A while back, developer Resewn Entertainment announced a new franchise called “Titanfall”. Comprised of old members of Infinity Ward (responsible for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”), fans expected this new development studio to knock it out of the park. Unfortunately, while the original “Titanfall” had some excellent mobility and multiplayer, it lacked a good single player campaign to round out its offerings. Luckily, “Titanfall 2” rights every wrong made by its predecessor, and earns its spot as the “Call of Duty killer” it was originally toted as.
“Titanfall 2” follows the story of infantry soldier Jack Cooper, who dreams of one day becoming an elite “pilot”. In Titanfall’s universe, warfare is fought by both ground troops and hulking mechs known as titans. The soldiers who control these massive machines of death are known as pilots; an elite set of soldiers who command the battlefield with their incredible skill. Jack is a member of the Militia, the good guys in our story. Battling the IMC, a massive army hellbent on driving the Militia off “frontier” planets and straight into the grave. In the start of our story Jack is a mere recruit, training alongside fellow officers in the field. When his training is cut off by an attack, Jack quickly finds himself forced to take control of the titan BT-7274 when its pilot is killed in action.
In the world of Titanfall, titans are more than just giant weapons. Infused with an AI core, the titans (and thus BT-7274) create a neurological link to their pilots, essentially fusing together. Beyond all of the incredible set pieces, exciting gameplay sections, and general mayhem, the relationship Jack forms with BT is the best part of the campaign. BT-7274 is written incredibly well, and I found myself more attached to him than I was to the protagonist.
While the overall story of the war between the IMC and Militia is pretty uninspired, it sets a great stage for some intuitive and exhilarating level design. Levels are sprawling and open, but never feel too big to explore. Titanfall’s biggest difference to other shooters is its unique mobility mechanics. Pilots (and therefore Jack) run on walls, use jet packs, and power slide with incredible force. They’re essentially parkour experts, using the terrain around them like a futuristic playground.
The game does an excellent job putting this masterful character control front and center, as the campaign plays as both an intense shooter as well as a platformer. Those who aren’t big fans of wall running and the like will probably not enjoy Titanfall, as it truly is a make or break kind of design decision. For those who enjoy twitchy and reflex sensitive gameplay, “Titanfall 2” is an absolute treat. In fact, I’m hard pressed to tell you about specific sequences, as I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. In general, the game does an excellent job of building on top of its core mechanics as you play through the roughly six hour campaign. Once you’ve mastered fundamental movement, the game organically grows, forcing you to adapt your skill set to different environments. There’s some super inventive stuff here, but revealing it would dampen the campaign. If anything, the campaign is best played going in fresh; the less you know the better.
Visually speaking, “Titanfall 2” is great, but not amazing. Compared to its rival “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare”, Titanfall lacks the incredible visual fidelity seen there. However, the screen never gets too busy or hectic, a problem I saw a lot of in Infinite Warfare. It’s a balance of functional visuals with some extra flare that wraps up nicely. The game runs well too, never seeing any noticeable frame rate drops or slow down. This is important, as Titanfall lives and dies on its quick gameplay. The audio is done well, too. While it’s not as good as Battlefield 1, the range of sounds on display are excellent. There’s a slew of weaponry here, and most of them sound crisp and hit with impact. While some guns are a bit lacking on the audio side (I’m looking at you, shotguns), the overall orchestra of chaos is great.
Before we wrap this up, I have to comment on the multiplayer. Titanfall always had a good multiplayer offering, and “Titanfall 2” ramps it up a little bit. Titans have a large selection of load outs, and the amount of unlockables in the multiplayer progression is insane. There’s a hefty amount of modes to play too, including six versus six “Attrition” battles, Pilots vs Pilots (no titans allowed), Titans only, and more. This mixture of classic Deathmatch gameplay with some added twists works super well, and I can see myself spending plenty of hours on the multiplayer offerings alone. There’s also tons of experience levels for both the player, the guns you use, and the titans as well. The game does a great job constantly rewarding its players with new weapon skins, upgrades, and add-ons. There’s some pretty deep leveling here, and I’m happy to see it as fleshed out as it is.
Overall, “Titanfall 2” is a great time. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, but thanks to a monumentally inventive single player campaign, the sequel is one of my favorites of the year. Whether you’re looking for an FPS to play online with your friends, or a rich and rewarding single player experience, “Titanfall 2” thankfully knocks it out of the park in both respects. If “Titanfall 2” is anything to judge the series’ path by, I’m sure the eventual “Titanfall 3” will be even crazier. Here’s to hoping! I recommend fans of the shooter genre pick up “Titanfall 2” at full price.