Arguably the most anticipated next gen release, Titanfall was on full display at this year’s EuroGamer Expo for eager players to get their hands on. Bringing in the longest queues of the weekend, up to three hours at one point, I was eager to try this Xbox and PC exclusive near future first person shooter.
Titanfall has a fair amount hype surrounding it. The first title from newly established development team Respawn Entertainment, created from the split at Infinity Ward, the giants behind the Modern Warfare Call of Duty series, Titanfall has a very weighty pedigree behind it. With all this to take in, I made my way upstairs at Earls Court first to get my hands on what has been penned by many as an Xbox One system seller.
After a brief queue I got round to the briefing screen where I was handed a headset and watched the tutorial video which explained the new game mechanics to me and the other thirty one eager gamers ready to go. I sat at my unit and picked up the 360 controller and began to set my game up. I asked the staff what the game was running off of, which they were completely honest about, high spec PC’s with Nvidia GTX 770 graphics cards, clocking in a smooth 60 frames per second (which didn’t stumble or drop during the whole experience).
Like Call of Duty games you have a load out screen in which you set up your pilot and your titan with weapons and perks. I chose to go for an assault type pilot with a shotgun and heavy type titan with rail gun and shoulder mounted rockets. The map that was played in the demo was a square urban environment in a city centre, and was slightly bigger than the larger Call of Duty maps.
You spawn as a pilot, a highly mobile foot soldier, which control like most modern-day shooters. The big difference with the pilots compared to your average soldiers is they have a sort of jet pack which allows you to reach pretty much any point on the battlefield. Hitting the A button to jump gives you and incredible amount of air, hit again to double this, and run at a wall while in mid jump you are able to wall run. Repeat the said process and you can, in theory, keep this going on for ever. With the sheer verticality of the demo map and infinite sprint this really gives the game a sense of speed and dynamism. Early on I found myself boosting through a corridor on a fourth floor of a building, blasting out of the window at the other end, appearing behind the enemy and capping a few kills before they even knew what had hit them.
Racking up kills and assists not only gives you score like most games, it also decreases the time till you can call in your titan. And that’s where the real fun comes in. Essentially the titans are large versions of your pilot. You have you weapon (I had a rail gun) and your shoulder rockets (good against other titans), and the ability to boost across the floor for short bursts. The big difference is you can’t jump as a titan. This gives the pilots an advantage as titans struggle to get around buildings and alleyways, giving you plenty of options to escape.
Taking down the titans on the other hand is a different story. The basic and probably most time-consuming way is to concentrate all you fire on the titan. On your own, this will take a fair amount of time, and you’re probably going to get yourself killed a few times in the process. You’re better off in a pack or with a fellow titan (or three!). The other (and frankly much cooler) way involves you getting a height advantage and landing on top of a titan, ripping the protective hatch from its head and proceeding to unload on the power core until it explodes, bringing the titan down with it.
Once the match was finished the last and most interesting part of the demo was the escape phase. The losing team has a drop ship turn up at one location on the map. They then have to get their entire team (or what’s left of it) on top the ship before being taken out by the victors. This little post match game yields you more xp per kill and if you’re really fast and deadly you can even take the drop ship out so they enemy have no chance of escape.
I really enjoyed my brief time with Titanfall and will definitely be picking it up at some point, probably when I’ve bought an Xbone. It has that Call of Duty feel to it, very addictive and super smooth multiplayer. It’s something we haven’t seen for a while and that’s an original twist on a first person shooter. This is a huge game, make no mistake, and when it finally lands, it’s going to be with a bang.