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Titanfall 2 Review


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On 12/07/2016 at 09:29 AM by Casey Curran

Remember the Titanfall
RECOMMENDATION:

If you do not care for multiplayer, you need to be okay with a short campaign of around six hours, but it should satisfy FPS fans. If you are in this for the multiplayer, then this is a no-brainer, Titanfall 2 is both unique and a blast to play.

The original Titanfall had such an amazing idea: Soldiers who can run on walls with jetpacks summon giant mech suits known as Titans. Normally I  play a few matches of multiplayer before getting bored and back to the single player, but I took a gamble in Titanfall’s multiplayer only offering. And despite being too light on content, there was enough depth to keep my 200th match in Titanfall as fun as my second.

Despite my fun, I still yearned for a single player experience, especially with developer Respawn’s pedigree. The team contains many key members responsible for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I wanted to see what they could do with Titanfall’s new mechanics. Having played Titanfall 2, I am more than pleased with the results while the new multiplayer additions help it trump the original in almost every way.

Titanfall 2 continues the Call of Duty philosophy of campaign design by creating a series of epic battles and set pieces to deliver a roller coaster esque experience. Each mission has its own unique feel and aims to always keep the player immersed into the moment. Pacing is the crucial ingredient here and Respawn handles it very well as it keeps battle arenas feeling distinct from one another while blending them well with platforming and Titan segments. The game never spends too much time on any of the three, letting all three feel fresh and fun.

The shooting itself remains solid enough despite a few shortcomings. Like many games from the Call of Duty franchise, your weapon selection will not matter much going into a fight. Worse, when weapon selection does matter, it’s due to not having one of the dozen assault rifles that feel exactly the same in your disposal. Not to say snipers and shotguns don’t come in handy, but assault rifles are far too centralizing in this game.

Thankfully, the arenas are smartly designed to still create fun enemy encounters. Titanfall 2 employs a quick movement system based around double jumps and wall running, which levels use to a strong degree. Most of the time when a shooter puts me in a bind, I find somewhere to take cover and formulate a new plan. Titanfall 2 instead forces the player to move as fast as they can, staying in sight but impossible to hit which presents an interesting new dynamic. Battles never slowed down and the fast paced nature never got old.

A special shout out also goes to one level’s time travel mechanics in a laboratory where the player hops between its current ruins and past wonder. It allows for some interesting challenges both in the platforming and combat. Swapping between the two times allows access different areas, yet many times this must be done while wall running or in mid air, offering a very satisfying challenge. Meanwhile, it gave two sets of opponents to fight depending on the time period, which meant it was impossible to take a breath in one time, but would allow instances such as traveling to the future then quickly traveling back in time to gun down the army from behind. My only complaint is the time travel mechanic is used too briefly. I could even see a whole game built around this one gimmick, it’s that good.

The shooting is also broken up with Titan bits, which have the player command a Titan known as BT 7274 to battle other Titans. The game smartly lets the player repair the titan BT to grow accustomed to the nature of Titans and let BT feel very powerful when given command. Titan offer an array of different loadouts which can be swapped on the fly depending on the scenario, which offers a good amount of depth. This creates a more strategic fight due to slower movement, bulkier enemies and replacing regenerating health with med packs. Each Titan fight feels like an epic battle, fighting to your last breath with every shot mattering, especially against boss Titans.

Despite the strong gameplay, the Titan BT’s character and role in the story, at the end of the day, is the real deciding factor on how much you will enjoy Titanfall 2. Similarly to Call of Duty 4, the game employs a number of set pieces, which requires an investment in the story to feel truely epic. Titanfall 2’s levels need context to give a reason to care about what happens. And the game gambles everything on BT’s character.

BT is a very familiar type of character. He’s a robot with an almost child-like innocence who exists only to serve his pilot. He doesn’t realize his pilot has barely grasped his plan whenever he throws him long distances and has a terrible grasp of his pilot’s sarcasm. Personally, I felt BT’s character was charming. His jokes made me smile more than laugh, but I was content with that. However, if the robot who doesn’t understand people archetype is not your cup of tea, this campaign may not be for you. His arc is very predictable and a bit rushed due to the game’s short 6 hour length. Despite this it nailed all the emotional moments in my opinion. BT was a cliche done well, so if you like the cliche, give it a go, but if not, maybe just stick with the multiplayer.

Multiplayer remains largely similar to Titanfall 1 with a few tweaks. Tweaks mostly come in the flavor of new Titan types. In the last game, Titans were mostly similar, with their differences feeling a lot smaller. Here, Titans feel like specialized classes with abilities such as flight, a ninja-esque melee focus, or sniping. These allow the Titan segments to feel even more strategic than the last game and placed a greater focus on the Titan fights than before.

The standard pilot shooting is not downgraded as a result, just altered. It is still easy to add to the team score without a Titan no matter how many enemy team controls, but the end goal feels more about either blowing up a Titan or getting a high enough score to deploy your own Titan as a result. This actually works in the game’s favor as it helps differentiate it more from other shooters. Rather than being the fast FPS with mechs, it’s more like a mech game that blends its own unique shooting in very well.

The game also employs various other modes if this idea does not strike your fancy. Want a 6 v 6 mech battle until the last man is standing? You got it! Would you rather remove the Titans and focus on the normal shooting? It’s there too! There’s plenty of other modes to get around, each diverse enough where I felt a need to customize a new pilot and Titan based on whatever mode I was playing rather than creating a jack of all trades that worked on everything. My only real complaint is it recycles a lot of maps from 1 which let things feel very samey, especially early on when I rarely got a match in a new map, but there’s enough maps and the promise of free DLC down the road to make up for this.

Titanfall 2 has its fair share of shortcomings, but it does a great job of carving its own niche for those looking for a different kind of a shooter. The blend of fast paced shooting and a mech based firefights was proven successful before and now feels refined into an even better experience. While not perfect, the shortcomings are very forgivable and do not detract from an all around satisfying experience.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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