Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
We played on Xbox One
Titanfall 2 is the EXO-Squad video game I have wanted to play since I was a teenager and never could. Some people might read that and think I am bashing the game for being derivative or unoriginal. But, that just isn’t the case. Titanfall 2 is a game that manages to take what was, essentially, a lifeless shell, and breath life and personality into it. I loved every minute of it.
One of Titanfall 2’s biggest strengths is the fact that I have a story to talk about in the first place. Its predecessor included something that you could maybe call a story. But, it consisted of a series of voice overs that played as you started and ended multiplayer matches.
Titanfall 2 couldn’t be more different. It features a fully scripted single-player campaign complete with voice over, cut scenes, and a gameplay mechanic that I don’t want to talk about for fear of spoiling it. The single player campaign is short, so it might not be enough to justify a purchase if you aren’t interested in the multiplayer. But, it was a great campaign that was full of set piece moments and challenging fights. I kept finishing fights and thinking to myself, “This has to be it.” Each time I did that I was surprised by another chapter with another hilariously over the top scenario.
I won’t go out of my way to declare the story as “great” though. Some of the writing was a bit cliché and the entire game relies heavily on well-established tropes in the mecha genre. None of it was bad enough to make me want to stop, but it was definitely noticeable.
The Titanfall experience hinges on two things: The experience of deftly navigating complex environments as a pilot and the experience of being an unstoppable titan juggernaut. Fortunately, Titanfall 2 nails it with both of them.
All of the levels (in the single player campaign AND multiplayer) are designed with verticality in mind. Players are expected to run, jump, double jump, and wall-run all over the place. This would have been a nightmare had the controls used to accomplish these insane feats were anything but perfect. I never felt out of control regardless of the circumstances. I missed my share of jumps, but I always knew why I missed them and was able to make adjustments when I came back to the obstacle.
Titans may not be unstoppable, but they are intended to be on another level from grunts and other soldiers that would be a significant challenge as a pilot. The feeling of stomping around open areas in a titan focusing on large threats and just stepping on smaller enemies was oddly satisfying. Even better? As you play through the single player game you periodically find new load outs that give you different ways to approach each fight. I spent a lot of time just experimenting with the different weapons as I played through the game. They were all very useful in different situations. The appropriate management of your titan load outs is critical to success in larger fight so you can’t just use one and leave the rest alone.
The original Titanfall was focused entirely on multiplayer and a lot of the things that were great about the original are still true in the sequel. There are plentiful game modes. The maps are all well designed to give pilots AND titans their own places to shine. And there are numerous customization options.
The customization has actually gotten better as they have added more different types of titans and titan weapons. The most noteworthy additions were a giant sword and a flame thrower. Players also have more options to make their Titan have a distinct look with decals and paint options. This is subtle, but a lot of online gaming is about establishing an online identity. Customization options like this support that end.
Titanfall 2 is rated M for Mature and for good reason. The gunplay is satisfying, but shots landed on humanoid targets result in a lot of blood splatter.
Fans of the original Titanfall should grab this game as soon as possible. It is an upgrade in almost every way. Otherwise, I would only buy it if you were interested in playing the multiplayer. The single player campaign is a lot of fun, but it is really short. That makes it hard to justify a full price game.