Publisher: EA Developer: Respawn Entertainment Format: Xbox One, 360, PC Release: March 14 Version tested: PC

The following represents our first impressions of Titanfall based on two days’ play at an EA-run event in London last week. Although we were able to play the final version in its entirety, our full review is being withheld until we are able to test the game in real-world circumstances. Please note, then, that the following reflects a view of the game based on play in optimal conditions. How well Xbox Live and Origin will perform on launch is currently unknown, and will have a crucial impact on Titanfall’s viability as a multiplayer-only game. Titanfall is the first substantial revision that the Call of Duty multiplayer formula has undergone since it became the dominant form of entertainment on the last generation of consoles. In securing it as a console exclusive, Microsoft are gambling on the notion that what the majority of players want is a next-gen iteration of an experience they’ve already had. At the most basic level, that’s what Titanfall offers. You rush across medium-sized urban maps to rack up kills with satisfying-feeling, semi-realistic weapons; you run up killstreaks and claim rewards; you level up and unlock weapons, attachments, and upgrades.In rethinking the formula, however, Respawn have given it new life. It’s easy to turn your nose up at Titanfall’s populist provenance, but to do so is to do disservice to an intelligent, modern and exciting game.Each player is a ‘pilot’, a special class of combatant fighting across a battlefield that also includes non-player minions. The weapons you equip will be variously effective at killing other players, clearing out hordes of grunts, keeping you concealed, or winning fights at short and long range – considerations that you’re required to make based on your team’s overall battle plan. Kills of any kind chip seconds off your ‘Titanfall’ timer. When this crucial clock hits zero, you’re able to summon your titan from orbit – a pilotable, customisable mech that arrives straight out of another game entirely.