After spending many hours with the Titanfall beta, the wait for the March 11 launch of the full game is almost unbearable. The beta gave crucial insight into how the game played and while it’s easy to paint it with a broad “it’s an FPS with mechs” brush, that’s missing so much of what makes Titanfall stand out from the pack. The first thing you’ll want to do is go through the tutorial. FPS vets may scoff at the idea of doing that, but you’ll want to. The parkour-heavy gameplay is a lot faster-paced than your average FPS, and it takes some time to get used to speeding around areas and learning how to properly chain wallruns together. Once you master that, you’ll be ready to leap around the levels with ease and either snap necks or jump kick fools off of ledges (almost) whenever you want to.
Your base FPS skills will carry over when you’re on-foot — to some degree. You can’t stay in one area for too long, and you don’t want to stay out in the open for long. Doing that means you’re a sitting duck for a titan. They’re able to kill you with a stomp or a single blast with any weapon. While that may seem unbalanced, it isn’t — all players are given anti-titan weapons. Some do more damage per-shot but take longer. They’re the way to go if you’re more into being a stealthy sniper-type and enjoy attacking from afar. Those preferring the direct approach will want to go with a rapid-fire weapon and strike while crouching and hiding behind as much cover as possible. It may seem cowardly, but it’s a smart way to attack and at least get an assist bonus if you wind up dying. The most satisfying thing is taking down a titan while they’re in combat with another titan. There, you don’t really know how anything’s going to go, but you’re out in the open and could be killed at any time. You may even see your screen borders fill with orange indicating damage. That’s when the adrenaline starts pumping.
If you do well enough on-foot, you’ll be able to get into your titan faster. The more kills you rack up, or at least help with, the more time you’ll shave off of your titanfall. It’s a bit like a penalty in sports – only this forces you to do more than think about what you’ve done. Here, you’re rewarded for being an active participant in combat with a giant mech that can do tons of damage. The key to Titan use is to make sure you learn how to move around before getting into combat. The extensive tutorial is there for a reason and learning how to dash in and out of fire to heal up at the right time is going to mean the difference between life or death. It’s easy to go on a kill streak as a titan, but it’s also easy to get overconfident and play sloppily in one. While you don’t have the precise movement in one like you do on-foot, you’ve got more power and you’ll need to wield it wisely. Just blasting around randomly makes you an easy target — pay attention to the mini-map on the top left-hand corner and see where enemies are. If you spot another titan nearby, help out your teammates and try to take it out.
The fewer enemy titans you have to do with, the better your odds will be that your team will emerge victorious. If that happens, your goal then becomes to take out all of the enemies that remain. You can do this with greater ease as a titan since everyone will be rushing to the drop ship for a rescue. You can also take that out and get a huge thrill (and probably an in-game reward of some sort too). If you’re on the losing end of things, then your goal is simply to survive until the drop ship arrives and hop onto it as well. Even when the match is seemingly over, it never really is – the match-ending score is just one part of the puzzle. Sure, you want to win, but if you don’t, you can at least take some satisfaction in accomplishing the secondary post-match goal. It might be light a silver medal in a sense, but that’s sure better than nothing.
People who aren’t usually into FPS games will want to keep a close eye on Titanfall. If you missed out on the beta, then do whatever you can to play the game — check it out at a friend’s house or borrow it because it could open your eyes to the genre. I’m not an FPS guy at all. My idea of FPS gaming is to pick up whatever is a couple of years old and cheap because I simply wasn’t very good at many FPS games…until I played Titanfall. Playing this showed me that while many FPSes are a bit too slow for my liking, this one isn’t — the frantic nature never lets it get boring and the parkour is something you can always experiment with. You’ll be doing that a lot while rodeoing titans as well. If you’ve got a friendly titan nearby, you can hop a ride and start shooting — this can help the pilot, but also leaves you open for attack and you’re unable to move on your own. It’s a risky move, but fun. The same goes for stealing a titan from a rival, which is quite a bit harder, but more rewarding since you have to shoot it open and gain control or just simply shoot it to death.
The thing I’m looking forward to the most after the full game’s launch is being able to try out everything I learned from the beta on the 15 maps at launch. It will be a fantastic learning experience and like the beta, will rely on me learning as I go. Generally, it takes a couple of matches to learn a map on a basic level and then you learn its intricacies as you go on. Part of that comes from dying and respawing in an area that’s foreign to you. When that happens, you need to assess the situation quickly and take stock of what’s around you. If you’re in an enclosed area, see if there are steps nearby you can climb and maybe spot an enemy or two. AI drones are easy kills and allow you to have faster access to the titan, so go after them whenever possible to build up a kill streak before tackling real people.
The learning curve is gradual thanks to the tutorial giving you the basic tools — it then becomes your job to put them all to use during combat. Because you’re taught everything in such an organic manner before going into the game, it’s a breeze to pick things up on the fly. This means those who worry about getting into an FPS due to instant death in multiplayer don’t need to be; they’ll at least be able to compete with others right away. By making the game more accessible, Titanfall stands to be the perfect gateway game for many into the genre. It’s been a trend-setter for the past console generation, and with complaints of the genre feelings tale over the past few years, Titanfall is just the kick in the ass the FPS genre needs. In order for the genre to at least stay as big as it is, and ideally to grow from that point, it needs to evolve. Titanfall gives you all the strategy you’d expect in an FPS, but places it in a more user-friendly package that everyone can enjoy.