Welcome back everyone. Today we’re reviewing Titanfall 2, which came out October 28th, brought to us by EA and Respawn Entertainment. Now, you may be thinking: “Hang on, a AAA game review? And not covered a year after the fact? You feeling okay?”
Feeling better than that Titan down there, that’s for sure.
Yes. Yes actually. I’m feeling amazing, that’s why I’m writing this. Titanfall 2 has revitalized my love for the Military Shooter genre, the same way Battlefield 1 is reportedly doing for several others right now.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t big on the fancy new mobility systems being plugged into shooter games when Advanced Warfare tried it… but I’m liking it much more after Titanfall 2. I’m not sure if that’s because the latter did a better job showing me the potential the system has, or I didn’t give it enough of a chance of my first try, or some combination, but I know I enjoy it now.
Enough about me, onto the game itself.
There’s a campaign this time around, so let me start by saying it was great, better than I ever expected from a multiplayer-focused FPS. It’s a little on the short side but the levels are mostly well-designed, giving you a number of weapons to use and obstacles to interact with. Players follow the story of one Jack Cooper, a Militia Rifleman whose dreams of becoming a Titan Pilot are granted in the cruelest way possible, as his mentor is cut down in front of him during a botched attack on an IMC installation. With his dying breath, Captain Lastimosa grants him use of his own Titan, named BT, leaving a dangerous mission in their hands. The overarching Militia-IMC conflict is reasonably interesting but I had more fun listening to the conversations between Jack and BT, the player often being able to choose 1 of 2 responses to BT’s statements and queries. The Campaign levels are especially pleasing to look at, with a variety of colors and a great deal of details thrown into each stage. The sound work is also good, with a variety of sounds to represent the different weapons and help convey their punchy-ness (or the literal punchy-ness of a Titan trying to swat an enemy pilot).
The Multiplayer, being the real meat of the game, is no slouch either. The movement speeds have reportedly been slowed down a bit from Titanfall 1, and it seems a reasonable change, as players can be fast without being disorientingly so. There’s a slew of usual game modes, but the main draw is that all players can call in Titans after their gauge reaches 100%, also gaining a Boost of some sort at some percentage prior. Normally I’d be concerned about this, but it’s more akin to a CoD support streak than a kill-based one, so every player is going to get their Titan, and with it a chance to turn the tables, eventually. I’ll also say that it’s not the end of the world if the enemy gets Titans first, as a capable pilot can thoroughly harass and even kill one given time, through specific weapons and ordnance or just climbing aboard and ripping their batteries out. Additionally, Titans can only access so much of the map, so a full team of Titans is going to have no easy way to get at the other team as the latter pours gunfire and grenades into them from every angle.
I’ll also say the weapon design is a much appreciated refinement of other shooter games. Instead of having a dozen guns that are all variations of the same few archetypes (Lookin’ at you, Black Ops 1!), Titanfall 2 has a much shorter list of armaments and weapon attachments that don’t completely shred the balance like Grip and Rapid Fire did in MW3. There’s still some frustrating combinations, which I’m going to touch on later, but I appreciate that they worked to decrease the number of them.
Okay, so complaints: Some areas in the campaign and multiplayer are so detailed to the point of being a little overwhelming. Even after several dozen matches, I keep turning my head to glance at scenery that triggers my brain’s “Pilot” recognition. The later campaign stages have moments of “wow, look at this place… where was I going?”, breaking the flow all the more noticeably after several levels you can speed through like a parkour demigod. I also wish I could replay earlier stages and Titan fights with the loadouts I unlocked later, as by the time you have the full set the game is nearly over. In Multiplayer, I really dislike the progression system for Boosts, as newbies are stuck with “Amplified Weapons”, which is only really useful if you’re a good player to begin with, while players that are further along get things like map-wide radar, map-wide radar jamming, and a few other things that resulted in several frustrating matches, for example when my Cloaking-based loadout was rendered completely useless thanks to apparently the entire enemy team having the Map Hack Boost. Also, while I appreciate the impact added to the combat by all the added sounds, Multiplayer does often reach a point where, like the detail in the maps, situations get too hectic and you’ll be hard pressed to keep track of everything. I’m not too mad about that, as some Titans rely on being able to slip away in the confusion and others are built around causing said confusion, but I know it’s going to rub some people the wrong way.
So, that’s Titanfall 2. It’s available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One for $60, and it’s a rare example of a AAA game that I feel is worth the asking price, especially because the devs have already explained that upcoming DLC, including maps, gamemodes and “other stuff” is free to everyone. Seriously, when was the last time you heard that?