'Titanfall' Tips and takeaways from the Beta

Thursday, 20 February 2014 11:00 AM Written by 

TF-Panoramic-Overwatch 656x369EA and Respawn Entertainment gave Xbox One and PC owners a taste of “Titanfall” with a six-day open beta that concluded Wednesday evening. In short, this hectic shooter feels like the first truly next-gen experience for either of the two new consoles.

Most players were getting hands-on with the game for the first time this weekend. After a brief tutorial of the basic controls, the game throws you into the fast paced multiplayer battles. Here’s a chain of thoughts that can take place at any given time while in the midst of “Titanfall’s” futuristic combat:

OK, the match just started. Do I head for the rooftops, or stay on the ground. Oh! There’s a dropship of grunts that just landed. Great, I took them out. My titan will be ready soon. Oops. Almost forgot about my cloak. I’ll use that now. Hey! There’s a pilot. I have the drop on him. Got him! OK, my Titan is ready now. It’s Titanfall time! But I’m doing well on foot. Maybe I’ll just send it into ‘guard’ mode. Crap. I died while deciding. That guy was right in front of me and I missed him. OOH! I’ll use my ‘rematch’ burn card, and spawn right where I died and tag him back. Got him. Hooray, we’re winning. This game is great!


This is a likely inner dialogue of a player who has had a few matches and levels under his or her belt. Players starting out likely encounter a lot more death. The game has a lot to take in. Here are some thoughts I took away from this rightly unique, yet welcoming experience.


Clash of the Titans

The battlefield of “Titanfall” is a dangerous place. Stick to the rooftops, and you’ll getting sniped. Stick to the ground, and you’ll get shot to pieces and/or smushed by the bottom of a Titan’s rusty boot. At times, I’d just sit and marvel at the constant state of chaos. The titan battles really do set the pace and tone of each battle. Watching while four or five titans duke it out in an open area with guns, rockets and reflector shields made me feel powerless. That was until I joined the fight by hitching a ride on an enemy titan, and shot out its power core.

The rule of thumb: don’t sit on your titanfall when it’s ready to go, or try to save it for a rainy day. Use it as soon as you get it. Even if you don’t feel like getting in it, don’t forget about guard mode. Pressing down on the d-pad sets your titan to protect you, which will have it smash any grunts and pilots along the way. Its kills become your kills.


The dance of death that is the eject button

Always keep a keen eye on your titan’s health. There are three meters to pay attention to: its shield, its damage meter, and its critical meter, which appears when the titan is doomed. The shield will recharge when your titan takes cover for a bit. The damage won’t recharge. When depleted, the titan is doomed. That’s when the yellow and black meter appears and starts ticking away.

I like to squeeze every last drop out of my titan. That means getting a few extra shots and rockets out of the chamber while doomed. I’ll try to eject at the last possible second. That sometimes means flying too close to the sun and going down with the machine.

There’s an auto eject perk for your titan, but where’s the fun in that?


DMR Domination

There are a few primary weapons that were revealed in the Beta. The DMR is unlocked at level 9 and takes the cake. The DMR is a fast, accurate, and deadly. It even has swappable scopes that range from 2.5x zoom to 6x. This is the early favorite for what will be used in the competitive scene.

The two maps in the beta are large open areas, so having a weapons that can be used at a distance is important. The DMR is a deadly and approachable tool for “Titanfall.”


Stacking the Deck with Burn Cards

Burn cards give players an edge each match, which can be anything from a different starting weapon, to improved radar, to respawning where you died to act out get some sweet revenge. You can use a burn card between lives, but the card is gone once you die. I was shocked by the amount of variety in the burn cards, and I'm sure the beta was just a tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to see how these affect the battlegrounds.


Get to the choppah!

I absolutely love the inclusion of match epilogs. The losing team is has a single life to get to an extraction point if they want to make it out alive, and receive a nice XP bonus. It becomes a mad dash for both teams to get to the randomly generated evac point. The losing team is trying to get there to leave, and the winning team is trying to get there to stop them. Even if players make it on board, the ship isn’t safe. Concentrated fire can blow it into pieces.

Even after losing and discouraging and lopsided match, the epilog provides a fun secondary challenge.


A taste of things to come

The “Titanfall” beta showed a silky smooth FPS experience that is set on bringing new ideas to the genre, while attempting to change it completely. And this was just the beta. Betas usually highlight bumps in the road, showing the developers where to make last-minute improvements. This beta looked and played like a finished product. “Titanfall” looks like it’s going to be the first must-own game of the new console generation.


Now enjoy some gameplay footage I captured on my Xbox One with some truly epic gameplay from the Beta.

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