GSY PREVIEW | PC, Xbox One Monday, August 26, 2013 | 6:30 PM

GC: TitanFall hands-on preview

GC: TitanFall hands-on preview

No doubt one of the biggest and perhaps most promising next generation titles in development, TitanFall finally presented itself in playable form at Gamescom this year. The pitch describes the game as a fusion between cinematic campaign gameplay and multiplayer. That is, while the game is not playable in offline form, the multiplayer is designed to provide some of the experiences you might expect from a proper campaign. It’s an interesting idea and one that has been toyed with in the past (The Crossing anyone?). Of course, as someone who has struggled to really enjoy Call of Duty multiplayer gameplay, I approached TitanFall with a bit of apprehension. The experience proved surprising.




Fall of Duty

The PC demo we played focused on team deathmatch with one such twist; when the match is over, the losing team actually has 60 seconds to reach the extraction point and make it inside the drop ship. It’s a neat idea that certainly adds a little something extra to the typical deathmatch experience and provides a bit of insight into what they mean when talking about single player integration into multiplayer. What’s more important, however, is the core gameplay design and its focus on an expanded set of actions available to the player. Call of Duty, for all intents and purposes, hinged on split second target acquisition. If you failed to spot your enemy and open fire first, you were probably going to die.

TitanFall focuses on a wider variety of actions, however, with wall running, double jumping, and ledge mounting completely changing the way players move through the stage. As you connect each wall run to the next, your speed and jumping distance increase as well really bringing a sense of momentum to traversal. This focus on traversal is the first noticeable differentiator here. More in line with something like Unreal Tournament than Call of Duty, this newfound freedom of movement completely changes the way firefights can play out.



Wrath of the Titans

The demo showcased three character classes along with three Titans to choose from. The typical assault and heavy classes were in tow with a standard assortment of rifles, shotguns, and side arms alongside anti-Titan weaponry and support gear. It was tactician class with her auto-targeting “smart” pistol, however, that really caught my eye. When in close proximity to other enemies, the smart pistol can actually target and follow multiple players allowing for some interesting hit and run tactics. It wasn’t entirely clear how the auto-targeting actually worked but it does seem that, once the enemy returns fire, the automatic nature of the weapon becomes disabled. Naturally, with the game still in development, balance changes will no doubt continue to shape the game even after release but the current results are promising.

Calling down your Titan obviously stands as another major differentiator. A timer controls availability of your Titan with a solid performance seemingly speeding things up a bit. When the Titan becomes available, tapping the designated button places a mark on the ground where your Titan will be dropped seconds after. Climb aboard and you’re presented with a different viewpoint along with a dramatic change in movement style. Dashing replaces jumping, for instance, and previously accessible areas are now too large to move through. Battling a Titan on foot from the window of a four story building is indeed quite thrilling for all parties. The Titans are tough, but the changes in movement speed and weapon characteristics still give ground infantry a shot at taking one down.



Running on Titan

As noted above, only the PC version was on display so we were unable to gauge the current status of the XBOX One version of the game. While the game still has a ways to go in development the framerate wasn’t as steady as one would have expected on the PCs they had on offer. While it’s unlikely to remain a problem for PC gamers in the long run, one can’t help but wonder if pulling off a rock solid 60 fps on XBOX One will be possible. Call of Duty traditionally aimed for the perception of 60 fps despite not always maintaining it. In the midst of combat, when slowdown occurs, they count on most players not actually catching it. The footage shown at EA’s conference was recorded at 60 fps and featured plenty of dips throughout. Visually speaking the game looks quite lovely, though it’s missing some of the nicer post processing effects available in the Source engine.

First impressions


It’s the easy to learn, difficult to master approach that really helps give more players a real shot at enjoying the experience. Wall jumping seems so natural, but chaining together massive runs without ever touching the ground will no doubt require practice. Alongside that, death never managed to feel cheap. It’s not that TitanFall has been simplified, it has more unique systems in play than any Call of Duty title, rather it caters to a wider range of play styles and does so with a sense of energy often lacking in modern console shooters. Fans of the genre will no doubt be satisfied with the experience but it’s nice to see Respawn building something that can offer a lot for those of us who typically shy away from multiplayer shooters as well.

