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Titanfall Hands-on: Can it overthrow Call of Duty?

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Posted by: Matt Liebl

It’s been long believed (by some, that is) that if any game had a chance to overthrow Call of Duty, it’d be EA/DICE’s Battlefield franchise. While that very well may be true, a third game has entered the mix – Titanfall, an upcoming first-person shooter for Xbox One and PC.

Developed by members of the team behind the original Call of Duty, Titanfall has quickly become the hot-ticket item for next-gen – have you seen Titanfall!?

I have, and it’s basically Call of Duty on steroids. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.

At PAX Prime this weekend I was thrown into the fray of a 12v12 deathmatch that saw me scale walls, call down titans (giant mechs that I could hop into), and jetpack from rooftop to rooftop. All of this is done with fluid, fast-paced gameplay that rivals the pace of Call of Duty.

Titanfall

Let me be quite clear, I was thrown into the fray with very little setup. We were shown a brief video prior to the match, but going in I had little clue of what the actual goal was. So I went into the match with a traditional first-person mindset: shoot anyone not on my team. I was told prior to the match that Titanfall overcomes its lack of a single-player campaign by incorporating certain elements into the multiplayer that you’d otherwise find in a single-player game. I honestly didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but then again, there’s only so much you can see in a 10-minute demo. If anything, my brief time with the game gave me a good sense for how it plays and whether or not it actually lives up to the hype.

First off, gameplay feels very familiar. Anyone who has played Call of Duty should have a solid grasp for Titanfall from the get-go. Weapons, although futuristic, shoot like weapons in CoD and physics such as running and weight have generally the same feel to them.

Where Titanfall differs is the map layout and, well, these giant mechs known as Titans. The one map I played on had a focus on vertical design, emphasizing Titanfall’s parkour-like mechanics, such as the ability to run and scale walls and even jetpack across some of the wider alleys from rooftop to rooftop. Even with such drastic additions, the overall mechanics of Titanfall’s movement are quite similar to Call of Duty’s pace – as is the combat.

Titanfall

Prior to entering the match, I was able to select both my character’s and titan’s loadouts, so it seems customization will have a role in the game (although I wasn’t able to tinker with too much). Like movement, gunplay and combat also have a very similar quick and crisp feel to Call of Duty. Movements are precise, aiming is probably more accurate than CoD, and titans add a whole new level of chaos.

Titans are basically giant mechs that rain havoc on the map. And ultimately, the titans add a new layer of gameplay depth. You no longer have to worry about other soldiers, but now you have these powerful mechs to deal with. Despite the overall offensive power of Titans, they are susceptible to damage. Regular soldiers are equipped with anti-Titan siege gear, giving them somewhat of a fighting chance, and because these titans are so powerful the majority of fire is focused on them. And on top of that, you have enemy titans focusing you, so it’s not like you can run around forever in these things; there is a good balance to the game.

I can’t say for certain if Titanfall will be the CoD-killer that everyone is waiting for. After all, it definitely won’t win over the PlayStation community as it’s only been announced for Xbox One and PC. But, I do believe it has all the right elements to be a very successful first-person shooter.

I have seen Titanfall. I have finally played Titanfall. And I am now impressed with Titanfall.

Tags: Titanfall, PAX Prime 2013

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