Eurogamer Expo 2013: Titanfall Hands On

There’s no reason to dance around it here: Titanfall blew people’s socks off when EA and Respawn revealed it. Jaws, as they say, were dropped.

At last weekend’s Eurogamer Expo, I finally got some hands on time with Respawn’s début title. After queuing for over an hour and a half, I was treated to an eight to ten minute demo which seems short (and it was), but it got around to seeing what all the hype’s about. Titanfall is fast, exciting and fun… if you’re good at it.

Respawn was founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella, the founders of Infinity Ward, the studio behind Call of Duty. Though starting fresh, Titanfall feels remarkably similar to Call of Duty, which should not be misconstrued as a bad thing. Well, besides from being able to leap into the air, run on walls and pilot massive robots, it feels a lot like COD. Titanfall’s shooting mechanics derive quite a bit from Call of Duty, which is evident, and some might even say playing it safe, but if you have a formula that isn’t broken, why fix it?

However, Titanfall stops feeling like Call of Duty as soon as you hit the ‘jump’ button and start running on walls. While it feels like a simple concept on paper, dozens of players and AI controlled “bots” jumping around the map feels fun and exciting. Players are free to run, jump and slide to complete whatever objective is given to you. If you think camping like you do in Call of Duty will give you the edge in this game, you should think about your tactics as the whole point to Titanfall is to keep moving.

After a short while, you’ll have access to a giant mech known as a Titan which falls from the sky (it’s funny because it’s the title). What’s nice about this is every player has a Titan and every player can access it relatively easily. When you’re in a Titan you’re able to last longer in battle. Both your soldier and Titan alike have classes with different weapons, so a 20 foot tall mech with a huge machine gun is something you’ll want to pilot in Titanfall. However, it doesn’t necessarily feel like a novelty either as mech combat gets even more interesting that running around the map with a jet pack.

For example, one Titan may be able to use a magnetic field to stop incoming bullets and then fire them back at the enemy or you could even rip out another Titan’s pilot should you deal enough damage and get close enough. If you sustain too much damage however, you’ll need to get out quick but this doesn’t mean it’s the end as pressing “X” will allow you to eject high into the air and if you want, proceed land onto an enemy Titan to continue the fight.

One downside to my time with Titanfall was that I was playing on a PC instead of an Xbox One which is the game’s supposed lead platform. With the game launching in Spring 2014 I would have to assume it’s playable in some form. That said, it was still a blast to play despite the short demo for the strangely long queue time.