March is here, and with it come two giants among games: Titanfall and Dark Souls 2. Between them, everything from the casual player to the hardest of the hardcore might be satisfied, and I doubt many players from one will be playing much of the other. When DS 2 comes out for PC sometime after the 11th, I plan to attempt to bridge the gap, but for the near future, expect (and I promise not to leave you hanging for a month this time) snappy articles to prepare you for the coming onslaught of giant robots with guns in space. This first article is a basic primer that helps to differentiate the play of Titanfall from its shooter cousins, preparing you for a new but familiar kind of shooter.
Titanfall map design – made for more than just bunny hopping now
If you played Team Fortress 2 for any amount of time, the Scout class in particular, you’re already familiar with the amount of maneuverability a double jump grants over less agile opponents. Well, in Titanfall, every player is as fast as the Scout, can jump just as much and, in addition, can run on walls to further increase their speeds. Add in a healthy dose of ledge grab and plenty of ledges to do some grabbing of, and there’s almost no limit to how high you can literally climb.
What does this mean for gameplay, though? Won’t it lead to a ton of people camping on impossibly high rooftops and letting their AI titan go absolutely crazy on the ground? Well, if you want to be pessimistic about it, kind of. Based on the beta, which as of writing is the only real experience we have, neither Attrition nor Hardpoint can be appreciably affected by rooftop squatters. Sure, they’re annoying and are more like gnats than enemy players, but the addition of bots means you could spend an entire match farming and still blow Mr. I-Enjoy-Sniping out of the water. It won’t be nearly as fun, sure, but I’d rather win and laugh afterwards than lose to someone who never moves.
More to the point, Titanfall rewards multiple levels of combat. Being on the roof isn’t always preferable to being underground or on the second floor of a building. With long sightlines, laser-accurate carbines will win out against an SMG or Smart Pistol most days of the week. Similarly, a closed off room caters to the shotgun or SMG far better than a high up vantage point. To that end, prepare to be moving from one elevation to another frequently at at varying degrees of speed. Just because you can wall run across a map doesn’t mean you should, as open air is sometimes just a deathtrap. Taking on a titan with just your small arm is only possible from a good height, but is still possible from ground level, though the threat of being squished to paste is much higher.
Lastly, do not be afraid to stay low or stay high for long periods of time. Just because you can get on top of the tower with that rocket launcher doesn’t mean you should. Farming the aforementioned grunts is best done on their level, and if your focus for the match is titan-prevention, vertical distance can only be your friend. A lot of it’s situational, as you may have gathered at this point. Even though the maps aren’t destructible, matches are dynamic, so even your perch might be a moot point for five minutes at a time, forcing you to get down in the dirt with the dogs for a little while. You’ll be raining death from on high soon enough. Or from the worlds below, as you please.
Either way, have fun with it. That’s what Titanfall is all about.