|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Respawn Entertainment|
|Release: October 28, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating.|
Let me set the stage for this Titanfall 2 preview. When I came to EA Play at E3 2016, the place was jumping. There were people everywhere heading in. I went to Battlefield 1 first, and it was swarmed by enthusiastic fans. Two people in my group said this was their second time going through the demo. One was on his fourth play. After playing Battlefield 1 I could understand why. It was both entertaining and the enthusiasm of everyone involved was infectious. When I went to the Titanfall 2 floor upstairs, it was empty. There were a few people, sure, but not nearly the same crowds. There wasn't the same excitement and intensity. The people I chatted with while killing time were there for the first time, a few only for the T-shirt you'd get for completing the demo.
It's a sentiment that carried over into the experience itself. Titanfall 2 put me into a Bounty Hunt mode at E3. I needed to travel around Boomtown, taking down objectives as I went. By doing enough of what I was supposed to, I was able to summon a Titan mech to use in the field. It was an experience that was competent enough. Nothing we haven't seen before, but then, EA doesn't have to reinvent the wheel with this one.
The main change I noticed in Titanfall 2 was an increase in speed. The game feels more dynamic. Perhaps borrowing from another series with “Titan” in the name, Titanfall 2 now gives players a grappling hook. This allows a player to zip quickly around a map, rappelling from place to place. Even Titans are more swift, with quick dashes to evade enemies or cover more ground.
Still, I wonder if this sudden sense of fluidity and motion is enough to set Titanfall 2 apart? There was nothing wrong with the demo I played. The controls were sound. The grappling hook worked well. Transitioning from on-foot interactions to Titan movements was very natural. It seemed like a seamless transition from one mode of play to the next. And certainly, I appreciated the Pulse Blade, a new weapon that let me scan for enemies and deal damage at the same time. It was quite a boon for someone like me, who plays a shooter for the month it's released, then moves on.
It just felt like there was something missing. There was an undefinable quality that Titanfall 2 lacked at E3. I suspected it was just me, but conferred with some other people at the event, as well as a friend from another outlet who'd played the demo at a different time than me. Everyone was pleased with the experience. I couldn't pin down anything wrong with it, but it didn't get me excited. The best I could manage is a simple, “It's fine.”
Which isn't a bad thing. I did enjoy myself with Titanfall 2. It wasn't a mess, like the Sonic Boom Wii U demo so many years ago. It was fine. And yet, this lack of excitement I feel is foreboding. At an E3 where Battlefield 1, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wilds, Watch Dogs 3, and even games like Sea of Thieves and Dragon Quest Builders, have me eager to pore over every detail and share it with anyone who’ll listen, I fear already that Titanfall 2 may not do enough to make its mark.
Live Convention Coverage