An apology to kick things off, as I’m fashionably late with this Titanfall 2 review. You can blame me if you wish, or you can blame the same shortsightedness which saw EA release an absolutely sublime game like this sandwiched between two shooter behemoths.
Titanfall 2 then is a victim of the calendar. Seemingly doomed to failure simply because it launched during the wrong time and place. But it shouldn’t be like this. Titanfall 2 is the strongest first-person shooter of the big trio (Battlefield 1 & COD: Infinite Warfare) release this autumn and it deserves to find success further down the line.
Where Titanfall 2 chiefly builds on its predecessor is the campaign. Not a difficult task, the original didn’t have one. This isn’t some throwaway crap to tick a few boxes though. Titanfall 2’s single-player campaign is one most the most well executed and varied FPS campaigns in years. Moreso than just about any other shooter though, it isn’t so much about an epic story or a journey through a believable world. In fact, the plot is about as lightweight as you can get. Instead it’s a vehicle to deliver wholly unique gameplay experience, as if Respawn has taken a bunch of singular, fantastic ideas and thrown them together to see what works. Going through them here would ruin the experience of discovery for you, but suffice to say after the bland opening levels Titanfall 2 becomes incredibly inventive. The places you end up can be nonsense. What they do is bring out puzzle solving mechanics utilising all of your available movement abilities. It’s not quite Portal, as suggested in the run up to launch, but it’s definitely reminiscent of modern 3D Mario games in that Respawn isn’t afraid to use ideas which could form an entire game and use them in just a single level. Prepare to be constantly surprised throughout Titanfall 2’s admittedly very short length.
For returning Titanfall players that’s a real value added bonus and will surely hook in some new single-player fans. I would say that I don’t think the single-player is expansive enough to buy Titanfall 2 at full price if you don’t want to try out the multiplayer. Fortunately I’m already seeing some very good deals pop up for Titanfall 2 so perhaps single-player gamers can sniff out a bargain.
As for the multiplayer, well, Respawn was under significant pressure after a less than stellar reception to its first beta test. The good news is that they’ve pulled it off again. Naturally enough it’s the movement that makes Titanfall 2 MP stand out. I really don’t think there’s any shooter out there that does it better. Moving to Battlefield 1 after this felt obscenely clunky and slow. Once you’ve blasted through the campaign wall running becomes a cinch you can easily transfer skills picked up in the campaign to the multiplayer. Beware though, everyone else is doing exactly the same. Titanfall 2 multiplayer is an acrobatic tour de force with fine-tuned weapons, fantastic feeling shooting and a breakneck pace.
The weak point ironically is the Titans themselves. While it’s nice to have quite a few Titans to choose from and some customised loadouts, being in them just isn’t as far as being on foot. Perhaps Respawn made ground combat too good, but everything’s a little more stilted once the mechs are involved.
Titanfall 2’s multiplayer modes remain much the same as its predecessor, aside from Bounty Hunt. You get Attrition, which is standard team deathmatch, Pilots v Pilots which strips out the Titans, Capture the Flag, Armed Hardpoint is basically Domination, and Last Titan Standing is about taking down all of the enemy team’s Titans. Lastly there’s Bounty Hunt. Kill Confirmed but with the stakes upped, you must kill enemies to earn cash or take out bounties. If you’re killed you lose half your cash, so at certain times you must bank your money. The longer you go without cashing it in, the bigger the target you are for opposing forces. It’s quite a frenetic affair and definitely a worthy addition.
All in all there’s heaps of variety in the multiplayer to keep you playing, even if it isn’t drastically altered from the original. Looking forward there’s the promises of free maps to keep Titanfall 2 fresh. The only worry is the limited playerbase, particularly on PC.
As for performance, Titanfall 2 is excellent across the board. Playing on both a GeForce GTX 980 Ti and a GeForce GTX 1060, I was consistently getting frame rates into the hundreds with everything maxed out on 1080p. On this front I didn’t see a single blip. The Source 2 engine performs excellently and looks great, even if the visual style isn’t necessarily going to blow you away.
Titanfall 2 is the complete shooter package in a way that Titanfall wasn’t back in 2014. The fantastic campaign now complements the comprehensive multiplayer package. Factor in the free post launch support and it’s difficult to argue that Titanfall 2 is the unsung hero of the holiday rush.