Titanfall is bigger and better than ever.
Titanfall 2 on PS4
Titanfall 2 is some of the most fun I’ve had with a first-person shooter in a long time. Maintaining the same fast-paced gameplay and focus on its giant Titans as its predecessor, Titanfall 2 attempts to right the wrongs of the original while preserving what made it so damn fun. For the most part, Titanfall 2 succeeds.
The most notable feature coming into Titanfall 2 was the inclusion of a single-player campaign. With the 2014 original focusing solely on a multiplayer experience with a seemingly tacked-on story, Respawn Entertainment has listened to the feedback from fans and critics alike and fleshed out this world where giant mechs work side by side with soldiers. The campaign tells the tale of Jack Cooper, an ordinary foot soldier in the militia who’s a long way off being the pilot of a Titan. As part of the militia forces, Cooper must help them fight against the IMC who are forcefully taking resources, destroying planets, and killing off any opposition that stands in their way.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Titanfall campaign if you didn’t end up becoming a pilot, and it doesn’t take long for you to just happen upon grabbing your own Titan. After an attack on the IMC goes wrong, the previous pilot of Titan BT-7274 is killed and you’ll be given the permissions to partner up with this machine. It provides enough substance to link each level together, but it’s not going to do much more than that.
That being said, one of the standout elements of the campaign for me was the way in which Respawn made the relationship between Cooper and BT feel so natural and real. Though starting out a little formal in the beginning, the two begin to joke and genuinely act as if they care for one another. BT’s writing, in particular, was a standout, making good use of the stereotypical robot lacking a human’s sense of humor. The Loaderbot-esque thumbs up from Tales from the Borderlands did give me a good chuckle, though.
From there on out gameplay focuses on using BT for additional firepower, and using your agility as a pilot in platforming stages when BT can’t help you. For the most part, this mix of platforming and first-person shooting was enjoyable and kept my attention. What’s more, BT can switch his Titan loadout between the different ones available in the campaign. This allows you to switch up on the fly to better suit the combat situation ahead of you. While this is a neat idea in premise, I rarely changed this once I’d found one I was comfortable with, but it’s great that Respawn gave players the option to choose what suits their playstyle best.
Cooper, on the other hand, will handle almost like a super-powered Call of Duty soldier. He can slide with some serious speed, wallrun, double jump, and generally handles silky smooth and incredibly well. Alongside your changeable weapons and ordnance gadget (grenades), you’ll also have a tactical gadget in the form of a cloaking device. This will allow you to sneak up on enemies unseen to get the upper-hand in a combat situation. Unfortunately, activating this when right in front of the enemy AI led them to seemingly act like I was just not there at all and felt OP in the grand scheme of things.
That leads me on to one of my main issues with Titanfall 2’s campaign. There was no real challenge to anything I was presented with. Even at one point where the environment around me looked like a nightmare to navigate and reach my objective, everything is laid out a little too obviously to really make you take a step back and think. The Titan bosses you’ll occasionally come across throughout the campaign had these grandiose entries, but felt no more difficult to defeat than any of the other standard Titans or enemies. Even the final boss battle lacked any real challenge. It was disappointing that Jack and BT weren’t put through their paces a little more, but it was still a largely enjoyable six-hour experience nonetheless.
However, the pacing of those six hours feels off. In the first few hours, I’d accomplished a good two-thirds of what there was to see, only for the final few missions to really drag things out. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but when the story keeps adding in complications to your mission just so you have to go on a half-hour venture, leaping across platforms and suspended walls over a huge drop, it hinders the whole experience. All in all, the campaign was surprising. Though it fell off a little bit in the middle, I came away feeling more than satisfied with what I’d played. It’s not something I’ll be going back to any time soon, but it provides some context to exactly why these giant mechs exist and why everyone’s fighting. Moreso than the lackluster attempt of its predecessor.