By: Nick Schifani
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall"
I was really hoping to start this review off with "Wow, this game is hands down the best thing this fall" or "the new single player campaign is exactly what this game needed". Yet, here I am staring at this screen, and all I can think is, “this was a good game, or this game is fine.” By most accounts, I think that should be good enough for a game. Matter of fact, I think most games should be considered lucky to be called "good" or "fine", but Titanfall 2 was supposed to be something different. It was supposed to be something special. Hell, the twitter universe thought it was, without a doubt. Most considered it to be a masterpiece. So why did I feel like I was missing the boat as I played through this game? What am I not seeing that everyone else sees?
I enjoyed the gameplay. Being able to run across walls or slide for damn near a mile, all while blasting bad guys away was quite fun. However, it wasn't the best thing I've ever had the joy of playing, especially in a first-person shooter. Sure, the parkour aspect is different. As the player, you have to pull off different acrobatic moves to make it throughout the level. Jumping wall to wall, scaling hanging objects, and defying the laws of gravity to make it to your next objective are all selling points of this game. While those aspects may be fun, they should not be the defining reason for why this game should be great. It should have been the newly added single player mode. The one aspect the first game was missing. Yet, even that mode felt like it missed the mark.
When the first Titanfall game was released back in March 2014, it was the talk of the town. Finally, a giant mech game with a fun multiplayer. But, as the months went by and gamers were getting bored with the same, old multiplayer matches, whispers started to fill the internet. Mostly, asking why there wasn't a single player aspect to this game. So, when the developers at Respawn (the studio who made the game) decided to create a second game, they knew they had to add a single player campaign.
At this summer's E3 we got a single player trailer. I won't lie. I drank the Kool-Aid. They were able to show the fun aspects of this game I mentioned before, not to mention the use of your Titan. It all felt right. We were getting the game, that we all asked for. Finally, a gaming studio listened to us, the gamers! One problem, Respawn forgot to add an interesting story to this single player portion. The story felt bland. It felt like any FPS we’ve played over the years. You're the good guy. There are some bad guys. Go, fight, and win. The lack of depth in the storyline made me struggle with it. I found myself wanting to get back to other games I have been playing. It was definitely a double-edged sword scenario. Though, all that being said, there were a few things that made it enjoyable.
The relationship with the protagonist (Jack Cooper) and the Titan (BT) shine throughout the story. As the player, you get to interact with BT and his robotized responses are priceless. For example, Cooper will make an off-handed comment about his love for the Titan. Yet, BT replies with he is a robot, therefore he cannot compute the emotion of love. It's the simple stuff between pilot and machine that helped me push through the story.
Another bright side of the story comes closer to the end of the game. You get a device that allows you to move through time. While most might see this as a confusing aspect to add, it adds another way to take out your enemies. It also allowed you to be a bit passive. Using this device at a certain point in the game, you can transport yourself from a present day dilapidated factory to the past, where the factory is busy with henchmen. It's there you get to be a bit more passive. You don't have to shotgun everyone to death. You probably will, but you don't HAVE to do it.
Lastly, playing the campaign allows you to use more load outs regularly than the multiplayer portion of the game. If you've played this game and other FPS games, you know in the multiplayer portion you have to unlock different games and abilities as you level up. Here in the campaign, you will get all the game’s different load outs for the Titan well before the game is over. I liked this because it allowed me to use some of the load outs that I may not have the patience to get in multiplayer. Each loadout is designed to help you take on bosses in their respective Titans. The load out that I grew to love was Ronin. While it may have been fragile, it was fast. Carried a shotgun that was great to take out enemies on foot. It could teleport short distances and carried a large sword for deadly melee attacks. The ultimate ability, Sword Core, let you hold your blade high and deliver a crushing melee. It was tons of fun to play with this load out, but, each one had its own redeeming qualities.
This game is based on what should be a strong multiplayer mode. I have to give credit to Respawn, they added new modes to the online portion of Titanfall 2 that showed they were willing to give more attention to that area. In the last game, they started off with basic online modes. Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag style games. This game they added modes like Pilot vs. Pilot and Bounty Hunt. While these modes are fun in their own right, there is a small problem. They feel watered down. I firmly believe that the studio spent so much time trying to make a good to great single player mode, that along the way they forgot what their bread and butter truly should be, which is a fantastic multiplayer experience even with the new mode additions, the game to seem to have lost its way. I didn't get too deep into the online aspect of the game. I didn't have the patience for it. Sure, it was fun to play with other people throughout the country or world. But, I didn't find myself wanting to continue deeper into it in order to unlock more load outs or different Titans. From the lobby sizes, it seemed like I was not alone. I felt like I was waiting 5 minutes or so to get into a lobby. The size of online lobbies can normally be a sign of the number of people playing a game. The lack of multiple lobbies has me thinking one thing about this game. It may be doomed.
It already felt this game was released at the worst possible time. Seriously, EA what were you thinking!? The game was released between Battlefield 1 and the true titan of FPS, Call of Duty. For someone to think that people were going to spend their money on this game with the other two released within weeks of it was not smart. People in the industry say that it was EA's attempt to throw everything they had at Activision. Their attempt to finally dethrone Call of Duty as the king of fall FPS. EA forgot one thing. The first game hardly held water after a few months. So, why would it with the second installment years later? I feel bad for the people that spent a lot of time working on this game only for it to be sent out to die. I will be honestly stunned if we ever see a Titanfall 3. I wouldn't count on it.
Overall, this game is fun. It is a decent experience. I know I said a few negative things about it, but I had to be honest. This game is worth a couple hours of play time. It's certainly not worth a purchase. Pop it in, run on some walls, pilot some Titans, and move on. If you're reading this and you haven't played it yet, don't get too discouraged. Like I said this is a good game, and can be a fun game. Enjoy it while you can. I don't think we will see a third installment to this series.