Stand by for Titanfall. That’s what people keep telling us. You cant escape the meteoric shadow of this hugely hyped FPS title from new developer Respawn Entertainment. Can it possibly live up to all the hype? Will it leave a crater sized impact in the FPS genre and wipe out the dinosaur that is the Call of Duty franchise? Or will it simply turn to dust? We wont know for sure for some time as it can take months or even years to determine the true impact of a competitive multiplayer game such as this one. So in the mean time I figured I would fill that Titan-hole in your brain with a small history and preview of the game scheduled for release on the 11th of March in the US and the 14th in the UK.
Titanfall is a first person shooter from Respawn Entertainment. Respawn if you didn’t already know is a fairly new studio formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, former co-founders of Infinity Ward and are credited with ‘creating’ Call of Duty. On the 27th of April 2010 Vince and Jason along with a group of other IW employees filed a lawsuit against their then publisher Activision. The lawsuit was brought to Activision on the grounds that payments owed to said employees for work on Modern Warfare 2 were not paid in full and that damages were to be paid. Damages reportedly up to 100 Million dollars. Eventually they settled out of court in a private settlement and Jason and Vince signed with publisher EA games and so began Respawn.
Around 40 IW employees jumped ship to Respawn, along with another 20 or so other fresh faces to form the new team and so they began development of their first title. The relatively small team meant that exclusivity to one of the two big next gen consoles was a must unfortunately and Microsoft will surely be delighted in insuring that Respawns exciting new IP stay exclusive to Xbox, at least for now. Fast forward to E3 2013 for the big reveal at the end of Microsoft’s Xbox One conference. Fan and critic reactions were sky high and Titanfall went away with over 75 awards from a show sporting plenty of other impressive titles, from inFAMOUS Second Son to Star Wars Battlefront. Since E3 we have been given plenty of information about the game, so if you missed any of it then you’re in luck. STAND BY for Titanfall’s full gameplay breakdown…
Titanfall as I previously mentioned is a first person shooter, but with a twist. Each player or ‘Pilot’ is given a ‘Titan’ which they unlock periodically during multiplayer matches and can unlock again if it is destroyed (fear not new players). The Titans are essentially mechs, much like ones you’ve seen before in that they’re big, they’re tough and they deal a tonne of damage. The do however differ in some very key ways. As of now we are aware of three different types of Titan. Each of the Titan ‘chassis’ has a unique ‘Core ability’, varied speed and health as well as the ability to ‘dash’ in any direction a limited number of times depending on your Titans chassis. Titans also have a ‘tactical ability’ and an ‘ordinance weapon’, but we will go into them later.
The three Titan models known are The Atlas, The Stryder and the Ogre. The Atlas is the all purpose model, as its neither the best or the worst both in an attacking sense and defensively. The Atlas’ Core Ability once charged gives you increased damage for around 30 seconds, so make sure you pick just the right moment to unleash it on your opposition. The Stryder model is the quickest and most manoeuvrable of the three and comes with the ability to burst three times compared to the Ogre’s one burst and the Atlas’ two. To balance that increased manoeuvrability the Stryder has far less armour to the other classes, so make sure you put those bursts to good use and stay out of the big fire fights. The Stryder’s Core ability lets you burst as many times as you want whilst your core is charged, once it runs out you will be back to three bursts. Last but not least is the Ogre chassis, which is the biggest and most heavily armoured of the Titans. But with the extra armour comes slower movement and only one burst. Once fully charged the Ogre’s core ability vastly increases your Titans armour to give you the advantage in a tough spot.
All three Titan models can carry one weapon which it holds in its right hand. There are currently three known weapons for Titans, all of which were available during the Beta. The first is the XO-16 Chaingun, which is a fast firing but low damage machine gun. Titan weapons can be upgraded by completing specific challenges which will unlock different attachments. The chaingun can be upgraded with an extended mag which increases the magazine capacity to 90 rounds, or an accelerator which also improves the ammo capacity but also increases the fire rate the longer you hold down the trigger. This however comes at the cost of recoil which increases due to the high fire rate. The second weapon is the 40MM Cannon. The 40MM is a low fire rate, high damage rifle with explosive rounds that can kill a pilot in one, but is tricky to get a direct hit. It can be improved with an extended mag or a burst fire mod which improves the fire rate but drastically reduces the damage and accuracy. The final weapon is the Quad Rocket. The Quad Rocket also deals high damage at a low fire rate, but with a much more explosive result. It can be modded with an extended magazine or a rapid fire mod which will greatly increase its fire rate, but again will reduce damage and accuracy. Two other weapons have been rumoured but not confirmed, they are the Ark Cannon and the Cluster Rockets. I will now pause to allow your imaginations to run wild with fantasies of the wonderful carnage those weapons will inevitably carve out come March.
If enormous machine guns and explosive bolt guns aren’t quite enough for you then you needn’t worry, Respawn have you covered with your Titan’s second offensive ability. This second loadout option is known as your Titan’s ‘Ordinance ability’ and it offers pilots the chance to deal massive damage, but with a very long reload time between uses. As of now we are aware of just two ordinance abilities that you can choose from. The first of these is the ‘Rocket Salvo’, which will fire a rapid burst of missiles in a forward direction incinerating any unlucky pilots caught in its blast and dealing big damage to enemy Titans as well. Your second option is the ‘Slaved Warheads’ which fire special guided missiles, but it requires a short target lock onto an enemy Titan before you can fire. After around 10 hours playing the Beta I found the Slaved Warheads to be the more efficient Titan killer mainly because you can get more hits on your target thanks to its guided missiles. If you want a more all round killing machine then you cant go wrong with the Rocket Salvo, which you can fire on both Titans and Pilots as long as your aim is good. Remember the Rocket Salvo only fires directly forwards from your Titan, so it can be tricky to keep up with the very nimble Pilots.