TitanFall 2 (REVIEW)
written by Jay Hammon (@Gravity_Flux)
How times have changed. When the first TitanFall released I was at a midnight launch party at the local Microsoft Store dressed as a dinosaur with our very own Justin Prince in his favorite Pikachu onesie. The graphics and gameplay were impressive and everything I’d expected from a next-gen game. Fast forward to the present, I was bored and browsing the games store online when I saw TitanFall 2 and realized it had just released. I hit the buy button and took off to run some errands while the download completed. A far cry from the anticipation I had for the first game. Does this mean the sequel is less of a game? I have some thoughts on that…
This time around there is actually a campaign and I truly enjoyed the experience. You’ll start off with the only cut scene in the game (and it’s an awesome one) before going into some basic ‘how to play’ sections of the game with your buddy Pilot Lastimosa. You’ll practice double jumping, wall running and targeting enemies. Lastimosa sees promise in rifleman Jack Cooper and has taken him under his wing to teach him the ins and outs of being a titan pilot. From here things get chaotic and filled with explosions. Splody! After a grueling battle Lastimosa transfers control of his titan, BT 7274, to Cooper. BT instructs that you’re to continue the mission and your adventure begins in earnest. Oh, congratulations on your field promotion.
In TitanFall 2 the titans actually communicate with their pilots via neural link and have undergone some personification. I liked this aspect as it made it feel like pilot and titan were a team. Who doesn’t want a gigantic metal friend helping you take down the IMC (they’re the evil corporation in TitanFall)? As you, playing Cooper, and BT trudge forward trying to complete your mission you slowly piece together the nefarious plan of the IMC. You’ll sync up with the militia again and start a full on war against their tyranny and corporate agenda of universal domination and destruction.
I liked the plot and story of the campaign a lot. I’m going to do another play through on a harder difficulty to try to find more of the pilot helmet collectible. There’s just enough challenge in the campaign on normal difficulty that it won’t be a cake walk but it’s also not controller throwing frustrating. The ability to explore and the unique environments flesh this campaign out nicely. It’s not going to take you more than a few play sessions to wrap this campaign up but there is definitely a viable replay factor.
Graphically I didn’t feel as impressed by this sequel as I did by the first release but the graphics are no slouch and I’m more interested in gameplay and longevity. Just don’t expect TitanFall 2 to win any awards for mind blowing graphics. The sounds are on point here though! I remember at one point on my first day of playing I actually stopped playing and just listened to the sounds of the various weapons BT has at its disposal. There was some impressive work done on the effects and voice acting. Thank you, Respawn! My recommendation? Turn your home theater system up to 11 and make your neighbors think your living room is being invaded. They’ll thank you later; trust me.
The real meat of TitanFall 2, much like TitanFall, is the PVP. This is where you’ll spend the lion’s share of your time in TitanFall 2. The more you play the more you level up and the more credits you earn to unlock more items to be used in the downfall of your enemies. You’ll be able to customize the layout of your pilot and titan more as you unlock more features but I found hopping in with the beginner kit to be enough to make me dangerous. I’m ashamed to say I popped my stealth ability just so I could teabag my opponents within the privacy invisibility offers. Sometimes I just want to be alone.
There is a very healthy selection of PVP game types to choose from. I found myself playing Mix Tape. It combines numerous game types into one playlist. At this point my favorite game types are Last Titan Standing, Pilot vs Pilot and Bounty Hunter. Last Titan Standing is self-explanatory. If you’re the last titan roaming the level your team wins. Go you! Pilot vs Pilot is a game mode without titans. Typically your titan counter slowly climbs over time with bonuses based on accomplishing various things (kills, assists, capturing zones, etc) but in Pilot vs Pilot there are no titans. You’re left to wall run, double jump and shotgun to your heart’s content without fear of being crushed by a 20 ton robot. Bounty Hunter is a great game type and is my current favorite of the three. You start off the match as your pilot eagerly waiting to call in your titan. There will be various missions or bounties you have to accomplish before the other team does. That earns you credits. You also earn credits for killing NPCs, pilots and titans. Once a bounty has been claimed the banks open up (stationary cubicles located around the map) so you can deposit your loot. If you’re killed at any point you lose various amounts of the loot you’re carrying on you so you’ll want to play smart and get to the bank ASAP. I found myself hanging around the banks to pick up more credits as pilots and nearly destroyed titans made a dash to deposit their funds. Get a few easy kills for more credits and make your deposit.
At the end of any PVP game type once there is a winner and a loser you’ll be presented one last shot at glory. If your team has lost you’ll have to make your way to the evacuation point and hope you can survive till your dropship arrives to carry you to safety. Timing is crucial. If your team has won you’ll want to do everything in your power to completely crush your opponents. Take them out before they can reach the evacuation point or destroy the dropship with them on it. Ever seen a Twinkie explode? It’s nothing like that. Either way you’ll guarantee your supremacy.
One change I personally don’t care for is the boosters. In TitanFall you’d earn random booster cards after every match. You’d pick the booster you want at the beginning of a game and hope you picked the right one. In TitanFall 2 you earn and unlock boosters as you play more. I understand the reward for playing more and putting in the time but I found it fun post-game to see what I unlocked and being able to pick from my store of cards before a match. It’s not a critical mistake but it did remove a tiny fraction of the fun out of PVP for me.
While I wasn’t really tracking the release of TitanFall 2 I’m extremely glad I stumbled on it at launch. I’m not only extremely happy with the inclusion of a campaign this time around but also with the fact that it didn’t feel slapped together just so they could include a single player story mode in this sequel. As is the case with most shooters the PVP will feel very similar to the previous installment with some tweaks and, of course, new maps. I’m significantly happier with the purchase of this shooter than I was with another recent multi-sequel that came out. CoughcoughGears4coughcough. As always find me on Live for a game. The world of TitanFall 2 isn’t going to save itself!
+ Great Campaign mode
+ Engaging story
+ Plenty of customization
+ Weapons and voice acting are top notch
- Short length of campaign
- Few improvements on previous PVP
- Lack of cinematics
- No booster cards