Published on October 30th, 2016 | by Suros_Six0
Review – Titanfall 2
Military shooter campaigns tend to be as bland and insignificant as they can be, but when Titanfall went from not having a single-player story to including one in Titanfall 2, I had to admit I was a bit intrigued. A single-player story accompanied by the movement showcased in the first Titanfall‘s multiplayer sounded promising to me. If the single-player didn’t hold me, I was optimistic that the multi-player could if it had stable performance on PC. However, I’m quite happy to report that Titanfall 2 bats higher than average in all three of these aspects.
Going from not offering something in one game to adding it in the sequel says something to me. I see it as Respawn Entertainment understanding that the lack of a dedicated story hurt their first game, or at least was something that players wanted. The obstacle that adding a singleplayer narrative presents, though, is pressure. Critics and players alike will surely be looking at the campaign under a microscope to see if it was only added to save face or if it actually serves a purpose. I was cautiously optimistic about it, and while I played through the story I tried to evaluate as much as I could. Was it fun? How did it feel? Was it too hard or too easy? Did I get bored after killing the one-hundredth soldier? After answering questions like these I have to say that Respawn Entertainment actually did a pretty good job.
The campaign of Titanfall 2 has the player follow the story of Jack Cooper, a rifleman of the Marauder Corps who has aspirations of becoming a pilot. Throughout the story the writers try their best to make Cooper seem more than just a soldier and his Titan as more than just a huge robot. They both share dialogue that varies from fun to serious and it displays the bond shared between them. Titanfall 2 even sports dialogue options, and while they aren’t game changing, it’s neat that they exist. It’s an effective tool for creation of personalities despite the choices not being heavily varied. I generally found that for the most part one option was a standard more professional response, and the other was a cheeky remark or annoyed complaint.
An emotional connection between player and Titan seems like something that the writers were really going for, but it honestly failed for me. While I did like my Titan and the dialogue I shared with it, I only really saw it as a powerful vehicle for the destruction of my enemies. That’s not to say that the writing for this is a failure, it just didn’t resonate with me personally and that may change depending on the person playing it.
Speaking of a vehicle for destruction, the Titan is exactly that in the single-player and multi-player. I was actually concerned that I would just never leave the cockpit of my robotic companion, but the campaign makes many decisions that require the player and Titan to split up. In most instances, you’ll need to separate so you can activate controls that aren’t accessible by the Titan, and even though it is done pretty often, it doesn’t feel like a cop-out. These reasons for splitting up make sense and serve a purpose. The same could be said about the structure of events that take place throughout the story as well. Things seem logically sound for the most part, and that’s something I personally appreciate.
The gameplay of the single-player also does its best to prevent itself from feeling stale. Running and gunning can be fun, but it can only be fun for so long. Titanfall 2 attempts to combat this by putting different weapons in the hands of the player. Titan loadouts are spread throughout the campaign and each one has its own set of abilities and weapons. This actually does a pretty good job of splitting up the monotony, and it’s a good way of showing off what Titans can do before jumping into the multi-player. You can also switch between loadouts on the fly during the campaign which lets you deal with different situations that may present themselves. All this coupled with the platforming sprinkled across levels really does a great job of keeping the gameplay from getting old. So overall I’d have to say that the Titanfall 2 single-player is good.
Titanfall 2 really shines in the only avenue the first one was known for, and that is the multi-player. Unfortunately, I never played the first game, so I can’t relate it very much to that, but as a new player to the series I have to say that I really enjoy what I’ve played so far. I personally stick to Amped Hardpoint because having a capture point objective while still getting rewarded for kills is what I’m into. I also like the lack of AI in this mode that comes in the form of Grunts, Stalkers, etc. I do still enjoy Bounty Hunt and Attrition which mixes in bots with players, but I just find player only matches more enjoyable.
Controls are tight, movement feels great, and time to kill feels just right to me personally. All three of these things make for a solid multi-player experience, especially when they go hand in hand with the customization of classes. There are a handful of guns to choose from in each category such as snipers, assault rifles, etc. and they have different perks and camos to play with. Titans, as mentioned before, vary quite a bit in playstyle, allowing everyone to find their own way to play. They also have their own perks and camos to mess with. Combat feels as hectic as you might expect from a shooter that gives players control of large mechs and wallrunning. I also know that hopping onto an enemy Titan’s back before yanking out their battery is something that will never get old.
The only real gripe I have with the multi-player is that it feels like it lacks maps. It has nine currently, but I feel like I find myself staring at the same map over and over again. This could just be bad luck when it comes to matchmaking, but I doubt it. It’s worth noting that future maps will be added in for free, but right now that news isn’t doing Titanfall 2 any favors.
Performance-wise Titanfall 2 seems to almost knock it out of the park, but it falls just short. It is capped at 144 FPS, and while that is better than capping it at 30 or 60, I’d still like control over that graphical setting. Also, it doesn’t have a borderless windowed option which really hurts. Tabbing out or clicking on a different program while in fullscreen makes both of my monitors go dark for a few seconds and running it in windowed bugs me because I know some of the bottom is cut off due to the resolution. On my GTX 960 it did set most things to high automatically, but after experiencing some hitching and frame drops I lowered a few things.
The game looks great visually, and hats off to Respawn for not incorporating any kind of motion blur because motion blur is by far one of the most annoying things to stare at. The soundtrack exists and that’s all I can really say about it because throughout the whole game I didn’t really notice it. In a sense, this is good due to the fact that it didn’t take away from my experience, but it’s also bad because it didn’t improve my experience. The only time I really noticed the music was during the credits and all I thought about was how the music didn’t feel right for credits. That said, the gun sounds, explosions, Titans, and voice acting all sound great, so overall the audio is solid.
The Titanfall series seems to have taken a bit of a backseat in people’s minds, and from what I’ve heard and seen about the first one it seems rightfully so. However, as someone who didn’t play the first one, I really have enjoyed my time with Titanfall 2 and I do plan on playing more of the multi-player. The idea of a single-player story being added is what pulled me in, and the quality of that campaign along with the multi-player is what has kept me playing. While overall it isn’t anything astounding or groundbreaking, it’s still a lot of fun and that’s what I look for in standard military shooters.
Summary: A military shooter that stands out when compared to other games in its genre. An enjoyable sequel that learned from previous mistakes.