All comments

Commented on 2013-08-26 18:59:46
Thanks for nice preview. Cant wait for next videos and news.
Commented on 2013-08-26 19:18:08
Can't wait for this to come out :)
Commented on 2013-08-26 19:29:21
1st person Lost Planet, that's the vibe i get from the action.
Instant addiction on first sight. Love it ! That's the pace at
which LP3 should be set to imo.
Commented on 2013-08-26 19:40:26
my most anticipated title
Commented on 2013-08-26 19:48:28
Looks and sounds badass. I think next gen will going to deliver regardless the sytem. Im going PC on this one, but it doesnt matter, I would still be happy if it was on Xone only too.
Commented on 2013-08-26 19:53:44
Also my most anticipated title. Mod support plz.
Commented on 2013-08-26 20:02:43
Looks great. And everyone who's played it has been raving about it.

I do wonder how fresh multiplayer will stay.. how many gamemodes and how the titans work in these game modes.

All be interesting to see how well this ends up selling on xboxone.. after all, you cant play it offline..
Commented on 2013-08-26 20:08:19
Assuming it isn't old news by the time it "maybe" reaches PS4, i'll deffinately give it a go. It sounds and looks fun. But by that hypothetical time, we'll have destiny and division and god know what else. So i may find it hard to care...the cons of timed exclusivity i guess?
Commented on 2013-08-26 20:30:55 In reply to bleachedsmiles
Posted by bleachedsmiles
I do wonder how fresh multiplayer will stay.. how many gamemodes and how the titans work in these game modes.
Hopefully not too many. Some of the best MP game ever have one mode. There's something to be said for focus.
Posted by bleachedsmiles
All be interesting to see how well this ends up selling on xboxone.. after all, you cant play it offline..
The lack of single player seems like a big deal to some people, but I have a feeling it will still be rather successful. Hopefully an indication that online-only games can actually work for the masses.

It would be nice to see Battlefield drop single player again.
Commented on 2013-08-26 23:16:34 In reply to GriftGFX
Posted by GriftGFX
The lack of single player seems like a big deal to some people, but I have a feeling it will still be rather successful. Hopefully an indication that online-only games can actually work for the masses.

It would be nice to see Battlefield drop single player again.
There's no traditional single player.. but still the structure of it, like borderlands..and the majority of next gen games shown so far - that blend of sp and mp. Which I guess if you're investing in one of those.. which its safe to assume the majority of gamers that watch things like press conferences will be, it was pretty daft complaining about the XO's "always on" set up.

Bf i'd like to see the sp dumped but a pure 4 player co-op campaign in its place. I don't think i'd want just multiplayer offered as it's nice to see the engine with full bells and whistles, set pieces and that, too.
Commented on 2013-08-27 00:11:00
Btw guy, new hints that Titanfall is just a Timed Exclusive for XOne and will release later on PS3/4: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=66180...

And the statements from EA and the developer (already known): http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-06-12-will-...
Commented on 2013-08-27 00:16:15
The blend of SP and MP. You mean games like "Brink". Tbh, what they have shown, the 5 or 6 lines of dialog, looked more like Brink, than anything else.
"Ok guys, let's blow up stuff" *cutscene ends*

I doubt Titanfall will do it better. The MP looks fun, no doubt, bit I really want a SP for such a game.
Commented on 2013-08-27 00:46:52
The movement has me most excited about this title. For the reasons you guys wrote really
Feeling some nostalgia from twitch shooters of the past
Commented on 2013-08-27 01:34:18 In reply to bleachedsmiles
Posted by bleachedsmiles
There's no traditional single player.. but still the structure of it, like borderlands..and the majority of next gen games shown so far - that blend of sp and mp. Which I guess if you're investing in one of those.. which its safe to assume the majority of gamers that watch things like press conferences will be, it was pretty daft complaining about the XO's "always on" set up.

Bf i'd like to see the sp dumped but a pure 4 player co-op campaign in its place. I don't think i'd want just multiplayer offered as it's nice to see the engine with full bells and whistles, set pieces and that, too.
Borderlands has co-op/sp campaign. This does not. These are all "versus" multiplayer maps. That you'll play over and over and not in a linear fashion.

