The sequel to the fast paced shooter mixed with huge giant mechanized robots is here. This time around it features a single player campaign, improved visuals and even more badassery. Is this enough of an upgrade or does it fall short?
You play as Rifleman Jack Cooper who aspires to be a pilot one day. A pilot is someone who is linked to and controls the giant mechanized robots known as Titans, hence the title of the game. Jack Cooper is a very bland character, he is basically just another regular snarky action movie type of character. There is nothing really wrong with this because you will probably end up with about a six hour or so campaign with a hollow story that you have seen renditions of in the past. Early on you go from the status of a Rifleman to a Pilot when your Titan, BT-7274 has no other option but to link to you. Throughout the missions of the game BT-7274 will talk to you and you can respond with two choices which is a neat little feature but these answers do not affect the outcome of the story in any way. He will answer differently depending on what option you choose but that is about it. The relationship between Jack Cooper and BT-7274 remind me of the relationships of Cortana and Master Chief in the Halo series in a minuscule way as well as John Conner and The Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
It is quite easy to not care about the main plot of the game, your character’s motives as well as the Militias but the story is not why I enjoyed the single player. The reason I enjoyed it was because of the variety of level designs that is thrown at you, the moments in the game that make you feel like a total badass, and the balanced time between on foot as well as piloting your titan. There are some interesting concepts in this game that we haven’t seen in awhile such as using a device to transport you back and forth in time. This added a refreshing layer to combat while teleporting through time to complete puzzles as well as using it for combat by sneaking behind enemies. In some levels there are a surprising amount of platforming that I was not expecting. The wall running into double jumping and back into running on walls is something that feels really satisfying. All of the on foot controls feel superb and so does the Titan controlling as well.
This time around, new Titans have been added. Throughout the campaign you are introduced to all of the different classes and you can switch between them on the fly by hitting the D-Pad. In the original Titanfall there were only three Titan classes, in Titanfall 2 they double that. All of the Titans have it’s own main weapon as well as cores, secondary offensive weapon, a defensive item, utility and chassis. All of these characteristics are enough to differentiate between all of them and all serve it’s own purpose. For instance my favorite class is the Tone, the Tone is eqipped with a semi automatic 40mm tracker cannon that is good for mid range battles and a good secondary lock on rockets when things get hairy up close. For defense it uses a particle wall that you hide behind and shoot through, and for utility you have a sonar. This Titan is vastly different from some and more similar to others. With a bunch of variation, balance is something that you can be worried with but the developers did a good job at balancing each one.
The campaign is a quick and superb experience, but the multiplayer is what makes this game shine. Titanfall was always about their multiplayer mainly because the original was multiplayer only. The original also was lacking a ton of content at launch, forcing player base to drop exponentially. Good news is that in it’s sequel these are no longer a problem. There are a plethora of game modes to keep you busy for awhile. There are eight total game modes available ranging from objective based, to kill based, Titan only modes, Pilot only modes, and even a 1v1 mode called Coliseum. My favorite game modes are Bounty Hunt, Attrition, and Coliseum. The Coliseum game mode puts you in an empty dome with one other player and you are equipped with a rocket launcher and you compete in a best of five match where you have one life per round. To get into one of these matches you need to either have a Coliseum ticket or in game credits, which are unlocked as you level up. Attrition is just your normal Team Deathmatch type game where you are fighting enemy players online or AI bots that get dropped in. And my favorite of all is Bounty Hunt. In this there are multiple waves of enemies that get dropped in and when you kill them you rack up money, you can also get money by killing players on the other team and taking theirs once you do. Once each wave ends all the players need to rush to a bank that spawns so you can have a higher amount than the other team. This is the mode where I will probably find myself playing the most because it is the most hectic of all the modes and it is the funnest. In multiplayer the Titans are much more balanced and not as overpowered than the original game. In the original the Titans would have regenerative shields when you weren’t being attacked. In this one you don’t have that, but instead if you have a strategic team you can have a pilot on your team rodeo on top of an enemy titan and steal it’s battery to bring it back to yours to regenerate your health. This can lead to a dynamic in gameplay and easier victories compared to a team that does not communicate.
In Titanfall 2 there are networks in which you can join. In these networks you can send out an invite to the people inside of it. The invite will prompt on the main multiplayer menu for others and they can easily join your squad. Even though these players may be people you never met, it is a much better feeling than joining a game with a bunch of randoms. In the networks you will also have a main hub where anyone can talk by pressing a button. Personally I am someone who doesn’t play many multiplayer games mainly because I don’t have a squad of people to play with but with networks in this game, it makes you feel better about your team. I hope more games in the future will add this feature.
Your pilot, titan, guns, banner and patches are a few of the things you can customize in the multiplayer. The amount of customization in the game is extraordinary. For the pilot and titan you can change the way they look in a plethora of different skins, you can change the tacticality of the pilot, and a few different perks as well. Some of which seem useless for my play style but I can totally see why others would use them. There are also a decent amount of guns that come with their own customizable features as well. These also come with some level of upgradeability. Your character has it’s own level, as well as each weapon and your titan does as well. The higher you level up, the more upgrades you can obtain to your loadouts. Leveling up is very different than the traditional XP level up in other games. You get what they call “Merits” and you need a certain amount of these to level up. A merit can vary, one can be if you earn a victory, another is completing a match, another is leveling up your weapon or titan. It feels like Respawn Entertainment put a lot of work into their leveling system and I think it is one of the more unique ones I’ve seen.
All in all the multiplayer is fun. It’s awesome to be in a battle with your enemy and then you see huge mechs appear from the sky then further changing your game plan. When you string together a wall running kill then sliding into another kill can be invigorating. The variety of guns and titans are enough for most players out there to try and be pleased with. I hope the player base doesn’t drop off like the original one did because Titanfall 2 is a gem.
Titanfall 2 is yet another amazing shooter released in this year, and in my opinion is the best one thus far. It may have a hollow story but the amount of fun you will have will outweigh that. The game is really beautiful with a fluid 60fps throughout. The quick traversal and fast pace of the pilot mixed with the slow and strategic combat of the titans are what makes Titanfall one of a kind. Yes, you do have the futuristic augmented soldiers in the Call of Duty series, which does have fast paced gameplay but there are enough fundamental differences between the two. If you are a fan of first person shooters then there is no doubt that Titanfall 2 should be in your collection. 2016 is the year of the shooters and this game in the top echelon.
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