Titanfall 2 is Respawn’s follow up to their breakout 2014 Xbox exclusive, and while I didn’t play the original, I can’t imagine it being better than it’s successor. Those who are familiar with the Call of Duty franchise will easily be able to pick up this game, mainly because it’s essentially Call of Duty done better. What else would you expect from the original creative minds of the Call of Duty franchise that left Activision after a bit of nasty business (which we won’t go into) and founded their own studio, Respawn. The controls are tight, the play modes are fun and switch it up from genre norms, and the Titans themselves add an entirely unique aspect that is sorely needed, as the FPS genre grows stagnant in the past five years.
Titanfall 2 operates like many other FPS with two key differences that are much appreciated. First and foremost is the addition of an increased mobility system with double jumps, wall running, and the ability to climb on many surfaces. This increased movement range puts a lot more of the maps into play than a standard FPS, which really opens up different avenues of attack and strategy. Next come the Titans, essentially gigantic walking robots of death that players can either have act with their own autonomy, or manually to greater affect. These two additions add some incredible elements to the gameplay that makes Titanfall 2 standout.
Unlike it’s predecessor, Titanfall 2 has a single-player campaign. Players take control of Cooper, a rifleman in the Militia who isn’t even meant to be piloting a Titan, however due to some unfortunate circumstances he ends up being given control of BT-7274, or BT for short. BT is a Vanguard class Titan and has quite a unique personality; making him a entertaining and loyal companion throughout the game. Your objective is simple, find out what is happening on the planet, meet up with the Militia, and stop the plans of the enemy. Quite frankly it’s still a storyline that works even though it is incredibly simple due to interesting antagonists and storytelling through the eyes of someone who fell into this hero role.
While a lot of the game isn’t really that different from what you’ve come to expect from the genre, there are parts that truly stand out. One section has you time shifting back and forth, a unique and incredibly fun mechanic as you must deal with enemies in both the past and the present as well as using time shifts to bypass obstacles. Another takes place on flying ships as you and your Titan try and stop a transport ship alongside a few competent AI-controlled allies.
Graphically, everything looks very solid from a distance, with non-existent screen tears or framerate drops, but the game’s Source engine is starting to look dated. Textures during in-game cutscenes have a tendency to pop-in after the scene has started, and low-res walls and objects are very noticeable. This engine is also the reason behind consistent loading screens throughout the single-player campaign, small map sizes in multiplayer, and a small cap on the number of players in multiplayer matches.
Tight controls are very important for first-person shooters, and Titanfall 2 doesn’t disappoint. Wall running feels intuitive as it is easy to learn and then adapt the movement patterns, yet being hard to truly master. That isn’t to say there aren’t areas that can use some work such as wall running activating when you want to climb a ledge, trying to get into windows and wall running instead of going straight in, or there are issues when trying to jump somewhere and automatically jumping on the back of a friendly Titan when you don’t intend to. Recoil on guns is different and each weapon truly does feel like it offers something different other than just stats, which is a bonus as it encourages using multiple weapons that the game offers.
Most players will be picking up Titanfall 2 for its multiplayer and for good reason, it’s simply fun. Playing different modes is uniquely challenging, as well as contending against other players in the coliseum for prizes does switch it up. I am also a fan of the inclusion of AI within the actual multiplayer modes as well to increase the amount of things to shoot which is always a nice little fun addition. Titans aren’t severely overpowered either yet at the same time if you are caught out in the open in a one on one engagement it’s a no contest, which is the way it should be as well.
Speaking of Titans there are six that come with the game and you unlock them as you go with each fitting into unique roles. Ion acts as a pinpoint accuracy titan using laser shots and his laser core to burn down a single enemy, Legion is your heavy hitter with his massive mini-gun that when ready can lock onto enemy units and send smart bullets at them, Northstar is your sniper who comes with a charging weapon for high damage as well as the ability to hover and unleash rockets below, Ronin is your close range melee unit with his sword and ability to phase around enemies, Scorch is another heavy hitter close range unit that uses fire as his main weapon setting the ground ablaze and causing area effect damage, and finally Tone is a supportive hero with a placeable shield sonar abilities to detect enemies and missiles galore. Each plays completely different and each is very fun to use in the right setting.
Maps are a good size for the amount of people and while things can get hectic overall it is a lot of fun to zip around, punch someone there, shoot a guy here, or take out someone ejecting from their Titan. I’ve personally found myself sucked into Titanfall 2 more than any FPS I’ve played in awhile, which has been a great surprise and the fun to be had is really something that stands out for me. Addictive is the word I would use to describe the multiplayer and what can be had within it.
But the multiplayer is not without some faults and mostly it comes in the customization territory. The perks, weapons, and attachments available all just seem tacked on because they are expected and not because they are well thought out. Gun attachments are very limited, only really applying to the scope area of the weapon, along with some perks like more ammo, or faster reloads. Sure you can customize the skin on it but where are the areas such as front grips, and other attachments like grenade launchers?
There is also a faction system, which other than a different player to send you off the dropship, doesn’t truly have much of a purpose, and finally the coliseum while a fun new addition requires a buy in of in-game currency you accrue, but at the same time doesn’t seem fully fleshed out considering it has a cost associated with it. Maybe this will be addressed in future DLC but currently with the options out there it truly does feel if there is a best setup you can go with and that works for you.
Overall, Titanfall 2 is still a great game. Sure there are areas for improvement, but these areas don’t take away from the actual gameplay or feel of the title. If you haven’t played an FPS recently because you’ve stepped away from the genre, like I myself did, then this is a great title to rejuvenate your interest and get back in to the fight.
- Addictive and refreshing gameplay
- Engaging single-player campaign
- Fun multiplayer
- Outdated presentation
- Lacking multiplayer customization