The illusion of single player will likely fall apart when you actually play it. This is more like Brink with better window dressing. I don't think you can fairly compare it to something like The Division either. That's more like the Test Drive Unlimited of online shooters. There is co-op/sp in those games. Some people would prefer to have that solo or co-op route for reasons you've mentioned. They may have a way to shove you through the linear path but you're really just playing an objective based multiplayer game. I think what this game is doing is a harder sell for most people. But they're trying to sugar-coat it and make it a little easier to adopt. I hope it works, because I have enjoyed multiplayer-only shooters. They're usually the best!

Just because I want some games to be online-only doesn't mean I want an entire platform incapable of anything else. And lots of people are sour about this game lacking single player.
Posted by Tinks
Feeling some nostalgia from twitch shooters of the past
Like.. Call of Duty? That has Quake movement+stances. Complete with strafejumping :P

This doesn't really look very oldschool to me at all. Those super-duper-low TTK's make it seem pretty new.
Commented on 2013-08-27 05:00:41
I meant more like Tribes and Unreal Tournament sort of movement actually

Also I think the quick kills you're complaining about harken back to games like Quake and those old school shooters too. Where everything is sped up and creates an adrenaline pumping bit of game play that seems to be making it into press as well. Twitch shooters had enemies drop much the same way. Maybe you didn't like FPS back when those things were popular?
It's an interesting complaint to have too since the mech combat doesn't feature that sort of element. Those battles last longer.
Since kills come quicker and easier, wouldn't the object of winning depend more on who controls more mechs? And those battles are more what you're looking for anyhow, so won't that fulfill you all the same?
Commented on 2013-08-27 06:03:57 In reply to Tinks
Posted by Tinks
Also I think the quick kills you're complaining about harken back to games like Quake and those old school shooters too
I've played a lot of Quake 1-and-3 recently and I totally disagree with all of that. If you're playing 24-7 instagib mebe. There's more to Quake than that.

And no.. I don't think you really understand what I'm looking for. I just think the TTK's appear even lower than vanilla Call of Duty, which is already excessively low. I don't want a "hardcore" damage model in a vanilla game mode.

I like it when hit boxes scale in meaningful ways. That's pretty much impossible when people die so quickly regardless of where you shoot them. It minimizes turn around scenarios and rewards first sight over everything.

None of those oldschool games have TTK's that low, especially on every weapon. Well.. CS.. but that has really dramatic headshot damage. And most of those guns are a lot harder to hit people with too.
Commented on 2013-08-27 13:19:55
Look very promising. Hoping it'll reach PS4 at some point.
Commented on 2013-08-27 18:18:54
Def day one! looks fun as hell.
Commented on 2013-08-27 21:00:05 In reply to Cratosch
Posted by Cratosch
Btw guy, new hints that Titanfall is just a Timed Exclusive for XOne and will release later on PS3/4: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=66180...

And the statements from EA and the developer (already known): http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-06-12-will-...
sorry to burst your bubble: http://i.imgur.com/WTkQLoI.png

you can keep praying though, or get it on PC/X1
Commented on 2013-08-28 21:37:40
Lack of SP means I don't give too much of a shit at this point, although Destiny is also going that way I feel like Bungie are making the online feel like a campaign mode with story progression, quieter moments of exploration etc. Titanfall looks like it may be more gratifying for a quick play experience but repetitive in the long run.

Also, it's exclusive to a machine I will almost certainly never own...
Commented on 2013-08-28 22:12:29 In reply to munkini
Posted by munkini
Lack of SP means I don't give too much of a shit at this point, although Destiny is also going that way I feel like Bungie are making the online feel like a campaign mode with story progression, quieter moments of exploration etc. Titanfall looks like it may be more gratifying for a quick play experience but repetitive in the long run.

Also, it's exclusive to a machine I will almost certainly never own...
If EA is planning a Battlefield/TitanFall/Battlefront rotation, you can count on that exclusivity expiring.

Multiplayer in my opinion represents more varied gameplay than most single player games offer.

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