Competition. That’s what it feels like in a year full of shooters; but one game stands out from the rest. Titanfall 2 takes a step forward this year delivering more of the fast-paced gameplay players have come to expect from developer Respawn Entertainment. All while adding a new single-player campaign.
In Titanfall 2 you play as Jack Cooper, a rifleman who is learning the ropes on becoming a pilot. Thing’s go haywire however, as you crash-land on the planet Typhon. Typhon’s where Jack must prove he has what it takes to become a pilot. As he and his former sqaudmates titan BT-7274 must ally together and battle between the IMC Militia (Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation) and the hostile fauna of the planet.
One of the complaints many fan’s had about the first Titanfall was the lack of a campaign. Respawn Entertainment could have made a quick, simple campaign just to say it’s there. But instead the campaign feels like a lot of effort was put into it. The simple parkour and titan mechanics the game is known for compliment the story. Each level of the story is specifically designed with titan and player in mind. From the lush jungles filled with hostile lizards-akin to Turok-to the dirty factories where danger comes in the form of the environment. Each level is simply a thrill to play.
Titanfall 2 could have been a overly serious game, but instead the presentation makes it feel like anything but that. The game know’s exactly what it is-a big, loud, over-the-top shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Cooper and BT ease the tension when it comes to these moments; their friendship is what really drives the story. In some ways the relationship reminded me of the one between Baymax and Hiro in Big Hero Six. Despite their relationship being somewhat hammy at times. There still is fun to be had in this fast-paced, cliched story.
As I played through the campaign one thing popped into my mind. This game feels like Mega-Man. Stay with me, I know I sound a bit crazy (I might be), but let me explain. Through the course of the story the player is confronted with different bosses. These bosses are trying to stop Cooper and BT from completing their mission. Each boss is equipped with a different titan chassis making it a challenge to take them out.
Defeating boss after boss made it feel like playing a first-person, pretty Mega-Man. This gameplay loop, plus the reward of different titan loud-outs throughout the story added to the Mega-Man factor. Each different load-out provides a different approach when taking out a boss’ titan. Just as an aside, there is a very cool gameplay mechanic that happens around the half-way point of the story. This section may just be one of the coolest moments I have every played in a video game, but for the sake of spoilers I won’t go any further.
Standby for Multiplayer
If you have played Titanfall’s multiplayer then you know how addictive it can be. Besides a few gameplay tweaks and change in progression; Titanfall 2 is relatively the same as the first. Like the campaign, the multiplayer maps are designed with both titan and pilot in mind. Even though the maps are well designed, there were never any that stood out to me as my favorite. Buildings on the map were either clumped together making chained wall-running easier, or speed out breaking pilot movement-but complimenting titans.
The progression system is different compared to the first game as well. Ranking up weapons, titans, player performance, match completion and victories can all add up towards earning a new level. Each level requires ten merits, these merits can be earned depending on your performance in a match. Speaking of performance, the weapons and titans you use can be leveled up. The more you level up a certain weapon, the more attachments you can earn. One cool attachment I earned was a mod that showed, and counted how many kills I had with said weapon.
Numerous accessories are available for each weapon. From skins to attachments; there is a lot to acquire. Titan’s can also be customized…but to a limited extent. Weapon and armor decals are featured for each titan chassis, but the non-existent customization of your titan’s load-out is quite dissapointing.
At first I thought this was a poor design choice, but it began to make more sense the more I played. In the first Titanfall players had the option to customize their titan’s load-out how they wanted; crafting a titan that suits their play-style-even if it means being overpowered. Titanfall 2 throws that out the window. Instead, titans found in multiplayer are ripped straight from the campaign. The decision to have default titans is pretty smart because when I am up against a rival titan I know exactly what their load-out is going to be. Instead of it being a guessing game in trying to figure out an opponents configuration-usually resulting in death, I am more focused on the combat in front of me.
With combat, comes precaution. Titanfall 2 throws away the safety of your titans shield; instead you must earn it. There are a few ways to accomplish this. First, stealing opposing titans’ batteries via rodeoing will grant you a battery. From there, you must deliver it to your titan, otherwise you will lose it if you die.
The second option is by using a perk that gives the player a battery after a certain amount of time. In modes such as Last Titan Standing, batteries are spread out across the map making it crucial-yet risky-to get out of your titan. Rodeoing titans are another gameplay tweak in Titanfall 2. Instead of hopping on a titan and shooting its membrane; the battery must be taken out first, then the titan becomes more vulnerable to grenades that are thrown in its opening.
Previous game modes make a return, with the addition of a few new ones. Modes such as Bounty Hunt, Coliseum, and Amped Hard-point all add to the fun. Coliseum is especially unique because it’s a mode that is only accessible with a ticket. These tickets can be earned at random each time you rank up. The mode consists of just two players battling it out with missile launchers in an arena that feels like a sci-fi version of Thunderdome.
The outcome of the multiplayer is a thing of beauty. The tight and responsive controls coupled with the various titans and weapons make for a powerful combination. Some of the maps may not be the most impressive-especially by Titanfall standards-but are nonetheless fun to play.
Titanfall 2 builds upon the fast-paced gameplay from which it revolutionized. The multiplayer is as addictive as ever. Plus the single-player campaign provides a surprisingly fun detour that stands on its own merits. It’s everything a sequel should be: Bigger. Louder. Better.