From the moment I first got my hands on an Xbox, console and PC players alike have been telling me that I should play Titanfall 2 and so, after putting it off for as long as I could, I finally stepped into the shoes of ace pilot Jack Cooper and played one of EA’s most talked about shooters.
Usually, when I start playing a new franchise, I like to take it all the way back to the beginning and start with the first game in the series, just like with movies. But the first Titanfall lacked a single-player campaign and that’s what we’re all about around here so jumping straight into Titanfall 2 seemed like the best option.
Five years have passed since this game made its big debut and a lot has changed since this series tried to revolutionize the multiplayer genre with its excessive emphasis on movement mechanics and not just generic gunplay. It’s a major trend that Call of Duty tried to replicate at some point but is it still as iconic as it was back then?
Does the wall-running, mech-summoning, double-jumping shooter still hold up in today’s gaming climate? Well, that’s what we do on this series and I had a blast trying to answer that question for myself. So, without further ado, let’s link up with BT-7274 and see if Titanfall 2 is still good in 2021?
So, What’s It All About?
Titanfall 2 is a first-person shooter created by Respawn Entertainment, a studio founded by some of Call of Duty’s former creators and developers. They impressed the world over with their first game and it was only a matter of time before a second Titanfall game made its way onto consoles and PC.
You play as Rifleman Jack Copper, a wannabe pilot eager to earn his place within the Militia and, through a series of unfortunate events in the first battle, that dream comes true a lot sooner than anticipated. A Vanguard Titan, known as BT-7274, needs a new pilot and Jack is the only survivor that can fill those shoes.
Most of the game is played through Jack’s perspective as you run-and-gun through the different levels but often you’ll have the choice of piloting BT-7274 which opens up a completely different style of gameplay compared to regular action with Jack. I say choice but there are more than a few moments where piloting BT is an absolute necessity.
All the familiar movement mechanics are here from the first game, like wall-running and double-jumping but this game introduced us to the slide which I used often as I moved from arena to arena shooting down enemies as I went along which is, ultimately, all that the missions entail.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) January 13, 2021
Then, What’s Good About It?
I have to start this off by talking about the thing that instantly got me hooked on Titanfall 2. Weaponry has come in all shapes and sizes over the years and the guns you have at your disposal in this game rank up there with some of the best guns I’ve had the pleasure of using in a first-person shooter.
Everything, from the sound design behind each gunshot to the way they handle within the game, made the experience a hundred times better and I see myself jumping into the multiplayer just so that I can keep shooting these weapons and that’s saying a lot considering I rarely ever feel the urge to play Multiplayer these days.
I will admit that I did find it a bit difficult to tell each weapon apart visually and had to memorize the names of each gun that I liked but experimenting with this arsenal was a huge part of the fun and I honestly can’t remember the last time a game made me want to test out all the guns thoroughly to find my best fit.
First-person shooters that feature advanced movement controls are rarely done right but Titanfall has the distinct pleasure of being the first to bring it to the table and the sequel improved on that winning formula to keep the experience fresh. I mean, not once did I feel like standing still behind cover and firing was the best option in a firefight.
This game handled almost like an arena shooter as I kept sliding, jumping, and wall-running around the environment to stay alive. I love that pace and the feeling like I always got to be on my toes to avoid getting shot was so addictive. there were times when I would disembark from BT just to get the action more up close and personal.
There’s nothing that entertains me more than games that actually ask me to use my imagination when I’m in a fight and, with all the tools that jack has at his disposal, it seemed like there was always a few options on the table and it was up to me to decide how I wanted this flight to play out.
The story in Titanfall 2 is basic, to say the least. There’s a lot of lore surrounding the different factions and I feel like, as a new player, that wasn’t explored enough within the story. I get that this is the second game in the series but it was kind of like we the good guys, they the bad guys, and we gotta stop them.
But, the relationship between BT-7274 and Jack is one of the more compelling aspects of this narrative although a lot of this relationship’s charm is riding on the back of BT. He is one of the most memorable characters in this game and it’s surprising to me that the mechanical character is the one with the most depth and emotion.
Even though the dialogue options didn’t have much effect on the story I like that we got to personalize Jack’s responses to BT and define their relationship in any way that you would like. Props to BT’s voice actor, Glenn Steinbaum because he sold the role to me and I couldn’t get enough of this one-of-a-kind Titan.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) January 16, 2021
Okay, But What’s Bad About It?
Okay, so I fully appreciate Respawn’s attempt at a good single-player story because I probably wouldn’t have experienced this game were it not for the campaign but damn, this story leaves a lot to be desired. Not just in the overall plot but in the character development and the length as well.
Seriously, this one is short, and it makes me glad that I’m playing this on Xbox Game Pass and didn’t pay full price for the Titanfall experience. I wouldn’t have minded the story either if it was less rushed or felt like it came to a satisfying conclusion. Instead, it feels like this campaign was one long tutorial for the multiplayer.
Once you’ve settled into the game, gotten a handle on the mechanics, and familiarised yourself with the weaponry, the game is over and the credits are rolling. I mean, I don’t even know that much about the main character that we play as except for the fact that he wants to be a pilot. We do it. That’s it. Game Over. We won.
The Core System & Enemy A.I.
The Core system in Titanfall allows you to alternate between different loadouts for the Titan and the enemies in this game were so lacking in variety that I never felt like I needed more than the Expedition Core to get the job done. Maybe that’s the way the game was intended but I didn’t feel like using a different core gave me any significant advantage except for the Legion core because…well…you’ll see.
The variety of enemies is so bland and forgettable too that I can’t, honestly, remember any that stood out to me or gave me a significant challenge throughout the campaign, whether human, robot, or Titan. I’ll admit, I did enjoy the banter that you get from the enemy pilots as their Titans attack but they all sound the same after a while.
So, Should I Play It?
I’d like to make a very special recommendation to anybody that’s ever played Apex Legends and thought “Hey, this is fun, but I’d really like this kind of gameplay in a single-player experience instead” because this game is exactly what you’ve been looking for. And yes…I’m one of those people.
The words “this feels just like Apex” were on my mind constantly and it’s no surprise since both games are made by the same developer. It has nothing to do with the lore of Apex Legends but it’s in the same universe so, all the classic Apex guns, like the Mozambique, are here and there’s a halfway decent story to carry you through it all.
Other than that, I highly recommend you play this on Xbox Game Pass or at least borrow the game from a friend because the single-player experience simply won’t give you enough to get your money’s worth and the long-term value is all in the Multiplayer. And, considering the fact that we still haven’t gotten a glimpse of Titanfall 3, I doubt it will last that long either.
Have you played Titanfall 2? What do you think of the first real single-player campaign? Let me know in the comments section below.