Before we go any further, here’s the situation: I’ve played the first five minutes of the campaign and that’s it. Why skip out on the best new addition to Titanfall? Because the single player will still be there for me to explore long after the online community has dried up and died, meaning I need to hop on the already-decomposing corpse that this game touts as a multiplayer component before it’s gone.
On PC, the community is small. Very small. Less than a month after launch only one game mode is ever reliably playable (guess which one), and even then, only barely at odd hours on weekdays and weekends alike. At most I’ll see 1,000-something players online in my region on a Saturday afternoon. It’s rough. And it’s sad because, just as was the case with Titanfall 1, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game this year.
Initially, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer feels like a step in the wrong direction from its predecessor. For a start, maps are bigger, introducing brief moments of nothingness that NEVER existed in the original. This couples poorly with the fact that wall-running is now less emphasized, which inadvertently jacks up the barrier to entry when versing the droves of players who’ve already figured out how to circumvent a map’s superficially slow design. Then there’s the increased danger of AI specters and grunts, resulting in actual deaths from what were previously useless computer-controlled minions. Throw these things together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of frustration and shaken faith in the game’s quality—early on, that is.
Sink enough time into the game and overcome the steep learning curve that Titanfall 1 veterans such as myself had to suffer through and eventually you’ll discover Respawn knew exactly what they were doing. They’ve essentially shifted the focus of Titanfall multiplayer to be more centered around situational awareness rather than blazing fast reactionary processing, something I can’t say I’m a fan of but do understand the appeal toward. It’s a far more tactical affair, to say plainly.
While only one of TF2’s maps holds a candlestick to any of Titanfall 1’s extremely memorable multiplayer landscapes, be it the orange sands of Demeter or massive skeletons of Boneyard, the sequel focuses less on making memorable moments and shooting dioramas and more on increasing the game’s skill ceiling. Again, not my preference but it’s a welcome challenge. What IS my preference is the insane amount of customization they’ve added, not only cosmetically but also in terms of weaponry and equipment. Gravity stars are the best FPS addition in recent memory, sucking in opponents so you can whip out a pocket shotty and blast them while they’re trapped in a temporary wormhole. Shit’s lit.
In conclusion, while I fundamentally disagree with certain changes Respawn has made, I respect all of them and understand the vision behind the product. It’s a fun game, no doubt, which is why I’m sad to see such a small community. If you can get it for sub-forty U.S. dollars, snag it and hop in, the water’s fine—just a bit different than last time.