Titanfall 2 Review: Aiming For Redemption

Credit: EA
Credit: EA /

Titanfall 2 takes a shot at its competitors while blasting the franchise to redemption.

Developer: Respawn Entertainment

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (version reviewed)

Release Date: October 28, 2016

Respawn Entertainment is filled with experienced developers touting impressive resumes, including the commended Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series. When Respawn first introduced Titanfall in 2014, they didn’t want to just blindly reiterate on these past experiences. It was evident they were aiming to build something more unique than another Call of Duty: a battle laden universe with waves of NPC grunts fighting alongside giant Gundam-esque mechs and parkouring pilots.

But despite favorable initial reviews, in the long run, Titanfall failed to live up to expectations. One major sticking point was the game’s lack of a true single player campaign. While multiplayer-only titles have become more and more commonplace in the FPS genre (read: Overwatch), many players felt gypped by the limited game modes, the fracturing of the player base with DLC, and the absence of a real campaign. This time around Respawn not only listened to these concerns but successfully addressed them head on. Titanfall 2 makes the original Titanfall look like a pilot episode for the game Respawn truly envisioned.

Titanfall 2
Credit: EA /

The Campaign

Titanfall 2′s campaign mode is a linear experience revolving around the story of the Frontier Militia versus the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC). You are thrown into the combat boots of Jack Cooper, a Militia rifleman who is suddenly deployed to battle on the planet Typhon. With little to no context as to what exactly the battle plan is or why you are even fighting, you are (literally) tossed right into the gunfire. You eventually find out that IMC has a massive secret weapon that can destroy entire planets, and your mission is to stop them and save humanity. Yes, the plot is about as cliché sci-fi as you can get. But Titanfall 2 pulls it all together with strong characters and even stronger gameplay.

Cooper is just a mere rifleman, but unexpected circumstances put him into the pilot seat of a Vanguard-class Titan named BT-7274. In the first Titanfall game, the Titans were just a means to an end. But in Titanfall 2, these mechs aren’t just machines. They are sentient robots that you interact with, bond with, and fight side by side with. BT’s personality is a hybrid between Optimus Prime, R2-D2, and The Iron Giant: mission oriented but also honorable, respectful, and caring.The story immediately begins to humanize BT with amusing banter between him and Cooper, particularly BT’s continual failure to pick up on Cooper’s sarcastic jokes. Despite the somewhat predictable nature of the plot, this relationship really carries the campaign. It doesn’t take long before the actual mission objectives and overarching plot take a backseat to the growing bond between a Titan and his pilot.

The story immediately begins to humanize BT with amusing banter between him and Cooper, particularly BT’s continual failure to pick up on Cooper’s sarcastic jokes. Despite the somewhat predictable nature of the plot, this relationship really carries the campaign. It doesn’t take long before the actual mission objectives and overarching plot take a backseat to the growing bond between a Titan and his pilot.

Titanfall 2
Credit: EA /

That being said, what the campaign lacks in trailblazing storytelling is made up for with tight controls and action packed gameplay. The missions are generally broken up into segments that alternate between traversing the environment via parkour puzzles and the actual combat sequences. None of the parkour is overly difficult, but some areas do require quick precision timing and accurate platforming. The game has this uncanny ability to make wall running and double jumping across huge platforms feel so smooth and natural. It’s hard not to feel like a certified badass as you wall run across the maps, killing half the enemies midair before you even step foot on the ground.

The puzzles do a great job incorporating both the environment and your tools and weapons fluidly. Nearly everything on the map is a part of your jungle gym. Although ultimately you have to end up at certain checkpoints, the game maps are large enough to provide some flexibility in how you get there. You can go out of your way to explore every nook and cranny and kill every single enemy or use your cloaking ability to stealth past enemies.

Titanfall 2
Credit: EA /

Players are also given options when it comes to weapon loadouts both as a pilot and Titan. When on foot, you have access to a variety of weapons to match your preferred play style. While the choices are appreciated, I found that the map layouts were generally not conducive to close range weapons. It’s hard to reliably shoot enemies as you wall run when you’re equipped with a heavy recoil weapon, so I found myself almost solely relying on assault rifles. And when I wasn’t wall running, I usually was picking off enemies from afar.

As you progress through the story, you also unlock new Titan loadouts that drastically change the way you control BT. These can be changed instantaneously whenever you want, which is great for figuring out the ideal way to defeat an enemy Titan. However, the progression of these new Titan classes seemed essentially random. I wish abilities from a newly introduced loadout were incorporated more into the boss fights

In regards to Titan combat, what really stood out were the grand-scale epic Titan battles. One mission involves a huge coordinated assault on an enemy base, pitting Titans against Titans, surrounded by waves of grunts and robots and explosions that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a Michael Bay film.

