We’ve recently had a chance to play Titanfall, the most highly anticipated shooter of 2014. Online multiplayer mode, giant robots, agile soldiers and spectacular graphics make this one of the must-have titles of the year.
It may not have revolutionized the landscape of shoot-’em-ups, but with the introduction of some interesting innovations and a bit of balance, at least when compared to frenetic and tactical shooters, Titanfall adds some new features to the genre that will undoubtedly inspire games in the future.
The Microsoft exclusive, due to be released for PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360, could become the next Halo, or at least offer enough extras to convince a good number of gamers to move over to one of Microsoft’s platforms.
Titans and pilots
Titanfall is set in a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi world, in an area of the universe called The Frontier. Here, two factions, IMC (Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation) and the Militia, are at war.
In Titanfall, you control two different types of character – titans and pilots. Pilots are the humans that drive the huge Titan robots; both have different classes and features that you’ll be able to unlock after gaining points and experience.
Pilots are extremely agile, capable of Parkour-like movement, and using jetpacks to help them jump higher and move quicker. Aside from the ability to become momentarily invisible to the enemy, pilots are much like any other character in your average shooter.
The titans, on the other hand, are giant mechs. They’re extremely powerful and boast a protective shield, but once it’s damaged, they’ll start taking hits. Their special skills let them take hits, turn them around, and use them against the enemy. Instead of grenades, they launch missiles that lock on their targets. Once a titan has been damaged, you’ll need to hit the eject button hard enough to be propelled upwards, before your titan explodes.
As the title of the game suggests, robots literally fall from the sky. In most modes, you’ll have to start as a pilot and rack up points – or wait around – before you can call a titan and see it land beside you.
Three game modes, strictly online multiplayer
Titanfall is played exclusively online and in multiplayer. In the beta, there are 3 game modes available: Attrition, Hardpoint Domination and Last Titan Standing. Each mode is playable on two maps, either Angel City or Fracture.
Attrition is the best mode for new players, since it relies on a points system determined in turn by the team’s number of kills. The first team to reach the target or be in the lead when time runs out wins. If you’re part of the losing team, you can still hope to get points if you can reach the rescue ship, especially if you’re the only survivor.
Hardpoint Domination mode is similar to Catch the Flag, where you must capture the key points on the map in the best possible time in order to score points. Last Titan Standing, on the other hand, is the only mode where everyone starts with a Titan. The best team after 3 rounds wins.
Dynamic gameplay that’s not too confusing
Titanfall is an all-round balanced game, but that doesn’t make it boring; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It leans more towards action than tactics, and although it’s fast-paced with varying character features, it doesn’t tip the scales dramatically to either side.
The fight between titans and pilots, for example, might seem totally unfair, like David and Goliath, but the agility of the pilots and the various weapons classes means that the outcome is never guaranteed.
Yes, a pilot may die being crushed by a robot. One shot is enough to kill him, and soon, you’ll have the ability to mount a titan without thinking twice about it. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s necessary to destroy another mech. Just remember that jumping on a titan can compromise him in a few seconds.
Compared to other games, Titanfall is much more accessible to casual gamers. Some weapons, such as the automatic pistol, are really affordable and easy to use, since it automatically aims when you get close enough to the enemy.
The controls are intuitive and uncomplicated, but if you are finding them a little difficult to grasp, the excellent tutorial explains how to use pilots and robots in five minutes flat. In addition, the AI-controlled characters make it easier to kill enemies, especially in the beginning, making the game even more fun to play.
Next-gen is already here
Given Titanfall’s spectacular graphics and great attention to detail (which requires very high technical specs), this is the first real FPS of the new generation.
Of course, it’s still in beta, and the final product might be very different, but we’ve got good reason to expect it to be even better than what we’ve seen here. All we can do now is look forward to the launch date of the final version of the game on March 11 in the US (and March 13th in Europe).
Have you tried Titanfall already?