PAX 2013: Titanfall preview

TF_AngelCity_PilotTitanfall did not live up to my expectations. It’s looks great, and it’s fluid movement mechanics certainly offer something non-standard to the first person shooter space, but I didn’t find it different enough to make me take-note of if over other next-generation shooters.

I didn’t know a a ton about Titanfall when I went into my multiplayer-demo, but other than the Titan gameplay aspects of combat, it didn’t matter. If you’ve played a FPS in the last six years, you’ll feel right at home sprinting around the battle field and gunning down enemies with your Titan pilot.

It almost feels pointless to even comment on the gunplay of a big budget shooter like this – beyond the fact that it works of course (it works), so I’ll primarily focus on the Titan vs pilot dynamic.

At the start of the match, every players started out as a pilot, and whoever accrued kills, assist and points faster gained access to their personal Titan first, while the others had to rely on a standard two-minutes timer that started at the beginning of the match. I like the concept, and it makes sense. I can see it forcing good players to develop their skills as pilots on the ground and as acrobatic warriors before they can harness the power of the giant robots.

I mostly played with a rocket-launcher class Titan and I didn’t feel that much more powerful at all

That’s where my inclination towards Titanfall ends though. Once I got myself a Titan and started jetting around the battlefield with heavy artillery, it actually wasn’t that fantastic. I mostly played with a rocket-launcher class Titan and I didn’t feel that much more powerful at all.

I’ll admit that there’s potential in having the Titans feel very tough when engaged in one-on-one duels with each other – it took several seconds of sustained fire from multiple Titans to effectively bring down a single, meched-up opponent – whereas stealthily using a pilot’s anti-Titan rocket launcher from a concealed window seemed to take them out more effectively.

Whether your a Titan or a pilot, balancing your arsenal could be fun, but from what I played, controlling a Titan just wasn’t as rewarding as playing as a pilot.

I can see why the ideas that the game puts forward are exciting a staggering amount of people – it seems that every one I talked to on the show floor listed the game as one of their most anticipated titles – but the ideas that I was shown weren’t enough to fire me up.

I have little doubt that it’s going to be a good game, but I think I might need to hear more about its narrative, or some other wow factor, before I’m willing to entertain the notion of it being an amazing game.

We’ll see when it launches on Xbox One in the Spring.

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