A Newcomer's Impressions Of The Titanfall 2 Test

This past weekend, Titanfall 2 offered an open tech test across the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Eager to get my fill of giant robots and balletic gunplay, I suited up to join the fight. All in all, it was pretty fun. But there's a lot to dissect and discuss.

I should begin by admitting that I don't have experience with the original Titanfall. Not in any extended capacity. Titanfall 2 marks my entrance to the franchise and makes it clear that I've been missing out on a great multiplayer experience. Titanfall 2 has a wonderful sense of scale. Matches build up to big moments in a way that I haven't really experienced before.

Most of my time in Titanfall 2 was spent playing a game mode called "Bounty Hunt". In this mode, two teams compete to get to most money. Each kill gives you some cash. From basic NPC grunts to agile player characters, you get various amount of currency to rush back to a home base. The best bounties are saved for special mechs that spawn at the end of every wave. Claim one of those and you'll be swimming in cash Scrooge McDuck style.

The ground game in Titanfall 2 doesn't quite boast the mobility that trailers showcase but it comes close enough. Furious sprints, double jumps, and slides are the norm. Assault builds can also have access to this summer's hottest new accessory: a grappling hook. It's a new addition to the game and I honestly can't imagine going back to play the original without it. Maps offered open spaces and compact urban areas. Navigation was made much easier with the grappling hook. There's nothing like jumping out of a mech, swinging around a water tower, and unloading a spray of bullets into a pesky sniper.

A Newcomer's Impressions Of The Titanfall 2 Tech Test

Fighting in your Titan feels a bit more disconnected. Engagements have less gear smashing than I was hoping. It can feel a bit distant, shooting across a field at another Titan. Still, they are powerful machines and if you're a decent shot infantry will offer no resistance. Titans are intimidating and he tone of Titanfall 2 is just grimy and bloody enough. A little more heavy metal and it would have gone too far. As it stands, while Titan versus Titan fights could stand some improvement, Titanfall 2 definitely treats mechs like big, badass war machines.

I had a choice between two different Titans. Ion was a very direct and powerful beast. Armed with a rapid fire energy rifle and packed to the brim with a host of laser traps and subweapons, playing as Ion had a nice cadence. You could rush in and fire a ton of rifle bursts, retreat to drop a trip mine, and then leap back into the fray to finish the enemy. It even boasted a large chest laser for a special attack. Ion was all flash and explosions.

The other choice, which quickly became my personal favourite, was Scorch. This baby had a powerful main gun that hit enemies hard. Initially, I played Scorch as something of an anti-Titan machine but it turns out that I had a ton of goodies for controlling enemy positions on the battlefield. I could drop gas mines, igniting them to lay down fields of fire. Play became more technical; it was a thinking gal's Titan and I loved every second with it.

A Newcomer's Impressions Of The Titanfall 2 Tech Test

Where Titanfall 2 lost me a bit was the actual pace of play. A big change from the first title is that you don't have a steadily growing meeter that grants you access to your Titan. Instead, you slowly fill a bar through kills. In theory, this makes a lot of sense but in practice, it sometimes created disparities between teams. Titanfall 2 benefits from offering two major modes of play and gating access definitely had an effect on how matches felt overall. When they were going great, you got to kick arse. When things were harder, you had to struggle that much more.

Titanfall 2 also boasts a somewhat superfluous progression system. Experience systems are a devilish little feat of design; they're treadmills we run on to get various trinkets and gun mods. It doesn't feel any better here. Luckily, I found it easy to sidestep the whole process by sticking with a default assault rifle that worked amazingly well. All for the better. Titanfall 2's attempt at a progression system would have felt far too obtrusive otherwise.

Overall? For a pre-alpha tech test, there was a lot to take in. Titanfall 2 shows promise, if stumbling a bit in execution. It expect it to be easy for series veterans and newcomers alike to leap right in.


Comments

    I played it for like 10 minutes after the tutorial. I got to the bit that was like, "running along walls makes you run faster!" Swore to myself, then. Finished tutorial. Played multiplayer. Ran up to confront some enemies, got mowed down a bunch of times.

    I like mechs, but I felt this was a twitch shooter like CoD with some mechs in it. I probably should have given it more of a chance, and my friend told me it's pretty good, and running makes you show up on the map anyway, and I shouldn't have done that. But I really didn't feel it.

    Maybe I'll give it another chance.

    Last edited 24/08/16 1:20 pm

      The weapons in Titanfall have always been a bit OP but I've noticed in this one that you can pretty much snipe someone with the assault rifle. If you learn to move fast and keep to cover then you can survive a fair while but if an enemy spots you before you spot them then you're probably not going to survive.

      I don't mind it. Makes it more intense but I wouldn't be surprised if they tweak it a lot before release.

        I def think it's me not the game. People seemed to already have a grasp of it well in advance of my stumbling. I really need to just give myself time to learn it. The gun models and movement and maps do feel more weighty to me than cod though. Cod shooting, movement and maps has always felt to me very cardboardy to me. I don't know if thats just me. Battlefield feels weightier and more substantial so Ive always preferred it. Titanfall has an interesting balance between the two.

