Titanfall 2 Review: Respawn’s Best Shooter To Date

Written by Derrick Smith

Respawn Entertainment it appears has learned much from the original Titanfall. Rightfully considered one of the most exciting new shooter on market, Respawn played it safe offering a refreshing experience, which catered heavily on the side of its multiplayer modes. In fact, the original Titanfall did not offer a fully fleshed out campaign. Even still, the games dynamically new traversal system and integrated Pilot and Titan combat skirmishes fueled our imagination.

For Titanfall 2, Respawn aggressively empowers players with a purpose as a Pilot alongside a more personal bond with your battle ready and protective Titan. From the games fully realized campaign to the various multiplayer modes packing a wealth of upgrade incentives, Titanfall 2 is an improved experience in every way over its predecessor and we cannot put it down.

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Now with what seems like a more clear direction for the Titanfall lore, Respawn presents an origin story beginning with a tale told from the perspective of Jack Cooper, a rifleman from the Frontier Militia who has dreamed of becoming an elite Pilot one day. Now, Cooper is forced to prove his mettle as he is thrown into the role of Pilot with the aid of BT-7274, a formidable Titan mech.

On a mission to rendezvous with Major Anderson and assist in the completion of the original assignment, Titanfall 2 immerses players in a vibrant universe filled with creatures, enemy soldiers and wonderful Titan mini-boss battles. Sure, at time it can seem like a training ground for the games slick multiplayer offerings, however, this game campaign should be celebrated for its entertaining narrative and enjoyable gameplay.

I fell in love with the Pilot and Titan bond, as told through the campaigns nine chapters. As though living the dream alongside your very own Optimus Prime like Titan, BT-7274 is quite reminiscent of the popular Cybertronian, just less organic in his understanding of the human nature. The Pilot and Titan relationship shines, adding a significant connection and a true understanding of the legacy of the Pilot.

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Though players will find themselves controlling Jack Cooper for the majority of the ride, with the addition of controlling BT as well, for a substantial portion of the game, Respawn does a wonderful job making the player feel powerful, yet somewhat incomplete when going it alone outside of BT. I actually found myself wanting to be with BT at all times.

Each of the nine chapters offer a challenging traversal experience, which sometimes makes it necessary to implement the handy Ghost Pilot hologram, revealing a ‘how to’ in relationship to mastering the varied terrain. Once mastered, you will find that each chapter is an addictive jungle gym affair of double jumping, wall-running and sliding while engaging the enemy. As the campaign progresses Respawn makes it a point of introducing players to every weapon possible. From the list of assault rifles, submachine guns, light machine guns (my favorite being the punishing L-Star), to the slick sniper rifles, shotguns and grenadier weapon types, the levels are filled with weapons for Cooper to test out.

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Not in such an abundance, however, BT also gets his fill of unique weapon types to change up his combat approach. Weapons such as the Splitter rifle, T-203 Thermite launcher, Plasma Railgun, Leadwall, 40mm Tracker Cannon and the devastating Predator Cannon, all of which come packed with unique core, offensive, defensive and utility features, which players can switch between once they have acquired the primary weapons

The campaign take players through multiple environments and this becomes ever so evident when you acquire the nifty time traveling device, which allows Cooper to enter and exit time and space instantly. In this instance, while Cooper could be confronted by enemy soldiers and drones in the current state, he has the ability of instantly morphing into the past within the exact location, where there could be large and agile beasts ready to attack. Choosing which reality to make progress through becomes a sort of meta-game puzzle to figure out. Unfortunately this device doesn’t have unlimited usage for the entire ride.

Eventually Cooper and BT are confronted by the IMC’s Apex Predators, which are a band of Pilot/Titan mercenaries who pull out all stops to impede you progress. These confrontation are so much fun and most arduous if you attempt on the more difficult settings. In these scenario’s BT is put to the test with the player having manual control of the Titan. With colorful type-A personalities the Apex Predators push BT to his combative operating limits.

The campaign while it could be considered short-lived hits a sweet spot, not overdoing its welcome. The entirety of the campaign felt just right! At the conclusion of the campaign, my desire for more was based solely on the gameplay fun factor and the emotional connection established between Cooper and BT. The open-ended conclusion has me excited for the next Titanfall story.

The multiplayer for Titanfall 2 is addicting with a wealth of fun.

The campaigns spirited visuals and impressively smooth controls are seamlessly brought over to the games high-octane multiplayer offering. Running at a brilliant 60 frames per second with an attractive assortment of modes such as Bounty Hunt (AI enabled), Amped Hardpoint, Last Titan Standing (No Respawn), Mixtape (Varied Modes and Maps), Attrition (AI enabled), Capture the Flag, Pilots vs. Pilots, Coliseum (No Respawn) and Free for All.

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Everything from the original Titanfall is here plus so much more. Players character options are still male and female, however now players can choose between seven tactical characters all offering unique features to exploit in combat. Though I have become obsessed with the hulking cloak character Pilot who is just as agile and elusive as the other slightly built Pilots, other tactical Pilots offer abilities such as grappling, use of deployable particle shields, holographic imaging, teleportation, heal and boosting and the pulse blade, which allows that Pilot to see enemy players through all surfaces.

While Pilot vs Pilot was an added update later for the original Titanfall, the experience has been improved atop smartly designed map layouts, giving players what I like to call quick-twitch breathing room. This actually applies to every multiplayer mode currently offered within Titanfall 2. To explain this, while Titanfall 2 is a genuine quick-twitch shooter, the necessary reaction time for success is a compliment to Respawn’s extraordinary design. The gunplay feels just right, almost nostalgic of the glory days found playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, with a dose of a dexterity hormone for the added traversal flair.

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Titanfall 2 defies the non-tactical label often associated with quick-twitch shooters. Whether playing Attrition, Amped Hardpoint or Capture the Flag, you are wasting your time if you are simply playing for kills without the use of team strategy, in an effort of completing the objectives. In one scenario as I was playing, one of my friends was holding an area down with his Titan, which over time was taking a beaten after taking out a Legion Titan and clearing an area of Pilots. He asked me to grab an energy/battery cell for his Titan, which was in the enemies area of reach. Laying down suppression fire for me to reach the cell, I activated my Pilots cloaking ability swooped in and grabbed the battery cell and made it out, climbed up his Titan and inserted the cell to which his Titan was now fully restored. I stayed on top of his Titan picking off enemy Pilots, while he cleaned up the scraps in our successful attempt at holding a hardpoint. Though my kill count for the match was relatively high, that was not my intention, luckily my aim and trigger pulls were accurate and precise for the match, more importantly as a team we won the battle and the experience was truly exhilarating.

New to the Titanfall multiplayer experience, Respawn has enabled boosts, which sort of works like the burn cards of the original game. Boosts periodically can be activated upon unlocking or acquiring them via Titanfall currency. One boost in particular which has received a lot of attention from players, the Map Hack boost reveals enemies to your entire team on the map, making them much easier to pick off. Either you hate it or you love it. So far, I find it quite useful myself and for my team, especially when you desperately need to turn the tide of battle. More often than not I have been fond of the Hard Cover and Amped Weapons boost. There are currently twelve in all at the moment.

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Overall, Respawn Entertainment has hit a homerun with Titanfall 2. The game look good, sounds amazing and plays as smooth as butter with highly intuitive controls. Easily the best quick-twitch shooter on the market, the dynamic gameplay is even better this time around. The campaign bar has been set pretty high for the series, so it will be interesting to see the direction taken for the hopeful threequel. The Pilot and Titan relationship becomes an emotional one and we have faith that BT will fight alongside Cooper once again.

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