Titanfall 2
Credit: EA /

Perhaps the highlight of my playthrough came during one of the Titan boss fights, where I accidentally fat fingered the button to eject myself. Once I quickly managed to get back into BT, the boss yelled out “Oh, so you finally found the right button eh!?” It’s little moments like these that make the campaign really stand out. You can feel the influences drawn from titles like the DOOM reboot, Mirror’s Edge, and Portal. Yes, the story is relatively short (about 6-7 hours) and a bit cliché at times. But the attention to detail combined with fluid gameplay mechanics and Titan-pilot bromance make the campaign the highlight of Titanfall 2. 


Even with the addition of the campaign, Titanfall 2‘s meat and potatoes still lie in its multiplayer modes. The game features nine playable game modes with varying objectives and scale: Attrition, Bounty Hunt, Pilot vs. Pilot, Skirmish, Amped Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, Last Titan Standing, Free for All, and Coliseum. The use of A.I. grunts is still present in some game modes, though not as prevalent compared to the first Titanfall. There are also the Ground War and Variety Pack compilation modes, which are a mix of various modes with differing numbers of opponents. Respawn clearly took to heart critiques surrounding Titanfall‘s limited multiplayer options; the orignal only launched with five modes.

Another noteworthy upgrade this time around is the additional customization options for multiplayer loadouts. In the first Titanfall, customization was severely limited, with some options stuck behind the in-game paywall that was single-use Burn Cards. Titanfall 2 cuts these out in favor of a more standard progression system focused on gaining experience. As you play matches and meet objectives, you level up your Pilot, Titan, and your weapons to unlock various perks and upgrades, similar to other shooters like Call of Duty. You also gain in-game currency, which you can spend to unlock different perks early or obtain different skins and paints.

Titanfall 2
Credit: EA /

Customization continues with the introduction of seven new Pilot classes. Each of these classes has a unique tactical ability, such as a grappling hook, stealth cloaking, and enemy detection. The six different Titan loadouts seen in the campaign also provide completely different experiences and playstyles in multiplayer. This is, again, a big improvement from Titanfall, doubling the number of Titan classes and giving players the feeling of personalization and flexibility that was lacking in the previous game.

The gameplay is just as, if not more, dynamic and action packed.

For the most part, the feel and flow of the multiplayer are similar to the first Titanfall. Respawn did make a few questionable “balance” changes to Titan gameplay. Titans no longer generate health, and instead rely on a new battery mechanic to refill your health bar. These batteries are often hard to come by while piloting your Titan, hidden in small, unreachable corridors that would require you to eject your Pilot to obtain. With this nerf to survivability, It feels near impossible to take on more than one Titan at once: strength is in numbers when it comes to Titan vs. Titan combat. And when solo queuing in online matches, team coordination is anything but consistent.

More from Reviews

You can also steal batteries from enemy Titans via the rodeo-ride mechanic, which has been nerfed. While in the first Titanfall this would effectively destroy an opposing Titan, it’s now more of just a slight nuisance. Titans have anti-rodeo abilities, and pulling off this maneuver as a Pilot seems near impossible against competent players. Pilot effectiveness against Titans in general just seems down, which makes games feel more Titan focused than previously.

These few design quirks aside, the multiplayer experience is still a blast. The gameplay is just as, if not more, dynamic and action packed. The variety of game modes and customization options addresses head-on the issues the first title had. Respawn clearly cares about what the community thinks, which in today’s day and age of gaming is rare for AAA titles. They decided that all additional DLC maps and modes will be free for all players, giving you a more complete experience for your $60. There will be no season pass involving gameplay content. With a consumer-friendly stance like that, it’s almost hard to believe this game is published by EA.

Respawn has delivered what we wanted the first Titanfall to be. Titanfall 2 delivers a true single player campaign with extremely fluid and fun gameplay that gives the game a new breath of life. Albeit short, the single player story mixes badass combat with sincere, emotional feelings. The multiplayer is dynamic and explosive, filled with new customization options and plentiful game modes. Respawn not only listened to the community’s concerns, but acted upon them in a consumer friendly manner. While unfortunately sandwiched between the releases of Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2 stands strong enough to shoot down its competitors.. Respawn Entertainment. . Titanfall 2. 8.5

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.