Titanfall 2 reminds me heavily of Modern Warfare 2. Modern Warfare 2 was all about momentum and great set-pieces, in similar ways, Titanfall 2 is the same. Titanfall 2 knows when to stop and to take a breather, Titanfall 2 knows when it is time to pat us on the back to get moving again. In its single-player campaign, the story may not be there but the gameplay is just as fluid as Modern Warfare 2 was in 2009.
Titanfall 2 was a test for Respawn Entertainment, it was their first test with a sequel to a new project and since the game released in 2016, the game hadn’t really lit the world on fire and it’s lack of sales proved that the game had been left for dead to a degree by EA DICE’s World War I era shooter, Battlefield 1 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
Titanfall 2 is the first sequel from the creators of Call of Duty, Call of Duty 4, and Modern Warfare 2 and the original basked in the glory and excitement that was born out of Respawn’s beginnings which began after some of Infinity Ward’s original employees left after the scandal that hit Infinity Ward in the wake of Modern Warfare 2’s launch.
In the campaign, you step into the boots of Jack Cooper, a regular soldier with aspirations to become a pilot. In the lore of Titanfall, pilots are the badasses, the equivalent to US Navy Seals or some other badass special forces — Pilots are special ops soldiers with special abilities and jump packs that allow them to double jump and run along walls, shooting all the way. Then, of course, there are their Titans — massive, AI-enabled mechs that operate via a link with their pilots. After a mission goes awry, Jack is stranded from his allies along with another pilot’s Titan, BT-7274. The two begin to form a relationship as they go through the world and stumble upon a conspiracy to end the rebellion.
Titanfall 2’s campaign assumes a level of familiarity with the fiction that I struggled to understand and I assume that was in part because I didn’t play the original game so all that lore and history that came with the original Titanfall passed me by. I felt a bit confused and I also felt a bit confused about what I was fighting for, as Titanfall 2 doesn’t really paint a big enough picture about its world.
Instead of painting a picture for newcomers like myself, Respawn decided to skirt around the edges to paint a picture but it isn’t quite enough to get the full thing. It doesn’t really help either when the voice acting is terrible, performances are somewhat middling, and the names of its characters are just so out of this world like Blisk and General Marder alongside the villains of Titanfall 2 which are the Apex Predators.
The story may not be all quite there but what it makes up in narrative makes up in gameplay. Titanfall 2 reminds me heavily of Modern Warfare 2 in the way how the action plays out, how it somewhat relays on big set pieces like Modern Warfare 2 once did in 2009. It has the best gameplay controls that I have ever seen, its silky smooth.
Movement in Titanfall 2 is organic, fast, and it’s nice, especially when Respawn provides the appropriate playground to push your abilities. This extends to the shooting mechanics, the shooting mechanics are super tight as they are in the Call of Duty games and it feels nice.
The easiest comparison is Call of Duty, which would be somewhat lazy if not for the fact that the two franchises share quite a bit in common, outside of the obvious — so much so that the game at times feels like an experiment for a Call of Duty game if the original founders and employees never left Infinity Ward and wanted to experiment outside of the Modern Warfare era.
Unfortunately, the plot ends abruptly, which kind of gave me flashbacks to Halo 2 and it’s campaign. There is humor and sentiment to be found in the campaign, its usually between Jack and BT but the jokes fall flat and become annoying after a period of time. There are some moments that shine and have heart, the campaign is full of these moments but it is very far and few between.
Titanfall 2 accomplishes several things. The story may not be there but the game has excellent fluid pacing, fluid controls, and great shooting mechanics. It has a decent singleplayer campaign although the biggest takeaway is the movement and game mechanics.
Finally, Titanfall 2 dials things back for a few minutes which makes it much more enjoyable than rushing through the campaign. In many ways, Titanfall 2 feels like a spiritual successor or a successor to the Modern Warfare games and it sometimes feels like a “what-if” scenario. You should definitely try it out.