Titanfall the First was released back in 2014 to great fanfare – winning multiple E3 awards before release and building hype like no other IP was at the time. However upon release, while the multiplayer portion was lauded as fantastically fresh, it didn’t offer enough pure content to keep fans busy and sated. It’s ‘single player’ was a strange blend of multiplayer plus storytelling and better served as an intro to multiplayer. Rather quickly, the player base dried up and Titanfall’s battlefields were left empty. Now, developers Respawn have come back with another crack at Titanfall.
Titanfall 2 does what the original didn’t and includes a fully fleshed out single-player campaign. And boy, what a campaign. Respawn Entertainment consists of veteran Infinity Ward developers – those responsible for the original Call of Duty and most main sequels up until Modern Warfare 2. Every gamer knows that Call of Duty 4 was the game that threw the first-person shooter genre into the mainstream and to the top of every gamers wishlist. The singleplayer in CoD 4 is constantly trumpeted as one of the best campaigns ever, and that storytelling experience shines through in Titanfall 2.
The 9-chapter story takes you through the planet of Typhon and Respawn have totally nailed the scale of everything on Typhon – from towering jungles to massive facilities to huge stone structures. You play as Jack Cooper, the everyman who is paired with Vanguard-class titan ‘BT’. It’s a somewhat cliche pairing, with the AI of BT being dry, logical and unable to understand Jack’s various quips and turns of phrase. Cooper is who everyone relates to – the ‘nobody’ given the chance to be a Pilot, the best soldier in the galaxy.
The levels are linear but don’t really feel like that. The size of everything gives you opportunities to explore nooks and corners while still keeping you moving forward with the storyline. You feel tiny as Cooper and only moderately in check onboard BT. If you get sick of lumbering around as the huge robot you’re always free to disembark and bounce around the level with your trusty jump pack. The same beautifully fluid movement of Titanfall 1 are retained and I still wonder at the lack of motion sickness given how fast you can whip around the map.
The narrative is a little bit generic-sci-fi (a plot device is a rather random introduction of a “rift in time,” which you just accept) but is still hugely entertaining over the 6-ish hours it takes to complete. Now, on to multiplayer…