Players have wondered what Vince Zampella and his team at Respawn Entertainment have been up to. Outside of a blurry screenshot that basically didn't show anything, we had no idea what the former Infinity Ward producer and his squad were developing until last week, when they put Titanfall on display.
Revealed at both the Microsoft and Electronic Arts press conferences, Titanfall is a new multiplayer experience built from the ground up for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One. While the lack of a single player campaign may draw concern, this will subside once people see the game in action – which we were lucky enough to do in a behind-closed-doors session.
The game takes place in the near future, with two factions fighting against one another for three vantage points. Your squad drops in from a nearby airship, keeping a close eye on a Red Eye capital ship as it refuels. However, the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation – IMC for short – wants the resources for itself, and sent its own squad to take it by force.
Even though all of the story details regarding the factions haven't been revealed yet, Titanfall satisfies on a completely visceral level. The action played out on two screens through the eyes of different players during our demo, with plenty of thrilling moments, whether it was a ground assault with a soldier or inside a giant Titan.
The main component of Titanfall is in fact the giant Mech soldier. You'll be able to call one of these bad boys down from your dropship after roughly a minute of play. It serves a number of purposes. The first is a bodyguard, as it will escort you on missions should you choose to go on foot. You can also ride atop its shoulder serving as a secondary gunner while it maintains its focus on larger targets. Finally, you can climb into it and see the action from its point of view.
You clearly have the advantage inside a Titan. You can take more damage thanks to its armor, and you'll have a large rifle that helps obliterate nearby enemies. That said, the Titan isn't invincible. You can bring it down with plenty of firepower, to the point where the pilot ejects. You also stand a decent chance of taking down a rival Titan on foot as you climb onto its shoulders and blast its weak spot – the head. That is, until a cocky soldier from the enemy team shoots you. Once a Titan is brought down, it takes approximately two minutes before you can call another one into battle, giving the opposing team the chance to even the score with their own mech units.
Outside of the mech, your soldier has a superb amount of flexibility. You can perform a double jump to help get over walls and clear traps on the ground, and you can also reach higher areas.
Titanfall is skill-based and you rank up the more you play. You can also execute special attacks to bump up your overall score, such as ripping a pilot forcibly out of his or her Titan and throwing this person across the map, or blasting one to smithereens and shooting its head before it has a chance to return to Earth.
There are plenty of first-person shooters coming out that will grab your attention, but make sure you save a spot for Titanfall. Zampella and his team appear to have something special, and this is one fight you shouldn’t walk away from.
Titanfall will release Spring 2014 for Xbox One and Xbox 360.