When Titanfall released as an Xbox One exclusive one of the first things I though was, PS4 Players are missing out on what is a solid FPS game. It wasn’t perfect, I mean that story that wasn’t a story was poorly thought out and going all in with multiplayer only didn’t really work. This time around though Titanfall is available on both Xbox One and PS4 and it’s clear that Respawn have taken on board the criticisms associated with the first effort and created that is much more polished.
Titanfall as a franchise exists primarily to serve people wanting that combative multiplayer experience outside of Call and Duty and Battlefield but the original Titanfall felt a little off without a real story to provide some context to the game. The multiplayer in the original was solid, don’t get me wrong but I struggled to understand what this all meant without having any real meat to the bones to explain it all. This time around we do get a single player campaign mode. The story itself isn’t overly compelling but what it does do is provide that link between Pilot and Titan.
You are a wannabe Pilot in training who is just learning how to cut his teeth with Titans. You have plenty of promise but aren’t yet trusted to pilot a real Titan, afterall these massive, mechanised walking machines are multi-million dollar pieces of kit, if I were in charge I wouldn’t be letting a rookie inside one either! Anyway, when push comes to shove you’re out fighting the rebels, it all hits the fan and your commander in his dying moments puts you in charge of his Titan and all of a sudden you’re a full blown pilot. What we learn about the Titans in this story is that they aren’t merely there for your entertainment in multiplayer, they are actually self-aware machines more than capable of handling themselves even without a pilot inside. This isn’t a massively cinematic story like you’d see in say Call of Duty, rather it’s a bit more of an intimate affair that is more about building a relationship with your machine. There are moments of interaction between Pilot and Titan that are humorous and endearing and serve to show that there is a real relationship that exists between man and machine, each of them complementing one another.
For anyone that played the original, the core gameplay mechanisms are the same and at heart, this is the same multiplayer that we saw on Xbox One. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, the gameplay mechanics are rock solid, much more akin to Activision’s Call of Duty than EA’s own Battlefield franchise. That isn’t particularly surprising when you consider that once upon a time the guys behind Respawn worked on Call of Duty. As a Pilot you have many special abilities, like being able to cloak yourself and wall run. Wall running is a skill that is worth learning because it can provide a distinct tactical advantage as a Pilot. Calling down your Titan is time based which can be reduced by killing other Pilots and AI bots. This is an area that I think Titanfall excels at. By adding in AI bots that are incredibly stupid it means that even noobs can get into the game and feel like they are making a contribution to the team even if they aren’t as skilled as the humans players they are up against. All of this serves to get you in a Titan, which is ultimately what we all want to do.
Every type of Multiplayer mode is a bit may intimate than the standard FPS game, with lower numbers of human players up against each other and the bots filling out the maps. I like this approach, the only detraction can be that due to low human player numbers on each side and pretty decent sized maps, there can be times where you get yourself on the wrong side of the map and struggle to find anyone to engage with.
In terms of game modes, Titanfall 2 doesn’t really have a signature mode if you will. It’s probably still too young as a franchise to have craved out the must play mode. Attrition is probably the mode that will be most familiar, essentially being a Team Deathmatch. Bounty Hunt mode is one that I could see becoming a signature mode where you get Cash for kills and a bonus if you get the cash back to your base and bank it. The most irrelevant mode has to be Pilot vs Pilot, in fact try as I might, I’ve never found enough people online wanting to play this mode and it makes sense. Titanfall 2 is all about getting in Titans, take that out and you might as well play Call of Duty.
The level up system has been tweaked this time around and feels like it takes a bit more time than it did in the first. You gain merit points to contribute to levelling up and this is done by playing rounds, winning and levelling up your abilities and weapons. The first felt like you needed to try a range of different abilities and weapons to get to a really high level, whereas now it feels like you can stick to your favourite loadouts and go through the levels, even if it does take a bit longer.
Graphically Titanfall 2 is slick game with impressive and rich detailed environments. I played on PS4 and then on PS4 Pro. When playing on a 1080p TV with the PS4 Pro the thing that immediately jumps out is the increase in framerates and stability. The framerates on PS4 are already good but use a PS4 Pro and the game just feels so much faster thanks to the jump in framerate and there is not a hint of stutter. Switch over to a 4KTV and play Titanfall 2 and be prepared for that rich environment to look even better. The resolution that is around 1440p then upscaled to 4K. It may not sound like much but you will see more detail even if it’s subtle things like seams on clothing and fine detail on weapons and the Titans themselves.
EA have come out strong in the first person space this year. Battlefield 1 is absolutely amazing and Titanfall 2 is not far behind it. Both offer very different experiences, Battlefield, particularly playing Conquest is more setup for longer sessions, whereas Titanfall 2 is the sort of game that you can blast a round or two in when you are running short of time. Titanfall 2 feels like a realisation of the vision that EA and REspawn have also had for the franchise and it’s fantastic to see that play out on screen.
- Single Player shows a relationship between Pilot and Titan
- Fast Paced Multiplayer
- No real signature mode for Multiplayer just yet