Titanfall beta: EA and Respawn open next-gen development to the players

Monday, 17 February 2014 16:36 GMT By Matt Martin

After a weekend of hardcore mech rodeo, VG247’s Matt Martin and Dave Cook come away impressed by Respawn’s vision for next-gen gaming.


Like most of you we’ve been hammering away at Titanfall since it went live on Thursday night, with Dave Cook and Matt Martin taking on the Xbox One version in particular (we’ll have more on the PC version later in the week). Here, the two discuss their experiences of the shooter, why it’s definitely not just “CoD with mechs”, how EA and Respawn have dealt with online demand, and where they hope the franchise will go for launch and beyond.

“Once I’d got the hang of wall running and climbing it’s clear those – and the double jump – are just as important to gameplay as the Titans”

Dave Cook: I’m a big Call of Duty player so naturally the first thing I did was sprint forward into the map, clipping the heels of the chap in front of me in that irritating way only CoD games allow. But I quickly learned that taking the ‘sprint blindly approach’ is a good way of getting killed due to the wider open spaces. I initially felt that the pace, balancing and damage levels were similar to the original Black Ops, which is a good thing in my book. You don’t die after two hits and there’s time to take damage and either hide or compose yourself before returning fire. I like that. Aesthetically, the action on Fracture was just nuts. Explosions everywhere! I was impressed, even though I’ve found a few areas lacking since then. I’ll dive into those later though. Oh, and the first time I called in a Titan from orbit was actually pretty arousing

Matt Martin: I approached it like Call of Duty too and got whipped for it. There’s no reason to stand still at any point or you’ll get popped in the head – I don’t think I’ve come across any campers, which is refreshing. It took a while to click for me, but once I’d got the hang of wall running and climbing it’s clear those – and the double jump – are just as important to gameplay as the Titans. You can almost treat it like an extreme sports game where there are these defined lines in the environment that you can bounce and trick off to move swiftly from one location to the next. Anything on street level for me just seemed to be a killzone unless you’re piloting a Titan.

I’m impressed with the scale of this beta. Until I got to around level 6 it seemed a little limited, but it expands significantly once you start opening up Burn Cards or start unlocking other weapons and perks. It’s early days but I can already feel the right loadout for me and I’m refining my skills more. The ability to stop dead during a wall run and hang can really screw with enemies tracking you with their sights. What advice would you offer to someone in their early hours of the game?

Dave: I’d say hang back definitely. It’s actually easier to get kills by letting human pilots charge blindly towards you than simply sprinting in guns blazing. I got a ton of kills by being very crafty – hiding in structures and holding high vantage points – so use the roofs to pick people off on the ground for sure, I think the key to winning this thing is being quick to your Titan. All too often I was running around trying to kill human players ahead of the ‘cloud-grunts™’ because they offer more Attrition points, but really; you need to be sprinting to clusters of AI troops to kill them, shave seconds off your Titan’s build time, while also taking down Pilots as you encounter them. It’s a fast game that rewards being among the first to get your mech. You mentioned the Burn Cards there. I really like that system.


I felt that they’re a good antidote to ‘unfair’ perks in Call of Duty – those that punish lower-level players who haven’t unlocked them yet – seeing as they only last one spawn and are burned upon use. I’m sure I’m not the only player out there thankful to see that Ghost perk jettisoned into memory, but by keeping the Burn Card traits small and finite there’s less chance of the balancing being spun off its axis. I really do like that concept, and the best cards I’ve had so far include automatically respawning as a Titan even if you haven’t got one built yet, shaving 80 seconds off your next Titanfall, and unlocking a more-powerful LMG that wasn’t even in the create a soldier options. It was a monster.