Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: July 31, 2017
Titanfall 2 is a first-person shooter game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Respawn Entertainment was created by Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella in April 2010 with their first-ever game within the Respawn Entertainment development team eventually releasing on March 11th 2014. That game was the first Titanfall, although it never released on PlayStation platforms due to an exclusivity agreement; however PlayStation gamers finally get to experience the action of the Titanfall series in its sequel, but does it live up to such high expectations?
The story revolves around Jack Cooper and his ambitions to be a Titan pilot for the Frontier Militia who represents the military sector of the Frontier’s territorial defence pact; technically a government of citizens who will become soldiers when the time calls for action. Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) became gradually more ruthless in their gathering of planetary resources which eventually led to multiple wars between the Frontier Militia defending themselves against the enemy forces of IMC. IMC have been weakened during the wars, but they still remain a dominant force who is planning on pushing out the Militia and defeating any resistance in a bid to increase their territorial control of the Frontier.
The first Titanfall did not feature a single player campaign due to focusing on creating fresh gameplay elements for the multiplayer aspects of the game and the balancing of gameplay, although a plot was fused into the multiplayer, but Titanfall 2 sees the introduction of a single player campaign to provide a greater immediate focus to the story of why there is such a bitter rivalry.
The campaign takes place over the duration of 9 missions; beginning with basic calibration followed by training in the Pilot’s Gauntlet which puts players through their paces in moving at pace, wall-running, double jumping, sliding along the ground, aiming and firing at enemies and more besides in a timed scenario to place as highly as possible amongst the top 10. When you have placed in the top 10 fastest times you will find a huge difference in time between 1:37.05 for tenth and 0:25.05 for first position; therefore you will need to literally perfect all of the techniques in order to top the Pilot’s Gauntlet leaderboard.
The action really begins when required to find two batteries in order to restore full power to your newly acquired Titan which results in your character undergoing a neural link to the Titan as the system progressively reboots gaining new abilities in the process. There are other activities that will not be provided as an order, although you should certainly look out for them such as finding 46 pilot helmet collectibles hidden throughout each mission which is a great design choice as it encourages exploration of the surrounding environments, while there are also 8 BT loadouts to find, although they are mostly within clear view.
Jack Cooper is a Pilot, but while on-foot he has a vast armoury of rapid fire weaponry, rocket launchers and grenades at his disposal. Titanfall 2’s weaponry really comes into its own when piloting a Titan as every Titan has melee capabilities from the respective Titan’s fists, while there are also 8 varying Titan loadouts including Brute which provides a vortex shield that can absorb any enemy fire, hold it and project it back towards enemies in addition to a multi-target missile system capable of hitting multiple targets simultaneously as soon as the aim has been locked on, vertical take-off hover and a flight core to hover as your Titan unleashes rockets at targets situated below. Expedition features a 20mm armour piercing automatic rifle, a vortex shield, multi-target missile system, electric smoke that utilises an electrically charged smoke screen to damage enemies and a burst core which automatically fires a stream of amped bullets. Tone provides semi-automatic explosive rounds with a partial lock-on, a particle wall that creates a force field blocking incoming fire albeit on one side, tracking rockets fire missiles at fully locked-on enemies, sonar lock reveals the locations of enemies within the nearby area and a salvo core which fires guided missiles that follow where Tone aims. Scorch features a huge thermite grenade launcher that ignites the surrounding area, a thermal shield that melts incoming enemy fire and burns nearby enemies, a firewall projects a wall of thermite, an incendiary trap packs an area with thermite-ignitable gas and a flame core which utilises a thermite shockwave to engulf enemies within its radius.
Character design has an appropriate amount of variety as the lead character Jack Cooper looks heroic, while enemies who control their own Titans are as ruthless and villainous as you would expect them to be with their own respective attacking styles and looks. Further enemies include Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) soldiers, carnivorous creatures and mechanical robotic enemies that vary in speed, strength, size and attack.
Environment design is varied as outdoor environments are plentiful with colourful foliage and indoor environments are full of bright and dark colours through factories and more besides. Wall-running and aerial traversal increases variation in design and there are some incredible twists regarding how players can manoeuvre through environments in the later half of the campaign. However, for the most part wall-running and aerial traversal are only used to move from A to B in a mostly linear path instead of being utilised to fulfil a more open-world environment to make the most of an anticipated freedom of movement. Environments are not as destructible as the scenario should provide even when piloting a Titan as bullet holes will appear in glass, but it will not fully shatter reducing your methods of exploration, while outdoor environments sees all of the trees remaining still after punching a tree with your Titan’s fist or shooting at them. Another perfect example is a factory containing volatile materials labelled as potentially explosive will not explode even when emptying an entire magazine of a powerful rapid fire weapon or even when a rocket launcher is fired at them, while there was also a small box that had to be navigated on-foot as the hulking Titan could not jump above or move to the side of it.
