The Titan experience
While the pilot sessions are fun, for us they paled in comparison to the raw joy you can experience playing as a Titan. You start the game waiting for your Titan to be built and will get voice alerts from your team's central command giving you updates about how close to ready it is. When built you can call your Titan into the fight by marking an airdrop location using the down key on the D-Pad. Once it has landed you can choose to enter your Titan and control it yourself, or keep traversing the map as a pilot and have the Titan fight as an autonomous AI controlled ally.
Gameplay in the Titan is very different than the pilot section of Titanfall. Titans are split into separate Atlas, Stryder and Ogre classes. The Atlas class is the middle of the road option that is good, but not great at everything. The Stryder is a lightweight Titan that sacrifices armour and health for speed. The Ogre is the tank Titan option and features the highest health meter but is also the slowest moving.
Each Titan comes with a primary weapon that can be fired using the RT button and a secondary explosive weapon that can be fired using the RB button, plus a single activatable special ability that can be activated using the LB button. Titan on Titan combat is a much slower and more strategic affair than pilot on Titan combat fights. Titans' movements are slower and more methodical than those of pilots. This means that unless you're playing as a Stryder, entering into combat with another Titan usually results in do or die showdown, as you physically cannot escape from combat fast enough to survive a retreat.
A skilled pilot can also present a problem for an unwary Titan. While physically feeble and easy to kill as a Titan, pilots are not entirely helpless. For starters each pilot comes equipped with a custom anti-Titan weapon. The weapon can be equipped by pressing right on the D-Pad. Weapons on offer include everything from a powerful lock-on rocket launcher to a mini-missile machine gun. While the weapons generally aren't powerful enough to let a player defeat a Titan on their own, they are good enough to turn the tide in favour of an ally in a Titan versus Titan fight.
Thanks to their jump kits, pilots also have a particularly dangerous Titan Rodeo ability. Approaching a Titan from the back a pilot can vault onto the Titan's rear and attack weak points in the mech's armour at close range. The tactic is particularly effective, as attacks mounted by the rodeoing pilot can bypass the Titan's shields.
Playing Titanfall, we were very impressed by how balanced the game felt and found that the physical power of the Titans is wonderfully tempered by the speed of the pilots and creates a gameplay experience that always feels fair.
This fact is aided by Titanfall's impressive level design. Titanfall comes with a large array of map options that range from high tech military bases in the sky to desert townships. As well as looking great, each of the maps is designed to be as open as possible and cater to a variety of play styles. Each map features multi-layer elements designed to let pilots take advantage of the game's free running mechanic, but counters them with more open regions that are designed for Titans. The mix ensures that one player or team can never completely swarm another team or take control and camp in one area in order to win.
Next: Customisation and matchmaking.