A Weekend With Titanfall 2
STANDBY FOR TITANFALL
Over the weekend, players had the opportunity to jump into the pre-alpha tech test for Titanfall 2 on either PS4 or Xbox One, sorry PC players. The weekend test was essentially the game's public beta (there's no way a game coming out in two months is in the "pre-alpha" stage). I spent a handful of hours playing the game on Xbox One, and as a huge original Titanfall fan, I gotta say, I'm ready for more, though I do have some concerns.
The tech test offers three modes, two maps, two Titans, and a handful of weapons, with the ability to customize your own class. First off, Attrition is missing. The popular mode that I enjoyed so much in the first game has now been replaced by a new mode called Bounty Hunt. In this mode, you are rewarded money for each Titan, Pilot, and AI you kill. When the bank opens up, you can deposit your cash to be added to your teams overall score, however if you die, your cash is cut in half. This mode is pretty exciting, and the thrill of trying to not lose your money is exhilarating at times. Also in the tech test is the return of the first game's Pilots vs. Pilots mode, and a new Amped Hardpoint, which is like hard point, but amped.. Seriously, you can capture a point a second time after capturing it the first time. That's what makes it amped.
The tech test does allow players to use the all-new grapple hook. This thing is awesome. You can assign it to one of your custom class slots as a special ability. There is really no need to use any ability other than the grapple hook. This new item makes the game's already fluid traversal even better. You haven't experienced Titanfall until you've grappled yourself onto an enemy Titan and ripped their core out. Nothing like it!
Burn Cards are gone in Titanfall 2. You now have Boosts, which are like mini-killstreaks that you can apply to your class. For example, the one I used was called amped weapons. After getting a few kills and making some progress in the match, I would unlock the ability to beef up my guns. After I died, I lost it and would have to regain it. This makes the player buffs a little less unpredictable, and perhaps less advantageous, than Burn Cards were in the original Titanfall.
Another change to Titanfall 2 is the revamped progression system. Rather than just ranking up like in typical Call of Duty fashion, you now have multiple levels of progression. There is your Pilot's rank, your titan's rank, and your weapon's rank. All three of these allow players to have even more incentive to play around with different weapons and titans, as there is so much more to unlock and progress in. I will say one thing I didn't like was the lack of a progress bar. I couldn't figure out how to see what my player XP was until after a match. I also thought the game did a poor job of flashing rewarding animations across the screen whenever I ranked up. A minor and perhaps nit picky complaint, but an irritating one for me, personally.
Speaking of disappointing change, Titans are harder to come by in Titanfall 2. In the original game, you would have a countdown until your titan was ready. Essentially, everyone had a chance to get a Titan at least once per match. By performing well in a match, players could decrease the time needed until their titan was ready. In Titanfall 2, things are different. You have a progress bar in the bottom left side of your screen and the only way to fill it up and unleash your titan is to get kills and progress the match. This makes it hard to get a titan for more novice players, and even I myself had difficulty attaining a titan during some matches. This just helps keep the good players ahead of the more casual players, and I can't help but feel like this is a step back from what the first game was doing.
The two new Titan classes are both interesting and varied. I stuck to the larger Scorch Titan. His flamethrower ability is awesome, though his health is not as good as the Ogre Titan from the first game. I felt like enemies were able to take my Titan down much quicker in Titanfall 2, but perhaps I haven't found the right combination to create the optimal Titan class for myself. The game did not offer too many weapons, abilities, and perks, as it is just a beta. Still, I feel like I was able to get a good grasp on what the new Titans had to offer, and I can't wait to try the other four when the game launches.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with Titanfall 2. Matchmaking was quick and games were lag-free. The game features tons of new elements that help make the experience fresh and inviting for both returning players and new ones. Although I have some concerns, the game is still two months away and developer Respawn is asking for feedback. Most of my concerns could be fixed with a little balancing and tweaking. In addition to that, I haven't had a chance to play with all the toys that Titanfall 2 has to offer. There is still much more to see, and I can't wait to dig in on October 28, when the game launches.