A new frontier where man and machine fight as one.
Upon its release, Titanfall - jam-packed with parkour action and robotic combat - was heralded as one of the most exciting new franchises in recent years. Titanfall 2 goes well above its predecessor and draws players deeper into its world, armed with an immersive campaign that gives you reason to fight and establish your identity as a pilot in New Frontier. The original Titanfall was criticised for its weak storyline and lack of playable content; both problems have been solved.
Fast and agile. Graceful yet devastating.
Titanfall 2's singleplayer begins with a cinematic intro that briefly introduces what it means to be a pilot in the battlefield. Titan pilots are lethal forces that can shift the tide of battle, and there are only a few qualified pilots in New Frontier. Every soldier aspires to be a pilot, and Rifleman Jack Cooper is not an exception.
After surviving a devastating battle, the player, as Cooper, finds himself isolated near the enemy's base with a Titan named BT-7274. The two begin their journey back home as a team, in which they overcome hardships together and grow fond of each other.
As Cooper and BT help each other on their adventure, Cooper gradually becomes a skilled pilot as his combat experience increases. This gives the player a sense of progress - probably Titanfall 1's most jarring deficiency. In the original Titanfall, the protagonist jumped into the battlefield right away as an experienced pilot and just kept fighting; in Titanfall 2, he starts out as a humble rifleman and is molded into a heroic pilot through circumstance.
The campaign also does a great job portraying the relationship in between a Titan and a pilot. When Cooper faces tasks beyond his capacity, BT is always there to help. Together, they bond and grow. Their dependence on each other - their camaraderie, their trust - is plausible and feels authentic.
Titanfall 2 also showed much improvement in overall level design. Not only does the campaign offer you a rich amount of combat missions, it also features a wide variety of fighting grounds with puzzle elements blended well in between small-scale battles. Moving from one objective to another is never boring, as the game continuously offers parkour-based puzzle adventures in which you need to be creative to pave your way out. Jetpacking and wallriding never stop throughout the game, and give players enough opportunities to enjoy the series' iconic jetpack action.
Defy gravity. Be creative.
Only pilots can fight like this in the world of Titanfall.
Titanfall 2's campaign lasts for around five hours, and the story hovers around nothing else but Cooper's short-yet-memorable journey with BT. A minimalistic and simple plot, but the details that form up the story leave a strong impact in the player's mind. By the time you're moving on to multiplayer, you feel as if you're heading towards the next journey with your robotic friend.
Titanfall 2's multiplayer mode also has gone through an overhaul, which in general offers you more customizable options both in tactics and looks. Pilot Loadouts now offer a wider variety of tactics, and the Burn Card system has been replaced by Boosts, which players can stack up to activate in game. For instance, Smart Pistol - an auto-lock weapon used very frequently in Titanfall 1 - can now only be used as a Boost with a limited amount of ammo.
Pilot appearances also change according to the chosen tactic. Stim turns you into a robotic pilot, whereas Cloak gives you a human pilot dressed in a futuristic ghillie suit. Also, you no longer fire your guns away at the enemy Titan's core when you rodeo it; instead, you can pull out the Titan's battery pack and give it to your ally Titan to heal him - a moment of teamwork. When the Titan's battery has already been pulled out, you toss a grenade in the empty spot.
Titan Loadouts have also gone through massive reconstruction. Unlike Titanfall 1, in which players could mix and match Titan chassis and weapons, Titanfall 2 roots players to the six different types of Titans each with fixed chassis, weapons and abilities. The only thing you can change are the kits. Such a system results in reduced flexibility. However, the upside is that all six Titans are different, and that you can further customize your Titan's appearance by applying different decals and paints. There are tons to unlock and play around with.
I can confidently say that Respawn Entertainment did a good job incorporating user feedback from their first title. The game has fixed most of its drawbacks, while preserving the strengths that helped Titanfall stand out among other competitors in the market. The dull and meaningless singleplayer has been replaced with a deeply engaging story; the rather repetitive multiplayer has changed to provide a richer experience with more game modes, tactics, and customizable options.
The game's graphics and physics have been greatly enhanced to fit modern gamers' demanding taste. The world looks more realistic; movement feels more smooth. It all looks fantastic, and the game's speedy pace only enhances the wonder.
If "what truly separates the pilot from all the Grunts and machines in the battlefield is the bond between a pilot and a Titan", what truly separates Titanfall 2 from all its competitors is its minimal yet powerful story. Above all else, Cooper's convincing and compassionate bildungsroman with BT is what elevates Titanfall 2 from well-made to must-buy.
- Impressive campaign that upholds the series' identity
- A more diverse and fast-paced multiplayer mode
- Great range of visual and tactical customization
- Stunning graphics and refined parkour action
- Rodeoing an enemy Titan just doesn't feel the same
- The camera transition upon Titan embarkment feels disruptive
- The reduction of Titan Loadout flexibility is regrettable
Overall Score: 90
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