Titanfall 2

toxikk-review-3Developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA Titanfall 2 is the sequel to 2014’s Titanfall.  Titanfall was a game that was moderately successful though fell in popularity, the downside of an online only multiplayer shooter.  What remains to be seen is will the campaign be enough to sway people like me; people that cannot justify paying full price for a multiplayer only title, or will the game still fizzle out in a matter of months?  Warning this review will contain plot spoilers.

Set shortly after the Battle of Demeter in the first Titanfall game we are introduced to the main protagonist Jack Cooper.  A rifleman in the militia fighting against the IMC, in an expansion of the lore we find out that rifleman are the lower rank militia fighters and that only the best are chosen to become pilots.  Pilots are synced with a titan and a pilot can only be synced with one titan.  From there the titan becomes their partner and has a very basic AI with a bit of personality showing through.  Upon receiving intel of a secret IMC facility on the frontier planet Typhon your militia battalion is sent in.  During the battle the original pilot of BT-7274 Captain Lastimosa is killed.  During his final moments he transfers control of the titan to Jack Cooper.

After find the power cells needed to fully reactivate BT, you are off on your mission to find the facility and report back to Sara Briggs.  You fight your way to the facility to discover that the IMC was testing a fold weapon that was powered by a mysterious device called Ark.  The device has the power to bend time and space, you use a device that lets you switch between the past and present to navigate the facility and find the data you need to report to your commanding officer.

Along the way you fight mercenaries that use various titan varieties and gain different load outs yourself.  BT is a Vanguard-Class Atlas Titan and as such he can change his load out as the situation demands.  The campaign gives you a chance to get a feel for the six titan load outs in this way before diving into the multiplayer.  Upon uploading the data you and the rest of the militia stage a full assault on the IMC base on Typhon.  BT is destroyed in the ensuing battle, but Cooper is able to recover his core and survive.

Cooper then calls down a new titan and installs BT’s core.  BT is ready to finish the mission.  You are able to breach the IMC base and get to the Ark as the IMC has powered up the fold weapon.  BT knows that if he detonates the core of the titan he can destroy the Ark and give the militia a fighting chance, it is at this point that he remembers directive three, protect the pilot and he ejects Cooper throwing him away from the blast before sacrificing himself.  The game ends with narration from Cooper that he has been officially made a full fledged pilot and soon his link with BT will be erased and he will be given a new titan.

The plot all revolves around the one mission on Typhon and takes you to varying locations on the planet.  The game is a fairly good length for this style of game taking me about 7 hours to beat the campaign.  This was also with me not rushing or finding 100% of the hidden pilot helmet collectibles.  In all the main protagonist Jack Cooper couldn’t be more of your bog standard white bread hero unless they literally called him Standard McDefault.  I found BT to be the more interesting of the two and he was the robot.  IMC is basically on the Weyland-Yutani end of the bastard scale and that is never properly explained.  All we have to go on about the evil IMC is stuff the frontier militia tells us.  I would have loved to see the world and characters more fleshed out.

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One of the contextual titan kills you can perform in campaign mode.

Sadly the campaign feels tacked on in this regard.  What’s here isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either.  Though it does ramp up toward the third act when you are storming the IMC base and fighting different titans.  I found the last act to be the best, though the ramp up could have been quicker, this is a war and titan isn’t exactly the stealthiest thing in existence.

Moving on to the multiplayer everything from the campaign carries over flawlessly.  There are now six titan types instead of light, medium and heavy from the first game.  Each titan type also has a unique load out and play style.  The first three that come unlocked are Ion, Scorch and Northstar.  The other three being Ronin, Tone and Legion can be unlocked via ranking up or spending a virtual currency you earn through play.  Ion is your standard soldier load out it has an energy assault rifle and basic assault abilities,  Scorch has a plasma launcher and fire themed powers and plays close range and Northstar has a railgun and works best as a sniper.  Ronin is another short range titan, he has a shotgun and a sword, Tone has a gun that partially locks and when you tag a target three times you can fire a barrage of homing missiles.  Finally Legion has a minigun, a fairly tanky load out and a power that makes his minigun a smart gun for a few seconds.

There are seven modes in currently with a special 1v1 arena called colliseum opening up later as part of a promotion.  There is hardpoint, amped attrition, last titan standing, free for all, bounty mode, pilots vs pilots and capture the flag.  There is also a mix tape option which ramdomized the maps and modes, and private lobbies to create your own matches.  I found the multiplayer to be fun and fluid from what I played of it, my only issue being that some game modes lacked players, at one point waiting close to twenty minutes to get into a game of last titan standing.  This has me a little worried about the longevity of this title.  However this could have also been bad timing on my part.  Hopefully holiday sales will remedy this issue and we will see the multiplayer community grow.

The customization options for this game are insane as well, you can choose your primary and secondary weapons, special skills for your kit, a special ability, the titan load out, the titan ability.  On top of all of that you can unlock decals to change the color of your guns, your armor, your titan’s guns and your titan.

The game controls like a dream, I found there to be no issues with keyboard or mouse at all.  In no time you will be double jumping, wall climbing and sliding around the map getting kills.  The slide is an excellent addition to the repetoire and a great example of how sequels should build off the first game.

specsOnward to sound and visuals, I found sound design to be a little lacking, the guns sounded okay.  However the music was sparse and what was there wasn’t anything amazing.  Again an average score, just another box to tick almost an after thought.  From a visual standpoint this game looks very nice, not a technical marvel or large visual step forward, but I found few if any bad textures.  The game also ran like a dream on my machine though other people’s experiences may vary.  The faces looked a little off, but that could merely be because of the uncanny valley.

One thing I have to commend the developer Respawn for was their statement that Titanfall 2 will have no season pass or paid DLC for maps or game modes.  As long as this holds true I will consider that a major plus as map packs and DLC content tends to fracture the online community.

In the end I find what is on offer to be worth the price, and with the promise of future maps being free I look forward to what this game could build into.  While far from perfect, I don’t find the flaws to be that massive.  I will definitely be playing more of this game on my free time.  Running down the list quickly we have:  an average story, excellent multiplayer, great customization, average sound design and decent graphics.  I recommend this game to anyone that is a fan of fast paces fps multiplayer.  If you are on the fence give it a few months and see if the community is still active or wait for a sale.  In the end I give this game the final verdict:  try it.

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