GeekSwagg’s Titanfall Beta Impressions

Titanfall cover

The Geekswagg crew spent some time this weekend with Respawn Entertainment’s shooter Titanfall.

Both Jason and I (Bunneh3000) are veterans of the FPS scene on both PC and consoles, and we absolutely love dashing about the interwebs sniping, knifing, and strafing the competition with killstreaks! Now that the minds of Respawn have brought mechs to the high speed world of headshots and assassinations, the Geekswagg crew couldn’t be happier!

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If you know anything about destruction, then you know that Bunneh3000 couldn’t be happier with the return of great mech games to consoles. Since the days of MechAssault and even Chromehounds, I’ve been craving that next big game that would bring the masses to MY yard in the shape of a towering robots with really big guns! It may not be a Catapult or a Madcat, but the Titans of Titanfall sure do sate that deep down desire for robotic carnage in a fast paced way.

Titanfall gameplay

First things first. Respawn really knows how to put some polish on a game. Ever since the days of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (which is probably the best of the series in my opinion) when the founders of Respawn were still a part of Infinity Ward, few could deny the tight controls and the balance of the gameplay. As you begin Titanfall, you get a small glimpse into the ‘world’ that Respawn created in a training simulator tucked in the corner of your pilot’s living quarters. At first you think the quarters are on a high rise with a beautiful view of your ‘home planet’ but soon after you finish the training, the hologram shows you are on a larger dropship over a war torn planet.

As you progress into the training, you learn how to do all of the seemingly difficult parkour maneuvers that fill all of the hyper speed gameplay videos that fill the internet. Thankfully, these wallrunning and double jump roof climbing moves are quite easy to pull off. Of course, most things are easy when you aren’t trying to do them under fire.

Later on you find yourself using one of the most fun guns I’ve used in a video game, the smart pistol. Locking on to the heads of enemies within range, this lovable semiautomatic pistol shoots rounds that track the target simply by the pull of a trigger. If you target multiple targets, hold down the trigger and watch them fall as if you coordinated a strike with a group of Ghost Recon squadmates. Don’t get too happy though. Try this on a pilot and you’ll have to target and shoot them three times to drop them.

Courtesy of http://titanfall.wikia.com

Finally, you are given a short tutorial on piloting your Titan and allowing it to follow you when you are not inside of it. Interestingly enough, if you haven’t seen all of the videos of gameplay, you wouldn’t even know that your pilot can take down a Titan by leaping onto the back of one. Once there your pilot rips off armor to expose a portion of the engine allowing you to take one down. Of course, it takes a while which gives the opposing pilot a chance to leap out and shoot you off. Also, if one of his buddies sees you, he can blast you off.

Once you are done with the training its off to the battlefield where Respawn has opened up three multiplayer modes that are essentially Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Free For All for all of you CoD vets. Each of the two maps work well in any of those modes along with 6v6 players and a buncha bots that slug around the map duking it out against each other and the players.

Now I understand that there are some gamers that were disappointed that Respawn didn’t allow for larger numbers of players on each match. After playing a few hours of matches, it is clear that there is not much of a need for that though. As pilots are running around maps without Titans, the action can seem as if there is a need for more players on the match. It takes a little while for the action to ramp up and for a little while, battling bots seems like the majority of what you experience. Then, once Titans start dropping from the sky and stomping around, you realize that each Titan can become its own separate AI as well. Essentially you can have 12 pilots and 12 Titans running around as completely separate entities. That includes the multitude of bots that can also be running around taking pot shots at pilots and Titans alike. When that occurs, the action seems as fast, furious, and chaotic as any 18 player CoD match.

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GET IN MY BELLY!!!

Titanfall’s beta, so far, isn’t an online multiplayer revolution though. While the interplay of the mechs and the pilots that have the ability to take them down, is different from what we know of FPS games, it is still an upgrade and more balanced version of MechAssault 2. While I may be generalizing the similarities a bit, many gamers can remember the old original Xbox game that featured even larger mechs with more firepower and overpowered pilots (in powersuits) that could take them down all too quickly.

