Features// Titanfall - The Beta

Posted 21 Feb 2014 16:23 by
Full disclosure: I am not an FPS gamer. To be honest, I'm one of those who harbour an utmost hatred towards the genre and sigh when I see titles such as COD high up in the charts.

My interests lie with sims, racers and strategy gaming. So, when I say that I enjoyed the TitanFall Beta, it’s fair to assume that Respawn, the folks behind this game, are doing something right.

For the readers who don’t know what exactly this game is about, TitanFall is a multiplayer first-person shooter. It’s very similar to the countless other FPSs out there in many aspects, but stands out due to the fact that it lets the player get into giant mechs and deal some Grade-A destruction.

The selling point lies within the idea that both mechs and human players interact with each other on the same map, and do so in a very interesting manner. The game’s planned to be released on the 14th of March here in the UK and before the launch, the publishers EA, decided to let the gamers have a go on it in the form of a beta release for the Xbox One and PC.

For a beta I have to say that it’s quite an impressive release as the game comes with a lot to give us a taste of what’s available. You start off selecting kits for your “pilot” (a generic soldier) and Titan mech suite.

For all those who complain about not having females to be selected as characters, well this caters to your needs and lets you play as either gender. A list of guns, tactical abilities and other perks are available for both man and machine and shows you that when you complete certain challenges ( say kill a number of people with a particular gun ), that you get to unlock upgrade options for each item.

Another fine point is that, even for a beta, it gives the player a good impression of levelling up the character. You start off with minimal gear and the more you play, the more of the stuff I mentioned above gets unlocked.

An example highlight would be the introduction of Burn Cards. As you level up, you unlock “Burn Card” slots into that you can fill with the “Perk” cards that you get from completing successful games. These cards can be activated once (“burned” duh!) when you die so that when you respawn in a session, you get whatever perk the card offers. These range from special guns to enhanced tactical abilities.

The beta gives us a taste for three game modes, which decide how you and your Titan engage in battles. Attrition is your run of the mill kill everything that’s not your team mode.

You start off on foot and the more you kill, the quicker you can request your Titan to be deployed to you. It’s hard to explain how good it is to actually deploy your Titan. See it fall from the sky as a giant fireball (“TitanFall” get it? eh! Get it? ) and know that you’ve suddenly got some serious firepower at your disposal.

One neat feature of this mode is that the losing team gets scheduled to be picked up by an Evac ship and suddenly it becomes a race to freedom for the losers and hunt and kill sesh for the victors.

Hardpoint is the second game mode. You have to have a presence around certain points in the map and make sure that the other team doesn’t get to them. This becomes a “Guard the Base” type of an event and you get points as to how successful you guard a point or capture it.

The final one is a very interesting LTS or Last Titan Standing mode, where the game begins with you being inside a Titan, doesn't allow respawns if you die while on foot, and win by wiping off Titans on the other team.

At this point, you might be wondering how human players can stand up against giant mech suits. The game spares no sympathy for puny humans and adheres to realism that lets you get crushed by a Titan’s feet. Simply walk over enemy pilots and other AI units while piloting a Titan and that's the end of them.

To balance things out, elements of parkour, and cloaking mechanisms are introduced to the pilots on foot, which in turn allow some impressive takedowns of Titans in a non-head on manner.

Specialist weapons are also available for human players to combat Titans which deals a bit more damage than the average pistol / rifle / shotgun. These however, when used on other human players, simply vaporises them into a mist of blood.

The Titans, or pretty much the pièce de résistance of it all, are magnificent. The realism in controlling the Titans and how the game transfers the movement feedback to the gamer is absolutely amazing.

You do feel as if though you are controlling a mass lump of metal, making it aware of the shyness of movement and at the same time giving you a feeling of indestructibility. While not as kitted out at the human pilots, what "little" the Titans have in terms of gear, they make up with boatloads of BANG.

These mech suites can be manned or left unmanned to auto engage the enemy or guard a particular spot. This gives a rather interesting freedom to the player, allowing him/her to select the sort of gameplay one wants to engage in. Pilot a Titan and rain down hell on minions, or let the Titan do its own thing while you dash about the map, getting some stealthy and quick kills.

In terms of maps, the beta offers two sets. Firstly a cityscape with tight spaces where Titan manoeuvrability suffers yet offers pilots on foot a very thrilling, fast paced experience. This is followed by a much more open vista with a lot of outdoorsy bits with ample room to Titan on Titan action but leaves little for folks on foot to hide.

Similar to players being forced to think which type of weapons one needs in a particular map in any other FPS, TitanFall does the same and adds an extra variable in the form of a Titan to consider when planning ahead. This was one of the major plus points about this game in this player’s opinion.

I wish that it was all blue skies but alas that is not the case. Being brilliant in most aspects forces the faults of the game to stand out more than usual. Lack of environmental destruction takes centre stage here as it dulls the experience a bit.

The only other fault (if I can call it one) is that the game gets a bit repetitive after a while. This understandably might be due to lack of content in the beta and hopefully, not get noticed in the full release. Then again, it is an online FPS where players master maps by playing over and over in them so it might just be the hater in me noticing the repetition.

To sum things up, the TitanFall beta stood up as a thrilling promise to a wonderful game. For the folks out there who are not into first-person shooters, this might be one to pick up to see if you can get into it. I did, and I liked it. Quite a lot.

Pros:
+ Realism of Titans ( movement and feedback )
+ Interesting game modes and maps that makes you think and plan a bit more

Cons:
- Lack of environmental damage dulls the experience.
Companies:
Games: TitanFall

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