8   +   3   =  

As I sink into the morass of adulthood, few things still bring me as true a joy as giant robots. Titanfall 2, the sequel to Respawn Entertainment’s 2014 mech-shooter, promises at least double the giant robot quotient of its predecessor.

I felt very torn about the first Titanfall. Where its content, style, and gameplay appealed to me, its poor EA Origins performance on my PC, and its lack of diversity and progression kept me from truly loving it. Respawn has acknowledged these complaints with Titanfall 2.

In bringing Titanfall 2 to both major consoles, as opposed to the original’s PC/Xbox exclusivity, it’s been important for Respawn to make the game “not a direct sequel.” Respawn’s CEO Vince Zampella also spoke to the team’s efforts with increasing player retention, saying that the developers intended to deliver “a deeper progression system” and “a much more rounded gameplay experience” overall.

One of the biggest points highlighted by Respawn during its E3 presentation has been the increase in Titan types from three to six. Of the game’s six, two, “Scorch” and “Ion,” were on display at E3. Their names, as well as their unique abilities, are meant to insure the Titans are more individualized as compared to the three types in the original.

The Scorch Titan, for example, possesses a suite of abilities dedicated to fire, including a devastating beam of fire it shoots from its chest, and a heat shield that melts incoming projectiles.

“The Titans are very bespoke,” said Zampella.

The relationship between the Titans and their pilots has also evolved, with a significant nerf to the damage dealt by pilot anti-Titan weapons, and the addition of a rodeo mechanic. Where in the first game pilots could mount opposing Titans to deal damage, the system has been broken into a series of actions. The first time a pilot mounts an opposing Titan, they steal a battery; then, the second and however many times further, they plant a grenade on the Titan’s core. After each of these specific actions, the pilot dismounts the Titan and can no longer ride enemy Titans. Additionally, the stolen battery can be carried, and given to a friendly Titan for health.

This deeper variety in interactions has also been extended to the Titan pilots, who will be able to select from more grenades and abilities according to a perk system. Some of the abilities debuted at E3 include the clone, a holographic duplicate of the player used to bait opponents, and the grappling hook, which played an almost-integral part of the game’s reworked traversal system.

Zampella called the original Titanfall’s traversal system “a natural evolution” of FPS conventions of the time. This has been translated to Titanfall 2, where Respawn promises “an emphasis on making sure there’s new ways to use new traversal mechanics,” such as the grappling hook.

I’m excited by what they’ve shown of Titanfall 2– even just in as much as Respawn Entertainment seems to have taken very specifically my complaints about its predecessor to heart in development. Hopefully this greater focus on delivering a varied and deep experience pays off.

Titanfall 2 will release on October 28th, 2016 for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.