“Holy shit” – was something I repeatedly said to myself, as I dived into my first Attrition match in the TitanFall beta. The hype factor, for me at least, was already fairly substantial before the beta, despite a lot of skeptics bringing forth their typical EA/shooter bro criticisms. In this world, there are typically two types of FPS players out there. Ones that enjoy more of a fast past lone wolf shooter and those that enjoy a larger scale team based shooter. While TitanFall does cater to more of the fast pace preference, TitanFall seems to fall in a happy medium between the two. Call of Duty (post Modern Warfare) had become tunnel vision in how the game was played, somewhat two dimensional, if you know what I mean. Typically running, gunning, camping, rinse and repeat was on par with what one could expect from the game. On the other hand Battlefield has always provided FPS players slower and larger scale team based combat that included vehicles. Meanwhile, all the way over in a grey area, Hawken, provided fast paced Mech combat that mixed the Call of Duty characteristics with a dash of Mechwarrior, but lacked on foot soldier ground combat. TitanFall, doesn’t really fall into any specific shooter category. The game itself takes a little bit from each FPS released in the shooter market and mixes them together into a fairly balanced feeling game. Not once did I say to myself, “man I wish those Titans weren’t so easy to get I keep getting my ass handed to me by them”, or “yeah I wish people werent able to jump jet away from me easily”.
For a long time there’s been two camps, those that like Call of Duty and those that like Battlefield. Modern settings and modern day guns have been recycled year after year by DICE, Infinity Ward, and Activision. There is no doubt that people have started to become bored with it all. DICE had the opportunity to present Battlefield 2143 rather than Battlefield 4 but they didn’t. Black Ops 2 tried to tout a “futuristic” vibe, but the multiplayer was still nothing more than the usual, remember the “mech” in the single player campaign? Did those developers decide to stick with what they believed was going to net them the most money? Probably…and it did in the end. However, Respawn has seemed to take a different approach to shooters and shake up the snowglobe of FPS titles and cause some havoc. This game will no doubt attract many CoD and Battlefield players because of what it brings to the table.
I’ve been in countless betas for shooter titles and I can honestly tell you no other FPS title can hold a candle to TitanFall currently because it is so different. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Battlefield, but at the end of the day it’s just modern weapons and vehicles. While there’s nothing at all wrong with that, even I am a bit bored with it. Currently in BETA, are three Game Modes; Attrition (your typical DeathMatch), Hardpoint (Domination), and Last Titan Standing (self explanitory/no respawns). Despite the game modes themselves are nothing new, that doesn’t ditract away from the fact that it provides a fresh take on combat movement and perks that you can use in your arsenal. You won’t find ridiculous kill streaks that reward only the best players, you won’t find constricted close quarters combat, and you won’t find a diamond camos. What you will find in the game, is a well thought out perk system that can be used one time (before dying) called Burn Cards. Burn cards can be selected before a match (limit of 3) that provide you with a specific advantage over others (but not so much an advantage that is becomes unfair), in fact, once you die it’s gone. You’ll also find a specialized load out setup for both your Titan and your Soldier. You wont find a “Pick 10” setup like you’d see in a CoD title, but youll find something a little more like a Battlefield load out setup. In beta, only the Atlas Titan was selectable. Ground movement is rarely on the ground. Youre always wanting to move, and very seldom do you want to start getting campy. The Grunts/Spectres/Titans moving around tend to lead to you always somewhat taking damage somewhere so movement is key.
Is it a buggy piece of garbage?
I had the opportunity to play both the Xbox One version and the PC version. Let me get into the XBox One version side of things first. The game as of right now does not play in 1080p native resolution, despite being a “next-gen title”. Titanfall plays currently in a weird 792p resolution. Does it look bad? Not really, but its noticeable coming from my PC. There are frame drop issues and very noticeable slowdowns during heated moments filled with Titans, electrical smoke, and cloaking going on. Will they be fixed by launch? Probably not, the game right now is probably already ready to be launched, but there will more than likely be a patch on Day 1, but you all shouldn’t be surprised by that.
On PC, it’s a much smoother modifiable experience. FOV slider, 1440p resolution supported, graphical settings, etc. Overall, for it being a source game, it looks absolutely fantastic. Watching Youtube videos or looking at screenshots does the game no justice. There are also people that have posted shots of TitanFall running in triple display mode. Yes, a full Titan cockpit with three displays. It’s simply glorious. However, the PC version isn’t completely spared from the slight graphical FPS drop. Occasionally, even my dual GTX 780 rig did notice a slowdown but it picked up a lot faster and recovered compared to the console counterpart.
What does this mean for the FPS Genre?
No matter if you like or dislike Titanfall or prefer another shooter at the end of the day, there is no denying Titanfall is a change. The game is a change from the current two heavyweight fighters in the genre and that’s what the industry needs. If you blindly choose to not buy titles due to them being Origin only, I feel bad for you. Not only are you missing out on a great game, but Origin offers a 24 hour refund policy (unlike other software providers). You don’t have to fool with a Battlelog type of interface to jump into a game, it’s all directly within the game itself. In-game VOIP works great and I hear people often times chattering during matches. If you remotely even enjoy a little FPS action every now and then you owe it to yourself to give the beta a try! It’s currently open on XBox One and soon to be on PC.
PROs and CONs of TitanFall (Beta Release)
- Fantastic Spawn Points (Battlefield and CoD has always had problems with shitty spawn points occasionally
- Titans provide a sense of scale and vehicle combat that adds spice to a mostly run and gun shooter market
- Maps don’t feel as constricted as CoD maps do, but not as large as Battlefield maps can be which can slow down some pace of play
- Plays well on almost any PC system from builds of the past few years
- 6v6 seems to be the perfect balance of players/grunts/spectres. Theres always something going on around you.
- I hope to see more original game modes. Currently in the beta, the three included are nothing new or fresh.
- Id like to see more recoil and variety in gun characteristics.
- Tracking Pistols need to be nerfed.
- I wish there were some destructible buildings.
Tips for Beginners!
- When riding rodeo on an enemy Titan watch for the ejection hatch to pop open. You’re a sitting duck for the pilot to pick you off. Immediately abort, jump jet a good distance and pick the pilot off.
- If your team has been defeated, it’s best to latch on to a friendly Titan asap rather than running on foot. If your teammate knows where to go and what do to, he/she should be boosting their Titan non stop to get to extraction asap.
- Use cloak to your advantage as soon as you’re spotted or near an enemy titan, cloak doesnt have as strong an effect on foot soldiers and it does on the Titan HUD.
- Use Nuclear Ejection when possible as a Titan perk. When surrounded by enemy Titans and you’re about to to do down, ram yourself into the other Titan. By the time you’re close enough itll trigger auto eject and blow your Titan right into the enemies racking up major points.
- Throw frags on drop pods on unsuspecting grunts/spectres to clear out the area fast and rack up a ton of points.
- Use your burn cards and use them often!