Platform Reviewed: PS4 Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Respawn Entertainment Release Date: October 28, 2016 MSRP: USD 59.99 (PHP 2,695.00)
Finally, Respawn Entertainment is back with their pilots and Titans war installment – Titanfall 2. The lack of a singple-player campaign of the first Titanfall title made it hard for me to pick it up. They’ve made their so-called ‘campaign’ in a different approach of having players go up against each other. With the lack of content and single-player mode in the first Titanfall game, Respawn has learned their mistakes in the past from DLCs and listened to the community’s feedback.
Even if Battlefield 1 is sitting beside my newly bought Titanfall 2, I’m still going to have my whole week playing Titanfall 2’s fast-paced wall-climbing action extravaganza.
Let’s talk about the campaign since this is a new mode added that wasn’t in Titanfall 1. You get into the boots of Jack Cooper, a regular rifleman who wants to be a special elite soldier called the ‘Pilots’. With the typical IMC boys going at harnessing all of those Militia-colonized planets, it’s up to you, as Jack Cooper, to make sure these IMC peeps get what they deserve. And I don’t want to forget to mention your good ol’ Titan buddy, BT-7274, that usually explains technicalities in a funny way.
The narrative of the campaign is as engaging as it can be. The relationship of a Pilot and a Titan fits fairly well for an interesting story that Titanfall 1 should have had. I always like a compelling story with a matching soundtrack that adds to the cinematic experience in FPS titles, this is where Titanfall 2 didn’t disappoint. It added much drama and moments that made me want to play the whole campaign again for one last run. This is the first game in years that made me feel this way – to go another round.
What the single-player mode offered is what I was expecting in Titanfall 2 – even exceeded my expectations. The plot is engaging enough. Respawn Entertainment has delivered another great single-player experience and brought Titanfall to its core as a fast-paced first-person shooter. It offered a lot of variety in its gameplay mechanics in the single-player campaign. Aside from what Titanfall 1 offered which were running, jumping, wall-running, and shooting, Titanfall 2 has impressively mixed all the ingredients perfectly.
Talking about mechanics and gameplay, there are platforming elements added to its main ingredient. I mean, it does give out the sense of having jump-booster kits in the field to maneuver and to involve a lot of jumping from one platform to the next. The mission in ‘Effect and Cause’ was far more the interesting of the bunch. Respawn added an enjoyable level where you have to switch between time shifts. You have to travel back in time to make sure that the wall you’re running on next will be there when you jump. It’s fun and keeps you on your toe. There was also this thrilling moment where I had to fall into a pit of blazing fire then tapped the L1 button to shift time and landed on safe ground.
Another interesting moment was the beginning of “The Trials By Fire” mission. I got to experience firsthand the actual Titan drop from the sky. My heart jumped and skipped a beat while getting goosebumps (because of the epic musical score) in the process. I’m sold!
Even on Regular difficulty, Titanfall 2 keeps getting challenging every level you progress. Your enemies get brutal, and the new Stalker mech-infantry units are deadlier than they look – they’re slow-walking pile of junk that can kill you in high-numbers. Titan battles are also exciting; the challenge comes in when you get to face more than one titan. You have to switch from your loadout while in battle to know what fits your current situation. However, the boss fights weren’t that much of a challenge though. They were easy enough to out-flank and to trick. Even if they’re damage-spongy, the end of each boss fight wasn’t satisfying.
Speaking of Loadouts, you can actively switch them in game without worrying of dying or to be locked in a certain loadout at the start of the mission before it can be used. This is a great decision that Respawn made to make everything balanced; especially knowing that Titan battles get too intense and hard. Loadouts can be unlocked as you progress; you have to pick them up manually to unlock each. Each loadout offers different types of Titan abilities that match your preferences. However, it doesn’t change BT’s Titan chassis.
Let’s head to the Multiplayer arena of Titanfall 2. The game retains the core modes of the first Titanfall. You get play again in the all popular Attrition mode (technically Team Deathmatch), Capture the Flag, and the Titan-to-Titan battles in The Last Titan Standing. Respawn replaced the Pilot Hunter mode to the all Pilots only gunfight, Pilots vs. Pilots. I do favor this decision as it gives out that pure Call Of Duty-esque in a 8v8 non-Titan battle.
