Also On: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the first Titanfall, mostly because I didn’t try jumping into the game until way after it released. When I played, I was absolutely outclassed by the online community, and couldn’t muster the time or attention to try to improve. I appreciated the movement, the look of the Titan mechs, and the overall map design, but I had little fun with it.
Thankfully, that’s not the case with Titanfall 2. I point this out, because if you’re strictly a PS4 player, you’ll likely be experiencing the series for the first time, and this game is absolutely fine as an entry point to the series. Better, in my opinion, because it’s a more fully formed game, with the addition of a remarkably good single-player campaign on top of the excellent selection of multiplayer modes.
Seriously, the campaign is very good. Right up there with Doom as far as shooter campaigns of the year go. That’s not to say it’s similar to Doom, it isn’t, but when it comes to overall quality, I think Doom is the only thing that surpasses it. A lot of that stems from the overall variety in what you’ll do during the campaign. And I’m not just talking about wall-running and double-jumping. There’s a surprising amount of platforming going on here, with some mid-game mechanics introduced that are generally unexpected. I’d even go so far as to liken some of those moments as very Portal-ish, which is certainly a good thing.
The multiplayer in Titanfall 2 is no slouch either. There’s a decent number of modes, with Attrition returning amongst others. There’s some standard stuff here, like Capture the Flag, but for the most part the modes are pretty unique. Bounty Hunt, for instance, has you racking up a currency score with each successful kill/assist, but you need to bank that score before being killed or you’ll lose a percentage of it. This can only be done during limited moments at a handful of bank stations, which can make for a pretty harrowing experience.
Coliseum is another MP mode, which you can only play if you have a ticket to enter. Yes, unfortunately, tickets are partially tied into promotions with various other companies, but you can (slowly) earn currency to buy tickets in-game as well. This is a best of 5, pilot vs. pilot, 1 vs.1 mode with rewards that provide skins and other custom items.
And then of course there’s the previously mentioned Attrition, returning from the original game. This mode features a series of A.I. controlled grunts in addition to two teams made up of actual players. You’ll get 1 point per kill for the A.I. characters, and 5 per player kill. It’s a neat simulated battle mode that I’m glad to see included here, since it was certainly one of the more loved things about the original Titanfall.
Visually I think Titanfall 2 looks solid, but isn’t quite as remarkable as other releases this year. The actual design of the world, and Titans in particular, is great, but character faces look a little bland and less detailed overall. The environments, particularly the campaign levels, fair a little better in that regard, with some neat indoor industrial sections, one of which will likely be a stand-out moment for most that play the game.
Overall, Titanfall 2 is absolutely worth your time, even if it is sort of wedged into two more commercially successful shooter releases right now. It’s a very different experience than Battlefield 1, and is certainly more promising than what we’ve seen out of Call of Duty so far. It’s a better, and fuller version of the original game to me, and ideally we’ll see developer Respawn get another chance to expand upon the series in the near future.