- Format: Xbox One (version reviewed), PS4, PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: EA Games
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment
- Players: 1 (offline), 2-16
- Site: https://www.titanfall.com/en_gb/
- Game bought by reviewer
Titanfall 2 has the best campaign in a military shooter since Modern Warfare. It has the most fun and engaging movement system in any shooter we’ve ever played. It also has some damn fine multiplayer options. All its maps packs will be free and there is no season pass, though there are microtransactions for some cosmetics. It is not only one of the best games in 2016 but also in the past decade. That may be mostly because of the singleplayer – that many of you may not even touch– but the multiplayer is also one of the best out there despite some minor flaws.
Let’s keep it brief on the campaign itself, as its brief anyway and we won’t want to spoil any of it. It never sticks with one idea for a particularly long time and it always keeps you learning and experiencing new things. It’s full of spectacle but also puts great effort and thought into making sure you have moments of respite from the combat. It has a hugely satisfying set of collectibles that are both difficult to find and difficult to reach. It’s reminiscent of Bungie’s Halo games with regards to those sorts of secrets.
Now, while the shooting is great it’s not what makes the game special. Titans are also great but when it comes down to it, the movement is where it’s at. Wallrunning, grappling hooks, sliding and jumping mid-air are all so exhilarating to perform. They are all woven into the basics of the game so completely that anyone and we mean A-N-Y-O-N-E can catch a glimpse of something awesome. In practice it may mean many misplaced jumps or wallrunning while shooting and missing everything in sight. But get even one kill while sliding down a slope or catching a hook on someone and kicking them in – well, awesome is a perfectly apt description.
While the campaign will see you doing many, many cool things with wallrunning and the momentum it confers when you jump off, it’s the multiplayer where it all feels more impressive. The campaign has some great “jumping” puzzles for sure but when you wallrun round a corner and blast someone in the face or slide past someone as you stick them with a termite-spewing shuriken, you’ll feel like a god. Well, at least until you get killed immediately afterwards. Putting everything you’ve learnt during the story and putting it into practice against real people is difficult; even more so when you factor in the hulking slabs of metal that are the Titans.
Titans are prone to falling, be that into battle or just in battle. They are also towering monstrosities that can crush humans and machines underfoot or obliterate them with their weapons of war. Even though there are only six Titans with heavily defined weapon sets and skills, there is still a little wiggle-room for a handful of them to play slightly differently. It means that most of the Titans can play both offensively or defensively depending on little tweaks to the loadout like an extra dash, a nuclear explosion on defeat or small changes to their abilities or weapon.
Titan-on Titan combat is usually very tense and it can also get that way when a pilot “duels” a close-range Titan from a precarious position or whilst darting in and out of various hidey-holes. So even if you think being in an ironclad giant gives you a huge advantage, the reality is that you’ll probably only last a little while longer. It’s also quite a leap from the campaign’s premise of “the Titan must not die” when you go through Titans like nobody’s business in multiplayer. Either way, Titans aren’t the “be all end all” in matches but they do confer huge advantages to the team wielding the most of them.
Of all the changes to Titanfall 2 from its predecessor, a few stick out more than others. Firstly Anti-Titan weaponry is now a choice rather than a right and now vie for your attention alongside the pistols, which makes you better against either Titans or Humans respectively. Another is the change to Titan health. Gone are the shields that let you soak many hundreds of bullets before getting to your more fragile body for semi-permanent damage. Instead, you now have shields as a reward for stealing a battery from another Titan and one chunk of their health with it. This also means that Titans lose health less easily during a rodeo but you no longer get to shoot the Titan in its weak parts with what can only be described as a bullet frenzy. It’s also more risky to rodeo, as electric smoke defences are on all Titans.
Surprisingly, one of the best features of the multiplayer is actually something rather silly. In quite a few multiplayer games, reaching the top rank lets you start from the beginning rank again with a little badge to show how cool (not cool) you are. It also normally has very little else to unlock and you have to go through the rigmarole for unlocking all the attachments and skins all over again. Titanfall 2 says screw this and lets you keep everything you’ve unlocked prior for everything and lets you pay credits earned in-game to unlock some things early. It’s great for people that need progression in multiplayer even if it is for vapid things like skins (like us).
Titanfall 2 is brilliant beyond our expectations. We weren’t too hot on it after the beta but having spent considerable time with it, we’re glad that it’s turned out so brilliantly. It’s a near perfect shooter and the addition of Titans gives it a boost that really sets it apart. It’s difficult to peel yourself away from it once you start playing, partly because Titans and shooting are a lot of fun; but when it comes down to it, this is probably one of the best games ever made for having fun whilst getting from point A to point B.