Respawn Entertainment has a relatively short history with Titanfall 2 being its second title to release, and a third in development (A new star wars based game is all we have been told), and yet you can trace its First Person Shooter lineage back to Modern Warfare 2. Infact most of the Respawn studio have worked on a Call of Duty game, thanks in part to studio head Vince Zampella and the publicity surrounding his dismissal from Infinity Ward, when he left, so did many others in support. The first Titanfall game was released to critical acclaim, an Xbox One console exclusive (Which means the PC also got it), the multiplayer only game was truly a next generation title in a market at the time dominated with remasters, HD & definitive editions. The lack of a single player campaign hindered the bond that players find themselves attaching to franchises and as a result the user base quickly died down to around a consistent 1-2000 players worldwide playing daily. Fast forward 2 years and we have a new landscape, Titanfall 2 releases on multi-platform PS4, Xbox One & PC, and a single Player campaign is included, the only hindrance could be the release schedule it finds itself up against, with strong competition in Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare that are all being released in a short window. That said, Let’s take a look at Titanfall 2.
Straight away the campaign is impressive, you are rifleman Jack Cooper thrown into a mission with a Vanguard class titan known affectionally as BT. You are tasked by BT to complete a mission that his original pilot failed to do. This will take you across terrain unlike any other experienced in modern gaming. The Level design is impressive and involves you utilising an array of skills including Wall Running, Boost Jumping, Sliding and others, if we take the wall running, this was a huge part of the original Titanfall, and has since been copied by games such as Call of Duty, this isn’t about just scaling one area, huge parts of the level will have you jumping from one wall to another, in an attempt to keep up speed or you end up falling to your untimely death.
Talking around level design there are a couple that we will discuss without spoilers, for those who have yet to play the game. The first one that is worth a mention is a manufacturing facility that builds prefabricated houses, the houses rotate in each stage of the process, and as result you are constantly forced to move, the clever bit is in how the level has been designed, it is absolutely huge and there are hundreds of areas you can hide, you don’t need to stay with the original platform you started on either. If you want to jump off explore and come back then the choice is yours, the second that we found mind blowing revolves around a science facility that has ruptures in time (A little like Quantum Break – See our review here on that one), you can jump between the past and present with a wristband. Whilst in the past you had an array of enemy soldiers to contend with, the present sees you up against alien creatures that attack on sight. The flicking between time sees you solving puzzles to get into areas of the facility that area either off limits or demolished depending on which timeline you are in, both examples are designed exceptionally well and deserve huge credit for not just being your run of the mill cover and shoot.
The dialogue between yourself and BT is handled via a simple up and down on the D Pad, and at times there are some attempt at humour, BT builds up his load outs as you progress, these load outs are rigid and don’t allow customisation. In multiplayer customisation exists but not to the extent of the original game. BT will end up with an occasional boss fight which normally involves you taking on another titan, whilst getting attacked by smaller insurgents just to divert attention from the main target, it’s worth noting that if you’re playing on the harder difficulty settings make a mental note of battery locations as you will need these and pretty sharpish. All scenes like this are very fluid, move quickly and require quick reflexes and decisions from you (As the pilot), otherwise BT will quickly be destroyed.
“The relationship between Jack and BT allows fans to get a glimpse into the world of Titanfall through new eyes and will warm probably the coldest of player’s hearts”
The campaign for me was a pleasant surprise, it was much better than I could have anticipated and I am a huge Titanfall fan. The relationship between Jack and BT allows fans to get a glimpse into the world of Titanfall through new eyes and will warm probably the coldest of player’s hearts. It’s not your average cover and shoot game, although there are elements of that, it’s got the puzzle elements that you tend to find in games like Tomb Raider, Unchartered or even the more recent Recore (Review: Here). In regards to the recent statements from EA in highlighting that the games release coinciding with Battlefield and Call of Duty: IW, and the appeal to different players. The statement is true to an extent. Titanfall 2 will not appeal to Battlefield or Call of Duty campaign players due to the nature of the puzzle element, however the multiplayer is a different beast altogether – For Battlefield the difference is quite clear. Call of Duty and Titanfall however there is little difference in the main mechanics (The Jumping, sliding, boosting etc) – The environments are what separates, and Call of Duty has the core user base that would buy it year after year even if they sent the same game out year after year. It’s a shame that Titanfall will suffer because of that.
Multiplayer is the core of Titanfall, and huge changes are afoot from the original. There are new game modes, new weapons, new titans and best of all new perks. So let’s start with Game Modes, If you played the Alpha Tech Test you would have seen one such mode called Bounty Hunter, similar to attrition in that you need to kill grunts, spectres and the newer enemies Reapers and Stalkers each kill gives you money which you retain until the end of the round, when the wave is complete you need to bank the money. IF you die before the round ends you lose half your bounty, so if you started with a $100 and died twice you would be left with $25. The game is fast paced and detracts from concentrating on killing enemies and more on the AI, obviously the downside exists in that enemies will camp at the banks to prevent you from cashing in, however there are methods around this. Other notable modes include the return of Attrition, Capture the Flag, Hardpoint and Titan Vs Titan. The usual mix tape exists so you can try all game modes across different maps. One mode that hasn’t received much attention in the reviews we have seen is Coliseum, this puts you 1v1 against another human player and you battle it out, first to 3 kills wins. Entry can only be obtained by either a ticket (which are difficult to obtain, or by paying 10 merits). If you win you get a gift which could be a skin, patch or emblem.
The customisation options are back this time round you appearance predominately is based on what skill you have, so if you for example choose stim then you will have a set of running blades, choose stealth and you’ll look like bear with a powered back pack, from here you can chose your own Camo to wear, you can change the camo on your weapons and the nose art on your Titan. Patches, Emblems are gained throughout multiplayer and are gained when you level up different factions or regenerate your pilot. The original game had burn cards and challenges, we would like to see such options return – challenges are available but compared to the original are limited and very basic.
Multiplayer feels just as quick as it has always been with no noticeable slowdown in speed, which was one of the concerns from the Tech Test, If anything there are options in the player builds that can actually make you go quicker – Stim, Grapple etc are all load out options that will have you moving faster than you could have ever achieved in the original game. Map Hack which used to be a burn card in the first game is slightly overpowered in Titanfall 2 it shows up all enemy players to your team – the Developers are looking into lessening the effects of this perk already. So it’s good to see they are listening to community feedback.