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PAX Prime 2013: Titanfall hands-on

PAX Prime 2013

Titanfall appears to be a known quantity. Enough has been said about it. It’s this year’s big competitive shooter and nothing can get in the way of its success. It’s also the product the market so desperately needs. A big disruptive player that can push shooters in a new direction when it’s most necessary – at the start of a new console generation.

titanfall

Titanfall’s pretty damn impressive”From the initial insertion into the map it’s readily clear that this isn’t just an also-ran or a ‘we’ll beat Call of Duty at our own game.’ Titanfall is about furthering what’s already been done and creating The Next Big Thing. It’s absolutely that. When we enter the first map we’re immediately presented with a context for being there. It’s not just run and shoot because the mechanics are so fine, although they are, but a team-based competitive multiplayer that gives a reason for the shooting.

And the pacing of battle’s eloquent. Everything adds. From the environmental movement to filling the map with AI, there’s no dull moment within Titanfall. And that first time mounting the mech, it enforces the army-of-one mantra found in Respawn’s previous work on Modern Warfare. This never diminishes the on-foot portion. We found it entirely fulfilling to post up on a roof and slam other mechs with our anti-tank ammunition.

These two ways of playing promote both a horizontal and vertical element. As a mech, we’re weighed down but have complete control over the ground and can stomp out or drop heavy lead into everything in our path. By contrast, on foot, we’re given absolute maneuverability. It’s incredibly easy to hop up a building and all of the on-foot mechanics are built into emphasizing the verticality of the city maps. It has, much like Hawken, opened up to allow an appeal for the common shooter audience and to popularize the mech genre.

We wound up sweeping and absolutely devastating the other team in our match. The reward loops are as satisfying as they come. Pulling off rampages and kill streaks is an absolutely enjoyable process that props up the ego. It carries the same appeal that made Infinity Ward the most renowned FPS developer and looks to do the very same for Respawn.

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Enough has been said and if nothing else, this article is only for confirmation. Yeah, Titanfall’s pretty damn impressive, and we think so too.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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