Titanfall was known for incorporating a fresh take on multiplayer with its mechanized Titan robots and frenetic pilot (close-quarters combat) action. Limited to the Xbox 360, One, and Windows platforms, PlayStation gamers missed the game when it released two years ago. Not this time; Titanfall 2 is headed to the PlayStation 4. Respawn Entertainment let us loose in their Chatsworth, California studio for an entire day of game time with Titanfall 2 in a pre-alpha state, and we have our impressions ready for you below. (You can read about our impressions of the single-player right here).
Titanfall 2 will see the release of a new game feature, dubbed Networks. They are essentially clans, but you can join more than one at a time. You designate one as your home Network, and as soon as you enter the multiplayer network you are placed in the Network’s lobby. Here, you can chat with other members using your mic. Once you’re ready to play a few matches, you initiate the formation of a party using anyone in the Network at the time who accepts your invitation. Networks can be thought of as an extended friends list. It’s just one of many ways that Respawn Entertainment is trying to slow the inevitable descent of active player count throughout the game’s life cycle.
During our time with the game, we played through three of the game’s multiplayer modes. The first was Bounty Hunt. In this multi-round match, a bounty is placed on a random player on each team, usually someone in a Titan at the time. Your goal is to eliminate the bounty on the opposing team before the player marked for bounty on your team is taken out. In between rounds, banks open up on the map, and you can deposit money that you’ve racked up for killing enemies, and especially for taking out bounties. You steal a portion of an enemy’s cash when you kill them, so you have to decide if you want to keep trying to take out enemies, or deposit what you’ve got so far to prevent the enemies from collecting your stash. Bounty Hunt games are usually a quick match, with everyone vying for the marked players and then converging towards the banks while they are open.
The next mode of Titanfall 2 we tried out was Pilots vs. Pilots. This was a classic Team Deathmatch (TDM) style, but with the Pilots’ abilities in full focus. The new grappling hook made for a much more vertical game, since attacks could come from anywhere. These grappling hooks have quite a long reach, and can hook onto basically anything in the level. You can even hook other players and draw them towards you, though it does not prevent those who are snarled by the hook from firing their weapon.
The last mode we tried out was called Amped Hardpoint. It’s a control point variant, where you try to control more of the map than the opposing team. Here, a powerup for your pilot could be equipped that enabled you to stick to the walls for an extended period of time after a jump, which could enable unexpected vantage points that your enemies would never see coming. Furthermore, once a control point is captured, it can be captured again, which amps it up and causes the control point to earn your team points twice as fast. Amping up all control points on the map at the same time always ensured a quick and decisive victory; thankfully the maps appeared to be balanced well enough that this rarely happened.
Familiar, Yet Fresh
So how did Titanfall 2 play? Like little else, really. Between all the wall running and jet packing around, you’d rarely see a player sauntering along at a leisurely pace, unless they were attempting to snipe. A new move was introduced, the power slide, which just added to the frantic pace of the game. Players routinely killed one another while airborne, or grappled onto an enemy Titan in an attempt to rip out a power cell. This will all feel familiar to those who played the first game, but very new to those who missed out. Not only do you have your player’s loadout to configure, but your Titan also has its own loadouts. Expect to see all kinds of unlocks for both modes of play, as well, each with their own leveling attributes.
Respawn Entertainment hasn’t messed with the formula that made the first Titanfall a success too much. The introduction of the grappling hook adds more verticality to combat, and the new sliding move makes for an even faster ground game for the pilots. Titanfall 2 felt like a refreshing set of ideas in a world full of game after game featuring the same mechanics over and over. While we saw just a sampling of the game a few weeks ago, you can anticipate this and more coverage leading up to Titanfall 2’s release on October 28.
Titanfall 2’s multiplayer hands-on was conducted at Respawn’s studio in CA, which PlayStation LifeStyle attended. EA offered travel and hotel accommodations which PSLS politely declined due to PmC being within driving distance of the studio.