Titanfall 2’s New Multiplayer Modes Will Kick Your Ass

The good folks over at Respawn were kind enough to let me park my battered Prius in their parking lot a couple of weeks ago while I gave some of Titanfall 2’s new multiplayer modes a spin. While none of these modes set the world on fire, I left that day in my heated hybrid with the intent of convincing my friends to pick up the game in October. Once the embargo lifted, of course.

Bounty Hunt

First up: Bounty Hunt. The longest of the game modes, Bounty Hunt has two teams fighting over enemy A.I. spawns to grab as much cash via kills as possible. Once a wave is completed, you can bank your money and contribute toward the team’s total. Or, you can do what I did and die before making it to the bank, halving your take. Killing an enemy player scores whatever cash they were holding on to.

Enemy Titans will also drop onto the map, their inevitable destruction landing fat stacks of cash for whoever lands the final blow. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it was to focus damage on a Titan only to have someone on the other team wall-run-and-gun and steal the kill (and the cash). Actually, I can tell you, because it happened a lot, and it always ended with me making up new curse words. Once I managed to actually take down the guy who did it, I high-fived myself because everyone else was too busy winning. It’s the small victories.

Pilot Versus Pilot

The second mode I played was called PVP, or Pilot Versus Pilot (get it?). Playing a game mode where the selling point is entirely absent seems counterproductive, but it was a breath of fresh air not to be the spearmint gum on someone else’s Titan shoes. It was a lot of fun, although the absence of large walking death machines made the maps feel a lot more empty. I would be curious to see smaller maps tailor-made for this mode, as most matches became an Enemy At The Gates reenactment. If that sounds awesome, you were probably the one killing me all of the time.

PVP provided an opportunity to test out the new grappling hook, however, and if there was ever a way I wanted to die, it would be in mid-swing. While the grappling hook can get you to higher ground quicker, I found that it was best used to travel large distances while yelling, “Yippee!” Firing the grappling hook at the ground, followed by an immediate press of the jump button turns any Pilot into a human catapult. While I was unable to test its effectiveness against medieval fortifications, I can say that learning the ropes will be a critical multiplayer skill. (I love puns.) [You're got a mean hook, Matt. ~Ed. Nick]

Amped Hardpoint

Amped Hardpoint was last on the list, and I was disappointed to learn that this was not, in fact, an energy drink chugging contest. Holding any one of the three points on the map yields points for your team. Hold it for a little bit, little bit of points. Hold it for a little longer, however, and the point becomes amped, earning more points (because they’re amped!). It reminded me of Destiny’s multiplayer mode Control (except amped!).

Much like my experience with Bounty Hunt, Amped Hardpoint felt a little long at times, with very few matches resulting in close calls. Many control points stayed held by a single team throughout the match, with only the central point being fought over. Then again, I was having too much fun catapulting myself into harm’s way, so I definitely wasn’t doing my team any favors.

Networks

The developers spent a little bit of time talking about Networks. Networks, as you can see by my capitalization, is a feature in Titanfall 2 that makes it easy to group up with the people you want to play with. Think guilds, clans, that sort of thing, with the added benefit of being able to belong to multiple Networks. The Titanfall website will serve as an easy way to send messages to everyone in your Networks (because typing with a DualShock 4 is not exactly QWERTY-friendly).

Also, you can easily send invites post match to those you want to continue playing with, making it easy to form up with people that gel with your style. It’s the kind of feature that makes so much sense, I started to wonder why I had not seen it so well-executed before. Our hands-on time offered only a tiny look at customization options, screenshots indicated the potential for customizing weapon colors (of which the developers gave me a vague answer when I pressed them about it). There will also be more than just the original three Titans available in multiplayer, with the single-player serving as a sort of sampler platter of their various looks and abilities (read: boss fights).

I’ll be curious to hop back in once the Technical Test/beta opens up to the masses. Whether my enthusiasm wanes or remains steadfast remains to be seen. That being said, I liked what I saw. Enough so that I stood outside my car for a good three minutes waiting for it to extend an arm and pull me inside. Titanfall 2 is scheduled to release on October 28, 2016 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.