You know what I like about Titanfall? Damn near everything.

Let me start by saying I’m not that great with multiplayer shooters. On a good day, you’ll usually find me hanging out somewhere in the middle of the leader boards.

It’s not that I don’t try. I’ve played the various multiplayer modes of most of the Call of Duties and Battlefields that have come out in the past couple years, trying my best to get a grip with how all the various weapons and equipment worked, or what were the best kill streaks and perks to use. I’ve done my time with team-based games like Counter-Strike and tried my hand at the large-scale warfare of Planetside 2. But I just could never get the hang of the mechanics as well as other players did. And while I did have some fun, not many of these games had that certain “uhmph”, that hook that would keep me playing round after round, hour after hour until I got a headache from staring at the screen so much.

But after playing the Titanfall Beta – the Beta, mind you, not even the full game – I honestly don’t think I’ve had this much fun playing a multiplayer shooter since the early days of Team Fortress 2, in 2007.

When it first came out, I played the hell out of TF2. I loved switching between the various classes, and especially enjoyed playing as the Pyro, and setting everything on fire. I lost count how many rounds of Dustbowl I’ve played, rigorously defending control points as an Engineer, or how many kills I’ve racked up playing as a Sniper on 2Fort. I loved grinding my way through achievements when they first started introducing class updates, and played for hours on end with the Payload maps. Even when I took a break to play other games, I always kept TF2 installed on my PC, and was ready to jump back in whenever a new map or game mode was introduced, and it wasn’t until years after the game’s release that my interest eventually started to shift away to other games.

With Titanfall, I’m not entirely sure which one thing has really sold me on it. – the game has a lot going on with its mechanics . I really like how when you’re on foot, almost no part of the map is off limits – you can wall run, double jump and parkour your way to just about anywhere. Combat feels balanced and fair – I have yet to experience a death that feels entirely cheap because the other player had a fancier gun than me. Both of the maps available in Beta felt very dynamic and ‘lived’ in with their mini-population of friendly and hostile NPCs moving about and the various events occurring in the background, a far cry from the often static game play maps I remember playing from Modern Warfare 2. The game conveys the dichotomy between being a fast, vulnerable pilot jumping around on foot versus a lumbering around in an armored Atlas wielding a machine gun that’s bigger than my car very effectively – Whenever I jumped in a Titan, I really felt like I was in a huge walking tank.

And that was just my experience with my first few games. Through subsequent playthroughs I quickly learned there’s all kind of craziness going on in Titanfall. You can hack Spectres – the NPC combat drones that run around the map – and they’ll work as bodyguards, following you around and engaging enemies the best they can. You can hang onto the sides of walls and attack enemies from unusual angles – something I haven’t quite gotten the hang of yet, but is fun to do. If you’re in a titan with a Vortex shield, you can end up playing an impromptu game of “Hot Potato,” tossing rockets and bullets back and forth between you and a hostile Titan until someone’s shield craps out. Hell, you can punch pilots out of the air with the Titan’s melee attack. It’s ridiculously cool how many different mechanics are in play here. If the full game is just as much fun as the Beta, I can see Titanfall becoming my new “always installed’ favorite, waiting for me to call down Titans and walljump my way to victory months from now, just like the times I had capturing control points and setting people on fire in Team Fortress 2.

It’s mind blowing how much fun I had with just a small slice of a much larger title. So with the promise of more titans, more weapons, more maps with more NPCs and dynamic environments, March 11th just can’t get here soon enough.

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