Prepare for Titanfall!
Hold on to your hats and glasses folks, this here is the wildest ride in the west. It’s what goes through my mind as I wall run down the alley two stories up. My lock-on pistol tells me an opponent is below me, so I tap the trigger. Score one for the wall running, cloaked assassin. No time to gloat, no time to check the score, just a quick glance at the minimap tells me I’m heading in the right direction. Uh-oh, wall’s gone. I double-jump to the roof of the next building, fully exposed since my cloak wore off right after I killed that trooper. It’s time to hunker down and wait for it to recharge while I watch the map for movement. I’m too fragile for bullets and their reach is much further than mine since I only have pistols. That’s okay, I like it up-close and personal. “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” said someone long ago.
There they are, four of them coming right for me. They know I’m around here somewhere as my own blip on their maps will show red, but this is a 2 story building and they’ll have to hunt for me. Mini maps don’t show the ‘Z’ axis; that’s ‘up’ to everyone else. Lucky me as I pop my cloak and drop onto the ground behind them, almost invisible. It only takes a moment for my pistol to tell me it has them all, each of their heads surrounded by multiple red hexes for ‘lock’. No such thing as “spray and pray” here, the whole clip gone in half a second, nothing but bodies around me. My screen turns red, oops, there is one more. But it’s too late, I’m already watching the replay of my death. Where the hell did that guy come from? Oh well, such is war.
I take a deep breath, respawn and start running, waiting for my operator to tell me my Titan is ready. Thirty seconds is a lifetime in here, but all I can do is wait. I’m chasing down a dot on the map, “Where are you, dammit!? I know you’re here.” Bingo, I see a red hex and a beautiful curved line pointing to my prey. *Pfft, pfft* My pistol kicks in my hand. Double-tap, always double-tap, just in case. He drops, a rag doll that bounces when he hits, dead. “Your Titan is ready” I hear, sweet; time to ride. I hit the key and I hear those sweet words “Prepare for Titanfall;” I’m in hiding as I watch the hotspot highlighted in front of me, watching the time count down…3…2…1. It lands, the ear-splitting sound of multiple tons hitting the soft dirt, a cloud of dust surrounding it, highlighting its shield. I cloak and run, no use getting shot on the way over after all. The monster reaches for and grabs me, a toy in it’s hand and shoves me into its guts, the drivers seat envelops me. The hatch slams shut and just for a moment it’s all dark and sound, then the screens kick in; left, middle, right. I’m integrated, I’m one with the monster, I AM the Titan!! Time to stomp on some ‘crunchies’, or troops, and see what a 40mm cannon can do.
Okay, back to reality. Titanfall does have some stutters, and more than once I died from net lag, but I expect that in a Beta (this is a stress test after all). With only two maps, limited Titans and weapons, it gets repetitive after a couple of matches. Even if you play all three types of games they had available, there is only so much content to keep you going. Attrition mode has players trying to achieve more kills than the others, and it’s important to work as a team as there are a limited number of re-spawns per side. In Hardpoint, players try to capture and hold as many points on the map as possible. And in Last Titan Standing, everyone starts in a Titan and the last one standing is the winner.
There are three classes players start with; Assault (a rifleman), Tactical with the lock-on pistol, and CQB with a shotgun. All of them have anti-titan weapons, and the loadout can be changed to the player’s preference later on after they gain a few levels. The Titans in the beta were based on the Atlas chassis with three different loadouts. One came with a 40mm cannon, another with a heavy machine gun, and the last one with a four-rocket launcher. Each of these is equipped with a “vortex blocker” which allows players to catch all incoming fire from one direction then blast it back at the enemy. This can be very effective, but it leaves players vulnerable since they can’t fire while doing so. I was allowed access to the Strider Titan through one of the Burn Cards I had, a faster and more nimble lightly armored beast outfitted with a heavy machine gun. Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience it due to the game losing connection to the server.
Every match ended with the enemy team trying to make it to their evacuation point before getting killed. This was almost a mini game within Titanfall since it was like playing fox and hound through an urban jungle. The goal of the winners is to keep them from escaping and, for those who are lucky, blow up their dropship for good measure.
The question I keep getting asked is “will it be worth $60”, well, that’s hard to quantify. It really depends on how much you want to parkour around a map and step on people in a ‘mech. The game certainly is fun, there is no doubt about that, almost addictive. Because of far too many crashes and disconnects, I only made it to level 8. However, that was far enough to get some Burn Cards. These are power-ups that players can use the next time they spawn, and they range from bigger anti-titan weapons, new abilities, and Titans. Remembering to change or equip them is another challenge of this game. I’m assuming (I know, don’t say it) that there will be more of these coming out in the full release; I hope.
Once the beta ended, I switched to another game and kept trying to wall run and double jump over things. It became a habit in such a short amount of time! I eventually just got frustrated and exited the game. Perhaps I’ll try it again soon and see if I can’t break the habit. I already feel like a junky with the shakes needing another fix, Titanfall could ruin me.
After the game goes retail I’m hoping that there is a constant flow of new maps, gear, weapons, and Titans. This game will need it to stay on everyone’s radar. There are a few things I would like to see after its March 11 release. This includes larger maps as they usually feel cramped when driving a Titan. Larger teams would also be ideal, perhaps a huge map with 32 vs 32 will be in the works. After all, the chaos of war is why we play these games! More classes would be good too, such as adding a soldier that controls and hacks Spectres and someone that can play a more supportive roll or engineer. Additional gameplay modes could be added, like siege, where one team of Titans and troops have to conquer a hardened installation defended by troops. I know, right now there are no plans for cross platform play, but that could interesting also and change the game quite a bit.
The possibilities are numerous, but we’ll have to wait and see what they have planned. Personally, I’m looking forward to Titanfall coming out and will most likely drop some hard earned cash so I can play it on opening weekend. Hopefully the servers will stop kicking me off.
Fans of FPS’s, parkour and ‘mechs should definitely prepare to purchase this game. It’s addictive!