What is Titanfall 2? Is it a First Person Shooter with dynamic movement systems, balanced gunplay and versatile loadout options? Is it a robot slugfest with cool maps and maxed out fun factor? Yes, yes it is. But, and more than anything, it’s the game you should be playing, but probably aren’t.
Developed by Respawn Entertainment and produced by Electronic Arts, Titanfall came out of the blocks with more than a few things going against it. First and foremost was the title’s October 28th release date. Sandwiched between surefire blockbuster installments in the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises, Respawn’s sequel immediately had a near insurmountable level of competition for gamers’ time and money.
Second was the backlash related to the series’ initial offering. Despite an ambitious concept and mountains of hype, it had no campaign, limited versatility and a stagnant player base. We won’t dissect those issues, but it’s worth mentioning that not only did the developer listen to what fans didn’t like, they went to great lengths to fix or improve upon all the original’s issues when assembling the second chapter.
So what will you get when you boot up Titanfall 2? Check out the video below for our initial review. Then we’ll discuss the state of the game today.
I’ve said before that despite the issues, I enjoyed the original Titanfall. But after playing its successor I more clearly see Titanfall 1 for what it really was: the concept’s true Beta test. 2 is still a First Person Shooter, but it has gameplay options and gamer/game interactions that are new to gaming. Or at least improved on in such a way it feels like a new genre, not just a new game.
The transition between controlling your Pilot and your Titan are the cleanest, most natural feeling in any game involving both a player and vehicle mechanic. Now that we’re past the two month mark, let’s dig into why the gameplay works so well, and what can be done to improve the experience.
If I had to sum up the biggest and most innovative aspect of Titanfall 2, the word I’d use is Mobility. Sure, lots of games have wall-running and grappling hooks and teleporting and vehicles and… you get it. But Respawn took the usability of all these relatively common elements and cranked them up to 11. None of the movements or special abilities feel gimmicky. Instead, they offer an almost unlimited combination of play styles to all levels of player. Yes, some elements are more used than others. And yes, some are going to be more advantageous in more situations, but the fact that all can be useful makes the replayability and fun factor very high.
Wall running across an entire map only to drop ten stories into your waiting Titan never gets old.
A Level Playing Field
If you’re an avid gamer, you know the term OP very well. Every multi-player game with any longevity will have balancing patches and content updates focusing on fixing items or mechanics that are clearly Over Powered, tilting the scales of success deeply toward those relying on the broken and unfair in-game advantages. This can suck the fun out of a title quickly for the casual player. That casual player who makes up the vast majority of the player/money base. The casual player whose spending dictates if there are future installments.
Titanfall 2 has its OP elements, but very few (we’ll touch on those in a bit). What it gives instead of a broken environment where you have to embrace the “meta” to be competitive is a roster of weapons, abilities and Titans that can all be used successfully. Some are better than others, but not so much that you can’t develop a style using things outside the norm. You’re satisfyingly rewarded for an augmented approach and outside the box choices.
If you’re a new player, the very first guns, utilities and mechs available will continue to be usable, if not dominant, even at the highest character levels. Which means you don’t have to slog though for hours and hours to get at the fun stuff. It’s all fun.
Fun for Both the Casual and Pro Players
Yes, if you’re a casual, average gamer, you’re going to get your teeth kicked in when you go up against top tier players. And it will happen often enough that you’ll want to melee your TV. That’s how it is with any PvP game. The difference here is that, for the most part, the bulk of your play time will be fun even if you’re on the losing side. My point is you don’t have to be the best to have a good time. And when you’re sick of twelve-year-olds making you look bad you can just go play the absolutely amazing campaign.
If you’re in that top tier, the complicated maps, diverse game modes and array of gear will make it challenging no matter your level. Well, maybe not of you’re Gamesager. Seriously, watch this guy play and you’ll know what I mean by “top tier.”
With all that good, what could be bad? There isn’t much, but let’s touch on some things that need to be fixed or added to Titanfall 2.
Respawn delivered on an exceptional campaign for Titanfall 2 but unfortunately the Player vs Environment experience ends there. Titanfall 1 included the game mode Frontier Defense, which was a single player or co-op Hoard Mode type game. It was tons of fun and something similar really needs to be added to part 2. That and maybe 20 or 30 more hours of story missions? Wow they were good!
Slight Weapons Balancing
For the most part, they really nailed the fairness and usability on pretty much everything. All the weapons have their place and you can win with any Titan. But I want to highlight one nerf and one buff: First, the Hemlock (I can hear the eye rolls) needs to be taken down a notch. If the Hemlock pulse rifle is a one-shot headshot kill just like any of the sniper rifles, why do we need sniper rifles? Make it two shots regardless and all’s well.
Next I think the Northstar Titan needs to be completely reworked. Many of its features make it an easier target, not more dangerous. The Northstar’s super attack is literally stuck hovering above the map like a floating bullseye while launching a weak salvo of missiles as every enemy in the match shoots it out of the sky. Not good. The concept is really cool, but the current execution doesn’t work well as the game currently plays. Keep it in, just fix it.
DLC Release Info/2017 Gameplay from Developer
I know they can’t tell us everything, mainly because they themselves don’t know everything yet to come. So many game developers overshare resulting in broken promises while others think they are part of the CIA, keeping their cards locked in a high security vault. I want something in the middle. How many DLCs are you planning? What types of additions would you like to add to the game under the best circumstances? What feedback is impacting the continued production of the series? Fans want to know and fans want to help, you tell us, we’ll tell you.
This is a direct pull-forward from Titanfall 1. A feature that was added too little too late, I might add. I do understand not bringing this feature at launch. The devs want to cultivate a player base while getting a handle on what the game is actually going to be, but this is the sequel, why not bring in the toys a tad early? Ranked play would give the hardcore players an added level of replayability while pulling top tier competition out of the public lobbies and putting it where it belongs. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be pub stomping, but there will be less. And no, public matches should not be ranked, just trust me (cough, cough… Bungie).
I think it’s pretty clear I’m a fan. The game hits all the right notes if you’re looking for a challenging, stressful, action-filled experience. Of course there are issues, but Respawn gets so much more right than they get wrong you rarely notice the bad with the good shining so bright.
When I first reviewed the game I said, “If you’re a fan of shooters, put down Battlefield and CoD and get yourself a copy of Titanfall 2, it’s worth your time and money.” Two months later? My message is the same. Prepare for Titanfall…
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