So 2016 as a hell of a year for FPS games wasn’t it? Overwatch set the bar pretty high and we were also treated to Battlefield 1 scratching that more open warfare itch. Of course there were some lows as well like the incredibly disappointing Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare but amongst this sandwich of wonder and mediocrity was a gem. Titanfall 2!
Lets open with a bit of honesty: I’m not a solider. Having someone shoot at me and being paid minimum wage for the pleasure, doesn’t appeal to me, at all. However, if someone were to tell me that the army was dishing out 30ft death robots with swords and giant shotguns then, I’d be the first in line for basic training! Now cast your minds back to 2014; a wonderful, Donald Trump free year. A new developer going by the name of Respawn Entertainment released Titanfall and anyone who had kept up with trailers and previews collectively fainted with excitement…and then we played it.
Titanfall was by no means bad, but it wasn’t without a few faults. Overall the game was fun and handled well; an original idea that freshened up the dusty old format of first person shooters. Unfortunately the storyline was where the wheels came off. Where’s the fun of watching a storyline pass you by in the background, while you play a game mode that is functionally the same as the standard multiplayer?! It was like trying to watch a film while your friends launch spitballs at you…and a giant robot is trying to chase you down, to wear your corpse as a fancy hat. So when I sat down to play Titanfall 2, you can forgive me, for being just a little apprehensive about their claim of having a full storyline. So what did I get?
A story, and not just a run of the mill “run here, shoot him” story, that FPS players the world over are used to. I got a deep interesting story, with some levels that really made me think, and a relationship with a robot that I never thought possible (yes I’m aware how strange that sounds. Just roll with it!) Throughout Titanfall 2 you play as Jack Cooper: a man who suffers with possibly the blandest name of all time, but perhaps the coolest job, a Titan pilot. His mission is to kill everyone in front of him, who isn’t wearing green, and to look as awesome as possible while he does so. A solid mixture of wall running and sliding, that hasn’t been so well implemented since Mirrors Edge keeps things exciting; as you bound about from wall to wall smacking enemies with a well aimed boot to the chest, or a few rounds from any of the rather large selection of guns.
Now obviously as the title and cover art implies you occasionally get to muck about in your own personal death-bot BT-7274. BT has some A.I that means a good bit of banter between him and his pilot, leading to some of the most amusing parts of the game. Though, having said this, you will notice that the story comes up with several contrived reasons for BT being unavailable for your enemy crushing needs. When not piloting your ‘Optimus Prime’ lookalike you can still fight alongside him to flank your opponents and get the drop on the villains own Titans. However, like most AI controlled allies, BT doesn’t actually provide much help. It sometimes feels like he’s there to simply look impressive while you have to mop up all the grunts on screen.
As for multiplayer Titanfall 2 keeps more or less the same UI as the original with a few new game modes chucked in, to make things interesting: mixing classics like ‘Capture the Flag’ with franchise specifics like ‘Titan vs. Titan’ and ‘Pilots Only’. Like most other FPS multiplayer modes you start with the bare bones of equipment, getting more interesting guns and abilities based on your level. Leveling up is quite unique, rather than the standard ‘kill bad guys to win games and get experience’ systems we’re all so used to you level up based on how well you use your equipment and skills. While this does encourage you to take a crack at everything, I did find myself resorting to the same gun and secondary ability combo when the going got tough. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as using a grappling hook to launch yourself through a window, firmly planting your boot into another players spine before they even realize you’re there! Like the story mode the player can use their Titan to change the flow of battle. Unfortunately BT isn’t available (convenient!) but there are 7 other Titans to choose from. These range from the nimble Ronin who can cover ground faster than others and bring the pain with a huge sword (AWESOME RIGHT?!) but is about as brittle as a dry cracker, and will be downed by another Titan’s heavier weapons if you can keep moving. Alternatively there is the monstrous Legion who moves like a sloth but hits like a sloth wrapped in TNT, with a gigantic minigun and enough health to stand its ground in just about any fight.
While the multiplayer is great fun (and has eaten more hours of my time than most) it’s definitely not without its flaws. With the number of players ricocheting of walls and calling in Titans, some pretty bad lag issues can hit you here and there. The game tries its best to compensate and keep the action going, but it’s still incredibly frustrating when you try to hop on a titans back to drop a grenade into the workings, only to glitch right through it and be punched into oblivion on the other side- by a very surprised pilot!
Overall I was very impressed with Titanfall 2. It was a vast improvement on an original game that wasn’t even bad to begin with. It’s a shame that the game was released within a couple of weeks of a giant like Battlefield 1, since that clearly hurt sales, and the servers definitely aren’t as full as they were on release day! Titanfall 2 is a beast of a game and easily the best shooter to come out of a year saturated with great games in that genre so if you haven’t already pick it up! Let’s see about getting as many players as possible on this thing! In conclusion if you want to improve a game in anyway; giant murder bots is always going to be the way forward and if you disagree… what business do you have calling yourself a gamer?