Titanfall Beta first impressions.

Titanfall is great fun. Lets just get that out of the way from the start. The developers have a lot of pressure on them to create something new and unique. These are the guys behind the Modern Warfare series after all, so expectations are going to be high.

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I, like many others, assumed we’d be getting another Call of Duty clone with some giant mechs thrown in to replace the killstreaks found in CoD. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the rather lengthy tutorial you’re show the games free running mechanics. It’s a simple set-up. Jump at an angle towards a wall and you’re running along it. Double jumping gives you extend airtime allowing you to move around the map at lightning speeds. Doors are no longer the only entrance to a building you need to keep an eye on as players will come flying through windows, dropping through skylights and everywhere in between.

The weapon set is pretty standard fare for an FPS, barring a few interesting new additions. Along with the usual assault rifles, shotguns and machine guns, every player also has an anti Titan weapon. These are normally rocket launchers and grenades but the biggest threat to the Titans is the player’s speed and agility. Get on top of a Titan and you can bring it down much quicker by ripping open its back and unloading into its insides.

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It’s all very fair and balanced. For every situation there seems to be a balanced solution. Once in your Titan, your movement speed and agility is greatly reduced but your firepower is increased to counter this. When piloting a titan you can feel a little vulnerable if you’ve got a bunch of players darting around you attempting to mount your Titan. However, the skilled Titan pilot came be a game changer. The added durability and firepower of a Titan can only be matched by another. You can also turn your Titan into a sort of guard dog. Give it the order to follow and it will happily do its best to keep up with you,  gunning down whatever it sees on the way.

Regardless of how good or bad you are at FPS’s, Titanfall does a great job of making you feel useful. Grunts and minions fill out each map. These are docile A.I. controlled cannon fodder. Normally moving in small groups, these enemies are here simply to boost your points and reduce the timer for your titan. Both sides have these extra man running around. They’re a great addition, giving even the most inexperienced player the ability to ‘help the team out’.

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That’s another feature that creates a fair and balanced playing field. Everybody gets a titan. You don’t have to be some super-elite-360-no-scope-12-year-old in order to get the good stuff. All player’s Titans are on timers, killing other players and A.I. grunts just reduces your timer. No rewards for dominating new players or for camping in a corner. Come to think of it, I don’t think you could camp in Titanfall. Players are just too quick and versatile to be caught by a camping sniper.

Burn cards are another welcome addition. These are one-use only boosts. For instance, you could spawn with a high-powered assault rifle, complete with all upgrades. Once you’re dead its gone. These cards are a refreshing change to the standard boosts and bonuses you would find on most other shooters.

Looking at Titanfall you could think that it’s just another first person shooter. Nobody would blame you. If you’ve got an Xbox One, 360 or a PC I urge you to give this a go. Its just what the multiplayer shooter needs. Its a fast and fun game that never feels like its cheating you.

Titanfall is due for release on Xbox One, Xbox360 and PC on March 14th 2014.

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