Titanfall 2 Review
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.
When it comes to multiplayer, it’s evident that Titanfall 2 is the full-fledged version of its predecessor’s attempts. There are now six Titans each with their own unique combination of weapons and abilities. These offer a good variety of approaches to Titan-based combat for players. There’s the Ronin class donning a sword and shotgun perfect for close-quarters-combat, and the Northstar equipped with a sniper and the ability to briefly fly above the map. Despite these vastly different loadouts, each Titan felt like a valid choice when heading into battle. Though I personally leaned toward the Ronin class, many others adopted the Ion Titan thanks to its incredibly powerful laser beam.
For the most part, however, you’ll be on the ground as a Pilot and Respawn has offered plenty of different weapons and abilities to accommodate to a range of different playstyles. Credits, which are earned at the end of each match, allow you to unlock different options and weapons, granting players the freedom to further refine their loadout to suit their playstyle. Oh, and there’s a ton of customization choices for both your pilot and Titan, too. This is all cleverly tied into a Regeneration feature. Players can Regenerate either their character, Titan, or a particular weapon when it reaches the maximum rank. In doing so, they’ll lose all of their unlocks for that item, but can now unlock skins and other customization options that can only be acquired through reaching different Regeneration levels. It’s a nice incentive to give players a reason to keep on playing once they’ve hit the max rank.
Whether you’re running around the map as a pilot, swinging around the map with the grappling hook, or you’re crushing grunts below the titanium legs of your Titan, maneuverability has been placed front and center of the experience. Every sprint, slide, and wallrun is a sleek and seamless transition from one to the other and even stepping into a Titan was responsive, albeit slower.
Playing Titanfall 2 online was a joy, and after playing a good few matches of all of the different game modes on offer (which there are plenty of), I didn’t find one that felt overly weaker than the others. Bounty Hunt and Amped Hardpoint are definitely the two primary modes, but the others offered nice alternatives after extensive time with these. The former sees you earn money for every kill that you get, whether it be an AI enemy that is dropped into the map or a human pilot. The team with the most money at the end of the game wins, but you can earn additional bonuses to the money you’re making by banking at upload points during different points in the game. Amped Hardpoint is essentially the classic Hardpoint game mode, but with Amped hardpoints getting you twice as many points.
Titanfall 2’s multiplayer is helped even further by its excellent sense of progression. Even if you’re not flying through the player levels quickly, you’ll probably have leveled up your weapon, or Titan kit, which will also be contributing to leveling you up. Considering I’ve struggled to find an online shooter that can keep me coming back, the fact that I’m itching to jump back in is a promising sign of compelling multiplayer done right.
It is worth noting, though, that this is a Titanfall sequel, and as such it’s very much more of what we saw in 2014. Don’t come into this game expecting huge changes if you didn’t like what you say in the original game. This is Titanfall, but far bigger and better than before.
Titanfall 2 is a solid package. Though its single-player campaign is a little lackluster when it comes to story, it does a good enough job at providing some context to the chaos of the online component, and the mix of platforming and shooting stopped the experience from getting too repetitive. In terms of multiplayer, Titanfall 2 is a sequel in every sense of the word. It’s bigger, better, and nips many of the issues with its predecessor in the bud. As it is, Titanfall 2 offers some serious competition for the online shooter crown of 2016.
Score: 4/5 – Great
• Tons of customization options, modes, Titans, and maps in multiplayer.
• Campaign’s mix of platforming and shooting keeps things fresh.
• One of the best-feeling shooters out there.
• Forgettable story.
• Boss battles offered no challenge.