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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out on November 10, 2009. The team that defined the modern FPS as we know it disbanded the following year due to a falling out between studio heads and the game’s publisher. That team broke off and reformed as Respawn Entertainment, and Titanfall 2 is the first campaign they’ve crafted since that time. This is all in the record books, but that fact seemed to fly under the radar as EA’s hype machine powered on this past year to promote the next in their line of high-octane giant robot shooters. Having achieved proper footing after the original Titanfall, the developers of Titanfall 2 have improved on every facet of the original and added a sorely needed single player component. This is a game that looks to change what people think of as an FPS in the same way that Modern Warfare did in the good old days, and it’s hard to argue that they don’t succeed.

You play as Jack Cooper, a rifleman of the Frontier who is fighting against an evil mining corporation that wants to take back the land that they legally own. A Titan pilot sees something in Jack and takes him under his wing for some after hours training. A few pretty standard story beats later and Jack is piloting his own Titan and fulfilling the mission given to him by his mentor. The story is bog standard and falls apart the second you think about it too much, but it accomplishes the important goal of allowing players a window into the universe of Titanfall for the first time. There was a story in the first game in theory, and characters do return, but the way that story was presented made it completely forgettable in a way that Titanfall 2‘s more standardized campaign certainly is not.

titanfall-2-bt

Meet BT, the robotic Titan pal that you’ll grow to love unless you have a heart of iron.

Instead of focusing on well-written prose, Titanfall 2 is all about moments, utilizing both a unique movement system and a vast arsenal of sci-fi weaponry to their full potential. Taking inspirations from both obvious and obscure sources, Respawn has crafted a tight string of combat scenarios that both refamiliarize players with Titanfall‘s combat and offers unique spins on shooter tropes. Not only that, Titanfall 2 is one of the first games to combine the solid first person platforming introduced in games like Mirror’s Edge with gunplay that feels on par with anything else out there. Everything about this game feels magnificent, and players of all skill levels will be running across walls and landing insane dropkicks with ease.

That isn’t to say that this is a dumb campaign by any stretch. It is an action movie, but the dialogue is well-crafted and clever. This is especially true in the case of BT, the AI of the Titan who accompanies you throughout the six-hour experience. BT’s lines land more often than not, and his struggles to understand the snarky quips of your protagonist never stopped being fun. Beyond humor, Titanfall 2 makes you care about BT in a real way, making the ridiculousness of the overall plot mere window dressing for the buddy cop adventure you’re living through. You can see some of the character moments coming if you pay attention, but they hit either way and press you to move forward, and that’s something to celebrate.

titanfall-2-missle-lock

Titan weapon and abilities are locked to specific loadouts, but there is plenty of variety in both single player and online.

It’s clear that Respawn gave both multiplayer and single player the time they needed during Titanfall 2‘s development. The campaign is filled with unique narrow environments and a handful of exclusive weapons and abilities, and everything looks gorgeous. The game runs extremely smooth on Xbox One, adding another technical showpiece to the console’s lineup of shooters. The multiplayer maps take obvious inspiration from memorable single player levels while also having a feel all their own, and there are numerous places on every map for me to hide cloaked in a corner and wait for a hapless AI grunt or human pilot to wander into the barrel of my Sidewinder LMG.

However, the multiplayer is where some of the most questionable decisions of Titanfall 2 were made. While the campaign feels like a game that is breaking out and making a statement, Titanfall 2‘s multiplayer suite feels like it is reducing its scope in order to please everyone. Unique elements of Titanfall‘s matches like Burn Cards, the hackable heavy turrets, and the mass of AI controlled soldiers are simply missing from the second game’s offerings. AI returns in two modes (Attrition and the new Kill Confirmed-esque Bounty Hunt), but even there it seems reduced from the last game, and there are lulls in the action during matches that simply didn’t happen in the original.

That being said, what is here is a wide variety of options that should please all types of players. In addition to the previously mentioned modes, there is a fast-paced Capture the Flag variant, modes that focus on just pilots or Titans, the return of Hardpoint with a twist to make matches move at a quicker pace, and the unique Coliseum mode. That last one is a Final Destination type experience where two players battle it out on a flat arena with nothing but a one hit kill grenade launcher and a short reach phasing ability. It’s interesting, and winners of the rounds receive rare and unique cosmetic items, but the requirement that you spend purchasable tickets to enter the mode makes it less appealing. Still, it’s easily the most disposable of the game’s modes, so players who hate microtransactions aren’t missing much at all.

titanfall-2-legion

The Legion Titan is basically a cyberpunk version of The Heavy from fellow TF2-abbreviated game Team Fortress 2.