          Well if you think this is fast vs battlefield, try giving Titanfall1 a chance. Quicker and far more twitch shooter than COD, with larger maps and mechs. Titanfall 2 felt like a slower COD to me.

    Im actually rather interested in this game but only from the single player perspective.
    I didnt play the first game because it felt too much like another battlefield / cod shooter which doesnt appeal to much.
    Hopefully launch goes well for it. (but it wont)

      I'm also interested in it for the SP experience. Just curious as to why you don't think the launch will go well... ?

        nothing in particular, just seems most games these days have bungled launches which hinders the initial experience.
        Iv had non stop issues with Deus Ex and I just CBF playing it anymore, just seems they dont do PVT any more and all the consumer gets is duct tape games... its made me a tad bitter

    I played a lot of the original Titanfall, on PC though. Played the TF2 tech demo on PS4.

    As a returning Titanfall 1 player, my thoughts/comparisons:

    Liked
    - Faster TTK. I know some people complained about it being too fast, but in a game where movement is so quick, you need a fast TTK or it becomes too easy for enemies to escape. A slow TTK is fine in a game like Battlefield where it's slower and boots on the ground. I always felt it was a little too slow in the original, and didn't reward good target acquisition as it was too easy to just bail out when you were being shot at.

    - The more unique Titans/Titan abilities are pretty fun. I'm really looking forward to Ronin, the sword Titan.

    - Some of the new pilot abilities are awesome. Namely the grappling hook.

    Disliked
    - Not a fan of how they slowed down the movement compared to the original. Overall the Pilots just feel heavier and more sluggish.

    - While the abilities are fun, the Titans do feel weaker this time around

    - Even as someone that was pretty good in Titanfall 1, I was a fan of the original Titan timer. It gave below average players a guarantee that no matter what, they'd get their Titan eventually - but still rewarded good players with their Titan faster. Hell, there were many games in the original where I'd have my Titan within a minute of initial spawn. The new system is too close to just being a scorestreak from CoD, and actively punishes players that aren't as good.

    - Maybe it's because it's just a beta, but it was missing the chatter/dialogue from the grunts present in Titanfall 1. Just small touches that made it feel more immersive.

    Last edited 24/08/16 2:01 pm

    As a titanfal1 veteran my experience was that it's very slow paced, and there arent enough titans. Won't be buying it with titans as a killstreak, might as well play advanced warfare, at least then you'd have Australian games.

      I made a similar point above, but apparently Respawn have come out and already said that based on feedback, they'll be reverting to a timer. Possibly in time for the next tech test. Source: LevelCap video.

        Fingers crossed. I really enjoyed the first game and hope that people get into this one.

        Hopefully they speed the pace up a little too, then I'd be happy. I really enjoyed Titanfall1, except it felt like their Aus servers were sorted out that little bit too slow after launch, so most aussies either gave up or played with higher ping overseas servers that had higher user count.

    Never played the original so I was pretty amazed at the scale of it, had a lot of fun. But then after some reading on the net it seems like the original was designed a bit better. I think I'll still get it tho

    The best mode in 1 was where you started in a titan and only had the one. The rest of the modes with combined titan/footsoldiers didn't work for me.

      That was really fun..."Last Titan Standing" I believe.

        Yeah! That was it. That mode was actually really cool and I was playing it over and over again until I lost interest in the game completely. People played completely differently in that mode, I found. It seemed like a more focused mode.

    Titans as a Kill Streak?! WTF, that was the main buying point for the last game was knowing that If I sucked so bad I still got a titan.

    I really hope they bring back the Titan timer or at least allow you to earn one through means other than getting player kills - capping objectives or killing grunts, for instance.

    I don't like the idea of a team being shut out of getting their Titans entirely because they're having a bad game or just aren't very good. :/

    All they had to do was take Titanfall 1, include the stuff they added post launch, add the grapple hook, make some more maps, then spend the rest of the two years making an incredible single player campaign.

    Make some cosmetics to bring in money.

    That's it, job's done.

    How'd we end up with this.
    And, despite them saying they're making changes based on feedback, we're nine weeks from release.
    Balance changes maybe, but they'll be feature complete by now... and there's no way they can change the maps back to, closed in, multipathway maps.

    Honestly, if you read Keighley's Final Hours of Titanfall piece, it doesn't sound like the origional Infinity Ward guys had a lot to do with Titanfall 1 (they were still tied up with the Activision lawsuit). I'd say they were involved with this one, which is why it plays like a Call of Duty game.

      I don't think they're claiming they're going to change the maps, just that Homestead does not represent a "new direction" for the game, i.e.: it's not representative of the finished product. They probably selected it for the test because it's so different to Titanfall 1.

        There's an interview with the multiplayer designer on Shacknews.
        He talks about how the original games maps were designed with the idea of a 'honeycomb', allowing for players to weave through them.
        With Titanfall 2 they moved to the concept of a 3 lane map, moving away from the honeycomb idea.
        He describes the first game as being too hectic... which made it too confusing for players.

        Last edited 26/08/16 12:02 am

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