Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts have taken to Gamescom to show off a new "Titanfall" gameplay video that introduces a the cherry blossom-lined streets of Angel City and the new "Attrition" multiplayer mode.
Attrition seems to be some sort of skirmish or survival mode. It's kind of hard to tell, but it looks like the Militia soldiers are eventually outnumbered by Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) troops and must retreat altogether. It's not clear if downed pilots are allowed to respawn or if each faction gets a set number of lives, but I suspect that will become clearer as we approach the game's planned 2014 release.
Respawn made waves during Microsoft's E3 presentation by explaining that "Titanfall" is a multiplayer-only game with campaign-style set pieces and narrative frames. You can get a taste of how that works here: both teams are controlled by players, but they're fighting over a pilot named Barker, who seems to be part of some overarching plot.
That sounds fine -- though every bit as cookie-cutter as "Militia" and "IMC" for faction names -- but I think I'll be annoyed if I have to deal with this Barker dude every time I play Attrition on Angel City. That will continue to be a question mark until Respawn gives us a clearer idea of how "Titanfall"'s multiplayer storyline shakes out.
Two more scattershot thoughts:
I like how populated and explorable the battleground seems: there are enemies in buildings and perched on rooftops, climbing in and out of Titans and duking it out in tight alleyways and open fields. The Angel City map seems pretty big, and I'd hate to get cut off from my team when things go pear-shaped and it's time to evacuate.
Also, I like the idea of being able to wall-run and jetpack around as an on-foot pilots. The pilots' sense of speed and mobility contrasts nicely with the heavy crunch of four-story robots smashing into one another. If I can use my robot fingers to reach into another Titan, pluck the pilot, and flick him away like a cigarette butt, wall-jumping in a jetpack also seem appropriate.
"Titanfall" will be available next year for the Xbox One, 360, and PC.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter