Published on September 6th, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman2
Titanfall blows minds and expectations
The first time you summon a Titan and see it plummet toward earth while you feebly attempt to stay alive in an increasing chaotic field of death, it all makes sense. Respawn Entertainment, the development company created in the wake of Infinity Ward’s co-founders leaving, have crafted a game of intensely competitive, thrilling and truly awe-inspiring moments. Titanfall empowers you — both in and out of the giant mechanized battle suits the game is named for.
When you’re first dropped into a battleground (after selecting the type of soldier and Titan classes you’d like to shoot up bad guys with) and briefed on your mission from one of the NPCs, it’s easy to see that Respawn thought a lot about subverting player expectations. Soldiers are agile and deadly, capable of closing distances quickly and stylishly, as well as retreating if the action gets too hectic. This is accomplished with the use of a parkour-style system, with gamers able to wall-run, climb up the sides of buildings and make crazy leaps effortlessly. It feels fluid and, more importantly, badass. This goes a long way to make playing on-foot a pleasure — a feat that seemed almost impossible to me, considering the game also allows you to pilot giant fighting robots.
Speaking of the Titans, they feel exactly as they should. Each combat mech is heavy, with a believable amount of weight in every movement. For better or worse, a Titan is a tank — there’s no fancy acrobatics. Just you, a few tons of steel and badassery, and some sort of artillery. To keep the action dialled up to 11, Respawn Entertainment gives the suits a thruster dash, providing a small burst of speed at opportune moments. In the high-stakes, kill-or-be-blown-to-hell world of Titanfall, that can be all the difference.
Titans are sent from above after a certain amount of time, with players able to summon them with the single press of a button. During my time with the demo (an 8v8 match), in-game success influenced how quickly the Powers That Be decided to launch the sophisticated death machine worth billions of dollars to my exact location. It’s not tied to kill-streaks, however, making Titanfall a more accessible and friendly shooter for those that are just starting out. You can be terrible at the game and still, eventually, become the proud owner of a giant robot packed to the brim with guns. Everybody wins! Except the losers at the end of the match.
While engaging in combat with another Titan, I began to hear a lot of beeps and red lights flashing everywhere — never a good sign, all my years of video game shenanigans has taught me. Rather than stick around inside the suit to see what’d happen, I ejected and shot into the air, right in front of my opponent. Using the soldier’s jetpack, I was able to boost to the side a bit, land on the Titan’s head and switch to my Anti-Titan weapon, delivering a few solid shots to its face before leaping off. Naturally, because I am a cool guy, I didn’t look at the explosion that occurred as a direct result of my incredible feats of gaming prowess, but needless to say…it felt amazing.
Everything feels exactly as it should, while continuing to surprise and delight in interesting ways. Armed with knowledge from years of developing Call of Duty, Respawn’s got more than enough ammo to make Titanfall a sure-fire hit. There’s a reason everybody is buzzing about this game and it isn’t just because you can punch robots in the face — though that certainly is a great bulletpoint — there’s a sense of depth and balance here that’s staggering and impressive. Titanfall is dropping from the sky on PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One next spring.