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Titanfall: watch us play Attrition from the Xbox One beta

by Andrew Yoon, shacknews.com, Feb 12, 2014 9:00AM PST

We've already explained in great length what makes Respawn Entertainment's upcoming shooter Titanfall so special. The unique blend of mech-versus-infantry-versus-AI combat has been delicately balanced to create an experience that's unlike other multiplayer games on the market. Playing a few matches from the upcoming beta has only further cemented the notion that yes, this game is going to be something special.

But perhaps words are hard to read. Instead of simply repeating ourselves, we thought it'd be best to show you. We've cut together a six minute video that gives you an abridged look at "Attrition," one of the game modes that will be available in the beta come Valentine's Day.

Before starting a match, you'll be able to switch between different loadouts. As expected, you'll be able to customize various aspects of your character, including what weapons he or she will carry and what tactical abilities you'll be able to use during battle. There is, of course, an XP system that blocks off certain functions until you reach a certain level. For example, you won't even be able to make a custom pilot or custom Titan loadout until you make some progression online. (This progression system should help players ease into Titanfall's various systems, as there is no single-player component beyond a training mode.)

Attrition pits two teams of six against each other. The goal is to reach 250 points before the other team. You can do so by killing enemy pilots (4 points), defeating opposing AI (1 point), and destroying Titans (5 points). Everything adds to your team's tally.

Because everything counts towards your score in this mode, it's rather beneficial to engage with the various AI opponents that scatter the map. New players may not even realize that some of the hostiles on the map aren't human-controlled, but it's easy to tell that they're not quite as agile, not quite as intelligent as human opponents. Still, they typically bunch together, and while they may not award as many points as pilots, they're easy fodder that will help boost your score.

In the opening moments of a match, no one will be able to use a Titan. However, infantry combat feels great, even without giant robots. It may feel rather familiar to Call of Duty fans, but the addition of sci-fi gameplay elements like the double jump and cloak make it feel a bit more fresh than Activision's storied franchise.

After a few minutes, you'll be able to summon a Titan--either by Titanfall or by spawning as one. Whenever Titans are destroyed, you'll essentially have a two minute "cooldown" period before being able to summon another one. Playing as a Titan feels both different and similar enough to make it accessible and satisfying. The basics of combat are the same, but you also feel significantly more powerful while riding these towering robots.

Playing as--or against--a Titan shows how well the game has been balanced. You have the potential to wreck much more havoc in a Titan, but as a ground soldier, you can remain effective against the robots. In fact, with anti-Titan weaponry and the ability to cloak, it's sometimes better to go against a Titan while on foot instead of in going mano-a-mano in mech armor. Titans actually have very little health and their shields take quite some time to regenerate, meaning the best Titan players will learn how to play it smart and take it slow.

Eventually, one side will be victorious and the "epilogue" kicks in. In this scenario, the winning team must try to hunt down any remaining players from the opposition. The losing team must try to survive and make their way to a dropship that will pick them up. It's a neat "bonus" feature that doesn't change the outcome of the map, but gives players an added objective and yet another way of confronting each other.

Titanfall is truly shaping up to be a special experience. In another video, we're going to show off another mode from the beta: Last Titan Standing.

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