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Review

Titanfall 2 Review

  • First Released Oct 28, 2016
    released
  • Reviewed Oct 24, 2016
  • PS4
  • XONE
Robert Handlery on Google+

Terminal velocity.

Titanfall 2 is a game about momentum. It knows when to rush forward at a breakneck pace. It knows when to give us time to breathe. Both in its single player campaign and its multiplayer modes, Titanfall 2 has a more measured pace than its predecessor, making the build-up to its climactic battles just as enticing as the events themselves. It's every bit as kinetic and fluid as the first Titanfall--but in many respects, it's a much better shooter.

As with the first game from Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall 2 revolves around two layers of combat: conventional firefights between human combatants, and clashes between massive bipedal mechs. As a boots-on-the-ground pilot, Titanfall 2 feels more like a traditional shooter--albeit one with pristine controls and a fluid traversal system. The first Titanfall sparked the trend of shooters focused on movement, and with its sequel, the series reestablishes its place at the head of the pack. The loop of sliding, double jumping, vaulting a ledge, and running along a wall to flank an enemy feels invigorating and intuitive.

Then it comes time to call in your mechanical ally from orbit, and everything changes when it hits the ground. Because it's when these two layers engage in a tug-of-war that Titanfall 2 reveals its true brilliance. What was once an even fight becomes a David versus Goliath scenario: a pilot rushes to cover, fires off a rocket, glides along a nearby wall, avoids a missile salvo from her robotic opponent, activates her cloaking device, and enters a nearby ravine to order a Titan of her own.

This sequence is intense, but in Titanfall 2, it's commonplace. Momentum often shifts as one team gains control of the battlefield, only to lose ground when the other notices a weak spot, and attacks it.

Multiplayer maps are wider, and more open, resulting in a more methodical pacing to matches.
Multiplayer maps are wider, and more open, resulting in a more methodical pacing to matches.

This is crucial in Titanfall 2. Now more than ever, combat requires forethought and intelligence. Humans may be careening across the map with grapple hooks, while phase-warping ninja mechs cut through laser-powered robot warriors--but beneath all of this is a hidden nuance. Despite the bombast and spectacle, Titanfall 2 is a thinking person's shooter.

The sequel's new Titans embody this sentiment. In place of the basic light, medium, and heavy variants from the first game, Titanfall 2 employs six distinct walking battle tanks with arsenals of their own. They're almost like superheroes: one attacks with a thermite launcher and flame attacks, while another fires a chest-mounted laser cannon at unlucky opponents.

Each of the Titans' abilities are easy to learn, but difficult to master, as the saying goes. Their loadouts immediately make sense, and it's easy to see that Northstar's low armor and long-range railgun make her an ideal sniper--but new layers reveal themselves the more you play. Take Scorch, for example. His flame shield dissolves incoming projectiles, providing extra protection while he tries to back away from close-quarter engagements. But the flame shield has other uses: at one point, an enemy pilot came flying at me on a grappling hook. By igniting my fiery barrier, I melted him just as he came close to my cockpit.

There are elements of fighting games or MOBAs here--each Titan has a tell, and a way to counter it.

Learning the intricacies of each Titan is paramount not just for offense, but defense, too. Each mech has a distinct aesthetic, so as you round a corner and see a Ronin approaching you, you know to put distance between your Titan and the shotgun-toting enemy. There are elements of fighting games or MOBAs here--each Titan has a tell, and you only have a few brief moments to counter it to your advantage.

The new Titans lend a very different pace to multiplayer matches. While the first Titanfall was always turned up to 11, so to speak, with smaller maps and cookie-cutter Titans focused on dealing damage, Titanfall 2 understands the value of breathing room. It doesn't burn you out with an onslaught of firefights--its maps are focused on exterior environments, and are often on the larger side, giving you time to plan out your attack with the intricate Titan loadouts. The plan may go awry, but it lends more weight to each enemy encounter. There's a sense of build-up as you approach a capture point, knowing full well which Titans occupy the area, and thinking through each step in your head.

Each multiplayer mode is tailored to facilitate Titanfall 2's interwoven combat systems, but also to twist the formula in creative ways. Bounty Hunt is my favorite--you gain currency by killing the enemy team and AI grunts that litter the map, and at the end of each wave, you're given the option to deposit your loot in one of several banks. But here's the wrinkle: you have to leave your Titan in order to do so. What's more, clever players will camp near banks to pick off unsuspecting Pilots as they approach their goal. It's a frantic game of cat and mouse that increases in tension as the banks open and each team knows exactly what the other is doing, or trying to do.

