A Titanic Follow-up
Titanfall 2 has surprised me in almost every way. Respawn Entertainment had a lot to prove to original Titanfall fans and newcomers alike with its second release, and I’m happy to say that it over-delivered. Negligible iterative improvements to multiplayer? No way, the multiplayer formula has been completely reworked for the better. Half-baked campaign shoehorned in? Not here, Titanfall 2 ‘s campaign is perhaps the most competent and unexpected joyride of the year for the genre, easily going toe-to-toe with DOOM .
The story in Titanfall 2 , on paper at least, is its greatest weakness. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: An enormous resource-hungry industrial conglomerate known as the IMC is taking over the inhabited solar system, stealing whatever it wants and destroying anyone who might stand in the way. Brave colonists have banded together to form a resisting militia, and that’s where we meet our protagonist Jack Cooper, a low-ranking rifleman with dreams of one day becoming a pilot. When a mission on an IMC-occupied planet goes awry, Cooper unexpectedly acquires command of a Titan named BT. The two of them must work together to escape certain death and save the world.
This story-in-a-can plays out beautifully, though. The campaign will take you roughly five or six hours to complete, and Respawn has proven that it can tell the elementary hero story in a masterful way. It’s electric and entertaining due in part to the exceptional pacing, but mainly due to the perfect movement system and explosive Titan battles.
Movement in Titanfall 2 is dreamy. Every engagement is a kinetic symphony of dashes, double-jumps, wall-runs, and slides. Firefights and story beats are routinely supplemented by some of the best platforming sequences I’ve ever played in a first-person video game. The level design is at times a little too ambitious, though, approaching levels of complexity that border on excess. There’s one sequence in particular where you’re forced to navigate the interior and exterior of a house that’s been flipped on its side. The experience, no doubt meant to be disorientating and exciting, was simply disorientating. It did, however, culminate in a dazzling shootout that left my jaw on the floor.
Combat in Titanfall 2 is fast and furious. I didn’t use a single firearm that I didn’t love, and the sound effects for every weapon are arresting in their potency and punch – the word “cacophony” has never been more appropriate or meant more endearingly as when describing the battles in this game. When fighting you’re as mobile as ever, and the firefights between Cooper and other ground units make for some of the fastest and most explosive gunplay of the generation so far. The only downside is that most of the human and robotic enemies are pretty “same-y.” You’ll pretty much be shooting at three enemy variants throughout the entire campaign.
Combat never has a chance to become monotonous though, as you’ll routinely take command of your Titan, BT. That’s when things go bananas. You and BT will discover six different Titan loadouts throughout the game, each with its own main weapon, special offensive and defensive capabilities, and “core” ability (ultimate attack). BT is slow-moving, but completely overpowered. No matter which loadout you have equipped, you get to enjoy unlimited ammunition and abilities with short cooldowns. All you have to do is stay alive and kick ass.
The brilliance of Titanfall 2 is the balancing act between these two styles of play: the frantic firefights and demanding platforming gauntlets that test the agility and reflexes of the player as a pilot, and the balls-to-the wall Titan warfare which rewards reckless aggression and subtle cooldown management. You’ll find that the campaign feels much shorter than it really is because there’s never a dull moment, and while the story is unimaginative, its B-list villains are so fun to pursue.
In fact, the boss battles in Titanfall 2 are arguably the best parts of the entire game. At times it felt like I was playing a Platinum or Gearbox game. The bad guys are introduced with such dramatic pomp and flair, and each commands a unique Titan which will test the bond between you and BT. No two boss encounters play out even remotely the same way, and I think you’ll find that by the end of the game you’ll have exhausted every one of BT’s loadouts to overcome your would-be killers.
Multiplayer has also matured and evolved, and much for the better. This is a point of sharp division among the player-base, because Titanfall 2 ‘s multiplayer is definitely a bigger, slower experience compared to the original. The first game is remembered for being, at all times, an all-out war zone online. Players in command of their mobility would zip across entire maps without touching the ground, and everywhere you went there were pilots, Titans, and AI fighting each other.
Titanfall 2 expands the scope and variety of gameplay in its multiplayer modes, and maps are generally much larger than in the original. There are also six different Titans to choose from – three more than in the original. The larger maps, varied Titans, and range of pilot abilities make for a more thoughtful and strategic game overall.
Most of you who hated the Titanfall 2 multiplayer beta will likely hate it in the full game as well. The TTK (time to kill) seems to be the same, most of the maps are still larger with an emphasis on exterior spaces, and even in the Attrition game made, the action is still a little dialed back, comparatively. This is no longer the nonstop, crazy firefight that made the original what it was.
That, in my opinion, is a good thing. Titanfall was special in its own way, but it’s tough to find any populated servers these days. Titanfall 2 ‘s more methodical approach will give it staying power in the end. We may lose some original fans along the way, but the new ones will be playing until Titanfall 3 arrives.
And there will be a Titanfall 3 . Respawn no longer has anything to prove. Prepare to see Titanfall 2 in every top-10 list, decorated with accolades, and nominated as a GOTY contender for every gaming award show. Its praise is well-deserved, and it’s apparent that a lot of heart and soul were poured into it. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up, folks. Everything that makes a shooter fun – mobility, action, and a sense of empowerment – has been perfected here, and we’re already waiting to see what Respawn does next.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.4 Graphics
Weapons, Titans, and environments are varied and wonderfully detailed. Performance is rock solid. 5.0 Control
Movement is fast, effortless, and empowering. The game feels amazing. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Weapons sound boomy and dangerous. Voice acting is mostly great. Score is epic but not distracting. 4.6 Play Value
There is so much to unlock in multiplayer, and you’ll want to experience the campaign more than once. Trust me. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|