Hands On with Respawn’s Titanfall
When Titanfall was first announced as Respawn’s début game at Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference last year, it has definitely caught the attention of many gamers. For myself, it was a dream come through as it looks to marry mecha gameplay into a first person shooter genre.
Although I can’t help but also guess if the developers are huge fans of the hit anime series, Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin. The idea of a human who can double jump, run on walls and almost fly around buildings definitely sounds like the anime. Add the element of huge robots called titans and it is no wonder there have been many who can’t help but compare the two. Well enough with the comparisons and onto the beta itself.
Right from the start, the game immerses you into the science fiction setting as you find yourself in a virtual reality tutorial which I highly encourage everyone to do. Even veterans to first person shooter games like Call of Duty or Battlefield will benefit from the Titanfall tutorial as new concepts like running on the wall and controlling the Titans will be introduced.
I found myself spending quite a bit of time in the tutorials especially the wall jump part to get a feel of what I can really do with it. At first it was just running along the wall but as the double jump comes into play and the ability to pull yourself up at edges of the wall, I started to wonder if mastering this mobility will give the player an edge in a real map.
I didn’t have to wait too long to get my answer as I played my first map type called attrition which can also be called team deathmatch. Even though its 6 on 6, there were AI players or bots as they are commonly referred to in the game as well which helped make up the numbers.
These grunts basically are like your creeps in MOBAs where you “farm” them to help decrease the time it takes for the titan to drop. While killing players definitely give more attrition in decreasing the titan launch time, killing these grunts were generally easier and I would recommend first time players to go “farm” them instead of killing other players. Oh and if you are wondering how the game unlocks new classes and titans, well it kind of works like the leveling system found in Battlefield and Call of Duty.
Titan combat in itself is fun and as the tutorial states, you should see them as an extension of the pilot rather than as a vehicle. The developers definitely did a good job with this as controlling the titan proved as easy as controlling the player. Of course it is a tad slower as with all mecha but with the addition of the boost function, moving out of enemy fire is easy once you get a hang of it.
Although it was tempting to always look for grunts to kill to accelerate my titan’s arrival, I spent a good time on foot as well to get a feel of what its like to be on foot. As I start to get a hang of the mobility that the pilots have at their disposal, I started climbing structures and looked out for camping spots to hunt titans.
I like the fact that even if you decide to go on foot (with or without your titan on follow mode), the game doesn’t penalise you much. In fact being small is good sometimes as I can shoot my anti titan weapon through a small hole and since it is homing, I can fire and forget.This paid off as I got a few titan kills using my anti-titan homing weapon and managed to “snipe” a few players as well.
Overall Titanfall looks to be shaping up to all the hype it has generated since announcement. The combat feels solid and the graphics look good especially if you can crank the details all the way up. So far there have not been any major game breaking hiccup yet and if things stay smooth, Titanfall is definitely going to be on my to buy list.
by Kenneth Wong
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