Earlier this month, GirlGamer.com CEO Cricket and I were invited by EA to preview Titanfall, their upcoming first person shooter release. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on this gem created by Jason West and Vince Zampella, founders of the game’s development team – Respawn Entertainment. West and Zampella previously co-founded Infinity Ward, so going in to Titanfall, we had a small idea of what to expect.
Featuring online multiplayer matches only, Titanfall throws players into a world of battling robots. Giant robots. These mechanical war machines are called Titans and when called on by their pilot (the player), fall from the sky encased in a shield until the pilot has time to climb inside. The Titans are on a timer, so you can only call one down every 3 minutes or so. While in your Titan you have the opportunity to eject yourself right before imminent destruction so that you can continue playing as a pilot, but if you are unable to do so in time, you’ll die along with your machine. There are perks, however, that can be changed in your loadout, one of which being an automatic ejection and cloaking when the time comes.
We were asked to play through basic training first, which taught the core concepts of the game, and then we played a beta testing version of the game, which randomized three multiplayer games – Attrition, Last Titan Standing, and Hardpoint Domination. The first was similar to Team Deathmatch, with two sides fighting each other for a certain period of time. In Last Titan Standing everyone starts out with a Titan and whichever team destroys all the other team’s Titans first, wins. You do not necessarily die if your Titan does, so be prepared to protect those who are left while still assaulting the other team. Remember, when playing Last Titan Standing, there’s a visual representation of the Titans remaining in play in the bottom left-hand corner. In Hardpoint Domination you’re attempting to hold down points, which are not always easy to get to by typical FPS standards. The scalability of the levels comes into play here.
One of the most innovative aspects of the game isn’t even the Titan machines but the ability of a pilot to jump, scale, and run unlike most other first person shooters. During training a player learns they can not only jump, but double jump and run quickly along walls. I found the running experience to be not only freeing but smooth. I never felt hunkered down like in similar games such as Call of Duty – I really felt like I was hauling ass. Unfortunately, (and I don’t know if this was just due to our limited time with the game) I didn’t feel as if the extra jumping and running came into play much. I feel as though many players, myself included, just didn’t easily pick this dynamic up right away and with more time you’ll remember, “Oh right, I can run up this wall and jump on that Titan’s back.”
Elements such as cloaking become extremely important. Although pilots carry anti-Titan weaponry, a single person against a giant machine often isn’t the best match. Teamwork is essential against Titans, who have their own arsenal of weapons and the ability to capture objects being shot at them while shielding and then can hurl all the captured items back at an enemy, similar to the telekinesis ability in Bioshock. In addition to anti-Titan weapons, pilots also carry standard weapons but some with the ability to lock on multiple targets and automatically shoot them all at once. Although not that effective on Titans, these weapons are great for dealing with human targets.
Burn cards were also introduced to us, these being special ability cards that work for the length of one life. They’ll provide bonuses such as extra weapons or increased speed. There are also game achievements which can be earned and overall, the user interface was beautiful and clean. Changing loadouts was easy (and easy to read!) and even the HUD was fantastic. The black, white, and orange color scheme doesn’t come across dark at all and actually looks beautiful on the special edition Xbox One controller. We were lucky enough to be able to use the Titanfall controllers and they felt as great as they look!
Cricket and I had a blast trying out the game and we’re anxious to see it in its entirety when it’s released. I myself am a bit worried about the price though – will we be charged the full price of a regular game when there is no story mode to speak of? I hope there will be enough content at launch to justify the higher price tag!
Originally Posted at GirlGamer.com