Welcome to the frontier, pilots – the farthest reaches of space where the war between the IMC and Militia rages on. This is a whole new battleground and, if you haven’t yet got your hands on Titanfall (or, more to the point, your Titan hasn’t got its hands on you), you may be unprepared for the way pilots and Titans wage war. Enjoy our guide to help you with the fundamentals – and, who knows, even an experienced pilot may pick up a useful tip.
PractiSe Makes Perfect
Titanfall will ease you in with a fairly detailed training simulation that covers the very basics of pilot and Titan-based gameplay. The key things to learn here are free-running, Titan combat and interacting with your Titan. Each section of the training programme finishes with a small map that pits you against AI grunts and Titans – if you’re completely new to Titanfall, it may be worth visiting the training simulator more than once, just so you’re not overwhelmed as a completely new player, given that many of your opponents are likely to have had prior Titan fall experience. The training, whilst a useful introduction to the game, won’t prepare you for absolutely everything multiplayer has to throw at you, but it’s worth putting in some practice with the core mechanics so that you’ll give yourself more of a chance when it’s time for you to drop.
Start Thinking Vertically
As a pilot, your most vital bit of kit is the jump pack; this allows you to wall run, double jump and even wall-hang (a massively under-used trick). Unlike just about every other FPS out there, limiting yourself to running the streets looking for stairways and doors is just going to get you killed a heck of a lot more quickly.
Jump towards a wall at an angle and you’ll begin to run, jump off the wall onto another and you’ll gain momentum. Getting this right could have you bounding across the map without touching the floor – a really useful skill for getting to those hardpoints or the extraction ship. Getting up high means that the enemy AI, players and Titans will find taking you down much more difficult, and will let you rain down fire from above. Don’t forget that this vertical gameplay can work against you too, as enemy pilots may decide to perch themselves on the highest point with a long-ranged weapon. Check the rooftops as often as you check what’s in front of you to keep your helmet (and your head) intact.
Play Your Cards Right
Titanfall introduces Burn Cards; a system where you get to bring up to three one-use cards into battle with you. Burn Cards are pretty varied, and will give you bonuses that range from powered-up weapons, a Titan which can instantly be called in or can even disguise you as an AI character. You can activate cards at the beginning of a match or during your respawn screen and are gone for good once you die. Game modes like Last Titan Standing bring the effect of the used card through to the next round as long as you didn’t die, which is useful if you have one that lets you use your Titan’s special ability straight away.
Different cards will favour different game modes, and it’s best to review your cards before each match, rather than just leaving your selection as your three best cards. You’ll also want to use them more when you realise you can only store a limited number of burn cards in your deck, although some of the more common cards might be worth discarding if you end up with more than a couple of them.
Don’t Forget The Little Guys
Titanfall is unique in that all multiplayer modes are populated not just by only human players, but also AI soldiers – Grunts and Spectres. Dispatching these mobile chunks of cannon fodder comes in useful across the vast majority of Titanfall’s different modes; they count towards your team’s score in Attrition, they decrease your Titan’s build time in Hardpoint Domination and in Last Titan Standing they’re relatively pointless other to give you additional targets and a lesser threat. There’s no need to kill them in most instances, but they do count towards completing challenges and your overall kill to death ratio. But you can do more than simply dispatch the NPCs – Spectres can be hacked, and hacking one in a small group will wirelessly hack the others, meaning that you’ll soon have a small army of Spectres on your side. Ultimately, how you deal with NPCs (or not) is up to you, but definitely don’t forget about them.
This Is YOUR Titan
There are many like it, but this one is yours. Or to put it another way, no one is going to steal your Titan from you – as, try though they might, they physically can’t. So don’t be afraid to put your Titan in guard mode to help with an objective or to sticking it in follow mode so that people notice the giant 26 foot mech and not the cloaked pilot. Although powerful, Titans aren’t indestructible death machines; before you hop into yours, just stop for a moment and see if the situation really calls for you to be in your Titan or whether putting it into guard mode would be a better use for the mechanical behemoth.
David vs. Goliath
Just like with your Titan, it’s important to know when to rush into battle as a pilot and when to back off. Running headlong at an enemy Titan that’s at full health will probably do little more than getting you killed. Bringing Titans down requires careful planning and great teamwork (some luck does’t go amiss, either). But if you are forced into a situation where you have to tackle a Titan solo, just remember that you’re not defenceless. Stun grenades deal out damage to anything electronic (such as giant robots) and mess with people’s HUDs (yours included, so be careful!), making them a great tool for momentarily blinding a Titan so that you can rodeo it for a takedown. Some players will even run from pilots advancing on them, desperately trying to kill them before they clamber on their Titan. Case in point, here’s a little clip that I recorded from the Beta:
With that, we’ll leave you slowly watching the countdown for one of the year’s most anticipated games. Hopefully these tips will help you out in your early career as a pilot. Now, standby for Titanfall.