Who's playing Titanfall? We certainly are, and have been doing so solidly for a week (with the exception of Carl who spends all of his time playing Dark Souls II in a padded room with no access to bonfire materials). Though offering impressive scope for expressive versatile gameplay, Titanfall is incredibly accessible and intuitive too, meaning that players with little or no experience can still have a good time without having to mug up on FAQs or forums.
However, we reckon that a few tips, tricks and tactics deserve a special mention... so it's time for a survival guide!
As with Borderlands 2 and a few other games, I'd like to invite you to share your own advice, tips and war stories - and I'll put helpful comments directly into the article itself in a "reader intermission." Okay. Standby for... well... you know.
Titanfall's tutorial is fairly comprehensive, but it completely neglects to mention a simple yet extremely potent power play at every pilot's disposal - which many new players don't seem to know about. The Wall Hang. While jumping or wall-running, you can casually hold down the left trigger or right mouse button to attach yourself to any surface like a murderous barnacle, recharging your double jump and letting you rain hip fire on unwary targets. On a basic level, wall hanging is a great way of gaining extra elevation or making it up to a tricky rooftop, but it affords some interesting tactical opportunities especially during Hardpoint or CTF matches.
The lack of ADS makes nuance and situational awareness critical when facing off against pilots. If defending or securing an objective, consider glomming onto a wall just above the main entry point or on a pillar to the side of the arena, granting you full view of the capture zone while benefiting from 'hardpoint hold' XP. From your newfound vantage point, you can easily throw grenades down into the mix, blast opponents with carbine hip fire, detonate any satchel charges at the perfect moment or - better yet - gain some easy Smart Pistol headshots from your elevated position. Be sure to stay cloaked and relocate after every couple of kills, though, as your victims will likely return with vengeance in mind.
Titans, conversely, make big and easy targets - and are therefore extremely vulnerable to some clever wall hanging. If forced to eject during a tense one-on-one Titan battle, try to grab onto a high nearby tower or cliff, switch to your Sidewinder (easily my favourite anti-Titan weapon) and go to town, showering your already-weakened foe with rockets and Arc Grenades if you have them. Ejecting grants you a massive amount of aerial elevation, so use it to your advantage.
Just remember that Wall Hang time is limited and you'll fall eventually. Have an escape route in mind, or use any lull in the battle to drop and reattach.
Pick The Right Titan For The Job
There's a Titan for every occasion, and a loadout for every job. As soon as you unlock custom Titan loadouts, you'll want to create a versatile selection of Titans designed for specific situations, and choose one that fits the bill.
Having an anti-Titan build on hand is never a bad idea, especially if your opponents have fielded several of their own. In terms of raw damage output, it's hard to beat the 40mm Cannon with the 3-round burst fire modification, while using multi-target rockets or slaved barrages (anything except Cluster Missiles will serve you well). For defence, pack a Vortex or Particle shield, while boosting your own survivability with Regen. Melee-minded pilots will also want to equip the 'Big Punch' kit to boost melee damage. Any chassis will do, but the Atlas' damage boost and Stryder's useful dashes arguably edge out the slower, tougher Ogre.
However, when playing Hardpoint or CTF, an Area Denial build can also be tremendously effective, whether you're holding an objective or pushing one. Since all maps have at least one Titan-accessible capture point, you'll want to focus on anti-pilot armaments, and weapons that can effectively deter opponents from entering the capture zone. The Triple Threat and cluster missile are perfect for this, while Electric Smoke is essential, since pilots will almost certainly be tempted into rodeo attacks in tight quarters. Let them, then get as close to the capture point as possible before popping your smoke and cooking anyone in the area. The Ogre chassis' durability gives you extra defence... and Nuclear Detonation can clear out the entire capture zone. Just be sure to run as fast and as high as possible once the chain reaction starts!
That said, everyone has their own preferred playstyle, so be sure to keep a versatile all-rounder build on hand - just do what feels right.
Mines & Satchel Charges Can Make (Or Ruin) Your Day
Titanfall's generous grenade range means that aggressive types can effortlessly lob explosives through windows and over large distances, but when playing an objective game, mines and charges can be an absolute godsend. Be sure to lock down entrances to capture points or flag approaches -- and when playing CTF, consider placing a satchel charge very close to your flag. As soon as you hear that an enemy has made a grab, press the button and imagine the look on their face.
When on the offensive, remember that canny opponents will do this to you given half a chance. A well-placed frag will detonate any cheeky explosives that would otherwise ruin your day, while abusing wall-runs will keep you off the ground.
