Written by Ben Griffin.
Now I've mastered the maps, unlocked the weapons and hit max rank in Titanfall's beta, I'm ready to spill my secrets. Want to know how to stick to walls like Spider-Man? Or cut your Titan spawn time in half? Or do a jetpack-powered judo kick into someone's silly face? Here are ten tips, covering everything from loadouts, to burn cards, to smarter movement and more deadly Titans.
Titans have six points of customisation: a chassis, a weapon, a tactical ability, a piece of ordnance, a tier one kit and a tier two kit. Now, tastes differ, but personally I like the spray-and-pay XO-16 chaingun, the electric smoke (deploying it when being ridden by an enemy quickly kills him), and the rocket salvo for its devastating barrage. The nuclear ejection is our favourite add-on: when your Titan is 'doomed', you've got a short window in which to hammer X and eject. This is your queue to boost into a crowd, as once you've left your Titan, it will explode into a massive ball of flames and take out anyone in the vicinity - and you'll live to tell about it. Oh, one last thing: if you spot a doomed Titan and give it a melee whack, you'll reach a metal arm into its cockpit, tear out its pilot and launch them like a fleshy nerf ball.
Pilots have seven points of customisation: a primary weapon, a sidearm, an anti-Titan weapon, a tactical ability, a piece of ordnance, a tier one kit and a tier two kit. My favourite primary is the R-101C carbine (evidently I have something for machine guns), either the RE-45 autopistol or Hammond P2011 because, well, I honestly can't tell the difference between them, the sidewinder anti-Titan weapon for its lack of lock-on, the cloak because it's invaluable for moving across wide open spaces, the frag grenade because enemy minions tends to group up, the explosives pack as it offers more grenades, and the minion detector because it lets you see grunts and spectres at all times.
In Titanfall, burn cards are essentially disposable perks. Before a match you'll build a deck with up to three cards. These range from replacing your primary or secondary firearm with a beefier version, to knocking 80 seconds off your Titan spawn time, to giving you more grenades, or faster legs, or permanent X-ray vision courtesy of an aural implant. When you're in a match, after you die and just before you respawn, you can activate one of these cards. They last as long as your life does, which goes some way to negating what would otherwise act as overpowered consumables. Although some cards are rarer than others (I've only come across the aural implants once in ten hours of play), you don't have to be stingy with them, as each match rewards you with several new ones.
Everyone knows how to double jump and wall-run, but did you know that right-clicking while near a wall lets you dig your knife in and hang? This is perfect for getting the drop on enemies, or jumping up to a higher level. Melee is contextual, too, so use it while jumping and sprinting to unleash a ferocious face kick. Steer clear of assassinations, though, as the animation is long and you could get blasted in the process. It's worth remembering that you can chain wall-runs indefinitely, so use this to your advantage in the tight confines of Angel City. My top pilot tip: get off the ground.
Picture this: you've requested a Titan but the landing site is too hot, making the mad sprint to its cockpit a real risk. What do you do? You make the Titan come to you, that's what. Using the V key, you can scroll through two options: guard and follow. Whatever kills your Titan gets on autopilot are automatically attributed to you. As a bonus, you can monitor your Titan's healthbar at the top of the screen. Whenever you've got a Titan queued up, there's really no excuse not to call it down, even if you're just using it as a giant remote-controlled distraction.
Matches are never more than six vs. six, but maps are populated by handfuls of bots. The weaker ones are called grunts, and the stronger ones are called spectres. Both serve as cannon fodder, slow and predictable, and while they don't massively boost your points score, they do reduce your Titan build time. Each kill knocks a few seconds off Titanfall, so ignore them at your peril. If anything, they're a nice bit of combat ambience.
On the minimap, enemy human players are represented by big red dots, enemy minions by smaller red dots, and enemy Titans by big red arrows. Friendlies, meanwhile, adhere to the same icons but are blue. Your own Titan, if you're not in it, is a blue wedge. The minion detector, a tier two pilot kit, is useful here, allowing you to monitor both friendly and enemy Grunts and Spectres on your minimap constantly. Keep in mind, however, human opponents will stay off your radar if they're invisible or if they don't fire a weapon.
The rodeo move is not just easy to pull off, but incredibly versatile too. Jump near the head of a Titan and you'll automatically latch on. If it's friendly you'll hitch a ride, and if it's not you'll rip off its cranial panel. From here you can take it down by blasting its vulnerable cable mesh to bits. That's if the enemy pilot, who receives a HUD warning, doesn't deploy electric smoke or get out and dislodge you himself. Jump between the heads of friendly Titans to cross the level quickly and awesomely.
They don't call it the smart pistol for nothing. Not only can it can lock onto up to four enemies and dispatch them with simultaneous headshots, but it can automatically target live grenades and detonate them (that includes live grenades at your feet, too). The downside, of course, is its rubbish range, its lock-on delay, and the fact it takes three bullets to kill a pilot. Let's just call it the moderately intelligent pistol.
The term 'Titanfall' refers to the act of calling down your Titan. And you better believe you can kill someone with it. You'll need smarts, timing and a bit of luck to pull it off, however. Firstly, I recommend getting the Warpfall Transmitter - a tier 2 pilot kit unlocked at level 14 that speeds up your Titanfall dramatically. Then, during a game, rodeo an enemy Titan. If the pilot inside is attentive, he'll get out and attempt to shoot you off. But this is playing right into your hands. Now his Titan is stationary, call down yours. If you time it right and your aim is on, it'll land right on top of the other one and crush it. That's a Titanfall!