Titanfall Hands-On Impressions: Kind Of Awesome
When I saw the scripted, non-playable demo of Titanfall at E3, I came away unimpressed. I like mechs, and I like shooters, but nothing shown in last June suggested Titanfall would be anything more than a generic combination of both, only MMOified.
After a 20 minutes or so spent with the playable PAX demo, I can report I was wrong. Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming blockbuster turns out to be a well balanced, class-based shooter that manages to combine two very different kinds of games into a single whole that feels like something we should already have had.
It’s also a blast, as I learned when playing through the demo along with my Game Front compadres Mitch and James. The ability to transition between super badass Mech combat and nimble, tactical battle keeps things interesting, and the variety of battlefields – tight, enclosed areas leading to open streets – made it impossible to become complacent. Best of all, this is a game that really will depend on close communication between squad members. No camping, no curb-stomp battles.
But don’t take my word for it. Mitch and James both fell in love with Titanfall too. Here are their takes.
Mitch’s Thoughts: Titanfall
I’ll admit it. I was skeptical of Titanfall when I first saw the trailer back at E3 2013. Multiplayer first person shooters just don’t excite me the way they did back in the days of Counter-Strike and the first Modern Warfare. But while I wasn’t sold on Titanfall back at E3, I’ll admit that it showed a lot of promise and was willing to give it a shot.
After playing just two rounds of it at PAX Prime, my skepticism just melted away.
Respawn has done a fantastic job at addressing a lot of my personal problems with modern multiplayer shooters, many of which are problems I didn’t even really think about until playing Titanfall. For one, putting Titans on a cooldown timer rather than making them into a reward for killstreaks makes it so that even if you’re having a particularly bad game as an infantryman, you’ll still get a chance to get into your Titan and have the same opportunity as everyone else to rack up kills inside the mech.
And as badass as being inside the mech was, the thing that impressed me most about Titanfall was how much fun it was simply going on foot. The free running mechanic in the game makes movement extremely smooth and traversal from rooftop to rooftop extremely intuitive and satisfying.
While Titans obviously have an inherent advantage over on-foot soldiers, I really loved how the traversal options managed to be a balancing mechanism in and of itself. When fighting a Titan as just a soldier, I found myself in intense hit-and-run battles where I would blast a couple of shots at a Titan from a rooftop, run inside a building while I reload, and just continuously stalk the behemoth as I jumped from building to building, eventually whittling it down to the point where the pilot had to either eject, or go down with the ship.
But really the highest compliment I can offer to Titanfall is that everything just feels right. The pacing of the action is perfect, there was a lot of verticality that allowed for skilled free-runners to claim valuable high ground, the guns all had a very satisfying feel to them, controlling your Titan was intuitive and made you feel like a badass, and the various pre-made classes each had their own specific role that would benefit the team.
Suddenly the decision of whether to get a PS4, Xbox One, or undergo a massive PC upgrade just became a lot harder for me.
Read on for James’ take…