The Epilogue Sacrifice
If it's clear that you're destined to lose the match, save your Titan until the epilogue plays out. Not only will your stompy pal allow you to quickly cover the distance towards the dropship in relative safety, but it's also willing to lay down its virtual life for you in a couple of surprising ways. If you've got a long distance to go and not much time to do it, try to aggro enemies into dooming your Titan as quickly as possible... which will let you abuse the ejection's enormous altitude to make up dozens of metres. A well-placed nuclear detonation will also destroy or deter any enemies near the dropship, which can prove intensely satisfying.
Just don't botch the final jump, which I do every single bloody time. Do as I say, not as I fail to do.
Reader Intermission: Community Advice!
- Premature Nuclear Eject.. In case you didn't realise, hit X, then tap E to cause you to Eject and your titan to explode (ofc. having the Nuke perk on). Extremely handy at the end of the match to damage the dropship (if you can get close), or damage the enemy mechs before escaping. - Tsung
- For cheap XP/Points, shoot all the Marvins (neutral robots). There are challenges for this. - More sage advice from Tsung
- A trick I like to do when I have my titan ready to fall (and warpfall active) is rodeo an enemy titan, look straight down, and call my own titan. There's about a 50:50 chance you will succeed in crushing the enemy mech. - Late
More Than A Mech
Titans may be exceptional war machines, but they aren't just bipedal tanks. Indeed, your metal chum can influence a battle in surprising ways without ever stepping into the cockpit.
Everyone knows that Titans crush everything beneath them when they deploy. It's awesome. As such, you should attempt to do this as often as possible, and can gain an extra advantage by equipping the 'Warpfall' kit that massively decreases deployment time, letting you use your Titan as a sledgehammer before it even activates. Canny pilots can also use it to block off streets, territory or assault routes with its Dome Shield, especially when supplemented with the Battery kit.
Your Titan is also an effective watch dog, capable of watching your back as you push the objective on foot, which leads to its second major role as a diversion. Inexperienced players will tend to focus on the enormous mech rather than the cloaked pilot stuck to the wall, leading to their demise when they reveal their position or go for the rodeo attack... in your gunsights.
On the flip-side, watch for this yourself. When you see an Auto-Titan near an objective, chances are its pilot will be somewhere nearby... if not getting their third smart pistol lock on the back of your head.
Burn 'Em If You Got 'Em
Titanfall hands out Burn Cards like they're going out of fashion. Not only will regular play unlock a ton of cards, but completing challenges usually results in a grab-bag of three relatively rare cards that are wasted on a full inventory.
So... burn them! There's no advantage to hoarding up, so be sure to enter each battle with two versatile cards you're prepared to use.
At the start of a match, equipping an amped weapon can grant you an early edge, while 'Ghost Squad' turns you into The Predator with its permanent cloak. Anything that shaves off Titan construction time is useful and worth playing early, while boosted XP is often best saved until you're ready to spawn in a Titan, due to its extra survivability. As a general rule, try to keep your inventory clear of cards you definitely won't use - I always junk amped DMR cards and most Grunt-related cards immediately to free up space.
It's worth keeping a game-changer ready just in case you need to turn the tide. Radar ping, or the aforementioned 'Ghost Squad,' is perfect for this, granting you a massive temporary advantage. Receiving a pre-charged Titan Core is also helpful if you need to cause some serious damage in the late game.
Oh, and Massive Payload is our favourite card by far. Matt tends to play this during the epilogue, then charges into the fray with no self-preservation whatsoever, ejects, and laughs heartily as he watches the enormous explosion from the air.
Play The Objective!
As we mentioned in the review, Titanfall is extraordinarily generous when it comes to rewarding team play. Years of CoD may have drilled 'K/D is everything' into your head, but unless you're playing Pilot Hunter, this number is completely meaningless... and focusing on kills will actively decrease your experience earning potential.
When playing Hardpoint, the MVP will almost certainly have spent the match guarding an objective against incoming forces, earning a tasty 75XP bonus for every few seconds spent in a friendly capture zone. Killing attackers also grants defensive bonuses. CTF, too, will see K/D obsessed lone wolves languishing down the bottom of the leaderboard, overshadowed by Pilots who actually made captures and denials, even if their kill count suffered as a result.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't kill opposing players. That'd be stupid. That's the whole point, after all. But if you play the objective, you'll find yourself quickly rising through the ranks, and topping leaderboards on a regular basis. Plus, victory XP (and epilogue cleanup) is a tidy little bonus too.
That's our lot for the time being - so now it's your turn. Let us know how you've been securing victory in Titanfall!