You know what? Free stuff is awesome. And I’m not talking about a free thimbleful of all-new Coke Zero at your local supermarket, here, either. Titanfall 2 is giving away stuff that, in other games, you’d be expecting to pay at least a few quid for. And what’s weird is they’re doing it on purpose, and it keeps on happening.
Before I analyse this bizarre business decision, let’s quickly talk about another – Titanfall 2’s release date. It was inexplicably positioned in the tiny gap between Battlefield 1 and COD: Infinite Warfare last year, and sales really suffered for it. But you may have heard that it’s actually really bloody good, which means you can now nab it at a bargain price and get your fill of space-age shootery.
But we know what you’re thinking. “If I pick it up now, the servers will be dead and the only players still on them will be on maps that are locked behind DLC payment screens.” Well, that is where you’re dead wrong, dear reader, because Respawn Entertainment is very generous.
Since launch, there have been four major DLC drops for the game containing new weapons, maps and game modes. The most recent release added more maps and a new Titan (one of those huge robots you can climb into to punch other huge robots). All of these releases have been free, so anyone who owns the game will get them automatically through an update – and that’s going to be the case going forward, too. That’s months of updates to a triple-A title, without asking for dosh once.
This model is succeeding because Respawn is offering some paid content, but all of it is cosmetic. You can buy camos for your weapons, Titan and pilot, and choose to purchase a ‘Prime’ version of each Titan that looks a little different and lets you assassinate other Titans in gory, violent and extremely pleasing new ways. None of this stuff is required to play, though, and those that do choose to spend get no advantage over us poor schmucks that spent our last few pennies on avocados for tomorrow’s extravagant breakfast.
So, with all that in mind I dived into an Attrition match in one of Titanfall 2’s newest maps: Glitch. The goal in Attrition is to get more points than the opposition team – you’ll get one for killing an AI-controlled grunt that appear regularly through the round, five for killing another pilot, and a whopping ten for taking down an opposing Titan. All you have is a selection of brilliantly balanced guns, epic wall-running skills, and a few nifty abilities. Go.
For those that played the first Titanfall, Glitch will bring back memories of Wargames, a level with half-formed walls and wire-frame tanks that took place inside a VR-like training simulator. The theme is similar here, and the map is designed to reward those that use all the abilities the pilot has. That means plenty of wall-running routes, lots of verticality, and zip-lines that you can whizz along in either direction.
Unlike the recent COD titles, which added floaty jumps and basic wall-running, Titanfall 2 is all about speed and skill. It needs to be, too, because two minutes into the match Titans start dropping in and it soon becomes as much about running away from metal beasts as it is about shooting the puny meatbags at your level. Glitch feels like a map designed with parkour in mind, and every now and then, when I cross the entire map in five seconds before punching an enemy pilot into mush, it feels like the Best Game Ever™. With more of those free updates coming in the next few months, I don’t imagine I’ll be uninstalling this one any time soon.
This article originally appeared in Xbox: The Official Magazine. For more great Xbox coverage, you can subscribe here.