My targeting reticule flashes on a dark corner and I fire three times. Though, I was not aiming accurately the bullets strike true and the enemy pilot dies. My smart-gun could see what I could not: a cloaked enemy, waiting in ambush. I sprint through the abandoned building, running along walls, and leaping over the broken floor, before finally entering the battlefield at large. The robotic support officer’s face appears on my screen, “enemy Titans in the area,” as a massive robot slams into the ground. Blinded by dust, I switch to my rocket launcher in vain as I’m crushed by a massive metal foot. Welcome to Titanfall.
The multiplayer first person shooter genre has been stale for the last few years. Call of Duty 4 was great, but each iteration afterward (has) failed to capture my attention. Battlefield Bad Company 2 kept me up late during my all too short weekends, but I did not even bother to purchase 3 and 4. Titanfall is the new Multiplayer FPS by Respawn Entertainment. In case you hadn’t heard of them, Respawn is made up of the majority of the old Infinity Ward, the team behind Call of Duty Modern Warfare (one). They innovated the genre then, and they have done it again.
Titanfall pits two relatively small teams of players in 6 vs. 6 battles. Currently in the beta there are three modes: Attrition, Hardpoint, and Last Titan Standing. What are Titans? Titans are giant mechs which can be used by the player to gain an edge on the battlefield. You can customize your pilot with different weapons and perks, and can unlock new upgrades and perks by completing challenges.
Players can wall-run, sprint at speeds that would make Bolt blush, and double jump across impossible distances. This sets the game apart from other current generation shooters. Walls and buildings help you chain together double jumps and wall bounces to scale buildings to dodge opponents or to get the perfect sniping spot.
The Titans are big mech fighting suits that your pilot can either have fight on their own controlled by the AI or assume direct control of. Piloting your Titan sacrifices mobility for increased durability and firepower. The 40mm Cannon my Titan has equipped will one shot a player. All pilots are equipped with some form of anti-Titan weapon. Enemy pilots can leap on and blast the Titan directly in the control unit if they can survive long enough in close-quarters combat. This bypasses the Titan’s shields and directly damages the Titan’s hull.
Piloting a Titan gives you a bigger punch but also makes you vulnerable to ambushes. You’re always on the lookout for pilots on the roofs or hiding inside buildings. Titans, when properly utilized, can turn the tide of a battle. However they are superbly balanced as to be not overpowered. When you start a match you have 3 minute timer until you can summon your Titan. This timer is reduced by damaging and killing other pilots or minions, which are another fresh element of Titanfall.
Minions are best equated to the creep or minions in games like Dota or League of Legends. The minions are AI teammates that litter the battlefield helping you maintain position or attack your enemies. Their main function in my opinion is to make the player feel more epic. I’ve run across enemy minions holding one of my team’s minions in a choke hold while another is prepped to punch him. When I enter the room they freeze for a second allowing me to shoot both the bad guys in the head, my AI ally gets up and thanks me before we continue on our merry way. They also have chatter which serves to bolster your ego, “Don’t worry boys! We got a pilot here!” and “These guys are bad ass!” are some examples of their phrases. As many of us know, it is very frustrating to be doing poorly in an FPS, but with the minions around you can still feel good as you run into a room and easily dispatch 4 or 5 minions. The minions are not just there to provide enrich the gaming experience though, in the Attrition game mode you still receive points that count toward winning the match by killing them. The minions further build on Titanfall’s epic experience.
I was not excited or hyped for this game at all, but then I got into the beta and on whim started playing. I didn’t stop playing until my girlfriend dragged me away. I had a dream about piloting a Titan as I slept after the first night; this game has got me hooked. Titanfall checks most boxes for a good FPS: tight controls, fun and innovative gameplay, and balance. Give it a try or check out our videos at youtube.com/Gullington or here on The Healthy Gamer!