Hey Readers! Garrett here with another video game article. Today’s topic is the upcoming Titanfall 2. Respawn Entertainment opened up a “pre-alpha tech test” for players to help make sure the game runs without a hitch. I’m going to discuss some of the things I saw, and what I am expecting from the finished game when it comes to consoles in late October. So, let’s jump right in!
The first Titanfall was a very fast paced game. The parkour abilities granted to each pilot made zipping around the map fairly exhausting. You almost needed twitch-like reflexes in order to do well in game. To help counteract this however, the developers decided to cut down the number of players in each game and include AI enemies that were a little easier to kill. This type of mechanic has returned, and the pace of the game has been slowed down. Some of the enemies are tougher, like the Reaper mechs which have higher defense but less health than a full sized Titan. In my opinion, this allows for more tactical thinking, where a player can somewhat analyze their environment when they spawn before making a move. I rarely encountered spawn camping, and this was largely because of how the maps were designed. The action was kept localized to certain areas, giving players the chance to get back in and not feel surrounded. The game is still faster than even Call of Duty, which is kind of what separates it from others in its class, but it feels more manageable than the original Titanfall.
Respawn wasted no time allowing players to try out three new game modes for the sequel. For these game modes you get to decide your faction, one of the two mercenary corporations in the game. In Bounty Hunt, players fight off waves of different enemies to earn money, which has to be deposited back at two banks scattered around the map. The AI-controlled IMC troops (Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, for those not familiar with the lore of the game), earn a fair amount of money, but players can also steal other pilots’ money they earned by killing enemy players. This was a very exciting game mode, since sometimes the focus was drawn away from fighting the other team and it became a balancing act of deciding who to fight. In some waves, full-on Titans were dropped and had to be eliminated by the players, which made for some tough bullet hosing and clever teamwork. To me, this was the most fun game mode to play during this pre-alpha.
One of the other modes they added was Pilots vs. Pilots. This mode is very traditional FPS type team deathmatch. There are no Titans to help you out, so the 6 versus 6 felt much like other shooters. I played it only briefly, simply because it wasn’t anything special. Parkour-ing in FPS games is commonplace now with Call of Duty doing a futuristic Sci-Fi theme for the last 3 or 4 games, so while I am sure it will be a nice stepping stone for those looking to understand how Titanfall gameplay works, I’ll be playing the other game modes. In my opinion, the other game modes have a much greater identity to them though.
Lastly, we have Amped Hardpoint, a sort of king of the hill type game where players look to take control of 3 different points around the map. These locations can be “amped”, which gives you double the points, but makes it easier for points to be recaptured by the enemy. You simply continue to sit on the point to fully amp it. This game mode was a bit different, but it is still king of the hill at its core. Earning double points does make each round go faster, especially if you control the majority, but for the most part it wasn’t too special to play.
Overall though, these new game modes make me interested in the game for sure. I am normally a single player guy; and I don’t mind giving up multiplayer for a good single player experience. That said, I had a good time playing these new modes and for having played hours of Rainbow Six: Siege for the past 8 months, it was easy to pick up and start doing well in matches. The first few will be kind of rough, but I think quickly you will find your groove and make contributions to the team effort. I think this largely has to do with the relative familiarity of the game modes, so it shouldn’t be too intimidating to new players who never played the first game.
Gameplay – Balance of Power and Mobility
It’s pretty obvious that the Titans are one of the things that set the game apart from others, even in the Mech shooter class. Respawn did have to release a patch partway into the pre-alpha in order to allow players to get Titans, since the frequency was cut down pretty steeply. After this minor fix, the game became a whole lot more fun.
Titanfall I think does a good job balancing out the firepower and mobility issue when you pit normal sized people against the towering mech suits. Pilots have all of the parkour abilities, and are able to swiftly make it difficult to be taken out by one of the lumbering behemoths, and Titans have raw power and high defense. If your team is coordinated enough, a Titan really isn’t much trouble. The new pilot abilities make facing off against the armored hulks better to deal with, especially the grappling hook. If you are in a Titan against a poorly unified or scattered group though, you can certainly lay waste to them under your cold steel toes.
According to Respawn, they are bringing in all new Titans for the sequel. The pre-alpha showcased two, Scorch and Ion. Scorch is a moderately heavy Titan, focusing on a more defensive style of play. Its weapons rely on fire (hence the name). I found that Scorch was tough to beat unless your team all focused on it. Its handheld weapon is a single shot Thermite launcher, which was kind of tough for me to use. I had a hard time really hitting anything with it unless I had time to place my shot. Most of this Titan’s abilities focused on using fire to cause continuous damage, with it being able to drop a fuel explosive which had to be ignited to burn, and a massive fist smashing fire wave which made grouped up enemies into bacon.
The other Titan, Ion, is focused on laser weapons. The Splitter rifle is an energy weapon that needs to be have a battery like piece replaced as part of the reload, and the Titan features laser trip mines for area denial, as well as a very powerful central laser for its special ability. This “Laser Core” as it is called felt like I had activated a doomsday device, slicing through groups of enemies and causing a piercing red light to fill the map. It wasn’t overpowered since it took time to cause serious damage to Titans and required powering up through points earning, but it certainly was making some folks crap their pants.
The last thing I want to talk about with the gameplay is the fluidity. Titanfall makes it a point to show how each motion feeds into the next. The slower pace of the game means players can really appreciate these tie-ins. That said, I didn’t think it was 100% perfect, since embarking into your Titan’s cockpit sometimes looked choppy (with the player re-positioning for the third person cut scenes), but overall you could feel each move play into the next.
What to Expect Next
I was actually very excited to hear that Titanfall 2 was going to have a single player. Respawn Entertainment has also stated that it won’t be all combat. There will be puzzles that require the use of the Titan and parkour movements to solve, in addition to a “not-grindy” level system similar to the most recent Wolfenstein and Doom games. Hopefully this means it can open up tons of ways to play each level. The game is going to focus on the relationship of Pilots and their Titans, which is not a new idea to showcase a human-AI interaction, but if the trailers are any indication the game will hopefully be full of good and sombering moments. I am excited to play this game, but then again I’m a huge nerd for all things mecha, so who’s surprised?
How can I be so optimistic when the first game is generally considered a flop? I think what happened is the first game was good fun (at least I thought it was), but didn’t have good staying power since it was multiplayer only and had a nonsensical attempt to build lore into the multiplayer. This time around, they are really expanding the universe and opening up the lore for players to discover. They aren’t really recycling much from the last game, other than the setting and core gameplay, so it will be a whole new experience.
This coming weekend, August 26th through the 28th, is going to be another test for the game and we will see what kinds of changes get made. If you have the chance to play it, I suggest you try it out. I’m having a good time for sure, and it has strengthened my excitement for the October 28th release.