The duality of switching between Titanfall 2’s nimble pilots and monstrous titans like the orignal is at the heart of what makes its multiplayer great. The sequel’s additions and changes, while significant, do little to distract from this brilliant gameplay loop. The pilot’s ability to effortlessly traverse terrain is still remarkably fluid when the map allows for it, and titans feel like a more permanent investment thanks to rodeo changes and the advent of batteries.
As they existed in the original have been scrapped in favor of six unique archetypes so each with a charismatic and thematically appropriate designation. Scorch launches thermite, Ronin wields a flashy sword, and Ion evaporates enemies with a giant laser erupting from its chest. This change may seem like a step backwards where customization is concerned, but the ability to identify an enemy titan’s capabilities at a glance is well worth the sacrifice. Increased readability is present on foot too, as each pilot’s character model is directly linked to their tactical ability. A pilot draped an exotic fur for instance has the capability to cloak.
By design, Titanfall 2 is a less chaotic experience than its predecessor.
These gameplay changes inform the player’s ability to make strategic decisions on the fly also by design, Titanfall 2 is a less chaotic experience than its predecessor. An example of this new, more orderly approach is the revised rodeo system, which provides the mechanic with a set outcome that’s beneficial for the aggressor and less frustrating for the victim. Climbing an enemy mech now allows you to steal one of its batteries. The loss in health is significant, but unlike the original Titanfall a single rodeo isn’t lethal. Instead, the battery can be given to an ally or used to empower a titan of your own with a damage absorbing shield. Electric smoke also comes standard across all chassis after reaching a certain core charge, so only freshly fallen titans are easily bamboozled by a rodeo.The final change worthy of note is the removal of the infamous smart pistol as a primary weapon. The auto-aiming firearm still exists, but in a power-up only capacity. The smart pistol is now what’s called a pilot “boost” – think ultimates in Overwatch. Other boosts include amped weapons, a free battery, drone mines called “ticks,” and many more, each with their own specific activation costs based on your titan meter. Like the original, your titan meter gradually accrues charge over time. Unlike the original, it accrues at a much slower pace, instead relying on secured kills and contested objectives as the main means of shortening time between titan. In the the build I played, I averaged two titans per game with about half of my time spent in a titan.
The original Titanfall’s short progression and limited customization options were a definite point of contention, especially in the context of its multiplayer only setting. The good news is that the sequel brings a lot more to the table in this department. Titanfall 2 leverages the customization of every conceivable game element as part of its progression, from the animation used when executing an enemy pilot, to the commander that briefs you at the start of every match. The conventional weapon, titan and pilot skins are present along with unexpected elements like the ability to prestige or “regenerate” an individual gun to acquire a kill tracker straight out of Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Finally, Titanfall 2 introduces a currency called credits which allows you to permanently purchase weapons, titans, and other loadout unlocks ahead of their level requirement, and the purchased gear persists through regeneration.
The repertoire of Titanfall 2’s multiplayer offerings have filled out nicely with the notable exception of ranked play, which at launch at least will not be making an appearance. An unofficial competitive setting make take shape though, through the use of player created communities called networks. These groups are slightly more intricate than traditional guilds or clans as Titanfall 2 allows players to matchmake with other members of their network. Furthermore, networks allow users to participate and global mic chats as well as a “happy hour” which which will confer bonus credits during certain times of the day. Networks can also have a theoretically infinite number of members.
Bounty Hunt gives attrition a run for it’s money as Titanfall 2’s primary game mode.
Titanfall 2 revisits old game modes and brings a few new ones into the mix. The most notable of these new arrivals is Bounty Hunt, which tasks two teams of five players with eliminating waves of AI controlled baddies for cash. The twist is that accrued cashed doesn’t count toward your team’s total until it’s safely deposited in one of many terminals peppered across the map. If an enemy player kills you before this happens they’ll inherit half your earnings. Bounty Hunt gives attrition a run for it’s money as Titanfall 2’s primary game mode. Less popular offerings like Team Death Match, Last Titan Standing and Pilot Versus Pilot are back for another go, with the unexpected addition of a Coliseum mode. This 1v1 format has you wagering credits for the chance to best another pilot in a Quake-style projectile-based duel, the winner of which is guaranteed to receive a gift from their network which usually ends up being a callsign unlock.Titanfall 2’s multiplayer picks up right where the original left off with a decent offering in terms of the content that the first was lacking. The changes that have been made confer increased readability, situational awareness and less frustration than the original. For all things Titanfall, keep it locked on IGN.