Before we get started, let’s just all agree that releasing Titanfall 2 the week between Battlefield 1 (which is quite good) and Call of Duty: Dumb Subtitle (which will sell regardless) was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. Such an awful idea that I kept expecting EA to last-minute delay Titanfall 2 to...pretty much any other month.
No such luck. Titanfall 2 releases as scheduled, in between two juggernaut shooters (one of which is also published by EA), and it’s a bad omen for a sequel to a game that’s world-renowned for rapidly losing its multiplayer audience the first time around.
So I am admittedly skeptical whether Titanfall 2 will have a multiplayer community in a few months. Respawn’s biggest ploy is that all upcoming maps and DLC will be free, and it’s admittedly enticing. But we’ll see.
With that bit of bookkeeping out of the way: Let’s talk specifics.
Titanfall 2 is still primarily a multiplayer game. Sure, there’s an actual campaign to play this time, but the game’s roots lie in the dual infantry-and-mech combat established by the first outing.
It survives relatively unscathed. Titanfall 2 is a spectacle in action, on-foot Pilots sprinting down alleyways and running up the sides of buildings while hulking Titans shoot oversized rockets and lasers at each other in the streets below. It’s a dynamic I loved in the original, and I’ve been happy to sink some hours into a sequel.
Some of the beta’s more egregious changes have been rolled back, too—particularly the method by which Titans spawn. Early in the beta, Titanfall 2 had it set up so that Titans were earned only through kills, greatly reducing their prevalence. Now it’s (as far as I can tell) some combination of kills and time, with raucous three-on-three Titan battles a common occurrence.
The other big complaint coming out of the beta was that Titans no longer have shields, and unfortunately this aspect survived through release. Instead of a rechargeable shield you can now steal batteries from enemy Titans and plug them into your own for a quick repair, but it’s a huge pain to pull off and has barely factored into my matches so far. Maybe when people get more accustomed to the game we’ll see more of it.
The immediate outcome of that design decision is that Titans feel altogether too fragile. Being outnumbered is an immediate death sentence, and unless teams coordinate their Titans (which will never happen in public matches) it means easy pickings for the enemy.
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