Review: Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed) (2016)
Genre: Action First Person Shooter
Pilots! Return to the battlefields abundant of mechs, explosions, fire-fights, and buttery-smooth parkour.
Respawn Entertainment’s follow up to the 2014 original, Titanfall 2 sets players in a dystopian future war, separated by opposing factions with conflicting values, all while battling it out with jet-packs, wall-running, and powerful controllable Titans. Unlike the previous iteration, the game includes a fully-fledged single player campaign and a progression based multiplayer where all these events take place. While the former still lacks in comparison to other story modes of the first person genre, both game modes prove Titanfall 2 as a standout FPS in a somewhat saturated market. Additionally, the announcement of completely free downloadable content serves the title further merit.
The story focuses on the newly appointed pilot, Jack Cooper, successful after the death of his superior Captain Lastimosa. Leaving behind his Titan BT-7247, or otherwise known as BT, Cooper and his new companion set themselves towards completing Lastimosa’s mission while combating the enemy factions and discovering what really lies behind the conflict of the war. Compared to the previous title, the campaign features a fully-fledged mission-by-mission story that properly trains, develops, and invests players as a pilot in the universe. It feels like a mix between the pacing and story of Halo and that classic Titanfall gameplay with an extra coat of Vaseline. Players are provided streamlined dialogue choices at points in the campaign that poorly simulate personality and relationship building with BT. Resulting is a somewhat straightforward and unsurprising story between the relationship and journey of Cooper and the Titan, however, it’s definitely a refresher from the prior game and other lacklustre stories of this year.
Gameplay is by far the game’s best element. It feels like Respawn has tweaked and almost perfected the original formula into the smoothest free-running, jetpacking, first person movement system to date. Similarly, piloting BT feels just as smooth without seeming too bulky or frustrating yet still representing the fact that players are in a gigantic robot firing missiles at enemies. Each mission provides a new mechanic or scenario for players to combat. The highlight by far is the mission “Effect and Cause”, which introduces a time-jumping device implemented in environmental puzzles and to avoid gunfire. Unfortunately, the AI is simply dumb, even on higher difficulties. Playing on the highest for this review, NPC enemies will simply have walk into the open without taking proper cover, rarely using ordinances, and have an almost perfect aim. It is a cheap way to up the difficulty but to be fair is not uncommon in the genre. The campaign is overall a most welcome expansion of the universe, adds to the value of the experience, yet will not leave a lasting appeal or become iconic like those of other FPS.
Visually, the game is on par with that of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare if not a little behind. Utilising the Source engine, it is definitely a pretty-looking game and by no means is ugly in any part; however, it is nothing close to the Battlefield 1 spectacular. Nonetheless, the experience is mostly vivid with various interesting environments to battle upon, explosions and wall-running pilots and every turn while always running at a solid frame rate. The game is optimised well for all systems and runs like a charm with no issues or bugs reported in this review. Audio is poorly mixed in parts however, seemingly muddy and feeling cluttered at times. Particularly in multiplayer, the sound effects of gunfire and pilots footsteps for example will become lost in the universe and headsets with higher sound stages and directional audio will prove useless in really becoming immersed into the environment. It is not horrible by any means and is playable for most, but for audiophiles coming from the sound experience of the Battlefield franchise, not being able to pinpoint enemies on their movements or gunfire really hurts the investment of immersion.
Finally, the multiplayer component of Titanfall 2 is clearly where Respawn Entertainment has focused and fine tuned for player amusement. Similar to the original, players have the opportunity to select between various pilot and mech classes, although they are given extra customisation additional to a more “hero” based selection resembling the current trend of the FPS genre. The sequel rids of the old card-based bonus system and introduces a new per-match based bonus selection, similar to kill streaks that apply a special ability to your pilot. This may be seen as a takeaway of a separating element of the franchise, and really dull down the game mode. Select a certain pilot, titan, and guns to level up individually and unlock attachments and camos while simultaneously upgrading an overall level to unlock more classes and weapons. A progression based multiplayer formula is utilised and will seem familiar and possibly dull to FPS veterans.
What will catch most people off-guard is the fast paced and precision focused infantry gameplay and the further in-depth required skill of Titan fights. The entirety of multiplayer gameplay feels somewhat easy to pick up yet difficult to master, which attracts further practice and keeps players coming back for one more round. Once again, the smoothest movement system of any FPS to date is implemented just as well in the multiplayer and really sets a new standard for fluency and excitement demonstrating fast-paced first person platforming done right. The experience of Infinite Warfare’s movement mechanics will feel horrid after playing Titanfall 2, even when using a controller. What multiplayer lacks is a real diversion from the basic recipe to really invest players into hours and hours of gameplay. Despite the amazing gameplay that it provides, the progression system really does not provide much lasting attraction besides the desire to “git gud” and play at a high standard. With unfortunately underwhelming sales and dwindling player base, the game’s longevity is not certain.
Respawn Entertainment’s 2016 shooter, Titanfall 2, effectively proves that sequels can be done right. The gameplay is fast, fun, and silky as you would expect from a free-running FPS, and the accompanied Titan battles provide that desirable intense gameplay that contrasts perfectly. Although simple and familiar, the campaign expands the lore and universe while also providing a mode for short distraction from the ever-so exciting multiplayer. Nonetheless, the dwindling lasting appeal of Titanfall 2 may disappoint players looking for a first-person experience to really invest in and results in a quickly satisfying yet evidently fading release.
|Respawn Entertainment’s 2016 shooter, Titanfall 2, effectively proves that sequels can be done right. The game play is fast, fun, and silky as you would expect from a free running FPS, and the accompanied Titan battles provide that desirable intense game play that contrasts perfectly. Although simple and familiar, the campaign expands the lore and universe while also providing a mode for short distraction from the ever-so exciting multiplayer. Nonetheless, the dwindling lasting appeal of Titanfall 2 may disappoint players looking for a first-person experience to really invest in, and results in a quickly satisfying yet evidently fading release.||3.9 3.9 ( on 5 rating)|