Review: Titanfall 2
I never did play much of the original Titanfall. I believe I played some of the multiplayer beta, but never played the full release. It was a game that I had a lot of interest in, as the team behind the game was mostly the same team that made Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. With the first Titanfall featuring online multiplayer only, Titanfall 2 marks the first single player campaign since 2009 from this core team that started the Call of Duty franchise.
Infantryman Jack Cooper starts off as a lowly grunt, but is training to become a pilot. Pilots are powerful, quick moving soldiers that control massive titans that change the landscape of war dramatically. Cooper is quickly sent off to war before he can complete his training and while on his mission, he finds his commanding officer killed, and someone is needed to take his place. Cooper is given the status of Pilot and takes control of BT-7274, a titan with artificial intelligence. Most of the game’s dialogue takes place between Cooper and BT. There are some dialogue choices to be made, but none actively change the story, it just changes how Cooper and BT respond to each other. Numerous other characters and villains appear as well, but none of their performances are as interesting. The sense of isolation early on in the adventure evokes vibes of the Half-Life series. BT and Cooper are on their own, and each section takes place one right after another. This isn’t a globe-trotting adventure, and it’s a breath of fresh air in the shooter genre where games are just full of massive, explosive set piece moments. The campaign takes about 6-8 hours to get through, with pilot helmets acting as collectibles. A staple of Titanfall is the wall-running mechanic and there are numerous moments of downtime where platforming is king. While the shooting mechanics are tight and exact, the wall-running breaks up the action. At times, shooting and wall-running is added together, leading to some of the game’s best moments. Titanfall 2 is an enjoyable campaign that isn’t too difficult on the hardest difficulty, but what will keep players around will be its multiplayer suite.
Titanfall 2’s multiplayer features some creative game modes, and some original staples. Attrition is the closest to team deathmatch, with other AI characters, pilots and titans entering the battlefield. There are quite a few modes that add to the group, but one in particular, Bounty Hunt, is my favorite. Bounty Hunt has you defeating titans, enemy pilots and AI grunts to gain cash. At the end of each round, a bank will open up where you’ll need to deposit the money. An interesting mode that is included is the Coliseum. This mode takes place in an enclosed arena where you’re given rocket launchers to defeat one opposing pilot, and the best of 5 rounds wins. It can be a pretty frustrating mode, but can also be rewarding if you can get on a roll. To enter the Coliseum, you have to spend credits that you obtain in game, or you’ll have to have a coliseum ticket that gives you entry for free. Titan’s are obtained by a meter that generates over time, and the quicker you complete objectives and kill enemies, the quicker it will fill. Once the titan is called into battle, the destructive capabilities of it can change the tide of any encounter. Taking on a titan as a pilot one on one is not a smart strategy, as you’ll want to encounter titans when they are engaged with other matters. Ranking up in multiplayer is not necessarily gained through experience points, but rather merits. Having a good performance, winning, and ranking up weapons and factions all count for merits. At first I wasn’t too fond of the system, but over time I think I prefer the way Titanfall 2 handles ranking up, rather than most other shooters today. Once you hit the max level of 50, you can choose to regenerate, which is the equivalent of a prestige. You’ll keep all of your stats, but your rank will be reset to 1 in turn for more emblems and other extras.
The best way to describe the gameplay in Titanfall 2 is fluid and precise. Guns have just the right amount of recoil, and the movement is so seamless that you can pull off whatever crazy move you have in mind. Wall running has been featured in a few other games this year, and the way Respawn Entertainment handles the mechanic may be the best so far. Numerous other abilities are introduced throughout the game’s campaign and multiplayer that keep things fresh. I won’t go into what new abilities are introduced in the campaign, but the multiplayer includes some interesting abilities like a throwing knife that acts as a sonar to see enemies in the surrounding area. A new gameplay mechanic that I enjoyed but didn’t gravitate toward is the grappling hook which allows pilots to reach new heights. You can easily grapple on to enemy titans to do substantial damage to them. I mostly stuck to the throwing knife when playing Bounty Hunt, because it outlines AI and enemy pilot locations.
The visuals in Titanfall 2 are somewhat of a hit and miss. Detail on titans, pilots and weapons are stellar, but detail on other character models and some geometry in the environment is at the top of its class. The game runs at a solid framerate and I don’t recall ever having a dip in frames. Occasionally I found pop-in textures, but it never broke my immersion as it didn’t take long for them to load. The grand scale of some environments is impressive, and many details can be missed if you rush through, or even decide not to look up. They create a futuristic world that is believable, and I’d love to see what they’d do with a third entry.
Titanfall 2 is a fantastic shooter that does a lot right. The campaign is an enjoyable adventure between man and machine, and the competitive multiplayer should keep players around for a while. Titanfall 2 marks the first time the franchise has hit a PlayStation platform, and I’d would absolutely welcome more games in this franchise.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Enthralling campaign
- Abilities in Single and Multiplayer
- The merit system
- Bounty Hunt
- Fluid movement between wall running and shooting