I always consider Titanfall to be a title that got me out of sheer curiosity, then managed to keep me thanks to its incredibly fluid gameplay. After all, this was the work of Vince Zampella, a guy that put his name on the board with the Call of Duty games, and his team at Respawn Entertainment. They understand what it takes to make a shooter click, and Titanfall certainly did. Still, I could see how players could have their doubts, with it being a. an Xbox One exclusive, and b. multiplayer-based only, although you could get into single player oriented battles against the AI.
Well, wipe those concerns away. With Titanfall 2, Respawn seems to have listened very carefully to its community, not only saddling the game with a single player campaign to go along with its multiplayer, but also letting PlayStation 4 owners get in on the fun, although cross-platform gameplay still isn’t a thing – at least, not yet. But hey, one step at a time, right?
The ground battles are what you’d usually expect from a first-person shooter in multiplayer, though throwing in AI grunts to take down does manage to boost the confidence of unskilled soldiers, making sure they aren’t turned away by the superior players using every mechanical means of movement to get the most frags possible. This hasn’t changed, and the wide array of awesome weaponry – the pistol continues to be quite useful with its auto-aim – is incredibly impressive. You may not even find a dull gun in the bunch, save for when they run low on ammo.
But then, yes, the Titans come, and crash land into battle into a tremendous way Respawn has done an excellent job redefining what they mean to a game. Sure, you could run in and blitzkrieg enemies like crazy until you explode, but with variants available – and different types of Titans to choose from – you can change your game tremendously, whether you prefer a heavily armed one with missiles, or one that carries around a sword. Ah, yes, it’s Gundam time.
Mobility has improved greatly since the first game. You can still use wall running and other techniques to get around, and the introduction of a grappling hook is simply dazzling, as it enables you to get over walls you’d otherwise smack dab into. Of course, you might still awkwardly end up in getting fragged by someone waiting on the other side, but that’s the chance you take when it comes to moving around the map.
There are so many modes to choose from within the game, but each are worth experimenting with. Last Titan Standing, for instance, is an all out mode where you hunt down Titans until they’re done for – though that’s a job easier said than done depending on their assault tactics. A lot of the traditional modes make their return as well, and it’s always fun to either dash for a dropship after losing the round, or shoot it down and make your enemies pay for getting on your bad side. No matter which way you go, you’ll find multiplayer to be completely engaging, and still a lot of fun – no matter what your skill set. (Yes, the AI soldiers are back, so have fun mowing them down.)
What’s really surprising here is how incredibly solid single player mode is. While it may not be as dramatic as most Call of Duty titles, it’s filled with unpredictable scenarios, from working your way through TWO different time dimensions investigating a destroyed lab, to fighting through a factory where little mini-stages are built, using whatever means necessary to get from point to point. The levels are MASSIVE and impeccably designed, with very little blemishes to get in the way. Respawn definitely learned from the first game, and their experience is applied gloriously here.
The relationship between your pilot and his friendly BT-7274 is really something as well, as you learn to grow and trust one another, and even try to break the ice with a little bit of humor. It really makes the single player worthwhile, even if some of the scenarios are a bit far-fetched. For instance, do boss characters really need to get out of their bots to taunt you? We could easily just blow you away with all your show-offness.
Titanfall 2’s campaign does end a bit too soon for its own good, but the moments are certainly worth going through, and then you can jump right back into multiplayer to take on your friends. There’s also a lot of customization you can do over the course of the game, though some of those Titan skins – I won’t lie – can be a bit ugly for their own good. Is that plaid?!
But the presentation is light years ahead of the first game. Titanfall 2 keeps a consistent frame rate of around 60 frames per second, and looks every bit as equal as Battlefield 1, even with the shortage of epic moments like that game created. What’s more, the audio is superb, with top-notch voice work, great soundtrack bits, and lots of booms and bangs to put your speaker system through a workout.
Even with mild inconsistencies with storytelling and some weird Titan skills, Titanfall 2 is everything we could’ve hoped for a sequel to be. Everything comes together quite beautifully here, from the fluid gameplay to the wonderful presentation, and whether you prefer single or multiplayer, there’s a lot to get through here. It’s everything you wish the first game could’ve been, with all the components you’ve been wanting put into place. With that, I do hope the returns for a third Titanfall tale – one with co-op and bosses with a bit of smarts. We’ll see how this journey continues soon enough…