16th February 2014

Titanfall Beta on Xbox One

I have been lucky enough to get a first access code for the brand new Titanfall beta from the Titanfall website.  The beta is only online till 6pm on February 18th and although there were problems initially was the servers crashing it seems like they’ve got it sorted now(although they are apparently having problems allocating new servers). Apparently people were selling their codes on eBay for 4 figure sums – Madness.

So I’ve decided I don’t want to sell my code so after a lengthy download (around 30mins- it is over 4Gb) I get the game started.

Introduction

Titanfall is billed as ‘Call of duty 6 v 6 with Mech action’, combining the very popular first person shooter (FPS) with larger player controlled robots. The game itself is set in the future at ‘the edge of civilisation’ in the deepest reaches of space,  in the frontier areas on the outer edges of inhabited solar systems.

It’s only the beta so there’s only a twi multiplayer maps (Fracture and Angel city) with 4 different gameplay modes. The game itself is beautifully illustrated. It really plays up to the Xbox Ones graphics power(even if its only playing at 720p).

Before being let loose in the game you step though 15 (yes 15!) tutorials, which walks you through the intricacies of being a ‘pilot’ – including a really nice movement and jumping interface, weaponry and Titan controls.

Gameplay

Once you’ve competed the tutorials you’re let free into the online world. The game words are really nicely built with a ranch of large open spaces and tight rooms to make gameplay interesting. The game is populated with 12 players (6 a side) and topped up with several more ‘grunts’ which are AI controlled.

You spawn and are dropped in at opposing sides of the maps, with the clock ticking down(from 4 minutes) until you can get your hands on your Titan. What’s better is that every person or grunt you kill takes seconds off the titan timer.  The game is not only nice on the eyes, it’s also simple to play. Movement including wall running and jumping is abit similar to the portal games but it’s really easy to transverse buildings and the landscape as the game uses the double midair jump feature.

There are 3 available game modes(Attrition, Last Titan Standing and Hardpoint(CTF) in the beta (a forth being a combination of the 3). These are alot like other First person shooters so can’t really comment on anything new. All are fun to play.

Your Pilot

Your pilot is your soldier. There are 3 preset loadouts(Assault, Tactical and Close Quarters Combat) and the option for custom combinations. You’ve got the option to be male or female and have a set of 3 weapons – A primary weapon, an anti titan weapon (rocket based) and a sidearm (pistol based). Your equipped with grenades (normal frag grenades or arc grenades) and have a tactical ability (a cloak or ‘stim’ which allows you to run faster). You’ve got two kit upgrades giving you either more grenades, faster Tactical ability reload or an ‘enhanced parkour kit’ allowing you to do longer parkour crazy jumpy stuff. Your second kit upgrade increases the titan spawn protective dome time or displays minions on your HUD map, with a  third option increasing your titans movement boost.

By far the best weapon to play with is the carbine. Its really great to shoot, stable and affective. That said I really love the smart pistol which has amazing lock on abilities, great for killing grunts but doesn’t work quite so well with shooting real people.

Your Titan

When your titan build clock reaches 0 you get to select a drop in point and your titan drops in. Your titan is basically a massive robotic version of yourself built as an extension of the players abilities.

In the full game there will be 3 of titan Models – Atlas (available in the beta), Ogre and Stryder. There are 3 preset loadouts(Main Battle, Heavy Weapons or High Explosive titan) in the beta and the option for custom combinations. Each titan is equipped with a primary weapon and secondary attack which is handy for when your reloading. Not only that, but you’ve also got a tactical ability what is a a combi attack defence – initially you’ve got this vortex shield which grabs incoming ordinance (using a snazzy hover animation) then fires it back at the enemy. Kit loadouts add to your titans abilities, giving optional auto eject support, regeneration booster or a faster reloader. There are a second tier of of kit improvements, giving you the option to turn your Titan into a nuclear bomb on destruction or to have improved heath, both are cool features making your titan a formidable attacking force.

As mentioned before, the maps have a variety of open and tighter areas which allows your titan to cross large areas of the map. Your titan does have movement boosters but is not able to jump (or at least not in the beta models) and you can find yourself stuck when there is more than 1 titan trying to get through a tight spot.

If you don’t want to use your titan you can have it run on auto mode leaving you to focus on the infantry or providing additional ground support. This is particularly handy if you got arc grenades which are really affective vs titan shields. You can destroy the shield using your arc grenades and then pummel the enemy using your anti titan weapon and your titan.

The Verdict

Overall its a really good game.The maps are really nicely finished with lots of areas ideal for pilot on pilot shooting but also having enough open space that Titans can fight and move freely. Great fun to play with loads of customisation. I’m sure they will be even more stuff to do in the full game release on March 11th.  It will be really interesting to see other Titan loadouts and how they affects the gameplay.

The time period between games is far to long – normally around 90 seconds. I appreciate there are alot of features you can configure but 90 seconds is far to long if your not doing any upgrades. Battlefield 4 does this quite well allowing user to choose mods in-game at the spawn menu, allowing for faster transitions between games.

I quite like the wildcard feature which, does what it says in the title, gives you random abilities dependant on the card you’ve selected. You gain these by completing challenges throughout the gameplay experience and can have up to 3 in play at any one time.

Oh and theres more news. As of today 16/2/14 the beta is open on Xbox One (PC to follow)