Titanfall wasn't perfect by any stretch, not least because many complained about the lack of a single player campaign mode. That has been rectified for the second outing and this time around Respawn and EA are hitting Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 simultaneously.
The first multiplayer tech test is now live but we had a chance to get a sneak preview of it at Gamescom out in Cologne. Even in its early stages this is one shooter you should definitely play.
Titanfall feels like a more accessible FPS game compared to many, in that it's fairly easy for new players to pick up, learn the ropes and not get completely destroyed by other players. The mix of real players and AI bots provides a mix of ways to score that mean everyone has a good chance to post some big numbers.
Titanfall 2 doesn't seem to be straying from the original too much in its core mechanics. There are still AI bots to mow down in some game modes and the control scheme is largely untouched from its predecessor. Sidearms seem to have gone, with the Y button press now bringing up the anti-Titan weapon, and there's also a new Black Ops 3-esque power slide activated by long pressing B. Other wise you've got the same jumping and wall running shenanigans as we've grown accustomed to.
The tech test isn't a full snapshot of the final game, nor is it likely an indicator of final graphics and performance. It is, after all, a test, designed to see if we can break it while still having a good time.
One thing that at least seems different this time around is the vast scale of the maps. It's both a blessing and a curse of the original that the maps are so massive and diverse. Spawning 30 seconds away from the action has always been frustrating, but no-one could ever accuse them of being dull.
The maps we've seen so far seem to mix that diversity we're used to with a scaled down approach to size. The maps don't feel as enormous to traverse and after someone took you out you're not so far away from the action. This could be a key factor for tournament play, something which you'd expect will be coming down the road. It feels well balanced so far.
There will also be new game modes introduced for Titanfall 2. At Gamescom we had chance to try out two of the tech test modes, Amped Hardpoint and the all new Bounty Hunt. The first is an enhancement of the Hardpoint mode from the original title, but now controlled Hardpoints can be "Amped" by staying inside and defending them after capture. This results in double score and faster wins.
Bounty Hunts pit you against players and bots and reward you for your kills and achieving set objectives. The twist is that these rewards have to be banked at one of the set locations around the map before they count towards your team score. The banks open intermittently and you'll have to watch out for sneaky opponents waiting by them to pick you off.
One thing that was immediately apparent in our first play is that it's incredibly fun. Titanfall has never felt like the grind that some other FPS games get in to, and our own Jez Corden simply said this is a "must play" after we finished our initial run (I had the better score, by the way!) Respawn looks on track to deliver a winner, and while the final release is still a couple of months out, the tech test is live and free to play for everyone on Xbox One and PS4. You'd be silly not to look at it.
The open multiplayer tech test is now live in the Demos section of the Store on your Xbox One.