“Sublime Mechanics with Surprising Heart”: Titanfall 2 Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - January 10, 2017

One would think that the defining moment of Titanfall 2 would involve a clash between two towering robots or a triple kill while running across a wall before double jumping to safety or any other incredible display of skill. These experiences certainly do take place, and they never get old, but the moment that defined Titanfall 2 for me wasn’t quite as explosive. In an early campaign mission, an enemy had me pinned in a corner, and instinctively, I jumped back against the wall to create some breathing room. My character’s feet connected with the wall, and after instinctively pressing the jump button again, I propelled off it, over my assailant’s head, and shot him in the back.

This moment was fleeting, but it finally helped me realize just what makes Titanfall 2 so special: the joy of instinctual movement, unfettered by stiff game mechanics. Titanfall 2 is mechanically sublime, and that would be enough to warrant a passing recommendation. Luckily, it has even more going for it than that.

Titanfall 2 puts players in the boots of Jack Cooper, a rifleman for a space militia who aspires to become a pilot and command his own Titan. As Cooper’s pilot mentor lays dying at the beginning of the second mission, he transfers control of his Titan (named BT) to Cooper, and man and machine must join forces to cross a hostile world and foil an evil plot. It’s hardly a novel setup, and the writing is sometimes predictable, but the game has an endearing amount of heart and makes no effort to bury it under military drudgery, so the unique bond between Cooper and BT is always front and center. At times, the writing can be surprisingly funny, and the banter between Cooper and BT feels genuine. The course of their partnership may be easy to predict, but the solid writing helps the emotional beats feel earned.

The campaign itself is a satisfying length and expertly paced, clocking in at around six or seven hours with hardly a dull moment. There’s a surprising amount of platforming, but it all works well thanks to the fluid movement and intuitive controls. Piloting BT is somewhat clunkier, but equally entertaining thanks to a large arsenal of weapons and special abilities. The only part of the campaign that isn’t a home run would be the boss fights: most are over too quickly to be anything more than exciting distractions, but one particular late game boss has downright frustrating encounter design. Still, that instance represents maybe ten disappointing minutes in an otherwise impeccable single player experience.

Multiplayer in Titanfall 2 is just as polished, and should (hopefully) find a dedicated fanbase.There are a variety of modes to choose from, as well as weapons, camo skins, and new Titans to unlock. The fluid movement can create intense chases, and most maps have a pleasing sense of verticality to them. Titan battles are a blast, and the sight of four Titans throwing down while pilots wallrun around them, whittling down an opposing Titan’s health whilst dodging enemy fire never stops being incredible. Even more impressively, the wide variety of weapons, attachments and perks available feel expertly balanced, and the Titans themselves feel like game changers without ever becoming overpowered.

Titanfall 2 is a resounding success in both its campaign and multiplayer modes. The controls are responsive, the graphics are beautiful, and most importantly, the game never stops being entertaining. Titanfall 2 hits the ground running and never stops, and any FPS fan should add this game to their collection.

Final Say: Play It

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