Robots in the Skies
Written by Joshua David Anderson
The first Titanfall, released in 2014, was an important title for many reasons. It was the first game from Respawn Entertainment, a new developer made up from the people that brought you the Call of Duty series. It was headed up by Vince Zampella, the man responsible for changing the shooter world with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It was one of the big exclusive titles for the newly released Xbox One. And it was the first title of the new generation to arrive on the heels of a massively hyped marketing train that somewhat hurt the title in the long run. Titanfall was a great game, but it was clear that it also was the first title in the franchise. With the release of Titanfall 2, Respawn gets a chance to show off what they can do with refinement.
Talking about Titanfall without talking about its mechanics misses the point of the game. Titanfall 2 is defined by its mechanics and controls, and they are the best in class. Movement in Titanfall 2 feels unlike any other game. In fact, the game can have an adverse effect on other games by making them feel sluggish and slow. With that speed also comes incredibly tuned movement options. You can run on the ground, jump up onto a wall, wallrun along the side of it, jump off, and double-jump in the air to cover a huge distance to the wall of another building, and continue that chain on and on. There is a fluidity to the movement simply not found in other games, and the skill ceiling within combat is very high. It feels great to get better at pulling off incredible moves in the game and that is before you even shoot a bullet.
All of this movement is bolstered by an incredible single-player campaign. Missing from the first game, Titanfall 2 provides a fully realized story for the lone player to experience, and while this campaign feels like others in length, it absolutely does things differently from your standard holiday shooter. As for the story, it is good without getting in the way, perhaps not ever hitting the highs of other notable campaigns, but also never hitting any of the lows. The story, about a man and his robot pal, is totally serviceable. What the Titanfall 2 campaign actually does well is give you some awesome set pieces for which to use the movement mechanics, plenty of things to shoot, and moves at a pace that keeps you engaged at all times, while constantly doling out new puzzles, boss battles, and game mechanics. To even say what some of those are would ruin the surprise as this is a campaign that has to be played.
The other side of Titanfall 2 is the multiplayer, which is basically all the last game was. While Respawn has made quite a few changes to the formula and details, the competitive mode remains wonderful and exciting. The most important change is the amount of content offered. A common criticism of the first game was that there just wasn’t too much there. Respawn went about making that the top priority in Titanfall 2, and it shows. There are nine different game types for you to choose, three different playlists that will mix up different modes, and if none of those do it for you, you can set up your own private matches. In addition to all these modes, weapons and loadouts all have various unlocks and perks to work towards, and there are tons of customization options. Add in the fact that maps and modes will always be free and you have a much more robust offering than last time.
But even with all those options, the gameplay of Titanfall 2 is really where it shines. All of that refined movement is put to the test when you are playing against other people, both when you are wallrunning towards an objective or when you see an enemy pilot doing the same. The weapons all feel great, and the game has almost instant respawning on death, so there is very little downtime. This coupled with the innovative Network feature that allows you to join a group of players makes it so matchmaking is fast and easy. Titanfall 2 goes out of it’s way to get you playing the game, so you can be calling down a giant robot of your own to jump into. In every way, Titanfall 2 is a fantastic game that improves on almost everything from the original. It is more than worth your time.
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