumping on its back and shooting it till it exploded. Form that moment on I knew I had something special on my hands.

Learning the ropes and game modes

The beta starts with a very well designed and in depth tutorial system. You will learn all about the unique weapons, parkour tactics and mastering the art of piloting a titan. You are then free to choose one of the three game types available; Attrition, Hardpoint and Last Titan Standing. Attrition will be the most familiar to Call of Duty players. It’s your standard team deathmach setup, I recommended you start here to get yourself acclimated to the controls and systems. Hardpoint is a capture and hold style that will be very familiar to FPS players. You have three areas that you need to control and you earn points by keeping them for your team. Last Titan Standing starts every player in a titan and you only have one life which adds excitement and a nice level of intensity.

Prepare for Titanfall

While the game modes are nothing no one hasn’t seen before the game is called Titanfall and the inclusion of the titans is a huge game changer. In Attrition and Hardpoint you have a timer that counts down till you can deploy your titan. You can reduce the time by killing the AI opponents (well get to those soon) and opposing players. Once you have access to you titan you summon it with a very satisfying animation of them shooting down from the sky landing right in from of you. Once you’re in a titan the battlefield changes significantly, this was most apparent in Hardpoint. In the beginning of a Hardpoint match your trying to rush to the control points and take them for you team and at first this felt very familiar to me but then titans start to take the field. Once titans are on the prowl it feels like a totally different game. It really changes the atmosphere making it difficult to get to the hardpoints and forces you to really work those parkour skills. It’s a welcomed change of pace from your standard FPS fare. Piloting a titan feels natural and fluid. It feels like an extension of your current abilities rather than something so jarring you have no idea what you’re doing. New players are not going to have much trouble getting acclimated.

Borrowing from the MOBA craze

A major component of what stands Titanfall apart from other shooters is the inclusion of a minion system. Just like in popular MOBA’s League of Legends and DOTA each team has AI players that spawn occasionally. There are two type of AI’s that spawn in Titanfall; Grunts and Spectres. Grunts are human AI that are very easy to kill and Spectres are robots that require a few more bullets before going down. Killing Grunts and Spectres on the opposing team will reduce your time before you can call in your Titan. This leads me to my biggest disappointment with the beta. The AI controlling the minions is not very good. In my extensive play testing they pretty much just stand around not do nothing, basically just acting like cannon fodder. I do hope this is something that Respawn can fix before the game is released. Major AI improvement is necessary and must be addressed. Watch how easily I kill these three grunts and control a hardpoint.

A Well Balanced Meal

Now on to one of the best thing about this game. This might be the most well balanced FPS I’ve ever played. No matter your situation you never feel like the odds are stacked against you. Every pilot has and anti-titan weapon from the start of the match so you’re ready if you come face to face with one. Campers are a natural part of the FPS genre and nothing is more satisfying then getting into my titan and firing a whole salvo of rockets at that annoying player who is chilling on the roof with a sniper rifle. Being in a titan absolutely gives you an advantage over pilots running around, this is where your parkour skills will come in handy. Of course you have an anti-titan gun but being able to jump off walls and fly across rooftops with ease make you a very difficult target for a titan and will give you a great chance of being able to hid and prep your next move. It’s this great rock, paper, scissors balance that every game tires to find and Respawn has found it perfectly and they should be applauded for it.

Weapons and Customizations

Titanfall gives you plenty of weapons and extras to choose from to customize both your pilot and titan to your liking. At the start of each match you get to pick you pilot loadout and a separate titan loadout. First up is the pilot. You get three weapon slots for the pilot a primary weapon, anti-titan weapon and side arm.  Your primary weapon choices range from rifles to SMGs to sniper rifles but I would like to highlight one special one. The Smart Pistol MK5 has the ability to lock on to nearby enemies and will hit them automatically like a homing missile. This is great for getting rid of the grunts and spectres but does require lots of shots to kill a human player. Anti-titan weapons are exactly what you think they are, big explosive guns that will put a hurt on a titan. My favorite is the Sindwinder, it shoots micro missiles at a fast pace and you can get a lot of shots at a titan before they have a chance to respond. Pilots also get to choose a tactical ability, a grenade type and kits. The beta has two tactical abilities, cloak and stim. Cloak makes you invisible for a short period of time but can be still be seen by eagle eyed players, however players in titans will have a very hard time seeing a cloaked player. Stim lets you boost your health regen and movement speed for a short time which is great for players who like to run and gun. For your grenade type you can pick either the frag grenade (no explanation needed) or an arc grenade which explodes electricity at anyone unfortunate enough to be near it. Lastly for the pilot you can equip two kits which are very similar to the Call of duty perks. Two examples are Power Cell which recharge your abilities faster and Minion Detector which revels all the grunts and spectres on your minimap.

The titan also has the ability to be customized to your liking. You can pick a primary weapon like the 40 MM canon or the quad rocket launcher. As for tactical abilities the vortex shield is awesome. It lets you deflect and hold off enemy fire then release it and shoot it back at them. Titans also have a slot for ordnance. Rocket Salvo is lots of run and as noted earlier will scare the crap off a roof camper when they see ten plus rockets heading their way. Titan kit options include Nuclear Ejection which sends a blast wave when you eject and Survivor which give you more time to escape when your titan has been destroyed.

Then there are Burn Cards. Burn Card slots unlock as you level up and give you boost in your next match until your first death. You earn cards by completing challenges and range from having a powerful gun to giving you faster sprint speed.

No matter your play style, Titanfall has you covered and offers a wide arrangement of loadout possibilities which will keep you coming back till you find one that works for you.

Conclusion

With Titanfall the next generation of gaming truly is here. A well-balanced structure will make new players feel welcomed and always keep you in the action. Great Controls and customization options will please the hardcore FPS fan. Useless AI and the wish of more than 6 human players will keep Titanfall from being prefect. However this will be a must own game for your Xbox One and will be one of the top multiplayer experiences of 2014.

 

Disclaimer: TVGB was provided a beta code from Xbox. I played all the modes extensively totaling over 10 hours of play time.

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