Announced at the 2013 E3 expo, “Titanfall” is the first game to be released by Respawn Entertainment, founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella, co-founders of Infinity Ward, developer of “Call of Duty”. “Titanfall” is a first-person shooter that revolves around large battle mechs called titans that drop out of the sky for players to pilot and do combat in, and is set to be released for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC on March 11th.
“Titanfall” has no one single distinguishing feature that sets it apart from other big titles, but has gameplay elements from a diverse selection of games a well as attention to detail across many aspects and little bonuses everywhere for the player to find. The player starts out as a pilot on the field and a countdown timer showing how long until the player’s titan drops. Pilots are small and fast, wall-running and double-jumps give an acrobatic element to pilot combat more advanced than the constant hopping many gamers come to see in games like “Counter-Strike”. When the titan drops (kills decrease titan spawn time), the player can get inside and pilot it around the field.
“Titanfall” is best described as “MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf” with drastically different mechs and Prince of Persia style pilot movement. There are no building-sized mechs here, only things more on a scale of dreadnaughts from the Warhammer universe. Players can hijack enemy titans, reminiscent of “Lone Wolf”, as well as eject from a titan when strategically advantageous.
As with most big budget titles in the last several years, almost equal attention has been paid to graphics and prettiness as is paid to actual gameplay elements and it shows. Effects which may not seem that impactful on their own all add up to an intense gameplay experience and can easily deliver an immersive feel to the player. The animations for entering a titan and ejecting are spectacular, as are the water effects, explosions and wall-running.
Respawn certainly hasn’t shirked the gameplay aspect either, and the current closed beta is expected to give valuable feedback to the developers in terms of balance issues and gameplay enhancements, on top of the regular trimming of major bugs and fixing exploitable issues unforeseen by developers. There are multiple types of pilots and titans on top of differing abilities for both. Titans, for example, can stop and reflect incoming enemy rounds, as well as an electric smokescreen ability to discourage pilots from hijacking (“rodeoing” is the Titanfall jargon) an enemy’s mech.
Titanfall is currently in closed beta for Xbox so not everybody can immediately go out and jump into a combat zone, but the full release is less than a month away. Plenty of buzz has accumulated, YouTube has hundreds of gorgeous gameplay videos to all those who want to check out a fresh and unique game –– assuming they weren’t lucky enough to get into the beta.