The campaign follows Jack Cooper and his Vanguard-class Titan, BT-7274.
The campaign follows Jack Cooper and his Vanguard-class Titan, BT-7274.

Then there's Last Titan Standing, a match that ends when the last mech is destroyed. It's the most methodical mode, as team members assess the enemy team composition and approach firefights carefully, considering there are no respawns. Pilot vs. Pilot eschews the titular robots, opting instead to focus on the fluid human against human combat--but even without its hulking behemoths, Titanfall 2 is frantic and exhilarating.

That expert attention to pacing and momentum carries over into Titanfall 2's single-player mode as well. While the first Titanfall consigned its story to a specific story driven multiplayer playlist, the sequel places you in a discrete campaign with its own plot, characters, and set pieces. It follows Jack Cooper, a Militia rifleman-turned-pilot, and his sentient Titan BT-7274, as they battle the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation and the Apex Predator mercenary group.

Unfortunately, the writing here is lacking. Your main enemies are outlandish villains, and the plot ends abruptly, before it feels like it should. And while there is often humor and sentiment to be found between Cooper and BT, the jokes become rote when they focus too much on the Titan's inability to understand human sayings and turns of phrase. There are moments where I felt a real connection to my Titan, and there is heart to be found throughout this story. But those moments are few and far between

The single-player campaign gradually increases in velocity and scope, coalescing in mid-air ship battles and frantic Titan charges.

Yet in terms of design and pacing, the five-hour campaign is fantastic. It begins with a botched mission on the planet Typhon, and although it takes a little too much time to do anything out of the ordinary, the missions then increase in velocity and scope, coalescing in mid-air ship battles, frantic Titan charges, and old-school boss fights.

These boss fights pit you against the other Titan variants, and as you progress through the missions, you'll unlock all of Titanfall 2's Titan loadouts, gaining the ability to swap between them on the fly. This grants the campaign a dynamism not entirely present in multiplayer. You can enter a battlefield, discern the situation, and choose a different Titan based on the scenario, all in the span of several seconds. Coupled with the quality of Titanfall 2's missions--my favorite plays with time in a way I won't spoil here--the ability to change Titans on the fly gives the campaign a pacing of its own.

Titanfall 2 accomplishes several things. It introduces seemingly minor changes to its multiplayer sphere, but results in more fluid pacing and an intelligent gameplay loop. It adds a single-player campaign that builds in momentum with each mission, culminating in a grandiose battles that makes use of both Pilot and Titan combat.

And lastly, Titanfall 2 demonstrates a vitality that its predecessor couldn't. Whereas the first Titanfall kept up its breakneck pace throughout the entirety of every match, Titanfall 2 understands that sometimes, dialing things back for a few moments can make the long run much more enjoyable. In many ways, Titanfall 2 feels like the game Respawn should have made in 2013. It's a fantastic sequel. It's a fluid shooter. It's a spectacular game.

Mike Mahardy on Google+
Back To Top
The Good
Fluid traversal system
Frantic yet thoughtful Titan combat
Intricate new Titan classes
Exhilarating campaign
The Bad
Poorly written narrative
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mike Mahardy completed Titanfall 2's campaign in five hours, and spent four times as long playing every multiplayer mode. His favorite Titan is Scorch.
677 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for salty101
salty101

2019 This game is still amazing!

Avatar image for 02050muh
02050muh

this is an amazing game, especially the multiplayer. Really fresh and ooze with coolness. the only thing is, slower gamers and tactician may have some difficulty because of the map layouts and overall gameplay pace (which u got to be fast n keep moving)

Avatar image for ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

So no complaints how this game is the same as the first one and BF, COD, etc., etc.?

Avatar image for alessandrosra
alessandrosra

The game is a technical joke. It crashes even on very high end machines. I'm disappointed Gamespot hasn't called them out on it - it's no fun to get out of a match every 2 or 3 games due to a crash.

Bad review. I purchased the game based on it and now regret it big time.

Avatar image for Cinoy
Cinoy

Wait how the hell does this game get a 9?

