I feel that it is my duty as a jaded gamer to start with my "contrarian" sentiment towards first-person shooters. I believe that the FPS genre has not changed significantly enough in almost ten years (with Halo marking the last major change to the genre) that it's not worth paying a full retail price for any FPS. Since the Free-to-Play model has been introduced to the genre, I've been getting my fill on that genre that way, and considering that there have been some great F2P FPS games, it's hard to convince me to cash in on a full-price game. However, it isn't entirely impossible to convince me. Very few full-price FPS games have been able to convince me to invest my hard-earned money into them, let alone make me consider looking into. My most recent exception to my "FPS is not worth my money" policy is Titanfall.
At the time of writing this, the Titanfall developers have been conducting a closed-beta testing session for about 48 hours, but only a select few (including myself) have been selected to gain access to the game this round. Naturally, this selection process has left the rest of the community needing to wait anxiously either for the next beta session or for the final release a month away. Thankfully, those who can find at least a little satisfaction out of watching gameplay video streams can have peace of mind knowing that EA didn't issue a non-disclosure agreement for during this test, but it wasn't always like this before this weekend's beta.
My friends at TheSpawnPoint Gaming Blog posted an article a few days before the beta that featured a couple of leaked videos for Titanfall. When EA announced the game at last year's E3, the trailers showed aspects of gameplay similar to ones that I've experienced in recent F2P FPS games. So naturally, before I watched the leaked videos, I was going to be all negative and dismissive by saying "been there, done that," but after seeing them, I actually wanted to play this game!
To expand on "been there, done that," I believe that Titanfall actually might play like three Free-to-Play games rolled into one. What I find attractive in this game is that it transitions from game type to game type seamlessly, so it would be like playing three of my favorite F2P games at the same time! Who wouldn't want to be part of THAT ménage à quatre of FPS gameage?!
Anyway, here are the three games I think Titanfall might play like....while I could be wrong, at least there are three new games you can play for free. Moreover, since the closed beta is upon a select few who have signed up for it, this may be able to tide the people who didn't get the opportunity to participate in the beta over while they wait for the final release next month.
Planetside 2 (PC, soon on PS4)
This first pick features futuristic, hectic, and beautiful first-person combat. I use "hectic" with a bit of reservation because things only get hectic if there are enough people playing in the same area; otherwise, the maps might be too vast for a 6-8 players to achieve a comparable combat experience. Similar to Titanfall, players are able to traverse terrain with the use of a jetpack or move around undetected with a cloaking device, but these are specific to particular soldier classes. Another major aspect in the game that Titanfall can relate to is vehicular combat. The thing is, you have all the ground and air vehicles you could ever need in full-scale combat, except bipedal tanks. However, if you're in the heat of battle, you will encounter a tank, turret, or aircraft while you're on foot more often than not. This unfortunate situation in Planetside 2 can help you train on the guerrilla tactics required to take down Titans from a distance on your lonesome. However, taking Titans down by jumping on them and shooting their head off is safely a unique experience to Titanfall.
Blacklight: Retribution (PC, PS4)
This is another game that features more futuristic, hectic, and beautiful first-person combat. Unlike Planetside's seemingly uncapped player limit, Retribution features 8v8 combat, so the pace of the game may be much more comparable to Titanfall than Planetside 2 is. Another thing unlike Planetside 2's metagame of conquering territory on a map, Retribution offers many other game modes that seem to also be in Titanfall, like Capture the Flag, Domination, and King of the Hill. Another key element in Retribution that Titanfall can relate to is the "Hardsuit," which is essentially a mech that you call for from HQ (it even deploys from the sky like a Titan!) if you want extra armor and firepower. Armed with a minigun and a railgun, you can take out a whole team of enemy soldiers by yourself if they are unprepared. The Hardsuit also take in a good deal of enemy fire while it keeps you safe. However, the downside to the Hardsuit is that it's very slow and unwieldy, and worse, it can be taken down with a direct hit from a single rocket. Judging from the Titanfall videos, Titans have much more agility, comparatively, and may have more weapons to play around with. Yet again, Titanfall has something unique to offer!
The difference between the previous games that feature futuristic, hectic, and first-person combat is that Hawken features futuristic, hectic, PURE-MECH first-person combat. Unlike the clunky Hardsuits in Retribution, Hawken's mechs are quite agile and offer more than just a railgun and a minigun. But, unlike Titans, Hawken's mechs can jump and even hover while launching a barrage of weapons. Furthermore, players can heal their mechs in the middle of a match. But one thing that you can't do in Hawken is disembark from your mech and fight on foot. Furthermore, the Titan will actually continue fighting for you even when you're not piloting it! These features in Titanfall definitely add much more depth in gameplay, so you can look forward to that when you get your chance to play it.