Titanfall 2 Wants You To Play Smarter

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I have a confession to make, I’m not very good at first-person shooters. In fact, I’m mostly terrible at them. That being said, I love playing them. Some of my best gaming memories come from sleep overs as a kid playing 007 Nightfire, Halo LAN parties, countless hours in Modern Warfare 2, and more recently in the hyper-competitive Overwatch.

So when I heard that the upcoming Titanfall 2 would be running a Multiplayer Tech Test on consoles, I simply had to be a part of it. I had missed out on the original back in 2014, but after their impressive showing at E3 2016, I knew developer Respawn Entertainment had created a must-play game. We are only two months away from Titanfall 2’s October 28th release date, and there is a lot that’s going to change between now and then, but it made one hell of a first impression.

I started off by playing the Tech Test’s brief but efficient Training mode. With a time trial obstacle course and a number of weapons to test out, the Training mode gives players a surprising amount of freedom, encouraging new and experienced players to hone their free-running and shooting skills.

What surprised me most was a window that pops up and asking if I want to be able to sprint without pressing the sprint button down. I chose to turn this feature on, hoping it would make the free-running that much more free.

While Training is nice, there’s no better way to sharpen your skills than on the battlefield. Auto-sprint enabled, load out set, I was ready to play. I chose to play Pilot vs. Pilot, a game type that eliminates Titans from the match. Needless to say, my ass was being handed back to me almost as quick as I could free-run it into the firefight.

While my team won, I found myself at the bottom of the leaderboard. Motivated by my depressing K/D, I would be more cautious in my second round, take into careful consideration what my mistakes were. That’s when I noticed some unique features in Titanfall 2’s UI. Each time you respawn, a brief tip shows up on the right side of the screen. It’ll say things like “SMGs are more accurate when fired from the hip,” or, suggestions that being stationary will get you killed. Additionally, when you respawn or choose a new load out, the UI will inform you what kind of gun you’re using, whether its full auto or has a lot of recoil.

These design choices show a dedication to teaching players how to play, and getting them to be smarter players in the process. They may not tell you what you’re doing wrong, but Respawn is giving players the tools to discover the problems on their own.

This philosophy extends into Pilot perks like the grappling hook, that allows for faster traversal and the throwing knife that produces a radar signal that highlights enemy players. And in Titanfall 2 players are rewarded not just for kills and completing objectives, but through their use of weapons, tools and perks.

With a focus on teaching their players Respawn’s Titanfall 2 will prove itself to be a unique and forward thinking entry in the often crowded shooter genre.

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Dan Berlin


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