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Titanfall Beta Gameplay Video and Early Impressions
Hello veteran pilots and eager newcomers! I’ve spent a good chunk of the opening weekend of the Titanfall Beta mech stomping, wall running, and rocket blasting my way through the limited but super fun beta. You can check out my full live stream below (recorded Saturday Feb. 15 on our official Twitch.tv channel) as I try out all three game modes – Attrition (Team Deathmatch), Hardpoint (Control Points), and Last Titan Standing (Survival, start with Titan) on the two maps available in the beta, Fracture and Angel City.
Note that I played the PC version at 1080p with max settings (upscaled from the beta’s current native resolution), and the default mouse and keyboard control scheme.
I’ve only played for a few hours but have gotten a good taste of the general flow of the online multiplayer. I can whole-heartedly dispel the initial woes that 6v6 was too small for an online shooter – it’s simply not the case. The addition of a dozen NPC soldiers on each side create the feeling of small armies clashing, and when players start dropping Titans down left and right all hell starts to break loose, and never lets up throughout the entire match.
The NPCs are inspired from MOBAs that utilize weaker AI teammates to both bolster your side and provide weaker fodder for the enemy. It’s a brilliant design decision that ultimately allows everyone to feel like a total badass by mowing down enemies instead of always falling prey to more skilled players (for an example in my video, jump to 1:16:50). The NPCs, which so far I’ve seen come in two flavors, Grunts and the slightly tougher Spectres, are easy to kill and designed to let players rack up points. But they successfully provide additional targets for the enemy, and I found it useful (and comforting) to hang around them for additional firepower and breathing room.
The titular Titans are indeed impressive, slamming onto the ground wherever you choose to spawn it and throwing up a special shield you can use tactically by giving you a chance to jump inside or clear the surroundings. Your Titan’s AI automatically kicks in and you can select it to Follow you or Guard an area. Each Titan has a shield and a life bar; the shield regenerates like normal shooters, but the life bar can never recover, making each Titan more of a temporary power-up than a game-dominating vehicle. A skilled pilot in a Titan can be a deadly force, using the quick dash and vortex shield (with the cool Matrix-like animation of holding incoming bullets in front of you) to get the most out of their still inevitably short lifespan. Since every player is equipped with various anti-Titan weaponry, Titan’s generally don’t last all that long. Even after it’s destroyed, the next one is only a minute or so away.
That was my biggest takeaway from my game time – the insane speed of each match. Every character can sprint forever, and wall hanging and double jumping mean you can cover a lot of vertical ground very quickly. Everyone’s on the move at all times, and with the Titan’s dashes even the lumbering mechs can weave quickly through a city street relatively gracefully. If you’re annoyed by campers or find some shooters just a bit too slow for you, Titanfall could very well be your new jam. After 2-3 minutes into the match everyone’s Titan’s start becoming available, and the level of explosive craziness ratchets up so much it’s all you can do to hang on. It’s fast, crazy, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Titanfall may not be the revolutionary shooter that many seem to over-hype it as, and if you’re not a fan of the competitive multiplayer shooter genre I don’t think it’ll make you an instant convert. What Titanfall does well is iterate on all the best elements of shooters and other online games to create a tightly cohesive experience that delivers on constant adrenaline-pumping action. Respawn Entertainment has managed to distill most of the crazy moments of the Battlefield series into smaller Call of Duty style maps, while offering everyone a chance at their own personal super-vehicle. Customized loadouts and kits (both for pilots and Titans), challenges, mods, grenades, tactical abilities, and Burn Cards (think Mass Effect 3’s one time use power-ups) are all elements drawn from other successful shooters and action games, and blended together for a winning formula.