Titanfall 2 (Xbox One Review)
Over the life span of modern gaming the First Person Shooter has seen prominent years, years that stand out clearly in the lineage of modern gaming. This is why many people make use of mouse sensitivity converter that could help people better dial in their aim. There is a great, free, mouse sensitivity converter here if you’re interested. Starting in 1993 with Doom and continuing in years like 2004 and 2007 there are very few periods in between that could be considered the golden age of the FPS genre. Thanks to Titanfall 2 and a slew of other games this year, like Shadow Warrior 2 and DOOM, we might be amidst another peak years for the First Person Shooters.
Starting as a humble title exclusively on the Microsoft platform (Xbox 360, PC, and Xbox One), Titanfall was released to mediocre sales and generally favourable reception. Which is expected from a newcomer in these trying times. It did however justify itself a sequel and the folks at Respawn Entertainment have not only created a title that builds upon the previous title, but absolutely knocked it out of the park, with Titanfall 2.
Set after the events of Titanfall you play as Jack Cooper, a soldier turned pilot in the Militia. In the midst of a battle Cooper is thrust unto greatness with the help of his newly acquired mech, BT-7274, and takes over a fallen pilot’s directive in aiding the Militia in their ongoing war. Titanfall 2 may be set during a war, one of the most epic wars committed to disc, it’s really a buddy movie at heart. As BT and Cooper take on everything that stands in their way, including some opposing pilots, you get a real feel for their camaraderie. It’s warming and draws the player in with quick whips and lines delivered with the same whit and tone you would expect from the great robot of modern media, like the Terminator with the demeanour of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a rollercoaster of human emotion and one of the best singleplayer experiences on offer from an FPS this side of the original Halo trilogy, which makes sense given that Respawn Entertainment is formed of the elite game developers that gave us CoD4.
Set pieces are massive and the sense of scale is impeccable. Titanfall 2’s perfect pacing never lets up, a relentless onslaught of mechs, pitfalls, and local wildlife bombard you in set pieces that will make your jaw drop. It’s absolutely stunning to look at on the Xbox One and traversing the environment is an absolute delight. There are so many paths through the warzone that you would be forgiven for mistaking some areas as free to explore zones, when in reality you might have accidentally ended up ahead of where the story had intended. And if that isn’t a hallmark of a world you want to explore, I really don’t know what is.
Obviously this sense of exploration is aided by Titanfall 2’s collectibles. The short 5 hour campaign is peppered with fallen pilot’s helmets to collect. Highlighted by a blue hue and placed in areas that challenge you to scale the wonderfully vertical aesthetic of Titanfall 2 truly adds replay value over the numerous difficulties available.
Even if you complete Titanfall 2’s campaign and somehow find everything while playing it on the hardest mode, you will still come back just to relive some truly amazing gameplay. Guns kick perfectly in time with shots as a litany of bullets fly from the chamber of your chosen gun. It’s the perfect way to get accustomed with Titan loadouts, guns, and traversal before taking to online. The fact that Titanfall 2 takes you through everything it has to offer by careful placement of guns and situations that prompt the user to try something different could be completely overlooked in the name of fun, lost amongst the bliss, and you wouldn’t be at fault. It’s just that perfect. In fact my only criticism is that BT can be a little over zealous with his prompts when you are exploring areas.
That in part is owed to Titanfall 2’s score, composed by Stephen Barton. Stephen has previously worked on Call of Duty 4 and some bits and pieces in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. It wasn’t until the first time reaching the credits that I started to appreciate just how well it was composed, but on replaying some levels I began to appreciate how it compliments the ebb and flow of Titans clashing and how it ties the package together perfectly.
Once acquainted with the systems you might be brave enough to try your hand at Titanfall 2’s online system. After the beta I was not entirely sold on the premise, it all felt loose and there weren’t enough mechs for my liking. Fortunately, this has all been honed for the final version. Massive chassis clash as pilots dart between legs of their mechs. Smoke clouds erupt from the contraptions to deter any further damage and an astounding display of lights and action acts out on some well-crafted battlegrounds.
There are more than enough game modes at your disposal and almost all of them are enjoyable. All of them but the Coliseum, a game mode in which you can pay or earn entry to fight an enemy pilot on a circular platform with one loadout, avoid that because it’s an unfortunate misstep from an otherwise perfect collection of online modes. Those modes are; Amped Hardpoint, Pilot vs. Pilot, Last Titan Standing, Bounty Hunt, Attrition, and Capture the Flag. There isn’t anything you will be entirely unfamiliar with, but each has the added flavour of Titanfall 2’s loadout system, and of course mechs – not Pilot vs. Pilot though, duh!
Titanfall 2 takes cues from the CoD loadout system, allowing players to level up and unlock new items with the added bonus of earned currency allowing players to pick up some key items a bit sooner than expected – should they wish. Thankfully this system never overburdens the player, unlike later Call of Duty games, and everything comes in time without ever feeling like you are too far behind the opposition. Although there are obvious perks for being higher levels, like more weapons and better attachments, but the divide never felt insurmountable like other online shooters.
And all of this online play seems fluent. Jumping in and out of matches are easy and there is a clear focus on how well implemented the netcode is. Noting players with bad ping and monitoring latency from the server is a brilliant touch that is clear and identifiable for anyone that wishes to check. Although there was a rather small player base, even a week after release, many playlists had less than 500 players in my region on the weekend of play. Which is totally undeserved based on what I have played.
Titanfall 2 doesn’t just improve on the original, it leaves it in the dust as it speeds ahead laughing. Leaps and bounds ahead of its competition with a brilliant story to boot. The only thing holding Titanfall 2 back is the release date, it feels like were this released in the summer it would have just a few more players online. Thankfully there is still enough players kicking about to justify a purchase, and if you haven’t yet I can only urge you to go out and try one of the best games this year. As somebody who thought he was pretty much done with FPS games, I can’t stop thinking about Titanfall 2 and who I should set a group up with online to play with.