Titanfall 2 review
With Vince Zampella and his team of Infinity Ward veterans at the helm, there was hope that Titanfall 2’s single player offering would be something impressive. And indeed our hopes were realised. It’s not the most gripping story overall, but smart level design that compliments the fast, fluid movement of your pilot, as well as an excellent bonding experience between you and your Titan’s AI, makes for a pretty compelling tale.
Whilst the original Titanfall’s storyline saw you fight both sides of the interstellar conflict, piloting mechs for the IMC and the Militia, Titanfall 2 focuses on John Cooper, a Militia fighter stranded on the planet Typhon attempting to stop the IMC from powering a devastating weapon called The Ark. After a Vanguard-class Titan, BT 7274, loses its pilot, it’s up to you to repair the hulking, walking mass of guns and missiles and jump into the control seat.
Throughout the 6-8 hour tale, the characters of Cooper and BT bond, and the relationship they share proves far more interesting and compelling than the story would otherwise be alone. As their friendship develops, you’ll find yourself truly caring about what happens to the duo, and you’ll learn more about each of them as they share jokes and stories from their pasts. It’s reminiscent of Master Chief and Cortana, adding some much needed personality to the series and its lore, better grounding you in its fiction.
The rest of the experience is set piece after set piece, separated by some platforming and slightly slower paced sub-missions. To anyone who’s played the Modern Warfare Call of Duty titles, its structure will feel familiar, and much like those standout Call of Duty campaigns, Titanfall 2 throws some spectacular set pieces into the mix. Indeed, you’ll enjoy the impressive fireworks of massive mechs firing missiles and huge calibre guns at each other, and there’s a selection of nice surprises on offer that you might not see coming. It offers some excellent sci-fi action.
Moreover, the platforming throughout is absolutely terrific. The speed of wall running and leaping, followed by sliding and performing thruster boosted jumps, all before felling an enemy with deadly melee attacks or accurate gunplay, is superb. It all happens at a breakneck speed but remains intuitive to pull off, making you highly agile and adding dimensions to combat and platforming that you don’t expect from a first-person shooter.
BT also feels great to pilot, feeling as agile as the heavy Titan from the original game but with some new tricks up his steel sleeves. You can customise BT throughout the campaign as new features and weapons are discovered. There are eight in total and these give you access to new weapons, such as a grenade launcher, and new talents which include the good old fashioned barrage of missiles and reflector shield, as well as the new wall of flame that travels across the ground. Additionally, there’s the custom cores which act as BT’s special ability or ‘Boost’, these range from a laser shot from the chest, a sword for dealing huge amounts of melee damage, or a minigun that locks onto enemies.
Of course, Titanfall 2 also includes an extensive multiplayer. Attrition returns, acting as Titanfall’s take on Team Deathmatch, as well as Free For All. Meanwhile, Amped Hardpoint challenges you to capture points, however, unlike the original Hardpoint, this time sticking around a captured point ‘amps’ it for extra credits. Of course Capture the Flag returns alongside Pilots vs. Pilots, which takes the Titans out of the equation, and Last Titan Standing makes them the focus, and Skirmish, which offers a variety of objectives. However, the new Bounty Hunt mode is the standout.
Bounty Hunt splits the match into three waves, with your objective being to earn cash by killing the enemy and then depositing it at a bank to earn points. However, there are also bounties spread across the map that earn you large bonuses. If you’re killed whilst holding money, your amount of cash is halved. The strategy then, is measuring up the risk/reward of earning too much cash before depositing, however, Banks are only available at certain times. It’s easy to accidentally become a big target for the enemy, adding a great aspect of teamwork as you either group together to defend big earners, or team up to take them out on the enemy team.
Customising your titan and loadout has changed somewhat from the original title too. Gone are the burn cards and there are a more distinct selection of Titan types to suit multiple play styles. Fans of the original’s chassis customisation options are likely to find the new options have simplified the experience a bit, but there’s still plenty to tinker with, with a large range of weapons, attachments, perks, Boost abilities and cosmetic options for both your Titan and pilot.
The multiplayer maps have also been transformed into larger, more varied locations. These better cater to the wide variety of playstyles, with sniping locations, open areas for Titans to roam, plenty of elevation and wall running opportunities for pilots, and interiors for close combat.
Indeed, Titanfall 2 does a great job highlighting the series strengths: agile pilot movement, and impactful, exciting mech combat. The single player campaign’s story is fairly shallow but its focus on Cooper and BT’s relationship is excellent and memorable. Meanwhile, the fast paced, action heavy multiplayer with its tweaks on the original formula are the cherry on top or a very well-designed title.
Thanks to Xbox and Respawn Entertainment for supporting TiX