During its brief time in the spotlight, Respawn Entertainment’s first-person shooter, Titanfall, enjoyed quite a lot of praise from longtime Shooter fans. Its base gameplay wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it did imbue an established formula with several delightful twists. Knowing how to run-and-gun, take cover, and apply map knowledge are essential skills that should be familiar to anyone who has played a shooter like Call of Duty, but map objectives like killing NPC grunts were also added to the mix. Parkour movements like wallrunning and double jumps opened up mobility options to players who were used to Call of Duty’s traditional grounded combat. Most importantly, Titanfall allowed players to indulge in the childhood joy of calling down a mech suit – a Titan – which could then be used to mow down enemy players or engage in fisticuffs with an enemy Titan.
Set all of this to a gritty sci-fi backdrop, and you’ve got a solid game that could have lasted quite a while in the competitive Shooter community.
This never came to pass, though, for reasons discussed below. Respawn Entertainment is now diving back into the fray with Titanfall 2 to rectify those wrongs and make the Titan-piloting experience more exhilarating than ever before.
We got a hands-on preview at EA Play yesterday and came away with a few noteworthy impressions. Please keep in mind that gameplay is subject to change from now until Titanfall 2’s release.
Here’s a quick teaser of Titanfall 2’s gameplay:
For starters, Titanfall 2’s overall gameplay should feel familiar to those who have played the first game. You’re teamed up with a squad of other soldiers, and your goal is to complete objectives that crop up throughout the match. Over the course of the match, you acquire giant mech suits called Titans that you use to decimate your foes. I didn’t catch the name of the map I played on, but we were thrust into a crumbling, wartorn city. Our goal was to collect “Bounties” from enemy Titans by performing executions on them.
Fans of the first Titanfall will remember the thrill of mounting an enemy Titan and then shooting its power core in a process aptly named the rodeo. There’s no longer a quick-time-event associated with the rodeo, though. Now, all a player has to do is press a button and take the enemy Titan’s power core, which can be used to heal friendly Titans.
That’s the most significant difference Titanfall 2 has over its predecessor: Titans are more intricately woven into the fabric of a match. In the first Titanfall, Titans were immensely powerful tools. But they felt more like auxiliary weapons to supplement your offense; glorified powerups, even. In Titanfall 2, though, there’s a greater degree of play and counterplay built around the Titans. More teamwork and interplay is required between Pilots (non-Titan players) and Titans, and the latter possess a new array of special abilities to create opportunities for your team.
Indeed, Titans are no longer subject to the customizable loadouts of the first game because Respawn felt that this allowed players to pigeonhole Titans into using a select few loadouts. Now, Titans are divided into separate classes like, say, Team Fortress 2. The two that were playable at EA Play were the Ion and the Scorch. As its name implies, the Scorch boasts devastating fire-based attacks that can be used both as offensive and as defensive/zoning tools. It also has a flame shield that incinerates incoming projectiles. The Ion, meanwhile, uses long-range beam attacks to supplement its offense.
A third Titan called the Ronin was revealed late yesterday. Unlike the other Titans shown so far, the Roning uses swords in combat.
There are six Titans planned total so far, each with their own unique abilities. What the remaining four will offer to the world of Titanfall 2 remains to be seen.
In the Pilot department, there’s also a new Grappling Hook that many others who played the demo are gushing about. Unfortunately, the Grappling Hook is tied to the Front Rifleman class, which I did not choose. Instead, I was privy to the classic Charge Rifle, which fires a high-powered beam to dismantle enemy Titans.
In spite of all the enjoyment Titanfall 2 offers, Respawn Entertainment has a difficult road ahead of them when it comes to nurturing their game’s community. They’ve already taken one significant step toward attaining that goal by making all of Titanfall 2’s integral DLC, like maps, free. The first Titanfall required players to purchase a slew of expensive DLC packs to be able to play the game with one another; this fragmented Titanfall’s playerbase shortly after its release. Both Respawn and EA seemed to have learned their lesson, thankfully.
While free map packs might be enough to curry favor with Titanfall’s fanbase, Respawn is still faced with the task of helping its community grow over time. Moreover, it is unknown whether Respawn plans to pursue an eSports future for Titanfall 2, or how they plan to do so. We’ve reached out to Respawn for further comment, but have not heard back yet. We will update this article if we receive any further developments.
In any case, Titanfall 2 is at least off on the right foot when it comes to pleasing its fans. It’s fun, engaging, and already avoids one of the major marketing pitfalls that lead the first Titanfall to an early grave. And there’s nothing quite like taking control of a giant mech and laying waste to opposing armies below you.
Titanfall 2 is set to release on October 28, 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows.