So, About That TitanFall Beta

The TitanFall beta concluded on Wednesday and the internet seems to be buzzing about the game. The overall impression that you’ll see just about anywhere is one of excitement and a lot of praise. TitanFall is a fast-paced, twitch shooter much in the vein of Call of Duty because Respawn is essentially the main team from Infinity Ward, the creators of Call of Duty. I spent some time with the TitanFall beta this week on my PC and wasn’t entirely blown away with the game, but then again, I’m not sure that I was ever going to be. This much is clear; if you are a fan of Call of Duty, you will be a fan of TitanFall.


TitanFall is Meant to Make You Feel Good

So much of TitanFall seems based around the fact that it can make all players feel good about themselves and what they are doing. Even for PC gamers who are always searching for that higher res, higher framerate experience this game delivers on that as well. Even on a lower-mid-level PC you’ll be able to get 1080p 60fps in TitanFall. In fact, from all that I’ve read, no one ever talks about the graphics in TitanFall, they just talk about how high of a resolution they can bump it up to and the framerate. There are bots in every level on both sides that prove to be nothing but cannon fodder for the players. They can serve some tactical purposes, but they are mostly there for cannon fodder so that you can rack up more kills and points. Then the shooting, which is almost identical to Call of Duty, doesn’t live up to some of the more realistic standards of modern shooters. Hell, there is even a pistol that auto-locks onto nearby targets and you don’t even have to aim near them.

The point of TitanFall is apparently to make you feel like a god.

The Gameplay is FAST and Fun, Not Deep

Almost everything is the same as Call of Duty, there are just some new additions, but don’t expect any sort of depth to them. This game was designed to be incredibly fast-paced and is streamlined so that you won’t have to worry about anything but occasionally hitting jump and to pull the trigger. Wall jumping, double jumping, mounting onto Titans and everything in between is simple and responsive, which makes for, yes, fast gameplay. You don’t need to hold a button to run along a wall, you just jump towards a wall and hold forward. There is no button to hold onto a Titan once you’ve jumped onto its back, you just jump on it and you are there.

If you aren’t looking for anything that deep and just for a game that is extremely fast-paced and all about racking up kills, this will be for you. With the new additions you take away some of the “slower” parts of the Call of Duty series, stuff like sniping and camping becomes almost impossible in this game because of everyone scaling walls, ejecting out of Titans and being blasted hundreds of feet into the air and of course, an auto-targeting pistol that can kill a player in three shots. So if you really hated those few things in Call of Duty you’ll be more than pleased with TitanFall.

Titans Are Easily Accessible, Take Some Learning

You’ll get to pilot a Titan in every match. Some people will get to pilot their Titan a lot more, some will hop in it for a few seconds and it’ll be blown up and they’ll never get back into it in the rather short amount of time allotted to matches. But, like I said, you’ll always get a crack at piloting a Titan. Titans are big and lumbering, but still control the same as your main character does, which means they can crouch, move at the same pace as other Titans, and they can melee as well as shoot. Titans have a few special skills, which in the beta was locked to the same ones, but still, they are there. There will always be a player in each game that is really, really good with the Titan that’ll make you look like crap and blow your Titan to the moon, but once you learn the weapons and skills it comes pretty easily.

The AI is Really Stupid

The decision to opt for bots over human-controlled players has gotten a bit of negative press, but on average, people seem happy to have cannon fodder around every corner. The idea was that they could only have so many Titans on each map, so as opposed to a player possibly never getting a chance to ride in a Titan once per game, they chose to add bots. I’m not sure that they can even really damage you and they don’t give you as many points per kill, but you get that instant gratification of getting a kill, at least. They can be used as tactical fodder to get an enemy to show up on the minimap for you hunters out there, though. The same can be said for putting your Titan into AI mode, it’ll just get blown up quickly, but can be an okay distraction against some players.

The Graphics Are Mediocre – Has Zero Atmosphere

Everyone is talking about resolutions and frames per second but no one is talking about how the game actually looks and feels. Sure, you’ll get some decent poly counts in models and the textures are all pretty high resolution, but part of what has set next generation games apart from the last generation is the ability to add more dynamic lighting, particle effects, fog, etc. This game has none of those things. The game looks and feels very much like Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2, etc. did on the Xbox 360 and PS3, which isn’t much of a compliment. In fact, it feels like this was a last generation game that got a HD re-release with higher resolution textures.

Part of what makes a game have atmosphere, mood, and character is the way that it is lit, the weather conditions, and having an environment that feels like more than just a slapped together battleground for your fight. TitanFall does not bring that to the table at all, but most people will be too busy blasting each other at 60fps to really care.


In the end, though, if you have been excited about TitanFall and enjoy the Call of Duty games there will be nothing to convince you that TitanFall won’t be awesome, just like if you aren’t a fan there won’t be much to convince you that this is worth playing. What is clear is that this is the game that the folks at Respawn have wanted to make for a while and it could have been a new installment of Call of Duty. Instead, it is an entirely new franchise that will most likely sell millions of copies and spawn yearly sequels, for better or for worse.

Published on February 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm
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