My favorite of the bunch is the all-new Bounty Hunt. This mode was available in the Open Beta if you were able to play in it. The main objective is to wipe out numbers of brutes, Stalkers, Titans, you name it and gather the bounty. The first team to score $5000 wins. It’s pretty much entertaining and enjoyable when you get to have teamwork.
The only problem I have with the new style of Titanfall 2’s Amped Hardpoint is the fact that some of your team members don’t understand the main goal of this mode. In Amped Hardpoint, it’s not just simply capturing Point A, B, and C. Defending the objective point highly encourages as it doubles up the team’s score speed. It gets frustrating where some of your teammates just go around capturing points without actually defending them. Discouraging as it may seem for Amped Hardpoint, the new Free-for-All mode is nothing but a barren desert. No one is even on the queue for this mode.
The Coliseum mode is your one-stop 1v1 deathmatch. It can only be unlocked when you reach Level 4. This mode gives out some memorable moments and hilarious ones too. You’re in a round arena with hologram walls to keep you from falling to your death with your opponent. If you know how the wild wild west fast draws are done, then this might be the mode for you.
Even if Amped Hardpoint was that discouraging, Titanfall 2 gives you some gifts and unlockable items that you can enjoy to customize your titan and your pilot. There are 10 custom pilot loadouts you can change to your liking. The ability to change the camo of your weapons brings back that classic first-person shooter multiplayer atmosphere where players can heavily customize their loadouts – Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare days (I mean, people from Respawn are ex-Infinity Ward employees).
Titanfall 2 now offers a variety of Titans in the mix. With their unique abilities that differs them from one another, Respawn brought in what they have behind their sleeves for Titanfall 2 with every Titan loadout that you can use. There are 6 Titan Loadouts in your garage. Each chassis has its own kits that you can customize. It’s easy to understand how it works, and that unlocking these kits and loadouts are also as painless as it can be. You have the credits to use to unlock them or you can save them up and just do the old fashion way of unlocking them — by leveling up. Mind you, these Titan kits are not that expensive as you might think. Obtaining these Titans were as easy as toasting bread.
The maps of Titanfall 2 brings out the balance on each map. There are more open-areas now than before which encourages more Titan heated fights. Each map encourages the use of both Titan and Pilot in every possible way you can. It’s nice to have the both Titan and Pilots to have the same advantage than overpowering a whole team without their mech buddies to aid them.
Graphically, Titanfall 2 is still powered by a customized Source engine that was used to develop Titanfall 1. This makes low-end computer to run the game without any trouble; and that Titanfall 2 didn’t let me down visually. The depth of field and sunlight glares are beautiful as ever. Even the distance level rendering of its environment are impressive. Titanfall 2 can’t visually compete with Battlefield 1, but it gives out its own flavor without losing too much of its quality and performance. I looked at BT’s chassis design, and its carbon fiber-like design of its chests is crisp as ever.
The magic behind that Source engine also provides a pretty solid 60FPS gameplay experience. There are little dips that are not that noticeable unless if you’re very particular about “framerates”. However, the in-game scenes are locked to 30FPS which makes everything feel weird though. Switching from 60FPS gameplay to a 30FPS in-game scene felt sluggish, and it’s annoyingly odd. 60FPS or 30FPS, I don’t have any preferences. As long as it gives me a playable framerate, then I’m good to go. But this is really bizarre for me.
Putting framerates aside, the epic soundtrack composed by Stephen Barton (the person behind Modern Warfare 1 and Titanfall) fits perfectly with the game’s overall atmosphere! The soundtrack can make you feel Titanfall 2’s intensity and excitement throughout your whole playthrough – especially in the single-player campaign. With an engaging story and a great multiplayer mode, the soundtrack can also entice you.
It’s very unfortunate and unlucky for Titanfall 2 to release in between the 2 big titles with well-established communities: Battlefield 1 and Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Even if the sales figures are not what EA and Respawn were expecting, Titanfall 2 is the best of the bunch — the underdog that deserves the spotlight. Respawn has delivered another brilliant game with an engaging story, outstanding musical score, and intense multiplayer action. Titanfall 2 deserves the spot in your library of games; and this is now one of my Top 5 Best Games of 2016.
This review is based on a retail copy purchased by the author.