Titanfall 2 review (Xbox One)

EA’s second big first person shooter offering in just two weeks offers a stark contrast to Battlefield 1’s early 20th century combat – Titanfall 2 is here and paints a future with giant man-controlled mechs.

Respawn’s debut title, the first Titanfall game, more or less passed me by. It got favorable reviews, even excellent ones, but it was a multiplayer-only affair and the lack of people in my circle of friends who were invested in the title didn’t help either. For most shooters, my main interest is in the campaign mode. I’ll often dabble a bit in a game’s multiplayer modes, but usually get my ass handed to me fairly quickly by people with a lot more skills and time than I have.

Imagine my delight when Respawn announced that Titanfall 2 would have a proper story campaign. I always thought that the game’s setting – a combination of giant robots and human soldiers – was really interesting, and with my love for story-driven campaigns it seemed like Titanfall 2 could be right up my alley. Turns out I wasn’t wrong to be excited, because Titanfall 2 is exactly what I had hoped the first game was going to be.

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My one worry about Titanfall 2 was that perhaps its campaign would feel “tacked on”, like we’ve seen in other shooters that offer a single player campaign but really only push their multiplayer portions properly. Luckily, the people at Respawn have an excellent track record of creating single player FPS experiences, and they didn’t let us down with Titanfall 2. The plot might be generic, but its execution is far from it.

As Jack Cooper, an interstellar rifleman, you embark on a trip to a strange planet where you have to partner up with a Titan who used to be bound to a former squadmate of yours. After you do, the battle is on – against both aliens and humans. There isn’t too much emphasis on Jack as a character, and there isn’t any kind of significant character development in the writing either – which I suppose helps you think he’s “you”.

What Titanfall 2 misses in terms of character development for Jack Cooper, it more than makes up for with spectacular scenes and novel approaches to the genre. It felt a bit like the FPS equivalent to Uncharted at times, with one brilliant set piece after another being thrown at you. Their nature differs wildly as well, which keeps the experience fresh. One moment you’re battling giant titans in close quarters combat, and another moment might see you platforming – almost like this is a Mirror’s Edge title.

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The Uncharted analogy doesn’t work when it comes to the campaign’s length – Titanfall 2 is a bit on the short side, the easiest mode of the game allowing us to complete the game in just over five hours. The game urges you to move along as well – this definitely isn’t a cover shooter but a rather high-paced affair. Think Doom, not Call of Duty in terms of pacing. Luckily, the campaign’s high octane story can keep up with that.

If single player FPS campaigns are your thing, then this is looking to be a great holiday season for you. Battlefield 1 was already excellent, and I have very little doubt that Infinite Warfare’s campaign will also satisfy. To have a third – extremely high quality – title to add to that list is a luxury. It’s on the short side, but that makes it easier to play it again and of course you have a whole host of multiplayer content as well. I’ll give that a go right after I finish my second playthrough.

Score: 8.9/10

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