-Available for PS4, Xbox One and PC
-Reviewed on PS4
Two years ago, Titanfall was announced for the Xbox and it won praises across all the press during E3. What was not exciting about it? It was the first game created by Respawn Entertainment which consisted of ex-developers from Infinity Ward when they left after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it changed the FPS Meta by having wall runs and double jumps, and what about those big Titans you get to ride in and shoot people. Everyone can see that this game was going to be a hit when it comes out. More than 2 years later, Titanfall 2 arrived and this time, it is multiplatform. This means for the first time Playstation will get their hands on this critically acclaim game.
Everything is brought over from Titanfall and nothing much has changed. The basic of first person shooters has deep roots in the gameplay. From learning wall running to double jump, this game can be simple or complicated in how you want to move around. Animations are smooth and Titans feels almost human like. Pilot controls are face pace and Titans are slow but satisfying. It seems they took both approach in the time to kill which will please fans of both types of pace.
Visual and Audio
There is nothing much to be impress as the graphics is what it is. I will give credit to the weapon design and also the weapon sounds. The amount of detail place on the environment and Titans and pilots are excellent. Certain lighting effects also has its moments in single player and multiplayer.
Yes there is a story mode included this time. The story follows the events which happens in Titanfall which may somewhat confuse new players that did not play the first game. This makes some elements of the environment you are in a bit vague. You play Jack Cooper, a rifleman inspiring to become a pilot one day. You are train by your Captain as he keeps you up to pace with the movement and controls of the game.
Not long after, you are then called into action. As the battle rages on, you will find your Captain hanging on to his dying breath as he tells you to take his pilot suit and take care of this Titan. You are then introduced to BT-7274 (BT in short) which is a Vanguard class Titan. From there you continue on the story to complete BT’s programmed mission. On the way you will unlock different Titan class and learn about them as you go on.
The story manages to balance both being a Pilot and Titan. Pilot sections are usually tight corridors with platforming while Titan sections are consisting mostly getting across poisonous areas or boss fights. The set piece between battles while being a pilot is quick and fast pace. Enemy AI will quickly surround you if you do not find cover quickly. Being a Titan on the other hand makes you feel unstoppable and the only hard points are usually in the boss fights.
In one section you are given the ability to phase in time and this is one of the most interesting mechanics so far not because it is time travel, but the way the game holds your hand to get used to the concept and then lets go of your hand without you noticing it. Phasing also give you choices like fighting a group of beast or “zombie” robots or face men with shield and turrets. This is a nice change of pace and also has some strategy depth in it.
Overall I will say the single player has its moments. Although the story is simple, it provides entertainment with good pacing. Voice acting is good with random optional conversation between Jack and BT which helps with character development. Bad points are the boss fights feels generic without much thought into out smarting your opponents and it is over quite quick. Another bad thing is before you even start to feel emotionally attach to the story, it just somehow ends and you are put on the credit scene. Story mode in this game is satisfying but somehow after all that, it just feels like a long tutorial and the world of Titanfall could grow much bigger than what is in this campaign. Hopefully one day, the story and universe can live up to its full potential.
As with every game, what you learn in single player does not go to waste. Everything can be put to practice in the multiplayer game. First off let me say, this is the first game that lets us choose the matchmaking server (which there is a lot) with minimal ping to maximize our gaming experience. This makes the gameplay smooth as usually above 500ms you will start noticing some frame skipping while playing.
Now back to the multiplayer, it has the normal weapons and character customization as you expect with every game. Here you also have a lot of things to level from the weapons you carry, Titan class, and character level. It is very clear that this game is meant for multiplayer and it shows. The maps are diverse and great to traverse around. All the Titans from the single player are here except the Vanguard Titan which is weird since it is the first Titan you start with in single player. Earning Titans are simple as getting points in game and the timing feels just right to earn it. Doing crazy stuff like taking down a Titan while being a pilot greatly boosts your Titanfall plus you have a battery to help a ally or shield up your own Titan.
As you play many things are unlock as you level and some are very useful. If you can’t wait to level, you can use credits earn in normal game to unlock them earlier. Since this is optional, this give credits little purpose besides buying one versus one coliseum tickets. Nothing hidden in higher level unlocks will deter you from performing in multiplayer. While certain weapons are more powerful, it can be easily acquired in the early levels.
Multiplayer modes are plenty from Attrition which is a match mixed between AI and player opponents Team Deathmatch, to Pilot versus Pilot, a no titan Team Deathmatch. Having a good mix of gamemodes is good but this causes certain problems with the matchmaking as I will go into now.
Because selecting a server is possible, it is not rare to see certain gamemodes without any players during off peak hours. This is fixable by changing to servers with higher ping but this game has bad lag compensation and at certain ping level, it is no longer playable. How this can be improved in the future? I do not know but having the player base divided by server seems like a double edge sword. I hope some type of lag compensation can be implemented for the future.
Respawn just announce the first DLC for this game and everything is free. The only thing which you can purchase are optional skins that in no way affect gameplay or give any advantage to buyers. This is one model that should be praise and practice in this industry.
The ‘Smaller’ of the Three
As I mention above, playerbase is very important in a multiplayer base game. Without players, the server will die and soon the game goes with it too. I find it hard to understand why EA or Respawn in that matter is so daring to releasing a game in a time window where they have to compete with their shadow of the past Call of Duty (Remaster and Infinite Warfare) and their brother Battlefield 1. This big names not only had more marketing pour into them, but also they launch earlier then Titanfall 2 which also grab players who have limited cash to purchase all three games. I feel this is something Respawn has to bring up to EA in the future to help this game grow.
This game is almost a perfect First Person Shooter Game. Personally it is the best of the Big Three released this year. It improves on its formula and makes strive to innovate the genre. In the other spectrum it was let down not by its game faults, but by marketing and publishing window. The only thing I have personally the problem with in this game is I want more single player and felt that the ending came too soon.
I hope this will not be the end of the Titanfall franchise and I hope whatever happened between Respawn and EA, they will not for the love of god put this game as their last priority in big game lineups. A lot of marketing has to be done to bring this game to the status it deserves and I hope the next Titanfall game will not disappoint with a better and longer campaign. If you have friends, please go out spread the word and support this game, it the most underrated game of 2016 but it is worth every penny spent. This is an example of a game transforming into AAA game. This game deserves this status sadly it was not market as one this time.