The level of hype for Respawn's Titanfall has been extremely high, and it's not difficult to understand why. Many of the team members involved in the game's development were the key players involved in making Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which has defined multiplayer console gaming this generation and made Activision billions.
With that said, I had a chance to go hands on with Titanfall this afternoon at the Tokyo Game Show, and I'm happy to report that the experience was fantastic. The Xbox booth at TGS was clearly setup to pimp out Titanfall, with a full size Titan on display, grasping a sexy model in it's grip for extra effect.
As good as Titanfall looks when you see it on video, actually playing it is truly a new feeling experience that is going to sell Microsoft a lot of Xbox Ones.
When you start the match, you are given the option to choose between three classes of soldier, and three classes of Titan. For example if you plan on facing mostly Titans you want to choose the heavy explosives class, which gives you a badass triple missile launcher. If you are fighting infantry though you might want to go for one of the classes that has a fast firing grenade launcher to inflict massive splash damage.
When the match starts you're on foot, and you have to wait a certain amount of time before you are able to call in your Titan. Moving around the map is extremely fluid and as you can double jump to climb up or run along walls. It gives you the feeling of free running kind of like Mirror's Edge, but with awesome shooting mechanics.
After going on a pretty good killing spree (I've played a lot of Call Of Duty) I found myself on the street in the middle of two giant Titans battling it out. I got an alert that my Titan was ready to rock, and I called it it. It takes about 10 seconds for the Titan to drop on to the map, and it arrives a short distance in front of where ever you're looking when you press up to call it in.
Jumping into the Titan is an incredibly bad ass feeling. The animation as you climb in and the screens come to life is really cool. Suddenly all the pilots on the ground are really small. It's like running around and stepping on bugs.
That's not to say that the Titans are over powered though, as pilots are able to run around, in and on buildings to dodge fire, and their hand held weapons will still destroy a Titan with enough concentrated fire.
Titan Vs. Titan gameplay is also a joy as you dash behind buildings in and out to fire off a few rockets. Pilots shooting at you from the ground feel like flies buzzing around that you just want to swat, and you can, if they don't gang up on you and take you out first, forcing you to eject.
If I had one thing I didn't like about Titanfall, it would be that there is no building destruction. With all of the carnage going on in the battles around you and the giant mechs and rockets firing everywhere, it seemed odd that buildings were invincible. I suppose damaging the buildings could unbalance the level in favor of the Titans, but at least some level of noticable damage would be nice.
It's worth noting that the game appeared to be running on a PC build with an Xbox 360 controller instead of an Xbox One controller. Most of the other games on display were running on what appeared to be actual Xbox One hardware with the new controller, so I'm not sure why Titanfall was an exception.
I walked away from Titanfall with a huge grin on my face. It was pure fun to play, and I'm very eager to play it more. I have a lot more games I want to get my hands on tomorrow, but if I have some extra time and the wait isn't excruciatingly long, I'll be suiting up one more time to keep me patient until the game comes out next year.