Is it worth the ride?
After 2014’s Titanfall suffered critically for its lack of a single-player campaign, Respawn Entertainment decided to right this wrong with the sequel. Skip forward two years and Titanfall 2 releases equipped with a single-player campaign and a much-improved multiplayer to boot. The big question, however, is just how good is Titanfall 2’s single-player campaign?
The campaign puts you in the shoes of Jack Cooper, a foot soldier who’s working for the militia against the evil IMC. The IMC are taking the resources of the people, destroying planets of innocents, and killing any opposition to their evil plans. Oh, and they’re doing it all for money, too, which makes them even more evil. Unfortunately, an attack on the IMC goes wrong and the pilot of a Titan called BT-7274 gets killed. Fortunately for you, I guess, he gives you authorization to pilot the Titan before he goes. This is your new comrade for the duration of your Titanfall adventure.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the gameplay is going to focus solely on using your Titan, though, and it benefits from staying away from this. Gameplay is split fairly evenly between intense platforming levels as the Pilot with the odd shootout against IMC grunts, and all-out action when you hop into the seat of your Titan. Both of these different playstyles handle well and maintain that fast-paced explosive feel of the original Titanfall. Zipping around environments and completing long strings of wall runs, jumps, slides, and shooting is satisfying, especially when you round it off with a badass execution on a player.
While taking down enemies is definitely fun, Titanfall 2 lacks any real challenge. Even when it throws a boss battle at you, they don’t feel any more challenging than just taking on any other ordinary Titan from the IMC. It’s not a huge issue, but one that’s underlying throughout the entirety of the game, including the final boss battle.
Unfortunately, the campaign story is arguably its weakest point. Too many times it felt like Cooper and BT were just being sent out on another gauntlet of crazy wallruns and jumps, or having to plow their way through waves of enemies for a simple fetch quest. While these are obviously used as a means of extending the length of the already-short campaign, they slowed the pacing of the story right down. This only further accentuates the seemingly rushed ending. After building so much momentum over some really strong final moments, the whole thing kind of falls at the last hurdle, leaving the story completely open. Most likely for the sequel. On the flip side, Respawn did do a good job in not falling into any cliché endings.
It’s not all bad news when it comes to writing, though. In fact, the writing for your Titan buddy is humorous and keeps the relationship between the two interesting. BT will often get confused by Cooper’s slang or informal comments, and his slow learning of human interactions and characteristics, such as a thumbs up, is charming. These moments help emphasize the importance of the relationship between the pilot and the Titan, something Titanfall often references throughout the experience.
Ultimately, Titanfall 2’s single-player campaign does its job in providing some context to the action of the multiplayer. Its blend of platforming and FPS action keeps things fresh, but the whole thing is let down by a lack of challenge and poor storytelling. It’s not something you should avoid by any means, but don’t expect anything overly grandiose.