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EB Expo 2013: Titanfall Hands On

by William Schwartz

titanfall-call-of-duty

After spending almost three hours waiting in line and another twenty minutes in a small dark room watching trailers and instructional videos with a Microsoft rep, if Respawn’s Titanfall wasn’t any good I was going to unleash my own inner titan on Microsoft’s booth at the EB Expo.

Luckily it was amazing. I suppose that’s the reason Titanfall has won 60 awards already, something the Microsoft rep was very happy to gloat about repeatedly.

The demo shown off was clearly running on PC hardware and was controlled using Xbox 360 controllers, so unfortunately I cannot comment on how it fares on the Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One – although the Microsoft rep assured us that the demo was going to make us want an Xbox One – even though it wasn’t running on one. What I can say though, was that after all our waiting for Call of Duty’s creators-in-exile at Respawn to make another awesome multiplayer FPS, they have delivered in spades.

The level shown was the same city level which has been shown off since the game’s reveal. The game mode played was “Campaign Multiplayer” which combines elements of cutscenes, story progression with a small amount of goal oriented gameplay. Titans and the futuristic foot soldiers were both playable but unfortunately we were not allowed to capture any footage of the demo or its setup.

In my short amount of time with Titanfall I was thoroughly enthralled.

Regardless of the bells and whistles of every modern game’s ever so slight twist on the TDM formula, it is the gameplay that matters most, and Titanfall plays beautifully with the only caveat being that wall running and double jumping can be a little awkward, but when it works it is exhilarating.

The controls on foot felt heavier than Call of Duty’s erratic and twitchy multiplayer, sitting somewhere between the heft of Battlefield and snappiness of Call of Duty, which is perfect for Titanfall’s movement oriented gameplay and heavy futuristic weaponry.

In the one multiplayer match I played I was able to summon down a titan three times, and as soon as I got my futuristic mitts on that baby it was game over for my enemies until they shut me down. The titans are a force to be reckoned with and can pick off unsuspecting foot soldiers with great ease. Enemies who are aware of the titan however have a much better chance at survival as double jumping, wall running and fitting into ever present buildings and open windows can allow a quick player to easily elude the clumsy yet powerful titans.

Titanfall Presentation EB Expo

The weapons and classes available allowed for very different play styles, and each class has a main weapon, sidearm and anti-titan weapon, which also seemed to be plenty effective against foot soldiers. One of the most enjoyable weapons was an auto-targeting pistol which allowed the player to shoot up to three enemies at once.

The titans themselves also have customizable loadouts and different varieties of rockets, massive cannons and countermeasures were available.

Where Titanfall’s spin on traditional TDM comes in, is that when one team wins the TDM battle, Titanfall’s “Epilogue Mode” begins.

Epilogue Mode involves the losers madly dashing to escape the battlefield as the victors chase them through the streets towards the incoming dropship for extraction. “Mega XP” (Microsoft’s words, not mine) was on offer for anyone successful in escaping or preventing escape.

In my short amount of time with Titanfall I was thoroughly enthralled. While futuristic multiplayer and mechs are nothing particularly new, Respawn have made another flawless FPS with unparalleled action and fun to be had. This is the next-gen game to have and Xbox One’s killer app.

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