Titanfall BETA

A few weeks ago I spent a LOT of time playing the Titanfall beta. I feel it is the first real next gen shooter for consoles. Read on for more details.

Take the good things of Call of Duty, custom soldier loadouts & perks. Throw in some mechs, because when was the last time console players had a good mech game? Then add a touch of Mirror's Edge's free running and a dash of the creep aspect from a MOBA. That is what Titanfall is, and it all works flawlessly.

In a nutshell, you have a 6 on 6 match, that lasts roughly 10 minutes. You are a Pilot and start on foot, fighting along side your team of Pilots are AI controlled Grunts and Spectres. A good match will end with a few Titans left standing.

Free running.

For anyone who was lucky enough to play the '07 gem Mirror's Edge you will not be disappointed with the parkour in this game. (If you haven't played Mirror's Edge I would suggest you find it and try it as they are working on a ME2.) It feels really smooth and fluid. Through all my play time I never once had the frustration that comes with Assassins Creed's free running, where you are trying to run around a corner but keep getting stuck running up a column over and over agian. You are also equiped with a limited use jet pack, which allows you to double jump. This double jump recharges everytime your feet touch down, whether it be horizontally or on a vertical face. This makes scaling buildings a pure joy once you get the hang of it.


The way Respawn nailed the mechs is another great point. You get your Titan based on a "construction" timer. This timer can be cut down by kills and Burn Cards (more later) to recieve your Titan sooner but having the Titans on a timer rather than a perk for performance really helps to keep the matches ballanced. Even if your team is getting stomped on foot everyone will sooner or later get a Titan. However, just because you have your Titan doesn't mean you're safe. A Pilot on foot can take down any Titan, depending on the skill levels, quite easily if you're not careful. 

Every Pilot is equiped with an anti-Titan weapon and they can also hop on top to rip open and control panel and blast away the the Titan. It's not quick but if the Titan pilot is unaware you can easily take it down. I would find it amusing to watch a team mate who has a Pilot on thop of them. They would be getting damage markers on their HUD so they would be dodging all over the place trying to avoid the damage, meanwhile you are trying to aim at them to get the Pilot off, they would usually end up being destroyed. Cooler heads prevail in that situation. Stop, eject, your Titan will crouch down, you get a clear shot, unless that Pilot is paying attention and jumped off.

The other well designed aspect of the Titans is that you don't even have to be in it. If you eject or call it down and get killed it will still be useful to the team. If there is no Pilot inside the mech it will begin to fight, AI controlled, actually quite efficiently at that. This is another situation that I found showed you the difference between a good Pilot and a bad one. If your AI mech is battleing another mech it is better to pull out your anti-Titan weapon and help from the ground rather than jumping into your mech. Whenever you mount your mech it takes a good 5 seconds to go from ground to controls. That is 5 seconds that your mech is getting pounded on by the enemy. This point is situational though, as every mech gets a protective sheild when it touchs down, giving you time to get in and situated even if you are in the heat of a battle.

Map design.

The map design of the two maps that were available for the beta were very well thought out and clean. You would think that designing a map for both humans and mechs to travel around might pose a problem. However I never found myself pinned in a corner, there are always multiple ways out and with the parkour it only adds to the escape possibilities. Whether it be running into an alley or jumping through a second floor window to avoid a Titan or to get around (or over) a building and flank another Pilot, there were always options.

Burn Cards.

These are basically a one time, one life perk. You get burn cards from doing tasks, winning, kill milestones, etc. these go in your deck of 27 (I think). You preload 3 cards from your deck while in the lobby. Once in the match you can activate any of the 3 burn cards ever time you spawn. They provide anything from an upgraded gun to an instant Titanfall, and everything in between. Burn card perks generally stack with your loadout perks that are already active on your Pilot/Titan