Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 isn’t exactly the same as the original, but that’s totally okay.

Titanfall 2

This weekend Respawn allowed us an early look at Titanfall 2 through a multiplayer tech test. This was an open, pre-alpha demo available to anyone on Xbox One and PS4. Having never played the original, I decided to dive in and see what all the fuss is about. After all, Titanfall 2 is one of the most highly-anticipated first-person shooters of the year – something utterly different from the typical Call of Duty and Battlefield affair – how could I pass that up as a serious FPS player?

This was actually a fairly comprehensive little sampling. The demo came loaded with a really helpful (and fun) tutorial, and a preview video explaining the three game modes available to try and their objectives. We have “Pilots vs. Pilots,” a no-nonsense team deathmatch mode with no titans, “Bounty Hunt,” a mode where you build up and deposit currency for your team by taking out AI-controlled enemy units as well as other players and their titans, and “Amped Hardpoint,” which is basically domination. I played all three game types extensively, and I enjoyed them all.

To my surprise, when I went online to discuss the test with others, I found that the game is almost unanimously disliked. Almost anyone who played and loved the original Titanfall seemed really disappointed in the sequel and all of the changes that have been made. Their arguments were primarily three: movement and traversal seems to be slower than in the original, TTK (time to kill) is way too fast (i.e. you die too easily), and titans are now unlocked by scoring points instead of being put on a timer. These things are pissing everybody off to no end, but I’m fine with all of it.

Titanfall 2

I found movement to be quite fast, and there are still plenty of surfaces upon which you can wall-run for additional speed and maneuverability. You have to open your eyes and use the environment around you, and sometimes it won’t be an obvious, flat wall. Sometimes you’ll be wall-running on rocks, the sides of cliffs, or gates. I had no problem staying mobile. TTK did seem quite fast, but this is something the team can very easily tweak before launch – the game is still a couple of months away, after all. Finally, the fact that titans are unlocked by scoring kills and points didn’t bother me because I am usually a very active run’n’gunner scoring plenty of kills anyway. I can understand how going from a timer to something more like a killstreak reward would frustrate more strategic players, but I found that I still saw plenty of titans in each match.

Basically, I think the game seems really great. I went in with the full understanding that we were playing a pre-alpha build of the game, and that plenty of things were subject to change and improvement. Furthermore, it should go without saying that the final version will obviously include many more maps, game types, unlocks, classes, titans, weapons, and enhancements. This wasn’t a full-game trial, it was a technical test to make sure servers wouldn’t explode and people wouldn’t be flying through walls, so the critics need to cool it. You can’t judge this game as you would the final product.

At any rate, I can say conclusively that for the average Joe or Jane, or for anyone who didn’t spend hundreds of hours in the first Titanfall, Titanfall 2 seems like a hell of a good time. I loved my weekend playing the pre-alpha, and you better believe that I’ll be there for any beta tests, and very likely for the full game at launch. Don’t listen to the naysayers and whiners. Go play the game when you can, and decide for yourself. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

If you want to check out some of my gameplay from the tech test, you can do so below:

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