Developer Respawn Entertainment Publisher EA Format PC, PS4, Xbox One Release October 28
Titanfall always deserved better. It launched on Xbox One amid widespread antipathy to Microsoft’s muddled vision for its new console, and on PC when players still resented the very existence of EA’s Origin platform. But it was also a little ahead of its time. Nowadays players are more accustomed to games that are multiplayer-only and always online, while FPS players are more welcoming of a futuristic setting, and console audiences have learned how to manage cooldowns and use skills instead of simply shooting the bad guys in the face.
Titanfall 2, then, stands a much better chance of success. The Xbox One of 2016 is in comparatively ruder health. PC players have grudgingly accepted Origin. And with the Microsoft exclusivity deal only covering the first game, the sequel has access to the largest console audience on the market. Tellingly, our E3 demo is played using a DualShock 4.
One of the louder criticisms of the first game has been addressed, too: Titanfall 2 will have a full singleplayer campaign. While it’s a decision that comes from the right place, it poses several awkward questions to Respawn. In its Call Of Duty days, this group made campaigns that funnelled the player along what was essentially a series of deceptively open, bombastically explosive corridors. Now it must broaden its level designs to accommodate a robot the size of a townhouse, without leaving the on-foot super-soldier trailing in its wake. Its approach to pacing will have to change: in multiplayer the mech is the pacing device, but players will expect more than that from a story campaign. Perhaps the biggest risk of all is hinted at in the trailer: that Respawn will set out to explore the bond between a man and his robot, and end up making The Last
Guardian with a mecha fetish. Thankfully the multiplayer puts Respawn on safer ground, and it’s as intoxicating as ever. There are now six Titans, up from the original’s three; each now has a fixed set of abilities, with Respawn admitting that the first game’s customisable loadouts hindered more than they helped, since you often didn’t know what was going to hit you until it was too late. When on foot, expect a host of new guns and tweaks to returning ones, while a grappling hook expands your movement toolset in intriguing new ways. Titanfall 2 certainly has everything it needs to reach the heights its predecessor couldn’t, but it’s been handed an awkward stumbling block by its publisher. Launching it a week after Battlefield 1, and seven days before Call Of Duty: Infinite
Warfare, is at once commendably confident and just asking for trouble.
Thankfully the multiplayer puts Respawn on safer ground, and it’s as intoxicating as ever