Titanfall 2 Review

As a fan of the first game, Craig takes hold of our Titanfall 2 review. Can it compete with its more illustrious competitors Battlefield and Call of Duty?

Titanfall 2 sees you take the role of Jack Cooper in the series first single-player campaign. A rifleman who has been entrusted to use a weapon but not given permission to have his own Titan, that is, until the Pilot training you is killed in action. Fortunately, you’re there to take his Titan and launch yourself into the campaign of Titanfall 2, a welcome addition to the multiplayer only prequel.

If you don’t already know – a big part of Titanfall 2 is not just running around in first-person like a normal shooter, but also having the ability to take a giant mech robot with you.

Before you get your Titan, you’ll have a few training missions that’ll teach you the ropes and get you, quite literally, moving from place to place. Much like the gameplay, Titanfall 2’s story doesn’t slow down, taking you from one blistering minute to the next, with the only quiet times being where you’ll have to navigate using your wall-run and double jump techniques through treacherous walkways and catwalks – some of which constantly move.

At times, it reminded me of the hours I spent on Halo trying to navigate cliffs and walkways that I was never meant to be able to get to in order to find the Skull collectibles. Forcing the game to allow me to walk on areas that I clearly wasn’t supposed to. But in Titanfall 2, I was moving from one point of the campaign to the next in ways that I didn’t think I should have be able to, only for it to turn out that the path I took was the correct one. Respawn have given the appearance of allowing the player to have free range of movement in getting to the objective, but have cleverly disguised the correct path and provided hints of direction without the player knowing for sure what the true way is.

One thing that does spoil the traversal immersion however is the option of a ‘ghost runner’ which appears at difficult platforming sections. By pressing up on the D-Pad, you’re shown a figure jumping and moving, telling you, the player, how to get to the objective. For beginners it’s fine, and the ‘ghost runner’ is optional, but seeing the hint appear every time before it allowed me to figure it out myself was slightly disappointing. But it’s more of an annoyance than anything else. Although ‘ghost runner’ won’t appear when you’re trying to work out how to find the collectibles Pilot Helmets in the campaign. You’re on your own with them.

“One thing that we must applaud developers Respawn for is the lack of any type of season pass. With the game receiving free multiplayer DLC map support …”

As for its narrative, Titanfall 2 won’t win any awards, but it’s still an engrossing tale. Jack Cooper is largely forgettable, but your relationship with BT2874 (your Titan), is the driving force to keep going. BT is played exactly how you’d imagine an AI Titan should be. Direct, calculating, and to the point, but somehow kind of adorable at the same time.

During the campaign you’ll be given branching dialogue options on how to talk to BT, and his response can sometimes be quite humorous for a dry AI. For example, at one point, BT calculates his love for you at 50% based on a response you give.

The branching dialogue choices don’t change the direction of the narrative, but it allows the player to be involved more in the actual story and instead of just ignoring most of the on-going dialogue, I was actively listening out for what BT and my compatriots were saying, waiting to give my own response.

You’ll also encounter a number of bosses and interesting level designs throughout story mode as well. In a way, the bosses come across like a group of bad guys from Metal Gear Solid – but unfortunately without the long cutscenes to explain backstory (or fortunately, depending on your point of view). They all seem interesting though and it’s a shame they weren’t fleshed out a bit more. Ash was a particular highlight, with this masked enemy taunting you throughout an entire level, building up to a satisfying battle towards the end of her particular segment.

One of the more surprising aspects of the campaign was just how much platforming there was.  While Titanfall 2’s main gameplay mechanic outwith the actual shooting is its traversal, the sheer amount of timely jumps that’s required took me by surprise – in a good way.  The combat is solid, but sometimes a nice break from the constant gunfire is nice and Respawn have made full use of Titanfall 2’s great movement abilities.

The list of different weapon loadouts for your Titan has also expanded from the previous game, with six in multiplayer and eight in single-player. From the standard Ion Titan with an assault rifle and homing missiles, to the more extravagant Scorch (who has a fire whip) and Ronin (who comes complete with a giant robot sword). Each feels unique and different to the rest, and single-player allows you to get a good feel for each of them before you venture into the multiplayer.

There are a good number of multiplayer modes in Titanfall 2 and all come with a variety of parameters surrounding Titans and Pilots.  Those looking for a more normal multiplayer shooter experience will be pleased to know that there is a Pilots v Pilots mode – a feature that was initially lacking in the first game.  But, in my opinion, you’re playing Titanfall to play with giant mechs, so that’s really where you should be spending your time.

One particular highlight of mine is the Last Titan Standing mode.  In this, two teams of six Titans take on each other right from the start, with the aim being that the team with the last Titan remaining wins the round.  Seeing twelve Titans go at it right from the start is fantastic, and if you can sneak around the back to catch a few enemies by surprise then it’s even better.

Overall the multiplayer is fun and engaging with the usual level and weapon progression that you’re used to if you’ve played a game like this before. Unlike other shooters, Titanfall 2 offers a lot of character customisation, with colors for both your pilot and weapons regularly unlocked the more you play. In some ways, the progression is slightly overwhelming as even individual weapons can be levelled up, so it requires some planning if you’re looking to get invested in the multiplayer for a period of time.

One thing that we must applaud Titanfall 2 and developers Respawn for is the lack of any type of season pass. With the game receiving free multiplayer DLC map support for an, as yet, unknown period of time. A welcome change to the $40/£40 season passes we’ve been seeing for a number of games, most of which just aren’t worth the price. But no issues here though.

A more trivial fact that was a big welcome, was Respawn’s ability to release a game without the need for any major patch at release. A minuscule patch is required when you initially boot up the game, but apart from the standard installation (which on our PlayStation 4 took around 10 to 20 minutes) there wasn’t any more waiting around. In fact, the game lets you play the opening mission of the campaign at 48% installation.

titanfall 2 review

Titanfall 2 stands alone in a crowded first-person shooter market. It may be a sequel, but Titanfall 2 feels fresh, even for someone like me who put many hours into the original. Core mechanics like traversing and shooting are fun right from the get-go, and with free DLC to come, it looks like your Titan is ready.

5/5

We tested the PlayStation 4 version after purchasing a retail copy, Titanfall 2 is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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