Titanfall didn’t exactly get everything right when it was released in 2014. The multiplayer only FPS did, however, get a lot of things right, mainly the integration of the vertical element into gaming that’s rarely seen (We’re looking at you CoD: Advanced Warfare). It also had an overarching, epic storyline that didn’t even really get used. The lore was so vast and so deep, yet it was just sitting there like some icing on the surface of a cake, waiting to be fully explored. Thus the original Titanfall didn’t quite live up to the hype, despite being a surprise, cult hit among the FPS crowd. So when Titanfall 2 was announced, it was initially met with some skepticism. A heaping amount of skepticism. Respawn, for all their experience, failed at the thing the majority of their employees were magnificent at, weaving a single player game that had purpose and a great, if linear, design.
Titanfall 2 is what
And so Titanfall 2 was borne out of the failures of the original. That is, they took the already well-done multiplayer component and added in the story that was missing. Filled in the gaps and let you play through a campaign that dynamically challenges you with the vertical element they baked in, though sometimes in obnoxious ways. It isn’t a difficult game on the lesser settings, just difficult. And being able to jump and run on surfaces just makes it a bit more of a thinking person’s game. You have the chance at becoming a fluid fighting machine, whether in your Titan, facing undeniably difficult odds, or on the ground, hoping you have enough ammo to take out everyone threatening your well-being. Curious, why humanity seems intent upon destroying itself so much. But that’s a philosophical question for another time, and another forum.
The story is perhaps the best part of this game, though the multiplayer is still a joy to behold too. It’s well-built though a bit on the cliché side of things. You’re definitely a lone hero looking to make your mark on society as you save the very essence of humanity from the evil forces that wish only to enslave and wipe out the beautiful things we’ve built and accomplished. And you even have your trusty, somewhat snarky sidekick too. Your trusty Titan, once you’ve laboriously earned his companionship, takes on an almost fatherly-like role, helping you grow with bits of interactive conversations throughout the game. It’s kind of comforting to have a robotic AI companion, different from the first Titan’s in that it’s nearly sentient itself.
The story is where it’s at, mostly
Your companion seems to know what’s going to happen already, smart enough to deduce what you have to do and intelligent enough to calculate the odds and to shamelessly joke, though dry as it is, about you living through terrible odds. The bosses you face throughout, and that’s what they are in more resilient and tougher Titans to simulate higher HP, which is a better mechanism than most ways of making bigger, enemies guys. They get introduced in a Borderlands-esque way, and they have nearly as much personality. Though they are mercenaries and decidedly characteristic of the individuality that you might encounter in such an environment. They yell at you and egg you on, as you systematically blow them all to smithereens. It’s all larger than life, and it’s fitting for such a big story. The future of the human race on the frontier is at stake here.
Despite the slightly silly overall plot, the way it’s executed gets to you, in the feels.
The basis of it centers on the pilot, or the human element of this war. They are, as is absolutely true, the most important component of the story, because it is the courage of humans to do what’s right that can create the story that’s being told. The emphasis is placed on the value of each individual that you encounter. They are valuable, despite being slightly expendable on the path to victory. But the all play a part, and the focus is placed via well-done dialogue and even the quick and dirty character development.
The dialogue, by the way, is actually quite nicely done. The voice acting is very well done, smooth and natural. The sound effects, too, add an air of immersion as does the awesome music. I thoroughly enjoyed the music from the original and Stephen Barton, the composer, doesn’t disappoint here. He uses a similar style, and it fits very nicely here.
So, the levels are a bit linear and follow the storyline closely, and the AI isn’t always the smartest on the lower settings, but what Titanfall 2 does do is provide you with many very awesome ways of taking out those bad guys that get in your way. Getting to the objectives is very linear, but that’s not where the real fun lies anyway. It’s in hopping to and fro while dynamically switching between smashing your enemies and shooting them while trying to stay alive. It’s unbelievably enjoyable.
The Titan? Oddly not as fun, the fact that it moves slow and seems to not quite do what I want and when I want it. Though I chalk that up to user error more than anything. It’s just a much different experience that has its own challenges. It feels, sort of, like it’s a heavy machine that you’re moving around in. It requires a different approach, but once you master its movements and find the layout, among many you pick up along the way, it can be fun in its own right. Just somewhat slower. And more explody.
Graphics are a bit strange, being that it’s based off of the Source engine still. One would think that Respawn Entertainment would go for a more modern graphics engine with wider capabilities but they didn’t. And the effect isn’t half bad! You can tell that it’s a bit older and it doesn’t look quite as alluring and stunning as some. It won’t win any graphical awards, but Source is still very viable. And they show just how extensible it is here. We’ll have a separate performance analysis though we can safely say that it performs very well on a wide variety of hardware with minimal issues. Explosions, particles, models and textures are all suitably “next generation” though at times textures can be slightly low-resolution. Oh, and for those that don’t have sufficient hardware, and Source is quite adaptable as it is, Respawn have enabled dynamic resolution technology to keep things running smooth on the PC. It’ hardly noticeable in-game either.