In early February, the eagerly anticipated Titanfall received a 3 day closed beta, where it then became open to the public. The beta has 2 multiplayer maps, 3 game types, 3 different classes of soldiers (as well as customizable classes), 3 different classes of Titan (as well as 3 customizable classes), and a level 14 cap. Here’s what I thought.
Titanfall starts off, (as in immediately upon booting it up) with a somewhat lengthy, although straightforward tutorial. For the most part, the tutorial explains some pretty basic first person shooter controls, as well as some controls you could have easily figured out from actually playing the game for less than a minute. The most necessary part of the tutorial comes in the last 5 minutes, where you’re taught how to take control of a Titan and combat other Titans in it, while stopping the combat entirely every few strikes to tell you more about how to use it. Considering this is the main attraction of the game, you’d think they would make it a bit more of an exciting moment.
Overall, the controls feel relatively natural, with not much being different from other FPS or mech-combat games. I consider this a good thing, making it easier for fans of both genres to jump in and get right into it.
After the tutorial, you’re free to hop online and start playing the primary reason for Titanfall’s existence, online multiplayer. I had no problems connecting to games and getting right to the gameplay, which is great, but a little more time to explore my character options and customizations would be useful. The beta comes with three different game modes. Attrition is your basic team deathmatch, Hardpoint Domination is essentially a king of the hill game type, and Last Titan Standing is team deathmatch with no respawns. I mostly kept to the Attrition game type. The two maps that come with the beta are Fracture, which is a very earthy map based around an abandoned mining town, and Angel City, an abandoned metropolis damaged by war.
As far as character customization goes, it’s exactly what you would expect from the guys that made Call of Duty. As in pretty much exactly the same. The only really unique thing I found in character customization were “Burn Cards”, which give you a temporary boost in different aspects for only one life, which is kind of flawed because they’re exciting but, being an online first person shooter (especially one where mechs are involved), are very easily wasted. That being said, as far as the beta is concerned, the levelling up system is highly rewarding, with unlockables being thrown at you with every level you gain. Leveling is made even easier due to the matches consisting of other players as well as bots, although when you get a kill and then find out it was just an NPC, the satisfaction level drops significantly.
As far as visuals go, I played on Xbox One, and this is nothing the Xbox 360 couldn’t handle two years ago. Titanfall very clearly looks unfairly better on PC, which is usually the case, but this is really ridiculous. It’s comparable to the visual difference between Halo 2 and Halo 3.
Overall in terms of gameplay, I cannot say that Titanfall is anything special. It’s essentially exactly what I expected it to be, which is Call of Duty with mechs. Ready at Dawn quite literally took two kinds of shooters, smashed them together, and this is the result. Hopefully the finished game will provide more in terms of gameplay variety, but as it is I do not recommend picking this game up unless you are a die-hard Call of Duty or mech-combat game fan.
Written by Andrew Gilbert