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If you’re going to play Titanfall, play it on PC

Titanfall has been in beta on PC over the weekend. It has been glorious.

Titanfall has landed; here’s our Titanfall review.

My first impressions of Titanfall weren’t at all good. The weapons felt stupid. Aiming felt clumsy. Titans felt clutzy. It wasn’t working.

My first impressions of Titanfall occurred on an Xbox One.

Playing it again on my PC is an entirely different story. Playing the beta, on a mid-range PC, is extraordinary. 

If you’re planning to buy Titanfall, and have a choice whether to play on PC or Xbox – don’t hesitate. Buy it on the PC. Here’s why.

Early word has it that the jumpy men are more fun than the mechs.

The mouse and keyboard advantage

Halo and Call of Duty might have found a home on the consoles, but they’re games that throw players into tight confined corridors with short-range weapons, or rely on an awful lot of auto-aim. In open spaces, console controllers rarely feel precise enough to deliver accurate shots when players drift from right to left.

Titanfall doesn’t just have players drifting right and left. They’re bouncing up and down, using jetpacks, and running sideways up walls. I found, playing on Xbox that the controller really struggles to keep up with Titanfall’s action. This is an overly complicated way to say that I am absolutely useless at playing Titanfall with a joypad.

On PC, with the mouse and keyboard, it just feels like a better, more precise game. You can pick and choose your shots without relying on the auto-aim. You can bring down snipers and roof campers from afar, and you’re able to rapidly swing your Titan’s frame around when approached from behind.

The mouse and keyboard, too, helps with Titanfall’s excellent parkour skills. As you wallrun, you’re able to pick where you’re about to jump to ahead of time, choosing where to land your feet for the next jump. On PC, you’ll feel more mobile, more able, not just to reach the game’s highest points, but to move between them more fluidy.

Titanfall tricks

It looks a little bit better

Don’t expect a version with more effects, or bells and whistles – there’s not much difference between the raw textures on Xbox and PC. But the Xbox One version of the game is running at a lower resolution: 1408×792.

How good Titanfall looks is obviously dependent on your PC – but I’ve found that even my aging PC – (i5,8 gigabytes RAM, Radeon 6900 series GPU) isn’t really stretched by the game. With all details set to high, the game runs at a near constant 60 frames per second, at 1920×1080, with 2xAA.

It’s not just pretty pixels. The addition of a slightly wider field of view via a slider, to 90 degrees over the standard 70 makes the battle a little easier to follow – you’re aware of a little bit more about what’s going on to your right and left.

No need to rush like this plonker - Titanfall beta registration is open till Friday afternoon, US time.

Origin isn’t terrible

The real worry I had about Titanfall going into beta was Origin: EA’s online launcher and matchmaking service. The reality is that the matchmaking hasn’t suffered a single hiccup since the beta launched on PC, and the servers have been steadily available. There’s been no downtime, and I haven’t suffered from lag, crashes, or disconnections. The only slight snag I’ve come across is a friend’s online status not updating when he came online – and that was easily fixed.

Titanfall minimum system requirements revealed

Better community features

Here’s where I think the Xbox version really suffers: the Xbox One, some six months following launch, still hasn’t been updated to support streaming to Twitch. That support is built directly into Origin. If you want to stream and share what’s going on in-game, the PC is the only choice. That suggests, too, that if Titanfall is to find any competitive footing, that community will form faster on PC.

This titan: still standing, thank you very much.

Some other quick observations

Titanfall is not a dick about alt-tabbing. There’s no fullscreen windowed mode, but it doesn’t throw a heart-attack if you quickly alt-tab out between matches to check twitter.

It’s cheaper on PC, particularly if you shop around. If you buy the boxed retail version, you’ll be able to find it at a considerable discount than if you bought it directly from Origin. That boxed retail version will register on Origin, and you’ll be able to chuck away the disc and box once it’s installed.

Respawn are saying that there will be no mod support for Titanfall at launch. Personally, I don’t think they’ll want anyone to mess about with their delicately balanced multiplayer game, and that will include graphical tweaks. However, I do wonder if they’ll open up a less restrictive server browser/host later on down the line.