Prepare for Titanfall!
At the E3 Expo in 2013, Respawn Entertainment, showed off their debut game, Titanfall, scheduled for release on the then-upcoming next-gen console XBox One (coming March 11, 2014), and XBox 360 and PC a few weeks later. It was shown off as a premiere title in the XBox One lineup, and the mashup of First Person Shooter with mechs has sought to redefine the shooter genre - or at least, create a new genre that will supplant the Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefield juggernauts that have dominated the scene in the last dozen or so years.
From the interesting gameplay mechanics in which you play as an armored soldier with futuristic weapons who can call down and take control of a giant mech called a Titan, to the information that the game would be multiplayer only (as opposed to the standard single-player game with multiplayer bolted on as an extra), Titanfall has sought to change the way we look at First Person Shooter games. Is it doing to do what it sought to do? At this point, it's unclear, but let's look at the game a little and see what might make this game a game-changer.
When I started this article, there was a sign-up for closed beta for PC, and XBox One. However, soon after that announcement, Respawn announced that the XBox One beta was open, and available to anyone to download and play!
I will admit that I was among those to join up right away and start trying it out, and I am pleased to say that the game is quite fun, exciting, and has lived up to the hype, at least for me! I have been very excited about this game since it was first announced, and have been following the developments over the last few months. I even placed my pre-order fot the game about a week ago, so having the opportunity to play was a big thrill for me!
Basically, the idea of Titanfall - as far as I can tell, at least - is that the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (originally Hammond Engineering, the company that makes the large armoured robots you pilot around) owns everything and is working to keep everything under their control. These are the military commanders who fight against the rebels whenever a fight is required.
The rebel faction - called the Frontier Militia - is a rag-tag band of "homesteaders, bandits, mercenaries, and pirates, all rising up as 'citizen soldiers' when the need arises" according to the Titanfall blog. These are the guys and gals who fight the IMC in order to better the lives of the regular folk, but apparently not everyone agrees with their methods or reasons for fighting.
Titanfall Angel City Gameplay
In most multiplayer first-person shooter games, a la Call of Duty, you watch a countdown timer that will let you know when the next round is about to start, followed by a loading screen. You then choose your loadout, and watch another timer countdown to the beginning of the match. This is a tried-and-tested formula that has been working, and I suppose that makes it something that people like and expect to have take place, at this point.
In recent years, some games have suggested a mini-game or some form of lead-in to the action of the game as opposed to this countdown, and this is what Titanfall has done with the lead in to the game. Instead of a second countdown to the "Go!", you see yourself on a dropship with your other pilots, and you launch yourself out to the ground, and as soon as you hit the dirt, you are in control of your pilot! Personally, I find this much more interesting as a way to get into the game, and it feels great to get the action started this way!
Once you are on the battlefield, you rush to find the opposing team and take them out! However, here is where there is yet another twist on the usual formula; instead of just a match between live players, there are a number of AI players to take out as well (Spectres for the IMC, and Grunts for the Militia). These AI opponents are not as difficult to fight against as the other "real" pilots, so they are more for cannon fodder than anything, but you still get points for taking them out, so don't be shy or feel that you are wasting time going after them.
Most FPS games allow for a climb/mantle/jump mechanic as well as your regular run and gun, but Titanfall also adds a parkour element so that you can launch over things, as well as run along walls and even double-jump! All of these change the way that the game is played, so that you don't have set paths to follow to get from place to place, and resourceful players can get onto some truly interesting locations from which to shoot, making them difficult to find or avoid.
XBox One Titanfall Bundle Deal!
Microsoft has announced a deal to get an XBox One console at regular price, and you get a digital copy of Titanfall, and a month of XBox Live Gold included! Hit the link below to get your console and copy of the game! Or hit the second link and just get Titanfall itself if you already have your XBox One console.
What do we know?
So far, not much has been confirmed other than the two maps that were a part of the beta - Angel City and Fracture - though there are rumours of another 13 maps that were discovered in the code of the beta.
It has been confirmed that the 3 basic Titans that had previously been revealed will be the only models available, giving you a choice of the large and strong but slow model (Ogre), the quicker but less powerful model (Strider), and the medium model that gives a little power and a little more speed (Atlas). Between these three models and the weapons and abilities that can be applied to them, there should be a good balance to be found when playing.
The soldier loadouts that have been revealed thus far have some basic weaponry such as an assault rifle (R-101C Carbine), SMG (R97 Compact SMG), shotgun(EVA-8), a lock-on pistol that can acquire and hit multiple targets (Smart Pistol Mk5), and a sniper rifle (Longbow DMR). Interestingly, the Smart Pistol will only acquire targets when not in ADS mode (Aiming Down Sights). Several other weapons have been revealed, but it is not certain if those are all of the weapons that will be available.
Anti-Titan weapons will also be available in several flavors including the homing missile launcher (Archer), a magnetic grenade launcher (Mag Launcher), and a micro-missile launcher (Sidewinder) that fires multiple projectiles that each do a small amount of damage if they connect. For all of these there are some measure of balance as well. While the Sidewinder does the least damage per missile, if you are able to hit a titan multiple times in rapid succession, you can do som good damage, but a good pilot can avoid the missiles. The Archer takes longer to lock on, leaving you vulnerable to attack while you acquire your target, but does a high amount of damage. The Mag Launcher comes in between, where a perfect shot isn't necessary, but the closer you get to your target, the more likely you will get the grenade to find and do some damage to the titan you are aiming for.
Pilots will also be able to throw frag grenades, arc grenades (electrical charge that disrupts titan and pilot systems) and satchel charges - like C4 from the Call of Duty series. There will be a few preset characters to choose from with specific weapon loadouts, but players will also have the option to create their own custom loadouts as well.
The last thing that came out during the beta was the existence of what are known as Burn Cards. These are special items that you can use once during a match to give you an added skill or advantage for a single life. From what has been seen, these range from reducing the build time of your titan, to giving you a higher damage custom weapon, to making you faster, to giving your titan a damage core (added firepower) as soon as it is launched. Once you use a Burn Card, it is... well, burned! You no longer have the option to use it again, and once you lose the life you activated it in, the benefits are gone, no matter if you lasted seconds from the time you spawned to the time you died.
Burn cards don't look to be major game changers, but will add a little meta-game to your game, allowing you to buff your pilot and be just that much more dangerous for a short while! It will be interesting to see what kinds of other abilities will be available once the game launches.
Titanfall is coming very soon, hitting store shelves on March 11, 2014. It looks to change the way shooter games are played, and may create a completely new sub-genre of the First Person Shooter.
Have you played the beta? Watched all the gameplays and read all the info? What do you think of the game and it's potential? Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think of this game! And don't forget to check back as I play the game (yes, I already have my pre-order purchased, just waiting for delivery on the 11th) and post my reactions, review and maybe even a few videos of gameplay (thank you Upload Studio!)