Titanfall 2 Multiplayer Test Impressions – Mech Rodeo

August 22, 2016 Written by Alex Co

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When Respawn first showed off Titanfall on Xbox One and revealed that it’s only coming to Xbox platforms, I admit, I felt a tinge of envy given I was a fan of the studio’s (back when they were Infinity Ward) brand of multiplayer, and I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to play it unless I bought an Xbox, which was not happening at the time. So when Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella all but confirmed that the sequel would be coming to PlayStation, even if I knew it would be far off, I was ecstatic!

Fast forward a few years, and lo and behold! The sequel, aptly titled Titanfall 2, will be released on the PlayStation 4! And not only that, we’re even trying out its pre-alpha demo test, too! Does it deliver on all the hype or does it run out of batteries (heh) while trying to stomp its competition? Let’s just say, Respawn is on the right track, but it needs a couple of more screws to make this mech dominate like they want it to.

Important to note that all impressions you’re reading here are from the multiplayer test pre-alpha build, which means that we don’t know what tweaks Respawn has made since. I’m basing my opinion on that build, and seeing as this is a test and not an actual demo, I’ll hold off on criticizing the tech, connectivity issues and such (I will touch upon it, though).

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Movement Barriers

First off, we’re only given two maps (Homestead and Boomtown) to play around in, but so far, the movement system seems to be similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, but just a tad faster when it comes to slides, wallrunning, catapulting from your grappling hook and so on. Now, countless people (from NeoGAF, Reddit, and so on) have mentioned how it’s actually toned down in comparison to the first Titanfall, which most are complaining about.

Regardless if it’s toned down or if you’ve played the first one or not, the maps don’t really help in making Pilots (that’s you!) chain moves to run around the map. There’s a lot of crevices that you can get stuck in, or little bumps and whatnot that will slow down your momentum. Did Respawn do it intentionally? Or are the maps to blame? I don’t know for certain at this point, but if you’re hoping to chain wallruns into acrobatic jumps and the like, it might be harder than what we’ve seen so far. But who knows, though? Maybe we’ll get so used to the movement system, or be given maps that are tighter that we’ll be able to wallrun from end to end without touching the ground. 

Expect people to hide around corners, come up from walls, snipe from roofs and basically do what you normally see in a multiplayer first-person shooter, but be able to come at almost every angle and direction. 

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The Explain Game

Possibly one of the worst things I’ve encountered in Titanfall 2 so far is the utter lack of things that I needed to know. Stuff like: players being able to pick up batteries all over the map to replenish their Titans’ health (or teammates’), how killing someone who successfully rodeo-ed you means you can get the battery they stole and re-insert it back to your Titan and so on. If you didn’t know about this battery mechanic — which is perfectly understandable since how could you? — then you might be led to believe that your Titan, the one you spent minutes trying to get, is made out of paper and is just called in to be destroyed by other Titans, fired at by Pilots and just be a pain in the ass to even have. I admit, this was what happened to me the first few instances I called in a Titan, but once I’ve come to grips on how to survive — be it from collecting batteries, or ejecting the moment I’m prompted that someone was on my Titan — I was able to make my first called-in Titan to last almost an entire match (and in some cases it does!). 

As to why Respawn never actually bothered to teach us any of that? Well, I honestly don’t know why. The test has a perfectly capable tutorial for Pilots, so maybe we’ll get a proper Titan tutorial in the final game? In addition to the confusion as to how you’ll keep your Titan alive, the in-game menus, UI (user interface) for the Pilots and Titans are also less than efficient at what they’re supposed to do. Not only are there a TON of stuff plastered all over your HUD, but the way they show up seems to be a problem as well. I’ve lost count on how many times I wished that the “New Enemy Wave!” message that pops up right in the middle of my friggin’ screen would just go away, and that goes with the obstructive “price list” of grunts that accompanies it. And yes, I’ve died in-game from those blasted messages that prevent me from actually, y’know, engaging with the enemies properly.

More Titanfall 2 Reading:

Speaking of Bounty Hunt, unless I’m mistaken, this could very well be Titanfall 2’s main game mode (say, Conquest in Battlefield) and I have to say, I’m not that warm to the idea of having to stop running, shooting and blowing stuff up just so I have to deposit in-game cash at some far off part of the map. Not only does that bog down the action, but there’s a timer as to when you can deposit them. And being killed while you have cash? You’ll lose half of it. I’ve lost count where I had upwards of $600 and lost half of it simply because I forgot to deposit the money due to me being preoccupied with blasting enemies away, helping my fellow Titans and so on. I’m pretty sure that I’ll opt to just play TDM (if it has Titans) in the final game; or maybe a game mode that won’t require me to stop fighting in order to win? The other modes available were Pilots vs Pilots (seriously, why would you play a mode where the game’s main hook, which are Titans, aren’t available), and Amped Hardpoint, which plays a bit like Conquest/Domination, but with no enemy grunts (AIs), and less chances of calling in a Titan. Yep, I pretty much spent my entire time with the test playing Bounty, which is the most populated game mode for obvious reasons.

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Almost Super Mean Machines

At the end of the test, I’ve managed to hit the current cap of 10, unlocked various equipment and “skills” for my guns, and managed to finally understand how Titans work, make them survive, and be a game changer in matches. Will other players be as patient as me? I honestly can’t say. But aside from the little issues, which we’ll talk about soon in a separate article, I’ve had fun. Was I able to have the most fun during my time in comparison to other shooters? That’s an arguable fact, but I’m fairly confident that with a few tweaks from Respawn (UI, make people earn Titans faster or use the first one’s timer system, etc.) Titanfall 2 could stand toe-to-toe with the best of multiplayer FPS lot. 

Readers here and people who know me know that I’m a huge first-person multiplayer shooter fan, which means it’s a no-brainer that I’ll be playing this come release day. The bigger question here is: will I continue to play it after Battlefield 1 releases? I honestly can’t answer that right now, but if Respawn manages to make the right tweaks and adjustments, don’t be surprised to see your FPS pals opt for Titans instead of soldiers and pure infantry combat later this year.