Having been stoked by the trailer, I am happy to say that the game does live up to it. It’s truly awe inspiring to see a Titan let off a barrage of dozens of missiles above you as you dart between it’s legs, run 20 meters long a wall, to jump off and shoot an unsuspecting foe in the face. Respawn haven’t tried to rewrite history here, what they have done is tweak the multiplayer experience adding more tactical options and improving on an already great multiplayer experience.
So what’s changed since Titanfall hooked me two years ago? The level design has definitely been improved. It is immediately obvious that there is a lot more verticality, wall run-offs and opportunities for your pilot to manoeuvre around the playing field. The controls feel fluid and I found it much easier to pull off prolonged parkour moves. The multi player leveling is simplified and more accessible. Gone are the frankly laborious requirements (I stopped regenerating at level 7) that are replaced by a merit system. The better you play, the more merits you receive, the quicker you and your guns will level up. You see, you no longer just level up your pilot, you also individually level up your weapons, opening up additional modification slots and skins as you do.
Your Titan now spawns once you have scored enough points on a gauge by killing and damaging enemies rather than being on a timer. This may leave the game unbalanced and in favour of seasoned players, but there are plenty of opportunities to fill your gauge and there were plenty of Titan’s being called in when I was playing, by good and bad players alike.
New minion’s, basically AI controlled canon fodder for your mech and pilot, have been introduced with new types of grunts and Spectres, along with the Reaper, a mini AI titan which can make quick work of your pilot if you are caught out in the open. The option of customising your Titan’s weapon load-out is gone and is now replaced by six specific Titan’s that all have their strengths and weaknesses and improved tactical abilities.
Picking a Titan gives you a particular load-out, tailored to specific battlefield roles. The Northstar Titan has a sniper rifle, there is a ‘heavy’ mech in the shape of Legion, which has high damage output, but reduced mobility, whilst the up close and personal mecha-samurai Ronin has a shotgun and sword. You no longer have a side weapon, only an anti-Titan and a primary. I honestly didn’t miss the absence of a third slot. I thought I might whilst rodeoing enemy Titan’s. For those new to the series you can as a pilot jump (rodeo) onto enemy Titan’s to deal damage, but rather than just off loading your clip into the Titans robo brain you now get to steal its battery and can choose to install it on your own titan or a team members for replenished health. The second time you manage to rodeo the same titan you can toss a grenade in the gap left by the battery for some great damage.
Another casualty is the burn card deck which is now replaced by boosts. Boosts are abilities or weapons, which unlock when you hit a certain percentage of your Titan call gauge needed to activate it. They are all fun to mess around with, the better ones unlocking at higher levels. These add another welcome layer of tactical options as you can strategically place anti-titan or anti-pilot gun turrets or choose to have a Smart Pistol become active half way through a round or just add Amped ammo to your weapons for an early game advantage.
These options along with the new Titan’s really do add some depth to the game, as the original would often devolve into a manic free for all; these new elements definitely encourage a cooperative approach to play.
In Titanfall the cut-scene before you entered into battle served as part of the campaign narrative. Now instead it has the head of your chosen faction seeing you off. Rather than just playing as IMC or the Militia there are now six factions to choose from whether it’s the Synth Ash or the hard drinking Barker (you may remember him from the original). These give the multi-player a sense of character and continued play with a faction will eventually unlock additional exclusive skins for weapons and Titan’s. While there are plenty of achievements/trophies for the campaign there is only a handful for the multiplayer, which I know is going to be disappointing for some. However there is a plethora of un-lockable upgrades and skins for both your Pilot and Titan, which will satisfy the most OCD amongst you.
There are plenty of game modes to choose from and yes Attrition is one of them. There was community uproar when the beta multiplayer was made available and it wasn’t part of it. Rest assured it’s here.
If you are a Titanfall fan you’ve probably pre-ordered and purchased the game, many of you for the multi-player alone, thankfully the multiplayer lives up to the hype and is a joy to play.
Read our full review on 24 October for final score and campaign information.
Titanfall 2 releases on XBO, PS4 and PC on 27 October.