‘Titanfall 2: Pre-Alpha Tech Test’ Impressions

As a PlayStation guy, a year hasn’t gone by where some exclusive title for the Xbox One hasn’t made me toy with the idea of buying one. Thankfully, companies are starting to bend a little on their exclusive content in order to make (more money and) every gamer able to play their content. Two years ago, I was bummed out when Titanfall only came out for Microsoft systems. Over the past weekend, however, I got to play the Tech Test for Tianfall 2, and had an absolute blast wrecking shop in my giant mech suit on my PlayStation 4.

Thankfully, the demo has a tutorial to show you the basics of movement and combat. There is even a gauntlet style route you can run over and over again to try to beat your best time. Titanfall 2 is momentum based as far as movement is concerned, so I spent more time than I normally would have to really get a handle on the controls since this was my first time out. Strange though, no tutorial on how to use the Titan itself. You’ll slug that out in real time. Since this is just the first weekend, I’ll break down two different chunks via The Pilot and The Titan.

The Pilot

Standard shooter controls are all at work here. If you’ve played either Battlefield or Call of Duty, you’ll no doubt pick the controls up instantly. The thing I had to get used to was the Grapple Hook and Wall-Running. The hook seems to work better as a slingshot style system for me. I could hook onto anything, and as it pulled me in, double jump to launch over obstacles. Simply hooking and pulling myself toward something usually left me stuck and having to wall-run up or around the obstacle. I put a lot of time into the game over the weekend and never really got comfortable using it. Saying that, the Hook is essential when trying to board a Titan to destroy it “rodeo” style. I have only blown up two Titans using this method, and have punched many more trying to do the same to me. Which, is hilarious to watch.

The sliding and wall-running are all pretty straight forward if you’ve ever played the aforementioned shooters. Higher levels unlock weapon upgrades and special abilities, which you can switch out at your loadout screen before a match and/or at respawn. There are a handful of standard pilot varieties to pick from, so if you’re a camper, or an assault guy like myself, Titanfall 2 has a class you’ll like and customize.

On the ground, it feels like a quick and light shooter. Controls are super responsive and aside from the Grapple Hook sometimes not doing its job, the shooter elements all worked great considering its Pre-Alpha form. The game looks and feels very polished so far. While I’ve looked at a lot of our Facebook comments that mentioned server issues and bugs, I’ve only experienced one. A day where the server was wonky and I kept rubber banding. But that was the only time I had any issues.

The Titan

You’ll have to learn the controls to this big guy/gal on the fly. While I didn’t play the first Titanfall game, it would appear they’re trying heavily to make sure the relationship between Titan and Pilot is at the foreground. I’ve heard several lines while jumping into my Titan like, “Welcome back,” “We’re stronger together.” And things of that nature. While those things are what make me so interested in playing the game at launch, it serves as a nice reminder to what the Respawn team is trying to accomplish.

Once inside, you’re mobility switches a little to dashes and thrusts in place of actually jumping. The two Titans available, Ion and Scorch both handle about the same in terms of movement, but their power loadouts are quite different.

Scorch is a slower tank style Mech. His Thermite launcher is the main weapon that not only does damage but leaves a residual compound on the ground that keeps damaging enemies. Which I find is great for A-holes that like to hide in little caves. His shield can melt projectiles while shot at him, and his Flame Core super attack essentially kills everything around him with fire. Like Pilots and big scary spiders.

Ion handles more like an assault class. He’s a little quicker and his Splitter Weapon acts more like a quick assault weapon, but in laser form. He was my personal favorite to use because of his mobility, and his Laser Core special attack, is straight out of Care Bears. Or, more practically, Iron Man. But it’s still one of the most brutal attacks in the game and is awesome to use as it is to see used.

Final Impressions

If the Tech Test for Titanfall 2 is this far along, the game is off to a really great start. The Pilots all handle as well as the Titan’s, but it’s unfortunate there wasn’t a tutorial on how exactly to use the Titan. I could’ve easily figured out the Pilot mechanics, but I had never driven a Titan before. I very much would have liked a shooting range to play around with. The Titans themselves are interesting, and I look forward to seeing the interplay between the Pilot and Mech suit.

Going up against Battlefield 1 is a tough sell because of how much I love that franchise. But if I have as much fun during the 2nd weekend of playtime as I did the first, I’m going to have some serious choices to make when October gets here.