Titanfall 2’s single-player campaign is a getting a lot of attention, but its multiplayer also has a lot new features.
The original Titanfall just had a multiplayer mode. While fans did complain about the lack of a solo campaign, many players enjoyed the competitive modes, in which you call down giant, robotic Titans to fight with or inside of. Coming out on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, the sequel brings that gameplay back, but it adds new modes, more mobility, and more strategy.
Earlier this month, I played Titanfall 2’s mulitplayer at developer Respawn Enterainment’s studio in Los Angeles. I spent a few hours with the new features, which refine the original’s mech-based mayhem thanks to added mobility. I also got to experience three of the multiplayer modes, the same ones that will be playable during Titanfall 2’s multiplayer test this weekend and the one after.
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Three new modes
I tried out three multiplayer modes: Bounty Hunt, Pilot vs. Pilot, and Amped Hardpoint.
Bounty Hunt is most similar to Attrition, the original game’s main mode. Your goal is to kill enemy players, Titans, and computer-controlled characters littering the map. But you need to bank your points in order for them to count for your team. At certain times, two chests will appear on the map. You must interact with them in order to store all of the points you’ve earned. If an enemy player kills you before you do, they’ll get half of what you were carrying (which can cause some pretty upsetting moments when you get sniped on your way to a chest). The mode also spawns Titans that either team can take down for massive points gains.
Pilot vs. Pilot is Titanfall without the Titans. It plays more like a traditional Call of Duty team-deathmatch experience. Considering the popularity of that series, I’m sure plenty of players will enjoy it. But I missed all of the giant robots, which is one of Titanfall’s main draws.
Amped Hardpoint is a new version of the original Titanfall’s take on control points. You have three areas on the map either team can capture, and you begin earning points once you do. However, you can also “amp” a control point by essentially capturing it again. When you do this, you earn double points while it remains amped. It encourages players to stick around areas they already captured, instead of just running around to contested points.
The grappling hook
Running around as a pilot feels great in the first Titanfall thanks to the fluid mobility. Things like double-jumping and wall-running made you a gun-toting acrobat. The grappling hook makes you even more mobile. You can use it to reach high buildings, escape from dangerous situations, or to even jump on friendly and enemy Titans. You can also use it to zip onboard that escape shuttle that the losing team has to retreat in at the end of games.
It’s a versatile and fun tool. Grappling around a map is obviously convenient, and it increases your character’s capability to reach high places (especially useful if you’re playing as a sniper). You can attach it to enemy players, which propels you toward them and delivers a lethal kick.
The grappling hook is so great and useful I’m surprised it’s optional. You can exchange it for other items, like one that makes you temporarily invisible. I’m sure that can be helpful in some situations, but I don’t think anything will match the utility of the grappling hook.
The original Titanfall has a balancing issue with Titans and pilots. Any pilot could jump onto an enemy Titan, pull out its core, and destroy it. The other player’s only chances for survival were to hope a teammate shot the pilot off, get out of his own Titan and shoo the pilot away (which takes so long that the enemy will probably destroy your core first), or use specific abilities like a toxic cloud that surrounded a Titan in lethal gas.
The whole Titan vs. pilot dynamic is very different in Titanfall 2. Now, when you mount an enemy Titan, you take out one of its battery packs. Doing this depletes some of its health, but it also adds that battery to your inventory. If you’re carrying one, you can jump on a friendly Titan and put it inside them, which gives them a health boost. Battery packs also drop after a Titan blows up.
This makes matches more interesting. It keeps Titans in the game longer, since Pilots will have a harder time killing them and because allies can help restore their health. It adds a new layer of strategy, since Pilots have a new way to support friendly Titans that aren’t their own.
A better Titanfall
I’m a fan of the original, but Titanfall 2 looks like an improvement. The single-player campaign looks fun and well-written, but the multiplayer changes feel just as significant. The grappling hook gives players more freedom and mobility, while the battery packs make Titan vs. pilot combat more fair and strategic.
All of these additions don’t change the core of Titanfall’s mech-based deathmatch, which is what makes it one of my favorite multiplayer shooters. The sequel feels like a more refined, fair experience.
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