Respawn Entertainment has taken a completely unique strategy towards downloadable content as the development team has progressively fulfilled a promise of free long-term support for online multiplayer by reviving maps from the first Titanfall including Angel City, Colony, Relic, Rise, Traffic, War Games and much more besides; which is very clever as PlayStation gamers would have most probably never previously experienced them before due to the Xbox exclusivity of Titanfall 2’s prequel. However, returning maps is not the only avenue that has been explored for free post-launch downloadable content as new online multiplayer modes most notably including Frontier Defense mode in which four players team-up co-operatively to protect a Harvester from hordes of intelligent enemies that want to destroy it, alongside even more modes such as CTF Nitro, Titan Brawl, a Pilots only mode set within small maps with no respawns titled Live Fire and more besides have been introduced, while new Titans and further loadout customisation have also been brought to the table. Respawn Entertainment’s approach to downloadable content and post-launch support for Titanfall 2 must be seriously commended as it results in there no longer being a split in the online multiplayer community between those who do and do not have new maps; therefore forging a new level of stability within the online multiplayer community.
Sony initially offered Respawn Entertainment the chance to bring Titanfall to Vita as an exclusive, although Respawn passed on the idea before confirming an agreement with EA, while there is added disappointment of Titanfall: Frontier releasing exclusively for mobile platforms and not for the Vita, although the consolation is remote play functionality for Titanfall 2. Titanfall 2’s performance during remote play is amazing as it retains the same quality of graphics, audio and general performance in comparison to the PS4 home console version. The control scheme has been optimised, but perhaps not to everyone’s liking as firing a weapon has been re-mapped from R2 to the top right of the touch screen instead of R and aiming has moved to the top left of the touch screen instead of L, although it is still a very playable control scheme once you have spent some time getting used to it, while melee attacks are re-mapped to the bottom right of the touch screen and sprinting can be set to auto-sprint in the options.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the default control scheme for the on-foot Pilot consisting of pressing R2 to fire a weapon; pressing L2 to aim down sight; pressing R1 to use an ordnance item; pressing L1 to use a tactical item; pressing X to jump or pressing X again at the peak of your jump to perform a double jump; pressing square to reload or use an object such as using a panel to open a door or activate a lift, collecting an item, installing a battery to power your Titan or entering your Titan; pressing O to crouch or slide; pressing triangle to switch between your primary and secondary weapons; pressing down on the d-pad to perform a Titanfall or activate Titan A.I. Mode in online multiplayer; pressing left on the d-pad to activate boost in online multiplayer; pressing L3 to sprint or toggle the zoom of your scoped weapon; pressing R3 to perform a melee attack on an enemy; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move forward or backward and strafe left or right; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look up or down and rotating left or right; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu in single player or loadouts in online multiplayer. Differences between controlling the on-foot Pilot and Titan consist of pressing X to dash; pressing square to disembark Titan; pressing triangle to use a utility; pressing up on the d-pad to initiate eject sequence in online multiplayer; pressing down on the d-pad to use a Titan Core ability; pressing left on the d-pad to perform an anti-rodeo countermeasure in online multiplayer; and pressing right on the d-pad to view Titan loadouts in single player.
Tapping the touch pad displays the mission objectives in single player or the scoreboard during online multiplayer matches, while the DualShock 4 controller vibrates in a representation of the recoil as your weapon is fired and every bullet or melee attack inflicted upon your character. There is no light bar implementation which could have produced a colour representing the currently selected Titan loadout or alternatively displaying the condition of Jack Cooper or BT’s health.
There are a number of alternative control schemes to change the feel of the controls to precisely how you prefer them with a lefty option, four options for the stick layout and six choices for the button layout which is an excellent design choice as it provides the player with the confidence of knowing that there is a definitive control scheme that will perfectly match their respective play style.
Graphically, Titanfall 2 is impressive as it delivers excellent character and Titan models with pretty good lighting, shadows and foliage during flawless performance as it runs smoothly at 60 frames-per-second even when there are a lot of enemies surrounding your character or Titan. A PS4 Pro patch increases the resolution from 1080p to 1440p, while retaining a steady 60 frames-per-second, although it lacks an alternative option for better shadows and lighting on 1080p.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, campaign menu, multiplayer menus, settings menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. The background of the main menu reinforces the anticipation of the cinematic action experience the game provides by showcasing a range of pilot equipment positioned on top of a desolate surface as sparks fly into the air.
Titanfall 2 possesses amazing voice-over artists including Matthew Mercer as the lead character Jack Cooper having previously voiced Tim Drake and Robin in Batman: Arkham Knight; Leon S. Kennedy in Resident Evil: Damnation, Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Revelations 2; Cor Leonis in Final Fantasy XV and much more besides, while Glenn Steinbaum voices BT-7274 having also voiced Chameleon and Donald Menken in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, JB Blanc returns as Commander Blisk from the first Titanfall having previously voiced Robert Guerro in Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Top Dog in Mad Max, alongside a hugely talented cast of actors and actresses throughout the entire cast of Titanfall 2.