As I played Titanfall, I enjoyed the instant personality that the game had. It essentially plays like Brink probably should have with the speed of the best of the Call of Duty games. With effortless parkour climbing and wall running, the pilots have a near arsenal on them as they speed all around the map from the ground floor to the rooftops of 4 story buildings in mere seconds. The hilariously fun melee jump kick and Titan assassinations will probably be the focus of most of the sharable moments throughout the matches.

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As in all FPS games, there are loadouts and custom loadouts for players to vary their playing styles when it comes to taking on the opposition. There are only a few weapon systems for the Titans as all of the weapon systems are ballistic and missile based. I rarely ever lasted long enough for ammunition to run out for either my Titan or my pilot so that wasn’t a concern. You did have the ability to pick up the primary weapons of fallen foes to replace your secondary weapon or even your anti-Titan weapon which kept things interesting as well. Each of the pilot weapons had attachments (sights and boosts like extended mags) that were unlocked by meeting challenges (50 pilot kills with a specific weapon and so on). All of these features are standard for an FPS nowadays though.

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Trade my Atlas Refurb for your Pikachu!

The only interesting addition to the fray was the use of the Burn Cards which seemed to function like deathstreak bonuses found in the CoD series. These grant boosts like stronger primary or anti-titan weapons, increased XP, or faster running for the next ‘life’ that you have after you respawn. Of course, if you die, the bonus (and the card) is lost forever. Thankfully, achieving challenges and more during the match grant you additional cards as an end of match award.

Again, Call of Duty fans are going to enjoy the pacing and gameplay of Titanfall. There are millions of CoD fans that have quickly grown tired of the lackluster Ghosts experience. Titanfall could be an interesting alternative for those willing to take a break from earning killstreaks and take up Titan on Titan destruction instead.

The real question will be how long will this mix of players and AI Titans hold gamer interest? While this may only be a beta, it will be interesting to see how their ‘online campaign’ holds interest amongst the players. A part of me hoped that they would have worked out a persistent online war kind of deal. I doubt that will happen but a mechwarrior can hope, can’t he?

Titan Loadout

It will also be interesting to see the depth of customization, weaponry, attachment unlocks, and Titan types that the game will end up with as well. Part of the big draw for most CoD games are the various ways you can loadout your soldier based on the map you are playing and how successful you are at a certain style of gameplay.

Last of all, there is the end of match escape for the losers. When the victors are declared, the match actually continues. At that time, the losers are given a location to retreat to as well as an ETA for a drop ship. Reach the ship and you escape the battlefield. The victors are tasked with taking out the pilots and/or destroying the dropship outright (which is hard to do). It will be interesting to see what this aspect of the gameplay will do for the story or just the game in general.

Still, most FPS shooters have a hard time even making a mark in this CoD dominated field and I think Titanfall is off to a great start. On the flip side, those that are tired of FPS domination are not likely to find a reprieve here. There is more of the same fast paced competition that is likely to end up a mainstay in competitive pro tourneys.

Now if I could just get an AC/20 or a PPC fitted Titan, I’d be golden!

The Titanfall beta is open for all Xbox One users that can attempt to break it until Feb. 19th.

To do so, here is what Major Nelson (Xbox’s Director of Programming) said to do in order to take advantage of this:

“To download the beta, sign in to your Xbox One and head to the ‘New Game Demos’ section of the Game Store and it will appear there. You can also say ‘Xbox Bing’ then ‘Show me game demos’. Also, in some Xbox Live regions you’ll see a ‘Join The Titanfall Beta’ link on the home page of Xbox One, next to My Game and Apps.”

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 Join Bunneh3000 and DirtyHelmet on Xbox Live via Xbox One if you dare! Otherwise you can always hear them on the Geekswagg Podcast right here on Heedmag.com!

By the power of HIS skull, he HAAAASSS THE POWERRRR .... to update the world on everything from comics and gaming to music and movies! When he isn't saving the universe from aliens or watching Purple Rain, he actually does a decent job convincing his wife and 4 kids that he's a great writer.

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