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Play­ing Ti­tan­fall will make it very dif­fi­cult to re­turn to the shoot­ers of old. Call of Duty is in dire need of dou­ble jump­ing

Australian T3 - - CONTENTS -

Marathon-ready train­ers for run­ning men

When I first heard about the con­cept of Ti­tan­fall I was ex­cited by the big ro­bots. When I first played Ti­tan­fall, my ex­cite­ment soon changed to run­ning around as a pi­lot.

No­tice I said ‘run­ning’ and not ‘shoot­ing’. The gun-play is tight, as well it should be since the fa­thers of Call of Duty have shacked up with a new mother, but the draw here, the as­pect of it that leaves me ut­terly giddy, is the way the pi­lots move. Go­ing back to any other mod­ern shooter feels like I’ve had my legs chopped off and con­crete blocks sewn on in­stead.

It’s in­cred­i­ble (and maybe a lit­tle bit an­ti­cli­mac­tic) that people are the best part about a game where storeys-tall ro­bots come scream­ing down from the sky like a stain­less steel me­teor, and then stomp around blow­ing the hell out of the other ro­bots. If you haven’t played Ti­tan­fall, imag­ine the guns and re­ward sys­tems from Call of Duty mixed with smashy-smashy ro­bots of Pa­cific Rim, only way more en­ter­tain­ing than those in Guillermo del Toro’s long, crap story (in­stead, Ti­tan­fall has a short, crap story, but I’m al­ready dis­tracted).

Pi­lots have the DNA of new Prince of Per­sia and Crash Bandi­coot: they can wall run, but they can also dou­ble jump. Dou­ble jump, man! It’s the stuff from plat­form­ers and decade-old Un­real Tour­na­ment, mashed into a dirty but earnest sci-fi set­ting. A lot of people have called what the pi­lots do park­our, which is sorta true since the ethos of park­our asks that its par­tic­i­pants look at the en­vi­ron­ment and imag­ine new, more stream­lined and ef­fi­cient ways of mov­ing through it. Physics are warped to give pi­lots a speed boost when they wall run, and it’s soon pos­si­ble to see lines in the en­vi­ron­ment where be­fore the doors and win­dows were sim­ply un­con­nected holes in the scenery.

The magic hap­pens when you fig­ure out how to ex­tend the hor­i­zon­tal dis­tance from a sprint, into a jump then a dou­ble jump onto a wall, then dou­ble jump off that onto an­other wall and re­peat and re­peat un­til you’re at the other side of the map. I still lean for­ward in my chair, con­troller in hand, urg­ing my pi­lot to make the ledge and land on her feet, main­tain­ing mo­men­tum each time I leap off a build­ing and onto an­other.

I felt the same way in Crack­down, a third-per­son ac­tion ad­ven­ture on Xbox 360, its avatars grad­u­ally in­creas­ing in strength and agility un­til they were skim­ming over rooftops sit­u­ated blocks apart. And again, in As­sas­sin’s Creed, pick­ing out the best lines and oddly-an­gled beams to touch on be­fore scur­ry­ing up to the high­est point in city.

For­get the story, for­get the ac­tion; for me the joy came from ex­plor­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and sim­ply play­ing within it, mov­ing as fast and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble. Crack­down and As­sas­sin’s Creed catered to that with their own side-mis­sions, ones that for­got about the pre­tence and rev­elled in be­ing a game.

Ti­tan­fall, how­ever, doesn’t have a mode where the point is to just run, hit­ting check­points that make you think ‘now how the hell am I go­ing to do that?’ It needs one, badly – I’m get­ting tired of be­ing stepped on by the big smashy ro­bots.

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