I got a chance to preview Titanfall 2 yesterday, an online first-person shooter from Respawn Entertainment. The original Titanfall was a great game with a short life. The majority of its player base phased out after about a month. After playing the game, I fear Titanfall 2 will have a similarly short lifespan.
Titanfall was the first game I owned on Xbox One so I jumped into Titanfall 2 with an understanding of the basic mechanics. Double jumping and wall running both make their welcome return and feel even more fluid while new features like the sonar or decoy abilities are hit and miss. Each ability has good utility but some seem very situational while others feel absolutely essential. For example, I think not equipping a grappling hook in one of your two ability slots puts you at a major disadvantage during a match in the same way that having a jetpack in Star Wars: Battlefront was almost mandatory.
Shooting in Titanfall 2 feels fantastic. Every gun I tried had a believable weight and hardy impact. This is what I want my shooters to feel like. Watching the health bar above the heads of enemy pilots or Titans deplete gave me instant feedback on if I was accurately landing my shots allowing me to adjust my aim immediately. I wish I had more feedback about my own health bar. I didn’t notice any clear indicators about my current state of being. On that front it almost didn’t matter. Almost every encounter with another human player felt like a battle of who could shoot first. If an enemy got even just one shot on me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice between fight or light. There was only death for me, or my opponent if the role was reversed.
Titanfall 2 features six brand new Titans, mechs that the player can either control or set to fight alongside you, two of which were available to try out in the preview. I was disappointed that the Titan with the sword featured in the teaser trailer wasn’t playable in this preview build. The new Ion Titan has a host of laser-based abilities while the Scorch Titan is all about covering the terrain in fire. The new abilities are fun, intuitive, and genuinely useful. However, the Titans themselves felt more restricted in their mobility than in the last game. I didn’t once feel like I had the same defensive or traversal options and was thusly subjected to greater enemy fire.
I’m happy to say that Titan finishing moves are just as cool as ever. When an enemy Titan has low health, punching them with your own Titan will trigger a stylish animation in a third-person view where your robot tears the metallic limbs off the opponent. Even cooler, is killing an enemy Titan by dropping your own on them from the heavens. I felt like a mastermind the two times I managed to bait an enemy Titan right onto the drop point and watching it explode in a blaze of glory as my Titan crashed down on it like a meteor.
On all accounts, Titanfall 2 is shaping up to be better than its predecessor in every aspect. It will feature a proper single-player campaign and from what I’ve seen a ton of new abilities and ways to play. This time around it is coming to PS4 whereas the original was an Xbox One exclusive. I have no doubt that it will be another great entry in the series, but I found myself getting bored after a few games. Hopefully the full game can convince me to stay for a while when it comes out on October 28, 2016. To learn more about the other games announced at EA’s press conference yesterday, check out our coverage and stay tuned all week for more E3 coverage.