Titanfall Open Beta Impressions

Seeing nothing but Titanfall news on your everyday gaming sites and Facebook feeds? Me too! But it’s there for a reason. Yes, Titanfall, the most awaited title from Respawn Entertainment has just finished its Open Beta stage, but that doesn’t mean we cannot talk about it! Often dubbed as “Call of Duty with Robots”, the game combines the glory of online multiplayer with the immersive feel of single-player games. Confused? I thought so, but I’m here to put you up to speed.

Titanfall is an online multiplayer shooter that pits teams against each other in huge maps. Players are eventually given the ability summon huge-ass mechs called ‘Titans’. These mechs are dropped from the sky (as made obvious by the title), and once the player embarks, he is given intense firepower, and an array of tools designed to combat the opposing team.

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Titanfall has long been on (almost) every gamer’s mind since it was announced at E3 2013. Some console players even secured Xbox Ones just to be able to satisfy their urge to be able to play it day one. Originally thought of as a multiplayer game that can accommodate large quantities of players per map, it turns out that the game only supports 6v6 matches. A bad thing? Not at all! Titanfall’s charm comes from its large scale battles without the need for more than 6 players per team. How? Fighting alongside players are bots, or as the game calls them, ‘minions’, who actively secure locations and fight off enemy troops. Think of it as a large scale LoL game, where instead of having six creeps per lane, you get A LOT of em. I must admit, the thought of having bots in the game was bothersome at first, but now, I honestly can’t imagine playing the game without them.

What’s In The Beta

The beta included a quick tutorial session that covers everything from parkour movement to commanding your Titan. It was relatively easy to understand, and I’ve had no problems maneuvering over the game’s obstacles after learning the basics. It’s pretty ‘stupid-proof’.

The beta also came with three game modes: Attrition, Last Titan Standing, and Hardpoint Domination. Attrition is similar to ‘team deathmatch’, where players kill minions and pilots from the opposing team until one faction reaches the score limit of 250. Hardpoint Domination, on the other hand, is a more tactical mode, where players capture and secure certain locations on the map to earn points. Finally, Last Titan Standing, as the name implies, is a game mode where everyone starts in a Titan. The objective of this scenario is to kill all enemy Titans or pilots for three rounds in a best-of-five format.

The beta featured two maps. The first one is Angel City, a smaller scale map with lots of buildings, floors, pillars and small streets. It’s a map where you’ll have absolute fun doing (or practicing) your wall runs and double-jumps, literally making you able to hop from one building to another like you’ve never done before in other shooters. The other one is called Fracture, a map with a lot of open spaces, trees and grasses, dugouts, protruding rocks, devastated buildings and pipelines—all of which allow you to make intelligent use of your cloak and loadouts, and have epic Titan battles.

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An Immersive Take On Multiplayer

The inclusion of minions breathes life into the game, and even adds a bit of drama found in single-player campaigns. One moment you see your troops fending off enemy soldiers; the next thing you know, they’re helping injured minions out of the battlefield and into cover. They are not relatively skilled, but could still pose as a threat when left alone. Sometimes you can even hear them freaking out upon seeing enemy Titans, shouting hilarious stuff along the lines of “Did you see that? That Titan just fell out of the sky!”.It really makes you feel like you’re in a warzone with actual people and experience dire consequences. Also, it’s just awesome to watch scripted fights between grunts.

Standby for Titanfall 

Titans serve as the bread and butter of Titanfall (no sh*t!). Upon starting a game, pilots must wait two minutes before they can call their Titans into battle. The wait time can be reduced by racking up kills from the opposite faction. Once the Titan is ready, the player can call it on the open parts of the map. Titans can either be ridden or programmed to follow and guard you as you traverse the map on foot (or jetpack). Be warned though, as Titan AIs are not as dependable and will easily crumble when faced with a piloted foe.

While some people are still iffy about the low player count, Respawn’s decision to stick with the standard 6vs6 becomes understandable once all pilots have their Titans. The game is just chaotic, with shells flying across the map and missiles being volleyed from one Titan to another via Vortex Shield.

Much like pilots, Titans also have customizable loadouts, which can be tweaked accordingly to fit your playstyle.

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FAQ: So How Was It?

Standby for Titanfall-fanboyism. Simply put, the game was just DAMN GOOD. The in-game tutorial was actually enough for me to love the game. Never had I felt that mobile in an FPS game before. The game features some intense parkour wall-running action that puts the likes of Mirror’s Edge to shame (the old one, of course). The maps are just amazing, and were well designed to fit the game’s free-running gameplay. Despite me striding along the battlefield like crazy, there was always a place to hide or a hole to crawl in.

While I’ve tried all of the other game modes, it was Attrition that took my heart. Yes, it’s basically just team deathmatch, but there’s just so much going on, and mindlessly killing enemy soldiers bring me more satisfaction than securing key locations on the map.

Getting into Titan fights with enemy pilots is where the game truly shines. First off, Titans are not as mobile as pilots, but provide extensive firepower. Apparently, Titans can easily make people disintegrate simply by punching them. As stated, the battlefield becomes utterly chaotic once all players ride their Titans, and since they’re too big to fit in certain areas, it gives you a whole new perception towards maneuvering on the battlefield. Some pilots also prefer to combat these giant mechs on foot, using anti-Titan weapons like the rocket launcher. A more reckless approach would be to ride on an enemy Titan’s back and shoot its insides until it explodes. Note that while it’s an effective way of dealing with Titans, it also leaves you open to enemy fire. Perhaps the most flashy part is when you execute a melee attack on an opposing mech while on is critical state. If done correctly, your Titan will gut the enemy mech and pull out the pilot. You have to admit, that sounds pretty badass.

Burn Cards also bring a few twists to each game. They act more like Call of Duty perks, which only lasts until you die.

Once a team reaches the score limit, the losing team is prompted to reach an evacuation point to receive a few end-game bonuses. During this phase, all players loses the ability to respawn, and the winning team must do everything in their power to either stop enemy players from reaching the dropship or destroy it with a barrage of attacks. It’s not really a gamechanging feature, but players who have played the game would probably agree when I say that it’s one of the best ways to end a match. It really gives you a sense of duty. Some members of the losing team even ride on their Titans and purposely hold enemy pilots just so their teammates could escape. It just goes to show that Titanfall is designed to keep the intensity up, even during the last moments of each match.

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One Does Not Simply Standby For Titanfall

After spending long hours inside the beta, I can proudly say that Titanfall is definitely worth waiting for. It truly stands out among other FPS titles, and the words “Call of Duty with Robots” don’t do it justice. The game is intense and will keep you at the edge of your seats, even during the final seconds of each match. There was actually a rumour about the game featuring 14-15 maps at launch. Like I said, the beta only has two maps, but it already feels like a complete product. Another notable feature would be the inclusion of monsters. Are we getting a ‘Pacific Rim’ mode? I hope so.

In short, “Believe in the Hype!” would probably summarize my beta experience. I have to admit, I was one of the people who were disappointed by the low playercount, but all that changed after playing the game. Titanfall is a solid shooter that will change the world of FPS games as we know it. March 11, 2014 is right around the corner, and I honestly can’t wait.

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