I was fortunate enough to get a proper hands-on session with Titanfall
at Gamescom last week.
It turned out to be my game of the show, probably because I didn’t go in there expecting to love it. I rarely play shooters online, but Modern Warfare 2
is still my all-time favourite FPS for its single player campaign, so I was more than happy to see what the Respawned Infinity Ward guys had been up to.
First, we were shown an extensive video describing the mechanics of the game, the load-outs and classes, and the ultra-cool double-jumping and wall-running controls. Then we were led through to a room with row upon row of PCs with headsets and 360 controllers.
We were put on one of two sides, with my team’s objective being to stop the opposition trying to release a trapped soldier. Or something like that. The story was really just an excuse for both sides to go at each other, using some pretty awesome weaponry. You start on foot, but can call in a titan to pilot at various times throughout the game. On foot you are fantastically agile and fast, and double-jumping and wall-running allows you to cross the map seriously quickly. With the number of buildings on the map we were playing, it was possible to spend minutes hurtling around without ever touching the ground. Respawn were keen to emphasise the verticality of the game, although on the map we were playing the building were seldom more than four stories high. However, it was trivial to get up on top of those buildings quickly and get line of sight on those down below. On-foot weapons included rockets that fired round the corners of buildings and special anti-titan grenades.
There are different points given for killing different types of opponent, with the titans earning considerably more than the guys on foot, but naturally being a lot tougher to take down. There are also enemy search drones to take down, and doing so stops your team from appearing on your enemy’s map.
Calling in a titan to pilot is just a case of pressing a direction on the d-pad, and it’s then built under a shield on the battlefield and you are given an audio update when it’s ready to ride.
The titan weaponry is considerably more powerful than that available to you on foot, but takes longer to reload, and of course your mobility is severely compromised. However, you can still last some time in a titan before damage forces you to eject, and during that time you can do a lot
of damage. Once destroyed, you have to play for a period on foot before you are allowed to request a new titan to pilot.
They had clearly put a lot of effort and testing into the balancing of the game, as I had just as much fun when on foot as when in a titan. I would imagine this is the hardest thing to get right in a game like this, but it really did seem pretty perfect already.
My team won the match, and then we were given the bonus objective section which gives both teams a chance to earn massive XP boosts. This involved the enemy trying to reach an evac point while we did everything we could to stop them.
From the videos and the 25 minutes or so of gameplay we had, it’s clear that Xbox have pulled off something of a coup by securing Titanfall as an Xbox (and PC) exclusive. It really was a complete blast to play, looked fantastic, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it properly next year.I’ll be posting more about the games I played at Gamescom in my blog over the coming days, so if you have an interest, throw me a follow!