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Feature Article

Titanfall 2's Final Four Titans Let You Snipe, Slice, Shred, and Track Your Enemies

Weapons of choice.

As much as I enjoy wall-running and double-jumping my way through Titanfall's multiplayer maps as an agile, gun-toting Pilot, the real stars of the game are the weaponized, bipedal mech suits from which the series draws its name. Earlier this year, we had a chance to check out two of Titanfall 2's brand new Titans, Scorch and Ion. This week, I was able to climb into the cockpits of the four remaining Titans: Ronin, Northstar, Legion, and Tone. Check below for some insights and highlights from my hands-on time.

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Ronin

If you're an aggressive player who loves to rush into danger and overwhelm opponents with unrelenting ferocity, Ronin is the ninja robot of your dreams. Not only is its movement speed the highest of all the Titans, its weapon set works best at close range. Its primary weapon is essentially a massive shotgun that produces an extremely wide spread--who needs accuracy when you have brute strength, right?

Ronin also wields an oversized Cloud Strife-esque sword that serves as both its basic melee attack and its ultra "core" ability, which allows you to wield the electrified blade for an extended period. Beyond its weapon set, Ronin also has a Phase Dash ability that makes it invisible and invulnerable for a few seconds, though your view shifts to black and white and enemies disappear from your screen during that time. Use it judiciously and you can charge (or escape from) your opponents.

To be honest, I never lasted long as Ronin, but I almost always managed to take another Titan down with me, sometimes several. Regardless of my success/failure, however, I appreciate how genuinely different Ronin plays relative not only to the original Titans but also to this new crop of Titans as well. Rapidly boost-strafing around another Titan while unloading Ronin's shotgun is unbeatably exhilarating.

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Northstar

Titans, hilariously, can't jump, which can severely limit their mobility in certain areas. Northstar doesn't have that problem. Unlike its brethren, Northstar has a VTOL hover ability that allows it clear low- to mid-sized walls or simply peer over taller pieces of cover to lay down fire from an unexpected angle. Its core ability also takes advantage of limited flight capabilities by allowing it to soar a bit higher while raining rockets down on everything below.

Its primary weapon is also unique among Titans: a sniper rifle. While most Titans rely on their heft and durability, Northstar is comparatively smaller and less menacing...at least up close. Its railgun, however, charges as you aim down sight; a well-placed, fully-charged shot knocks away a huge chunk of health while still minimizing Northstar's exposure. On larger, more open maps, Northstar can provide essential suppression and cover for teammates.

I had less luck with Northstar than I did with Ronin, but mainly because I didn't necessarily use Northstar as a support unit, which might actually be the smarter play. I always felt exposed hanging in midair, even when pummeling nearby enemies with rockets. I do still love the concept of a highly mobile robot sniper, though.

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Legion

Legion is a straight-up tank. It's got plenty of health, decent mobility, and a huge mini-gun with a deployable front-facing shield that temporarily blocks all direct incoming fire. Even its no-nonsense core ability simply allows it to charge up its mini-gun and unleash even greater devastation. Legion is, essentially, raw power incarnate.

That's not to say Legion lacks nuance entirely, however. Its mini-gun, for example, has two distinct firing modes: one designed for longer-range precision shooting and another for closer or more widely dispersed targets. So whether you're trying to fire a steady beam of hot lead or a wild wall of bullets, you can toggle between the two modes on the fly. You can even auto-target larger enemies using Legion's Smart Core ability.

I found this Titan to be perhaps the least mechanically distinct of the bunch, but I'm also not going to argue with mini-gun toting mech. It's a classic combo, and Titanfall 2 would have been lacking without it. Every game needs a "mindless killing machine" option; Legion seems to fill that role here.

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Tone

In contrast to Legion, Tone might be the most sophisticated Titan on offer in Titanfall 2. Though its overall stats balance health, speed, and damage equally, its ability set is quite diverse. It can drop (and shoot through) a large, immobile shield while holding a position, for example, but it can also fire homing missiles that arc and curl around corners to catch escaping enemies. It can even reveal nearby enemy locations by deploying a SONAR-like tool.

Its main weapon plays like a marksman rifle--faster that a sniper rifle but more precise than a machine gun, a mix that encourages thoughtful positioning rather than risk run-and-gun tactics. And while a tactical rifle may not sound exciting compared to, say, Ronin's sword or Legion's mini-gun, each shot produces a breathtaking boom and seems to explode on impact. It's immensely satisfying.

Where some Titans seem best suited for certain scenarios, Tone feels like versatile, all-around choice fit for nearly any occasion. There may be some potential I was unable to tap during my hands-on time, but as far I can tell right now, Tone likely won't be anyone's favorite but everyone will rely on it at some point.

Titanfall 2 is due out for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 28. For more in-depth impressions of our time with Titanfall 2's multiplayer, check out Rob and Scott's recent conversation.

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Scott Butterworth

Yes, his mother is Mrs. Butterworth.
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