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Titanfall beta impressive

Feb 18, 2014

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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We admit it. Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts had us at giant robots. Put giant robots in anything and you've immediately got our attention.

As we saw in the current beta release, Titanfall is much more than a mash-up of Halo or Call of Duty and MechWarrior. It has its own identity and some clever gameplay mechanics which grants Titanfall its own specialized tactics.

TitanfallDuring the pilot and Titan training in the beta release which is followed by several combat scenarios and multiplayer combat, all is revealed about the resourceful skippers and their mechs. The pilots can wall run, double jump using a jet pack, can use Predator-like camouflage and are the proud owners of an auto-targeting smart pistol.

Of all of their skills and devices, the double jump feature really comes in handy in multiplayer as you can dash and leap across entire rooftops with ease, which really does open up the playing field adding another chapter to your FPS strategy book.

The smart pistol and its auto-targeting works well against "grunts" (A.I. players) but not so well against human-controlled opponents as they need three shots to kill not just one like the "grunts". I found I holstered the pistol in favour of the standard shotguns and rifles. "Grunts" are a major part of the multiplayer experience giving you more foes to blast and more points to earn.

TitanfallTaking on Titans as a pilot is a whole other ball of wax. Although there are weapons which make a take-down easier, you still need to aim them at the Titan's weak points to do any effective damage. You can bring one of the giants down but it does take some effort on a pilot's part. Pilots do have speed and maneuverability on their side though which oftentimes makes all the difference. Of course, once you have built up your Titan points, you can summon your own Titan and level the playing field considerably.

The titans themselves take a bit of getting used to unless you are veteran of games like Mech Warrior or Lost Planet. They are bulky, heavy and lumbering machines without agility, except for a limited use "dash"; and it takes longer for them to reload their weapons. To compensate for that, they can sustain a ton of damage and have some neat tricks of their own. Along with missiles and chain guns, they have the ability to throw up a Vortex Force Field that Magneto would be proud of. It allows the Titan to "catch" all of the missiles and bullets being shot at them and hurl them back at their foes in a powerful attack.

By gaining points in multiplayer you can upgrade your Titan as well as your pilot. In the beta release, only one Titan model – Atlas – is available but you can add customizations. You can increase the rate of fire and magazine capacity of Atlas' weapons, purchase Electric Smoke (damages both Titans and pilots within range on the battlefield), homing missiles and the ability to turn your Titan into a megaton bomb after you eject safely. 

TitanfallPilots are no slouches either. In the beta, you can unlock weapons; weapons sight attachments, extended magazines and silencers, increased wall running abilities and amount of grenades you can carry at one time.

Another feature of Titanfall are the Burn Cards. These are one-time only bonuses which you can earn in the game. By editing your card deck in the lobby, you can activate three of these abilities or features before a match.

Granting it is not the finished product by a long-shot, the extensive and impressive beta release has given us a far-reaching look at what to expect in March, which cannot come fast enough for us.

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