Early access. The two sweetest words I’d ever read in an email. I was granted early access to the Titanfall beta, so wasted absolutely no time in downloading the 30GB file onto my lovely console.
This post isn’t going to be me remembering points about Titanfall and my time with the beta, instead I took notes to share with you lovely people. You awaken in a room – already in the simulator, without realising so. As usual in FPS’, you need to do the training. The first function you get to test is the jump kit for wall running; it’s extremely easy to use, as well as the jumping feature looking and feeling good. It’s not clunky, predestined, predetermined like Assassin’s Creed; although in the simulator it does have a suggested path, but that’s normal for going through training.
There were about 15 training maneuvers to go through – all of which loaded fast and were easy to play through, very seamlessly. I also learned more about the cloaking mechanism as a pilot – once turned on, it cannot be turned off for the duration of the cloak, although getting shot at ends it prematurely with you losing the rest of the duration. This is very useful for when you activating your ejection from the Titan, as it is rather easy to shoot a pilot falling thr0ugh the air with the Titan’s chaingun.
The Smart Pistol was awesome and made training fun – it’s main feature was the locking system. Despite it feeling overpowered in training, rightly so by the way, when it comes to pilot-on-pilot, the smart pistol doesn’t hold much advantage over a shotgun or the carbine. These were the main three weapons in the beta – unlocked from the start, making up the three classes you can be (until you unlock the custom slots, in which case I believe a sniper became unlocked after a certain level, around 10). The challenges unlock extra parts for these – such as 500 kills with the specific weapon allowed you to add a larger round to that gun, with another unlock adding more damage at the expense of accuracy, the usual addition and upgrades to weapons in FPS’. The Smart Pistol also had a multi-locking ability, which is really cool and smart looking without feeling clunky at all, also making life easier when you’re wasting some time shooting at grunts. Both the shooting and hand-to-hand fighting with pilots feels cool and smooth, whilst being easy to do and feeling like CoD, but obviously this game is less about the pilot combat and more about the Titans.
Seeing your Titan drop from the sky is amazing – it really has your mouth open, with a bit of dribble in excitement…awesome. The Titans are easy to move, except when you are all trying to funnel down a little path and the front Titan gets a bit scared and tries to back out; then everyone gets in a bit of a mess, but this is less down to Respawn’s job and more down to silly people wanting to back out of being shot in their Titan. This happens quite often in Last Titan Standing, perhaps my favourite mode in the Beta. Both sides have all Six pilots start in their own Titans, last side with a pilot still in a Titan wins; even if the other side has some pilots left, which does happen quite often (See compilation video at the bottom). My favourite function on the Titan? Perhaps the Vortex Shield. I absolutely love it! It’s simple to use and adds another dimension to one-on-one fights, as it’s a game of cat and mouse / Chicken essentially (I don’t know how well this part translates!). It gives Titans the ability to stop rockets, bullets, whatever, and throw them back if aimed correctly, but obviously this can then be captured by the other Titan, so outsmarting the opponent comes into play.
The button assignments worried me at first; I thought perhaps they’ll be too much going on and would take some getting used to, but it’s surprisingly easy to use and gets you sucked in. A is jump or dodge for when you’re in a Titan, Right Trigger is shoot, Left Trigger is aiming, Left bumper for your first ability (Titan this is Vortex shield or a smoke-shield for you to use when retreating), right bumper for second ability (which was Rockets or lock-on rockets depending on level and assignment), which was about all you needed, as well as X to eject or get in to the Titan.
I have two comments on the Beta, which I hope I get a satisfactory answer about when it comes to release date…which is creeping up on us quickly! The first is that I am still REALLY unclear and unsure how plot will be involved. There was absolutely nothing mentioning it really…The epilogues to the Titanfall version of Team Deathmatch, Attrition, give a snippet I’m guessing, as they see you either trying to hold off a point to stop the losing team evacuating, or you’re trying to evacuate – which gives you additional points per kill or if you make the drop-ship…Although I saw very few people actually heading towards the point, which ruins it I suppose, but at the same time, if you get killed that’s the end of the round for you, and also it affects your Kill-to-Death ratio, which people do try and protect nowadays. The only other thing is the matchmaking – There were a few points where I would be on a team with 1 level 14 and a mixture of 5 to 10s, against 4 level 14s….I should probably mention that 14 was the highest level achievable in the Beta. So, they need to work on leveling out the teams a bit more, but this is more than likely just down to it being a Beta and them not minding too much – just like it didn’t bother me too much. The leveling system though might need some work. It’s unclear at the moment whether they will take the Prestige route similar to CoD, or just reaching a max level, for instance level 100 like Battlefield. My guess at this time would be the Prestige route, as this would probably relate to the story in some way, if there is a distinct story in the multiplayer. I reached level 14 relatively quickly as well, in about 90 minutes I think, which is also a bit questionable. This would lean towards the CoD route, as the early levels are quick to zip through with you taking longer to get to the higher levels, in contrast to each level on Battlefield taking quite long to reach.
I played the Beta with a friend of mine on the One, EagleEyeEvans, and I thought I’d see what he thought of the Beta:
“I thought the fluidity of the Titan movement was fantastic, and that being able to create maps that could combine both Human combat and include Titan involvement is really impressive, particularly with the maps in the beta, they have already created some very exciting maps that I can’t wait to dive in to over and over again. The feature I’m perhaps looking forward to the most is the customisation of the Titans…which could be an exciting feature if it’s done well enough. The customisation of their abilities already has me intrigued and I’ve already discussed which combos I wish to have together, do I go for the Vortex shield to stop the damage or the smoke cloud to stop lock-on missiles while I escape? To be competitive, these discussions will continue regularly, especially with the unlocks being level determined. The combat’s already sucked me in and it’s got the balance right between involving due to close nature and big enough to have multiple places to hide/run to/examine. I also think that the creators have done a great job with the addition of the minions, as the AI aren’t overly powerful to bring down a Titan on their own, but do help out with combat whilst also providing players with small bonus points if they’re having a particular struggle with Titan or Pilot kills/assists. The ‘Go Nuclear’ ability also gives a very interesting choice – do I want to have my Titan be able to regen faster or damage other Titans if they beat me in Fist-To-Fist fighting?”
Overall, I absolutely bloody loved the Beta. It’s made me pre-order Titanfall and I’m now overly hyped for its release and I know my friend I played with is hyped too. Click the video below to see my beta experiences, that our very own resident Sony fanboy, ThinkbadMonkey, put together – perhaps both sides can get along!