Thoughts on the Titanfall Beta

Like a lot of people, I spent the weekend playing the Titanfall beta. My first impressions are that it’s a really good game.

So what makes it so?

Well it’s got that “pick up and play” friendliness that CoD does so well.   Not surprising of course given the people making it are the people who brought us CoD (some time ago, these people worked for Infinity Ward, had a big bust up with Activision, then left to start their own studio called Respawn who make Titanfall).

I wrote this on Boards about it:

A shotgun is very, very blappy and will usually take everyone out with a decent player who’s patient enough to wait for that moment to pull the trigger.

The carbine is solid too, I’m a bigger fan of the SMG myself but I tend to be in these sorts of games. You won’t do well if you’re just spraying bullets everywhere though with it, so it’s not like you’re just pissing bullets out for an easy kill.

The smart pistol is grand, but now that I’m up a few levels, and I’m guessing the game’s matchmaking is based on this as all the people I play against seem to be a minimum of 9 or 10 (I’m now 14), no one seems to be using it, so maybe it’s already been relegated to noob tube status. I think it’s an interesting weapon to have put in though and I’m curious to see what more comes from it.

Hit detection seems to be really good, so I’ve never felt like I’ve been “cheated” of a kill or that I’ve been unfairly taken out.

There’s a definite skill to be learned about how to fight in titans. Never try a 1 on 1 if you’re damaged, you’re better off backing off and finding a friendly Titan buddy. 2 on 1 is where it’s at, 3 on 1 is just messy 

Someone mentioned the AI were kinda like creeps in MOBAs and that’s a perfect description. They’re there to help you speed up your titan’s activation and some of the weapon unlocks and “challenges” are tied to killing certain creep types (grunts are humans and spectres are robots). They should provide you no challenge except when an enemy pilot appears whilst you’re reloading after catching a pile of them coming out of a drop pod 

I don’t think it unfair to suggest that if you enjoy CoD, you’re probably going to enjoy this. It’s very accessible, it’s very fun for “pick up and play” in exactly the same way I always thought CoD was (and I don’t mean to suggest that there’s no complexity to high level CoD, but it’s a very “casual” friendly game). There are definitely some comparisons to be drawn with Tribes Ascend too in terms of how the movement is, but Brink is probably the closest example for that. It takes some adjusting to get into it, but you can see that someone who’s competent with the jumping and wall running etc will out-class someone who isn’t in a 1v1.

This game won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s got a broad appeal and it does what it does very well. It should sell well and for XBone owners, you probably won’t see a better “arcade” shooter for some time.

I can definitely see myself playing quite a bit of this when it comes out. If anyone’s on the fence, I can only urge you to get in on the beta to help you make up your mind.

Rather than retyping my thoughts which haven’t really changed in the 2 days since I wrote this piece.  Generally, the responses I’ve seen to the game have been very positive.  Activision/Infinity Ward (what’s left of them)/Treyarch will undoubtedly be worrying.  CoD Ghosts was simply put appalling.  I was fortunate enough to receive a gift copy from a friend who works in Demonware and I’m glad I didn’t pay for it.  It was (and still is afaik) completely broken.  It’s been universally panned by die hard CoD fans and I think it shows that the real talent left IW when Zampella and West were fired (details here in a good write up by Euro Gamer).

I’m looking forward to the final release, based on what I’ve played with the Beta, it’s going to be a fun game.

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