Once you get into a match, you’ll notice the same impressive combat feel from the campaign transitioned perfectly into an online setting. Any nagging issues from the Technical Test seem to have been resolved, and I can say with some authority that this is the same great Titanfall gameplay as before. New additions to the sandbox, like the explosive ninja stars and deployable bomb robots, only add to the available options for players, and each encounter feels fresh and challenging inside of the game’s bite-sized matches. Considering that Titanfall 2‘s DLC map additions will be free of charge and the game is available on a console that people seem to like, there is some hope that this game will succeed in capturing an audience where the first one failed.

In the end, I do hope that Titanfall 2 finds success, as it has definitely earned its keep. The game is a newcomer in a sea of remasters, a sharp and satisfying FPS that continues 2016’s trend of amazing single player campaigns without skimping on the deathmatch. It’s a sci-fi game that’s not afraid to go for a fun tone and still brings the serious character moments where it counts. Most importantly, it allows players to pull off amazing feats of agility and deadly precision that make it a blast to participate in. The Modern Warfare team are back folks, and I can’t wait to see what thrill ride they take us on next.

Titanfall 2 was reviewed on Xbox One with a Deluxe Edition code provided by EA. It is also available on PC via Origin and PlayStation 4.

More About This Game

9.5
 

Amazing

Summary

Titanfall 2 effortlessly improves on the original release's deep multiplayer gameplay and adds in a memorable single player campaign that stands out from the pack. All that and a bundle of explosive ninja stars make this a must play FPS.

Pros

  • Acrobatic and Satisfying Gameplay
  • Engaging Campaign
  • BT Character Moments

Cons

  • Loss of Burn Cards and Other Unique Mechanics
  • Coliseum Mode Locked Behind Microtransactions

Alex Santa Maria

Reviews Editor

TechRaptor's Reviews Editor. Resident fan of pinball, Needlers, roguelikes, and anything with neon lighting. Owns an office chair once used by Billy Mays.



  • Fitz

    Damn, this looks a lot better than I had imagined. Recently spent my saved money on Overwatch though so it’ll be a while before I can experience this ;_; still, hooray for games that expand on the genre!

  • Riddle

    I am so glad to see TitanFall2 turned out well. I enjoyed the first Titan Fall and was a huge fan its potential -even if it wasn’t fully realized. But I am still a little hesitant to buy this second iteration after reading the Multiplayer is its weak point. A campaign is great, but the endless hours of multiplayer packed with unlocks and content is kind of essential with games like this. How does it compare to the content/unlocks/replaybility of say a Battlefield or CoD game? Can the game stand up on just it’s multiplayer? (where the first could not)

  • BurntToShreds

    The first game could stand up on its multiplayer alone. The problem is that it didn’t have a ridiculous amount of bloat like modern CoD or BF. It didn’t have hundreds of guns that did the same thing but with minuscule variances in stats, nor did it have a bajillion skins to unlock through stupid challenges. It suffered because it wasn’t as addictive a Skinner Box as those other two games.

  • BurntToShreds

    If I get Titanfall 2, it’ll either be as a used game or borrowed from a friend. I don’t feel like giving money to Respawn for changing up some of my favorite things about multiplayer.

    -Removing AI enemies from Hardpoint. I like objective-based modes like Hardpoint. I think it’s cool that they actually did bring back the AI for Attrition, but in Hardpoint it felt like a real war going on. And let me be honest: I’m not the best at twitch shooters with high-lethality weapons. I like being able to feel awesome by moppin the floor with a bunch of AI grunts then capturing the point they were holding.

    -They gave killstreaks to pilots. I liked the Burn Card system: You had 3 killstreaks you could call in at any time. Now you have an infinite killstreak you can call in practically any time if you’re an MLG pro or just get an extremely huge streak of luck.

