This past week, Titanfall 2 dropped its latest free content update in the form of ‘Frontier Shield,’ adding two new maps, camos, balance changes, and best of all, the co-op gametype, Frontier Defense.
The first new map is ‘Township’, an urban style arena for the ‘Live Fire’ gametype. I had my doubts about this map, due to all the potential camping spots, but all reports say that it’s one of the best Live Fire maps yet.
The other map is ‘Rise’, a remake from the original Titanfall and one of my personal favourites. It doesn’t suffer from the rooftop camping most of the other remade maps have, and its high vertical walls feel even better with Titanfall 2’s movement system. It’s a map that’s great for getting ‘dem sick aerial killz’.
But the big feature is the return of Frontier Defense. The horde style co-op mode was well received in the original game and fans have been eager for its re-introduction in Titanfall 2. Frontier Defense tasks a team of four players to defend a harvester against five increasing waves of soldiers, droids, and Titans. To help you defend your harvester, there’s a cash system similar to that in Bounty Hunt, that you can use to purchase turrets, Arc traps, a harvester shield and more.
There are new enemy variants, such as the Mortar Titans, ready to rain shells on your parade, but even worse are the new Arc Ronin Titans, which have a constant field of electricity surrounding them. Higher difficulties will increase enemy health, provide infantry with more powerful weapons, and even remove your mini map, making communication paramount. Insane difficulty isn’t meant for randoms.
Frontier Defense has its own progression system, Aegis ranks, which unlock new and crazy upgrades for each of your Titans. You’ll also have to progress through ranks to access the harder difficulties of Frontier Defense.
Unfortunately, you must rank up each Titan individually, so since only my Scorch Titan is rank five, I can play the hard difficulty with him, but only him until I rank up other Titans. And progression is slow. That being said, the grind might be worth it as there will (eventually) be a competitive game mode that incorporates Aegis ranks. Yes, you can have a Legion with every perk unlocked. And so can the other team. It’s going to be hectic.
Only five maps are available for Frontier Defense at launch: Homestead, Forwardbase Kodai, War Games, Rise, and Blackwater Canal. You can expect the number of maps to expand, as Respawn stated on their blog that they are currently testing which maps (probably Angel City) will also be suited for the new mode.
Something I’m worried about with this DLC is the introduction of the Elite Weapon and Frontier Titan Warpaints. These are purchasable skins that have a chance to give you and your team an experience boost, and they aren’t cheap at $5.95 each or $29.95 for a bundle of weapon or Titan camos.
I bought the Elite Scorch Warpaint for *ahem* research and the single experience boost per Frontier Defense match isn’t significant. But if your entire team each has one, you’ll get four per match, which is a massive increase when grinding Aegis Ranks.
Thankfully we’ve reached a point in Titanfall 2’s lifecycle where most players have all the weapon unlocks they want, so any XP boots will mainly affect rank in standard gametypes. However, if Respawn releases another major Titanfall game that has XP generating items like this on release, we’re moving into serious pay-to-win territory.
Despite these microtransactions, ‘Frontier Shield’ is Titanfall 2’s best content drop yet and it’s still free. A far cry from remastered games that cost $70 and have the gall to charge for remastered DLC. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and play some more Frontier Defense and lose on wave 4 again.