Titanfall 2 – Review
PC, Xbox One, PS4
I made no secret of my love for the original Titanfall. To me, it was exactly what I was looking for in an online shooter and it actually became the first game of its type that I put some serious hours into. The combination of exciting weaponry, amazing movement and the Pilot/Titan gameplay mix spoke to me in a way that no other competitive FPS had done before. It had its problems and sadly the number of players online dropped off quickly but I still think it is one of the best experiences I have had on this generation of consoles. So to say that I was looking forward to Titanfall 2 would be an understatement, but the question is can the sequel fix the original’s problems and improve on the formula or are Respawn a one trick pony?
The biggest change in the sequel is, without doubt, the single player campaign. Honestly, I held little hope for this mode, thinking it would simply be tacked on to get a tick on the back of the box. Boy, was I wrong. The campaign starts off much as you would expect with “Joe Grunt” earning his Titan after the previous pilot bit the dust. Thankfully though it quickly moves into unique territory thanks to the relationship that Cooper (the previously mentioned grunt) and BT (his Titan) enjoy There are some wonderful moments that these two main characters share and it felt to me that there was at least a little inspiration taken from the animation classic The Iron Giant. The story its self isn’t anything super exciting but the two leads more than make up this fact. There are doses of humor, tension and excitement peppered throughout the dialogue and the fact there are some simplistic conversation trees helped to add a personal touch to proceedings.
The other massive selling point of the campaign mode is the spectacular level design. Every single level has been crafted to make the most of the excellent movement system that the game is built on. Dashing from wall-run to wall-run over a vast expanse of open sky, sliding under barriers to immediately be faced with enemies and pausing on a wall to line up the perfect headshot are all supremely entertaining and super satisfying. There is even one section that introduces a time travel mechanic which is truly inspired but I won’t say any more for fear of ruining the experience. When the story ended (about 6-7 hours I would say) I wanted more. In fact, I would happily purchase single player DLC just to get some more of these well thought out levels. Another cool feature worth mentioning is the ability to swap BT’s Titan loadouts on the fly. This allowed me to bring the appropriate weapon to the fight and not be stuck with something that is unwieldy for the conditions. It is a system that shows Respawn have very carefully thought about how players will approach the game and gives them the freedom to do it in entertaining ways.
While the Single player was a massive shock, the multiplayer was exactly what I expected and wanted from Titanfall 2. The multiplayer component brings a host of new modes, improved weapons, fancy gadgets and some fresh networking features into the mix, all of which will hopefully add to the game’s lifespan and address the primary shortfall of the original Titanfall. The classic gameplay modes from the first game are all here but the real delight is the new additions. Amped Hardpoint is a domination mode that mixes things up with one of the control points offering double points. This creates a chaotic push for this location causing spectacular Titan and pilot battles. My favourite however, was Bounty Hunt. This mix of Horde from Gears of War and Titanfall’s Attrition has captured almost all of my play time. The goal is to kill the AI controlled enemies that come in waves, each of these enemies earn a bounty which must be brought back to a central “bank” for collection. The catch is the other team of human-controlled pilots are trying to do the same and can steal half of your bounty by killing you. It is the most fun I have had in a competitive multiplayer mode in quite some time, I just hope the rest of the community feels the same way and doesn’t simply revert to playing Attrition all the time.
The new gadgets are also a nice addition. There are flaming ninja stars that burst into a napalm-like substance, knives that act as a sonar point revealing hiding enemies, a grappling hook that allows for even faster traversal and gravity grenades the pull enemies towards them before exploding. There is a wonderful range of tactics that open up with these devices and all of them feel like they have a purpose and are not just tacked on. The weapon selection is also healthy with a nice mix of more traditional SMG’s and Shotguns to double barrel sniper rifles and laser powered LMGs. Once again all weapons are appropriate and well balanced, making for a fair and even playing field.
Finally the Titans, arguably the stars of the show, have had a serious upgrade. Gone are the simple light/medium/heavy classes of the original and in their place are six new, specialised classes that all approach the battlefield in a different way. There is a shotgunner that also carries a sword for massive melee damage, a flame throwing Titan that can use fire to hurt over a wide area and a Sniper class that excels in a long distance battle. All the Titans came with secondary attacks and a variant of a shield that I could swap in and out depending on how I wanted to play. In fact, the Titan loadout system is every bit as customisable as the pilot one, allowing me to truly tailor my experience to my playstyle.
Honestly, I couldn’t really find much to dislike about Titanfall 2. It speaks to me in a way that no other competitive shooter does and I can’t wait to simply spend more time with it. The movement and multiplayer modes are better than ever and the single player mode was such a joy that I have started it again on the hardest difficulty. The only worry I have for the game is the fact that EA released it so close to Battlefield 1 and it looks like many will pass it over as a result. This is a crying shame because the two games are very different experiences and both deserve your full attention. Titanfall 2 is everything I could ever want in a sequel to one of my favourite games and much more. Bravo Respawn. Bravo.