    -Titans are basically glorified MOBA heroes now and I liked being able to make my own custom Titan. All their abilities are now hard-set, all the weapons are hard-set, and your ultimate Core ability is hard set. I liked being able to make a set of Titan loadouts alongside my Pilot loadouts. I would deck out my Stryder with all sorts of missiles and the quad-rocket launcher and it was a blast.

    -The Battery system. I don’t want to have a resource-management system for my Titans. I liked the fact that your Titan in the first game had one health bar with regenerating shields, and that’s it. No way to heal it. Now there’s batteries that 1) Replace the Rodeo system where you could hop on an enemy Titan, rip off part of its chassis, and blast away with your weapon of choice, and 2) Mess with the Pilot-Titan-Pilot gameplay loop I loved in the first game.

    So yeah, not interested in this game unless I can find it cheap used or borrowed.

  • As a fan of the first game, I agree that some of the changes are a bit extreme, but that’s really the only problem I had with it. The combat is so good that it’s easy to forgive what I perceived as the devs being frightened by their own innovation, and I hope that they take another look at some of this stuff either with the next game in the series or in an update to this one. If nothing else, they should throw AI back into everything ASAP.

  • Riddle

    You’re not wrong, but the reality is it didn’t. It didn’t stand up on it’s own. The game died pretty much immediately. I know. I played it. So while you are correct guns/mods/skins unlocks aren’t really making any gameplay difference -they still succeed in making it feel rewarding and fun to play.

  • Kev Lew

    On the one hand the multiplayer no longer has the (for me) interesting AI element, the gameplay modes have been broken into more traditional CoD/battlefield game modes and the titan call downs were being heavily messed with in the beta.
    On the other hand the season pass is “free” (UK PC price is £49.99 on origin so is pretty much a standard £35 day 1 buy plus a £15 add-on), the singleplayer looks fun and I really do love the base gameplay of run, gun, navigate, stomp (stupid random position respawn positions notwithstanding).

    As is, too high a purchase price, at £30 I would have picked it up today.

  • Kev Lew

    IMO an update to add in the classis players with AI against players with AI is vital. without the AI it’s the recent call of duty games plus a Mech kill streak reward.

    Not seen good info on the battery system yet, the 2-3 rodeos to take down a titan could be made much more interesting (I’m assuming it’s the same animation 3-4 times on a single titan), I pray titan healing is not a thing, the shields and hit point bar was the balance to mitigate the massive performance boost.

    kill streaks are an abomination in multiplayer games, reward good play with options not statistically superior equipment. I liked the original burn card system though I would have preferred less rarities of gear, more variety. titanfall 2 does soo much well but it slipped into the same mire that other shooters are in. (I hope it will at least get them a decent profit, good work seems to have been done even though the changes took away a lot of what I liked about the original.)

  • GrimFate

    Oh gawd! Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Infinite Warfare, Overwatch, not to mention Halo 5 and CS:GO. I think this feeling I am feeling is… “overwhelmed”.

  • The killstreaks aren’t SO much of a problem here, as the boost abilities you get over time aren’t close to game breaking, but I also think the Burn Card system with a bit of tweaking would have worked better.

    As for the batteries, damage to a titan is permanent, and the battery shields are very short lived if a titan is actively being attacked. I feel like that part is a bit more balanced, especially considering some of the abilities that these new titans have.

  • Aiat

    I would buy the game in a heart beat, but the player numbers on PC are way too low for a multiplayer focused AAA FPS game. Something tells me it will be in Origin Access before no time.

  • SevTheBear

    I have played 4-5 hours of Titanfall 2 multiplayer and I love it. For me it beats COD all the way.

    I really hope more will get TF2 so that it doesn’t end up as the first one did. I agree the other modes needs to be fixed asap. So fare the only mode worth play in Attrition (fun but the only one). But I can say the same about BF1. Operation is the only mode worth playing as well.

  • SevTheBear

    in EU atm it’s about 1400-2000 active players. I do hope with the promise of free maps and DLC more people will join the game.

  • SevTheBear

    TF2 does offer more then what the first did. 5 hours single player (it’s okay) and for the most, solid multiplayer. It’s fast and it’s fun and does feel fare more fresh than COD.

    I aim at being able to enjoy it for at least 50 hours, but I hope the future updates and free map packs will bringer more players to the game.

  • NorBdelta

    When the price goes down I will certainly buy it.