Review Price to be confirmed
Titanfall - Hands-on
First impressions from E3 2013You've led the team that made Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the games that arguably defined shooters for a console generation. You've fallen out with your publisher, Activision, signed up your new studio with EA and struggled your way through an acrimonius legal battle.
Where do you go next? If you're Jason West and Vince Zampella, heads of Respawn Entertainment, there can only be one answer: to redefine the multiplayer shooter once again.
Watch the action packed Titanfall E3 2013 trailer:
Read our in-depth Xbox One vs. PS4 comparison
Titanfall attempts to do this in three different ways.
First, like Bungie's Destiny, it tries to bring the cinematic feel of a great single-player shooter to a multiplayer game. Deep down the maps are all about two sides battling to complete objectives, but each is presented as part of an ongoing sci-fi struggle between warring sides, with the map we were demonstrated covering the flight of a ragtag group of ships from superior forces, and one team charged with helping to cover the escape.
Throughout the action you see the faces of comrades and commanders appear in the corner of the screen, urging you to fight harder, fight smarter and win the day. The effect is to make you feel that this is about more than points; it's about survival. Maps don't just end, either, with the demo map dishing out extra points for players who could make it to a futuristic 'copter for extraction’ once objectives were completed.
Secondly, Titanfall works on two scales at once. On the one hand you have the Titans themselves: huge but surprisingly agile mechs with heavy armour and just as heavy weaponry. On the other, you have the pilots, working both to pilot the machines and to operate as ground troops, and kitted out with jetpacks and a range of assault rifles, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. We're not quite sure how it all works yet, but pilots appear to be able to call Titans into battle, but can also hijack those of other players with the aid of jetpacks and a little derring do.
Which brings us neatly to our third point: Titanfall takes a leaf from the disappointing Breach in taking a new look at how movement can work in an FPS game. Pilots can move rapidly, moving fluidly over the scenery, and using the jetpack to jump and clamber onto higher surfaces, or even wall-walk from one position to the next. They can hitch rides on friendly Titans, then leap heroically to latch onto an enemy Titan and slay its occupant, or surprise troops on the ground. This not only makes the game seem incredibly fast-paced and exciting, but has the potential to revolutionise how players move through the maps.
We almost feel sorry for the Call of Duty camping crowd: how do you cover the normal routes when players can move almost anywhere they want? Scratch that – we don’t feel sorry at all.
Throughout, Respawn has worked hard to make the shift between pilot and Titan seamless, so that there's barely any gap between jumping into a titan and using it to kick some serious behind. Again, this helps the whole game feel more dynamic, switching between the two scales without disrupting the fierce flow of battle.
And the advantage of running on a next-generation platform is that all of this looks absolutely amazing. Sure, the maps we've seen so far look like variations on the theme of post-apocalyptic rubble, but the spectacle of Titans duking it out while groups of pilots run, gun and jet all around them is one of the best things we've seen from the next-gen consoles. It's really epic stuff.
Watch the Titanfall gameplay demo:
First impressionsAt the moment, Titanfall is set to be an Xbox One exclusive, though PC gamers will be glad to know that a PC version will also be available for the game's early 2014 launch. EA hasn't formally announced a PS4 version, but there have been suggestions that Titanfall might make the Sony platform given time.
Still, getting this as even a timed exclusive is a real coup for Microsoft. If we were compiling reasons to buy an Xbox One, then Titanfall would be very high up on our list.
Next, read 10 things we learned about the Xbox One at E3 2013
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