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Titanfall 2's grappling hook is unreal (hands-on)

Titanfall 2, the sequel to EA's mech-battling first-person shooter, will arrive October 28th, 2016 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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I just played 10 minutes of Titanfall 2, Electronic Arts' fast-paced mech-battling first-person-shooter, here at E3 2016, and I can say two things with certainty:

  • Titanfall 2 is officially slated to ship on October 28th, 2016 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  • The rumored grappling hook is totally real, and it takes Titanfall's attack-from-any-angle jump jet-filled battles to a whole new level.

The grappling hook takes Titanfall to a whole new level.

GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

In case you're not familiar with Titanfall, it's a game of pilots -- quick, agile running soldiers with jump jets who can leap from wall to wall before blasting at foes -- and the big hulking Titan exoskeletons they can call down from the sky to tear through foes with impunity. Just watch this video for a peek at how the original game worked.

When the game came out in 2014, some noted the parallels to a hugely popular Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan, which featured quick, agile running soldiers with jump jets and grappling hooks who had to take down huge ogres that happened to be named Titans as well. One stalwart fan even released a popular animated mashup that joined the two worlds.

I'm here to tell you that the incredible maneuverability of the soldiers on Attack on Titan is now possible in a video game. I just played it for 10 minutes. I even did the whole crazy thing where I hooked onto a Titan mech with my grappling hook -- in the middle of a leap of faith -- and swung all the way around to attack the nape of its neck. (No sword, in case you're wondering.)

Here's what the new Titanfall 2 looks like in action:

I haven't played long enough to be sure, but I'm fairly certain it's game-changing. The grappling hook lets you traverse the extra distance you'd sometimes miss (in the original Titanfall) when you mistimed your jumps. It also helps that none of the things I loved about Titanfall seem to be missing yet.

And it's got one important thing that the original Titanfall lacked: this new trailer reveals that Titanfall 2 will have a single-player campaign:

Update: I've gotten to play a few more rounds of Titanfall 2 since I originally wrote this post, and it turns out the grappling hook's not the only game-changing new pilot ability. I also tried the Pulse Blade, a knife you throw that sends out a sonar pulse to let you and your team see enemies through walls in a small area for a short duration. Even more interesting was Holo Pilot, which lets you create a holographic clone of yourself that mimics your last action. It's not just a decoy that stands still -- it can be charging towards the enemy.

There'll be seven such pilot abilities in the final game, as well as a number of new weapons and grenades -- my favorites so far are the Gravity Star, a shuriken that creates a miniature singularity to stop foes in their tracks, and the L-STAR fusion rifle that makes mincemeat of enemies.

The Titans are also seeing some major changes: instead of mix-and-match light, medium, and heavy archetypes, each of the six new Titans have a distinct personality. The huge Scorch is all about fire, with a thermite cannon and the ability to create a wall of flames, while the smaller Ion fires precise lasers, deploys laser tripmines and can activate a giant deathray as its ultimate attack. Then there's the Ronin:

Yes, it has a sword. Yes, that's awesome. You can read more about Titanfall 2 at our sister site Gamespot.