When Respawn first unveiled Titanfall at E3 2013, the crowds and the press heaped on the praise. The game earned numerous awards, including several Best of Show awards. The hype was unstoppable.
But when Titanfall finally released in 2014, it failed to make the big splash everyone expected. The reception was generally positive and well deserved at that. Titanfall was well balanced, implemented wall-running very well, and successfully increased the scale of a traditional multiplayer shooter mid-match with huge mechs dominating the battlefield. Even so, interest in the game quickly petered out.
Now Titanfall 2 is back, and the excitement is building once again. But will the mech-shooter sequel have longer legs this time around?
I got my hands on the game today at E3 and I think the answer is yes.
Here’s the thing: the core of Titanfall is really good and that hasn’t changed. Running along walls and hopping to strategic vantage points is as fluid as ever and, yes, calling in your mech and leaping it into it from above is still a thrilling maneuver. Moving from rapid pilot combat to strategic Titan shoot-outs feels natural, as it did in the first game.
Titanfall 2 brings six new Titans to the game and some new pilot abilities, including tactical radar and, yes, a grappling hook. I played as with two of the new Titans, one with a chest laser-beam for a devastating ultimate and another that focused on thermite explosives and walls of fire. These Titans play around with their environment in interesting ways, laying traps and trip-wires that will decimate any other Titans that walk through them.
I know this may sound unimpressive — Titans laying traps instead of blowing things up — but the changes bring additional strategic elements to Titanfall 2. Taking out opposing Titans and keeping your own alive is crucial, especially now that Respawn has removed the automatic Titan timers from the previous game. You’ll have to earn your Titan, making it far more valuable.
Titanfall was just on the edge of being a huge hit. It was its lack of content, especially a robust single-player campaign, that turned off a lot of potential players. With the addition of a real story mode, and more pilot and Titan customization options, Titanfall 2 has the opportunity to reclaim the accolades of its predecessor.