Short Version: This is one of the most awesome shooters I’ve played in a long while. I didn’t care for the first Titanfall at all, but this sequel completely blows it out of the water. Even the multiplayer, coming from someone that doesn’t really enjoy playing with others all that much, is a hell of a ton of fun. I regret that this game passed me by last year, because I love it!
Long Version: I had heard people praising the hell out of Titanfall 2 last year. Whether it was through videos, podcast, reviews and other means, people loved this game. However, despite all the footage I saw, I never got around to actually playing it, for I never cared for the previous installment. The game initially seemed to be some generic shooter with nothing but a giant mech gimmick to stand on. Plus, the first game only had multiplayer, so there was no way for me to get into it through a single player campaign. Because of this, I never got around to truly playing Titanfall 2 from beginning to end until very recently. I found some vacation time to be able to catch up with older games I missed out on, and oh boy, I regret not playing Titanfall 2 last year. This game is fantastic.
Prepare For Titanfall
Created by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, Titanfall 2 is a sci-fi first person shooter where the biggest selling point is being able to hop onto a mech and wreck havoc with it. This is something that you can enjoy through its multiplayer or the brand new single player campaign. The campaign follows the story of rifleman Cooper who gets roped into piloting a Titan (the giant mechs I talked about) after its previous owner died. That now defunct owner had a mission to fulfill, but now it is up to you to finish it for him, along with the Titan known as BT.
For the most part, Titanfall 2’s narrative is exactly the military action, banter ridden story you will expect. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not well made. The writing done for the dialogue between BT and Cooper is pretty charming, which always made me look forward for the next occasion I got to hear them talk. The jokes were pretty enjoyable and the set pieces that allowed for them were also exciting and fun to play. They certainly provide a lot of variety for every chapter, along with the novelty of the Titan and its own set of weapons to play around with.
Protect The Pilot
The only unfortunate part about the campaign is that it’s really short, beating it in only one sitting through a whole afternoon. Because of how short the overall campaign is, so is the dialogue and the time the characters have to develop. I felt like this could’ve been a great opportunity to break out and create an original world where the most interesting relationship was between man and machine, almost in a Transformers or Gundam-esque kind of way. Instead, we get generic action military stuff with only a small scratch in the surface at what could’ve been.
It doesn’t help that many of the interesting mechanics introduced in the campaign are either only explored in small increments or don’t show up anywhere else in the game after a certain chapter is done. For example, there’s a point in the story where you have access to a time travel device, allowing you to switch between timelines at will. This was probably my favorite part of the whole game, since it introduced a completely different type of obstacle course and offered alternate fighting strategies or forms of escape. Some parts of that chapter even reminded me of Portal with how cleverly made these levels were. But alas, after the chapter is over, the device breaks and we never see that mechanic ever again, which is a massive shame. This in turn makes the game’s obsession with wall running all the more dull, since we now lose the one thing that made it more interesting.
In fact, the campaign kind of takes a lot of interesting directions throughout, but always decides to keep it safe and go through the generic route by the end of it, leaving a downward slope during the second half. Even the ending is one of the most predictable things in the world, but it’s so well made and has interesting things spread around it that makes me think there could’ve been more here than just your typical Hollywood ending. Despite all of these issues, they were minor in comparison to the outstanding gameplay, which was the thing that always kept me going.
Something that I immediately noticed that no video footage could ever express was how great the controls felt. Looking around, double jumping, wall running, sliding and shooting felt as smooth as a knife through warm butter. The sheer speed and flow you can obtain out of understanding how and where you can implement these controls is astounding. You can jump and run past buildings and structures to the point that it feels like you’re watching a parkour video through a Go Pro camera. It’s take a bit to get used, but when you get the hang of it, it feels great.
Jacked In With My Robot Friend
After going through the story and getting a good handle at what the gameplay has to offer, you can take what you learned online, which is something I never thought I’d do. I’m usually never interested in multiplayer, but I heard some good things about Titanfall 2 specifically, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m really glad I did, because everything I played of it was awesome. Everything is set up for you to very easily customize your character’s loadout, appearance, Titan or just choose from pre-made templates. Of course, if you already went through the single player campaign, then you’ll have a pretty good idea as to what setup you will want. After that, you have a pretty substantial amount of modes to play, all of which have their own special hook.
You have modes such as Attrition, Pilot Vs. Pilot, Titan Vs. Titan, Duels and more. When finding a match, you can choose what modes you do or don’t want, which is really convenient when looking for something more specific. The cool thing about the online play is that Aside from real players, there are also AI enemies to fight against. Obviously, the AI is much less aggressive than real people, and allows for less experienced players to have something to shoot at without dying immediately after respawning. On top of that, these AI deaths can also count towards your overall score in a match, so you’re still helping your team even if you’re not actually facing people.
Lessons Have Been Learned
All of these activities get more fun after leveling up and unlocking more perks, abilities and appearance changes for both your pilot and Titan. It’s no joke when I say that the multiplayer aspect of Titanfall 2 is an entirely different beast on its own, and it’s fun as hell to play. It’s impressive that an online mode like this one can make an person like me do a complete 180 degree turn and love playing something that I usually hate. Now I finally understand all the awards it got.
In conclusion, Titanfall 2 is awesome. The story leaves some things to be desired and many mechanics felt like wasted opportunities, but they can easily improve upon that in a sequel. Aside from that, the controls, music, graphics, online play and literally everything else is a joy to play. The fact that I stayed up until four in the morning playing this game online before writing this review is a clear sign of that. I look forward to continuing to play this game some more and whatever future content awaits it. This game made a believer out of me, which also made me learn that I should probably be more open-minded about games like these. I’ll try my best to not make that same mistake again.