+Takes on the high-paced action of the first title while vastly improving on core mechanics
+PlayStation 4 Pro players will notice a huge increase in performance over standard PS4
+Titans carry their own unique personality, continuing on from the campaign, and bringing more depth to multiplayer.
+Controls are easy, fun, and fresh in an already established mech-filled genre
+Creating communities is easier than ever compared to the first Titanfall
+Insanely fun boss fights within the campaign
–Latency issues do appear from time-to-time on Xbox One and PlayStation 4
-Lack of maps can grow tiresome after a few days
October last year is the first time I got my hands on the Xbox One and Titanfall. It was in a few hours that I’d found myself swept away by this game that offered a unique vision of the future. It took humanity beyond the stars, it took us to places unforeseen before in a very real vision, and offered us a story where humanity was falling apart at the seams.
Without proper intervention, it seemed humanity would begin falling apart as it stretched across the Milky Way while trying to ever expand, and move among the stars. However, the title that first launched was riddled with troubles due to its lack of campaign, a solid story, and replayability as it took on a very familiar Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare feel while combining the amazing things fans of MechWarrior had been experiencing for years on end without a hitch.
Just a few mere days ago, I found myself sitting in front of my Xbox One with a hot cup of coffee in hand, my free hand shaking as I took a sip, and within moments leaning back in my chair as if I’d just been through Hell and back. The truth was? I’d been through an experience that Titanfall hadn’t offered me the first time around. Even with all the ambition it promised from fluid player movement to massive ground battles while giant mechanized machines with their sentient A.I.’s moved across each map to assist their pilots. It’d been an astounding multiplayer experience, but it was only a fraction of what I had hoped it’d be from the former Call of Duty developers Jason West and Vince Zampella who delivered one of the most powerful campaigns ever with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which to many, is still the best of the games, and will continue being so for years on end.
However, they’ve managed to step past that in recent years as they managed to repair the Titanfall DLC and the games general mismanagement that led to players finding themselves despairingly stuck with a dying community. The damage had been done, but after two years, and a few months, I found myself once more sitting in front of the screen staring at a masterpiece, one that had managed to do everything the first game promised, but remarkably better. It offered a single player campaign, which stood out, created a universe that players can easily believe, it created villains that bled amazing honesty to them, but it also appealed to fans of Iron Giant with Jack Cooper, the main protagonist, and his several thousand pound friend B.T.
My adventure began in an earnest faction as many would imagine for a game that follows the sci-fi genre trope rather well. The game begins with players being thrust into a training simulation where Jack Cooper begins his training as a ground soldier, a man who wants to train to be a “Pilot” and become the best of the best. With a war unraveling before the frontier of space, the Frontier Militia have begun fighting back against the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, and want to keep peace among the stars as the IMC seek to make money out of it. Our story, as you expect, is very face-forward with what it wishes to do.
Our mentor dies, we are granted a promotion to pilot where we team up with our large and powerful Titan, a mech, named BT-7274, but prefers to go by BT for sure. Their objective is quite simple: Survival behind enemy lines. If you’ve ever wondered what Behind Enemy Lines looks like with Starship Troopers, Titanfall 2 does this quite well as players will find themselves fighting against man, machine, Titan, and even inhospitably vile creatures that would rather see them dead.
Much as you’d expect, the campaign starts out generic, unremarkable, and all so familiar as it is essentially Call of Duty, but with massive robots at first, but eventually finds itself easily trotting a distinctive line of emotional grasp that the writers would ascertain a sense of authenticity to their story. While many could easily compare it to Call of Duty, this title easily surpasses the likes of titles such as Advanced Warfare, DOOM, and even Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in the sense of a genuine and believable story. It’s one that gives us a feel for what our futures could very well be like if we were to live long enough to see humanity stretch among the stars. Unlike id Software’s DOOM or Infinity Ward’s Advanced Warfare, Titanfall 2 appeals to fans by offering an emotional depth, player control, and a very-real struggle of survival.
It takes influences from multiple games and mashes them together quite well when it comes to its lightning fast movement that is easily comparable to Capcom’s title Vanquish, while borrowing its insane and enjoyable acrobatics from Lost Planet, while managing to offer one of my favorite experiences from the smash sleeper hit Binary Domain. As one would imagine, Titanfall 2 borrows all of this quite well in order to help itself grow for both the fronts of campaign and multiplayer while working to evolve itself into something bigger, better, and stronger than before.
When players aren’t rushing towards an enemy with their CAR throwing out rounds, players can easily find themselves sliding after hitting the crouch button while turning their character to face the other way only to unleash bullets behind them, before finding themselves using a grappling hook to grab onto another enemy before unleashing a mighty-powerful bone-crunching blow that could easily send a man to his deathbed.
These type of combat scenarios are quite common in both campaign and multiplayer, which feel like extensions of one another, but without the annoying PvP aspect (campaign wise) to get a feel for the story. As one would expect, regardless of console of choice or PC, Titanfall 2’s controls aren’t just responsive – they are real, they are breathtakingly accurate, and they offer life-like animations that could leave fans drooling over their realism. They are fluid, they are what you’d expect if you had taken their spot, and with a vast array of weapons at your disposal, Titanfall 2 isn’t short of combat scenario variations.
While combat outside of a titan is fun, the game offers one of its greatest experiences through its combat inside a lumbering hulk of a Titan. This is where the game changes from one experience into another. Much as expected, the Titan vs Titan or Titan vs. Man aspects are much the same in a sense of ferocity and brutal realism. It’s not uncommon to see rocket salvo’s going across the screen, while fellow pilots will lop thermite canisters past you in order to dispose of a possible threat, only to set the battlefield ablaze.
