Taking all of the original ideas from Titanfall and building on top of them, Respawn Entertainment has created another incredible game where you can call giant robots from the sky and kick ass. Titanfall 2 is an undeniably fun and robust sequel that must be played. It just has to be seen to be believed.
From the very beginning we are treated to a beautiful backstory filled with a perfectly orchestrated mix of CGI and live action, giving us a glimpse of what is to come. It’s filled with explosions, guns and introduces us to the ‘Pilots’. These Pilots see the world differently; they can double jump, run across walls and have split second reaction times.
The biggest change to the series is the incorporation of the story mode. One of the biggest complaints of Titanfall 2’s predecessor was the lack of a proper campaign mode, so Respawn took this on-board and responded with an original story. It’s not going to win any awards any time soon, but it’s a welcome inclusion. This is where we are introduced to our character, Jack Cooper, a frustratingly dull, run of the mill guy who, through unexpected circumstances, is granted control of a Titan and must do whatever necessary to stop the IMC. What makes Jack’s character more appealing to us in this, frustratingly short, six hour campaign mode is the relationship he has with his Titan, BT-7274 (or BT for short). Jack is very sarcastic throughout, but BT’s logic is as literal as it gets, this creates a lot of humour and lightens the mood of the game, considering it is mostly just destroying everything in your path. It’s great to watch this relationship flourish as you progress through the missions and it adds a surprisingly human touch to the game, even though one half of the relationship is a robot.
Visually speaking the game is stunning, putting numerous Titan’s in enclosed spaces makes for ridiculous explosions and high octane action. The game itself runs at a delightful 60fps and even though the resolution did change slightly, the fps never did, making it run silky smooth and ensuring the game looks simply magnificent. The level design is also something to behold as they are all crafted with such care and such detail, making you want to rush through the campaign just so you can see what else lies in store. The levels feel huge and they give you a lot of freedom to explore through wall running and double jumping, but there is usually just one straight path to follow, meaning it is very hard to actually get lost. You will also learn and pick up new skills along the way which you are expected to use to progress through the stages; this really makes you feel like you are developing as a character and gives you plenty to work for.
The campaign is also very well balanced in terms of the fact that it never makes one character more important that another. BT and Cooper are team mates and they each look out for one another. This can be done in such a way that Cooper must go off by himself to clear a path for BT or BT can support Cooper by taking down a hoard of enemies that could otherwise overwhelm him. This also balances the pace of the game perfectly as Cooper’s character, being a Pilot, can jump and move at break-neck speed, sliding and shooting enemies from every direction, whereas BT’s character feels heavier and slower in comparison – but the heavy weapons and sheer power of BT makes up for his lack of agility. This brings us onto the AI – my only real gripe with the game, but it’s a big one. The enemy AI is frustratingly predictable and very dumb. They aren’t as much a challenge as they’re just a hindrance to your progression throughout the levels. Multiple times I saw enemies just run away from me, or not notice me when I was standing right next to them, and I never actually died once at their hands. This did take me away from the game a lot and made me wish they were just a little bit smarter. Most games nowadays have smart AI and it makes the experience so much more believable. When it comes to killing the AI though, this is where the fun really kicks in.
Each outrageous weapon feels heavier and rattles off a more satisfying boom than the last. For a game that focuses in heavy weapons and machinery, this arsenal certainly doesn’t disappoint. They range from the usual heavy machine guns and magnum style handguns to the Titan’s unbelievable array of homing missiles and the ability to stop incoming projectiles, seeing them thrown back at enemies. These different classes and weapon packs can be unlocked throughout the game and can be switched on the fly, giving you a chance to learn what works best for you and play your own way.
Titanfall 1’s main attraction was its online multiplayer and Titanfall 2 is no exception. The main difference that veterans of the series will notice is the new balance of the Titans. Titans themselves no longer have a regenerating shield, but rather have batteries that take on the role of health packs and this changes the way the games are played. It means that players need to work together more because now, when an enemy can be seen running and jumping onto a Titan’s back, they don’t immediately destroy it like in previous games, but now they can steal one of your batteries. This takes away a substantial amount of health from your Titan, and with the battery in-hand the enemy can place said battery into one of their own Titans and replenish their health instead, this balances out the game a lot more than Titanfall 1 did and definitely evens out the playing field.
There are six Titan classes at your disposal, each with their own sets of weapons and abilities and, just like in any online shooter, you’ll take time understanding each class and working out which one is best for your play style, taking into consideration the pluses and negatives of each variation. This does, however, work as a disadvantage as when you’ve played for long enough you will recognise certain classes and you, as well as the enemy, will know how best to defeat it. You can also customise the look of your Titan and change specific bonus abilities, making your Titan feel more personal and unique. The pilots also have a vast array of custom load-outs in terms of weapons, attachments, skills and also their appearance. There is also, like some Call Of Duty games, in-game currency that allows you to unlock new weapons, items and abilities as you progress through the levels.
There are a total of eight different game modes, which include the classic team death match, capture the flag and free for all They have also added four additional game modes, as part of a playlist of pre-existing matches to keep the time you are playing varied and introduce you to games modes you may not otherwise play. Respawn have also added some new game modes and one that stood out for me is ‘Bounty Hunt’. This is a human vs human game with AI soldiers thrown in. Two teams must hunt each other down, as well as the AI, in exchange for money. The AI come in waves and when each ends you can exchange your money in banks for a bonus. Whichever team reaches the bank goal first, or gets the most money at the end of the game wins. It’s an exciting, new idea that I think you’ll become as hooked on as I was in no time.
Currently there is a total of nine different game maps to play and the best part, no season pass! Which means that every bit of DLC that is released for Titanfall 2 will be free. That in itself is a welcome decision. It encourages people to play more as they know they don’t have to fork out even more money for something that they may not even like.
Titanfall 2 is an unbelievable sequel and has built upon all the ideas of the first and made them so much better. Its mix of fast and slow paced action keeps the gameplay varied and exciting, and the online multiplayer is captivating and brutal. The enemies need to be a bit smarter and the campaign could have been a bit longer, but Titanfall’s big gun, big explosions and big heart kept me coming back hour after hour.