Sound effects include walking, running, wall-running, jumping, double jumping, reloading weaponry, firing at enemies, enemies firing back and explosions as well as the melee attacks and stomping of Titans, while there are also ambient sound effects such as rippling water and machinery. The music is cinematic and builds the tone appropriately having been composed by Stephen Barton who previously composed videogame soundtracks for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and the first Titanfall. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which is surprising as it could have been utilised to produce a subtle sound such as collecting a pilot helmet and a BT loadout or a more important element of audio such as radio communication between your character and Titan and any radio chatter from enemies.
The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 40 bronze trophies, 8 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include The Graduate bronze trophy for completing training, while the majority of trophies will be earned naturally from completing levels and utilising various methods of defeating enemies throughout the duration of single player. Harder trophies include the …Becomes the Master bronze trophy for placing in the top 3 on the Gauntlet scoreboard; the Legendary Pilot gold trophy for completing the campaign on master difficulty and the Every Nook and Cranny gold trophy for finding every collectible. There are 3 online multiplayer trophies including the So It Begins… bronze trophy for winning an online multiplayer match; the Lock and Load bronze trophy for customising a multiplayer loadout; and the Free Association bronze trophy for joining a multiplayer network. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are four difficulty levels including easy, regular, hard and master with the major differences between each difficulty level being more enemies who have a greater awareness as enemies will strategically flank you in all directions, while firing far more aggressively and Titans will effectively utilise structures and terrain as cover when they know you have the upper hand.
Given Respawn Entertainment’s connections to the Call of Duty series prior to the origins of Respawn Entertainment; it would be anticipated that Titanfall’s sequel would be split-screen multiplayer, but there is no sign of it here or in its prequel in any form, despite it being a much requested feature even prior to the release of the first Titanfall. A further feature that has been much requested that has also not been included this time round is co-operative multiplayer for the story campaign which could have seen 2 to 4 players progress through the missions as a team in local or online multiplayer with the story not progressing until the current area was clear of enemies and an added twist of there being more enemies to reflect the number of players within the team, therefore producing a challenge regardless of how large the team was.
Titanfall 2 launched with quite a fair amount of online multiplayer modes which have been complimented by new and returning modes through free post-launch content. Online multiplayer modes include fan favourite mode Attrition which provides a Team Deathmatch experience with a unique twist being both teams also have to face off against groups of A.I. controlled soldiers and robots that are scattered throughout the map. Amped Hardpoint sees six players per team attempt to earn points by capturing and holding a hardpoint with an amped hardpoint providing double the points, while Bounty Hunt is a new mode in which two teams of five players battle it out to earn more points than their opposition by killing their enemies, although players must bank their points in between enemy waves with the destruction of a Titan bounty resulting in a huge payout for the team, so working as a team is very important to the dynamics of the Bounty Hunt mode. Pilots vs. Pilots is an 8 vs. 8 battle in which players cannot utilise a Titan and must only manoeuvre as pilots, while Capture the Flag sees both teams attempting to simultaneously balance between offensively trying to capture the opposition’s flag and defending their own. Skirmish introduces smaller scale conflicts; Last Titan Standing provides every player with a Titan, although every player must run the gauntlet and survive as the only remaining Titan in order to win the match; and Free for All is a Deathmatch style mode in which every player is attacking each other to gain the required points. Mixtape includes varying gameplay between a variable amount of players on maps within Bounty Hunt, Last Titan Standing, Pilots vs. Pilots, Attrition, Amped Hardpoint and Capture the Flag modes, while Variety Pack also provides a mixture of modes. Coliseum mode requires ten credits or a Coliseum tickets that are available via special promotions with the mode itself providing a best of five in a 1 vs. 1 between pilots equipped with pre-set loadouts competing for an Advocate Gift such as a camo.
There are six Titan classes available in online multiplayer gameplay with varying loadouts including an ability within each of the Ordnance, Tactical, Defensive and Core categories as well as a primary weapon, quality of movement and the amount of damage inflicted upon enemies that reflect some of the 8 BT loadouts from the single player story campaign such as Tone and Scorch, while further Titans were introduced within free post-launch downloadable content.
The replayability is considerable comprising of a story campaign spread throughout 9 missions of varying length, imaginative wall-running and aerial traversal in later missions, 4 difficulty levels, 46 pilot helmets and 8 BT loadout collectibles as well as online competitive multiplayer including plenty of modes and Titan classes that will collectively keep players returning for a substantial amount of time, especially considering Respawn Entertainment’s incredible post-launch support.
• Title: Titanfall 2
• Developer: Respawn Entertainment
• Publisher: Electronic Arts
• System: PS4
• Format: Retail/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1/2-16 (Online Competitive Multiplayer)
• Hard Drive Space Required: 34.21GB