While it sounds as if these massive behemoths are invulnerable, it’s not uncommon to see one go down in a nuclear blast of glory, taking everything near with it, and unleashing a radioactive blast that will take nearby enemies out with it. These lumbering mechs are just as vulnerable as their pilots as each one comes with its own strength, its own weaknesses, and it’s own combat capabilities whether you are piloting B.T. in campaign or say Northstar in multiplayer. The design choices varying between single player and multiplayer offer up a rather intelligent sense of design compared to many games of the genre.
Each piece of the overall design favors the idea between both man and machine, to offer multiple layers to each map to help transition players between their Titan and being on foot as the pilot. Whether it’s running through the games campaign finding yourself controlling time or in multiplayer phase shifting while rushing a Titan, players will find themselves blasting through enemies in multiple pathways. This also can cause some issues with the overall design to the games levels. Players may find themselves looping back around just as I have on more than one occasion. It’s not often that these problems stem from the idea that there are many paths, many ways through each level, and many hidden pieces within each one (want to find all those helmets? Better not backtrack and end up at the end of the level).
Unfortunately, the flaw with this design isn’t the fact it’s not a great idea, in reality, it is. It’s a perfect idea that translates well several times over, but leaves many players such as myself gripping tightly at our controllers as we’ve had a failure of communication with the level design. What way shouldn’t we go? Should I jump over the fallen tree in order to cross the river or should I go straight into the enemy facilities in order to find my new secret area? Oh right, I’ve fallen and died again while bouncing from pipe to pipe or wall to wall. This is common place unless players find themselves being guided to holograms within the game, and finding each splitting pathway as a new opportunity to experience different situations than ever before. Sometimes even offering better flanking positions against enemies compared to ones discovered previously in either campaign or PvP.
While the true faucet to the games enjoyability is the conversations between Jack and B.T., players will find themselves a bit let down by the games multiplayer. Unlike the campaign, however, the multiplayer suffers from a lack of direction that the campaign does. Maps aren’t as open, forthcoming, and enjoyable as the level designs in campaign. Instead many of them feel as if they are re-hashed Call of Duty maps that offer up a discouragingly poor sense of design when it comes to utilizing the games mechs and weaponry for a better cause. Unlike Titanfall the latest title suffers a bit from its rather dramatic changes to fast-paced and multi-level designs within a singular map. Each one feels as if it has been dumbed down to provide a single-minded vision of combat, allowing for choke-points, and teams to take lock down a single map with a single stroke of Titanfall’s.
Unlike the first game, such a thing is not easy to recover from whether it’s in the games rather enjoyable team deathmatch variant titled Attrition or the variant known as “Last Titan Standing,” which is in essence, a team deathmatch form of elimination where the target is destroying the enemy teams Titans as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, unlike the first game, Titanfall 2 seemingly discourages the idea of large scale Titan battles with increased rebuild timers, which resets during intermissions, and forces players to rebuild them between each point whether it’s the main battle or the games intermission variant known as “Epilogue,” which, once more, allows for teams to attempt an evacuation if they’ve lost the match.
Luckily, all that sounds bad, isn’t bad. Titanfall 2 is seemingly aware of its shortcomings from a developmental standpoint. The gamer designers have somewhat recognized this by separating player, Titan, faction, and even weaponry levels from one another. While some unlocks are only obtained through leveling up, Titanfall 2 offers a modest amount of customization for players to enjoy. While much of it is camo options, banners, or logo’s, players can find themselves enjoying a bit of uniqueness whether it’s the color of their gun, the Titan itself, or even their Titan’s hull sticker, which can be changed as players unlock them.
Unlike past titles that some of the development teams may have worked in in relation to Call of Duty, Titanfall 2 lacks on customization in many ways. Many of the gun trees are limited to 3-4 guns, very few scopes, and very few perks for each weapon, which in many ways, hinder the want for progression or the games “Prestige Mode,” which follows suit of the previously mentioned game quite well. Unlike Titanfall, this sequel does a poor job of also allowing players to have the customization’s we saw in the first game. Want to use that Ogre chasis? That’s not happening. Want to use that 40MM on Scorch? That’s not happening either. Each Titan is a prefabricated class for you to enjoy, which takes away from some of the immersion, and even can leave players cringing a bit at this finalized design choice, which we may never see changed back at a later date. Which is kind of saddening as making your Titan match your player identity was fun, it was enjoyable, and it was something that delivered a true sense of enjoyment within the first title. Plus, who doesn’t want their Titan screaming at them in Russian or German? I know I do.
Titanfall 2 – PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), and Xbox One (Reviewed)
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Cost: $59.99 Standard Edition | $79.99 Deluxe Edition
Release Date: Now Available
Despite many of the games flawed missteps, Titanfall 2’s core dynamism establishes a beneficial step for the overall game and allows for chaos to ensue where players deem worthy. Want to jump up and run along a wall, dropping down on an enemy mech, and yanking his core out for your own? That’s rather doable in many of Titanfall 2’s encounters that are commonplace in both the campaign and online elements of the game. It’s one of the many strengths the game offers in a unique fashion.
Overall, the game is enjoyable, it is a nice changed pace from the ever-growing stagnancy that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has offered players within weeks of Titanfall 2’s launch, and even offers a campaign that isn’t scared of its own dynamic view. It’s a game that doesn’t just offer immersion, Titanfall 2 is a game that wants players to exchange fire from Titan to Titan, and even encourages them to enjoy its chaotic ways while they play. Even with its shortcomings, Titanfall 2 is quite easily one of this games most enjoyable games, which allows it to almost encompass other titles within the genre, and allows its core design to flow fluidly between single player and multiplayer, without ever losing its identity in the mix.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game we paid for ourselves. For our review, we also used a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200RPM HDD and a standard Xbox One for our review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you