The graphics of the environment are literally that of a playstation 2 lmao. The AI have the worst kill animations. There is no satisfaction in a kill or accomplishment that you get for certain games. It doesnt have that oomph that makes you want to play and play. Even modern warfare original had better environmental graphics and looked less cartoony. These graphics are like an unrefined version of borderlands 2 with less cartoon effects. The bushes are literally pixels, PIXELS! there are INVISIBLE WALLs. the story is boring as heck, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot some more, shoot, shoot, done. MOvement is so linear and boring. Double jump seems stupid, no lean movements, no prone, no use in scope.

Its so linear, I don't understand how we are even in 2016 with games like this being popular ones. I'm glad I gave up on video games, don't regret it one bit.

Avatar image for EQl33t
EQl33t

@Cinoy: you must be playing on an old x, 4k hdr on x1x is simply fantastic, this is way beetter than the first.

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Purpledust

@Cinoy: LOL

Avatar image for tomservo51
tomservo51

The 1st game, which was mediocre at best, got a 9 too.

Avatar image for ivanov70
Ivanov70

Just my opinion but this game is better than superhyped battlefield 1 thought I'd never see the day a long running sequel that got lower review scores can massively outsell a great NEW ip.

Avatar image for wookietim
wookietim

I bought this game over the weekend. Everything said here is correct. It's excellent in balance, the gameplay mechanics are wonderful and the solo missions are fun.

So... why do I find myself not actually enjoying it?

I can put my finger on the exact point of "why" : The beautiful graphics obscure what I am supposed to be shooting at.

I might have been spoiled by Overwatch. When the first Titanfall came out I was very happy with it. It was a "WOW" moment. I enjoyed it immensely. But then Overwatch hit. Those two games are wildly different and probably not fair to compare, but Overwatch does it's job of telling me who to shoot at so much better than Titanfall 2 does it that it feels like that is the missing factor in this game.

I know what I am supposed to do and who my team mates are and where I ought to direct fire in Overwatch. In Titanfall 2, the scenery is beautiful and the maps are wonderful and I cannot find the targets to shoot at unless they are Titans - at which point I am dead...

Avatar image for 02050muh
02050muh

@wookietim: i think its your eyes dude

Avatar image for wookietim
wookietim

@02050muh: I won't argue with that possibility...

Avatar image for wookietim
wookietim

@nagat0: It's possible it might just be me. I am fully aware that my eyes are not what they once were.

Avatar image for Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

It's funny watching people complain about the 5 hour campaign (an awesome 5 hours btw)...but seriously, even if it was 10-12 hours...you gonna play through it how many times? 2 times?..3?? That's still only 30-35 hours. The MP portion can last hundreds of hours. Plus they're giving the DLC out for FREE. So Quit yer whining.

My only complaints so far is MP enemies glowing a ridiculously bright orange, no more Titan shields and the inability to change your main weapon with the Titans. Each has a specific one you're stuck with. I don't get that.

Avatar image for kk_slider
KK_Slider

It just feels like these bro games get rubber stamped at websites.

Avatar image for overthemoon2030
overthemoon2030

playing this game >> it's amazing game !

Avatar image for iaruelas
iaruelas

Wait just a freaking minute... This downgraded POS gets a 9 but Gears4 (which is really damn good) gets a 7????

Gamestop is full of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for tony56723
Tony56723

@iaruelas: Two very different games compadre. Also this is gamespot, not gamestop

Avatar image for Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@iaruelas: why do you morons keep comparing two completely different games?

Avatar image for maccmosley
MaccMosley

What an amazing Game ths is,I love it,I really love the online play and I dont play online amymore,but this brought me back. Im a guy that demands a good campaign and this delivers,ive been axgamer since the 2600 and this last year Ive played some of the best games in my whole life of 42 years this games a for sure,I give it a 9.5

Avatar image for pauleked
pauleked

I'm genuinely surprised how good this game is as it was never on my radar to play, but have to say Titanfall 2 is worth serious consideration if you're into this type of shooter. This is easily one of the best shooters I've played this year. Awesome game. Good job reviewing.

Avatar image for deactivated-5ca532262d747

not sure whether to get this (most likely) or cod infinite warfare since i do like futuristic weapons and environments tho im not good at any cod game i might try tf2 looks more fun to master

Avatar image for 02050muh
02050muh

@inso-maniac: u got every FREE DLC and update dude! the only extra things u have to pay are all cosmetics only. what else u want..LOL

Avatar image for ScottOakley
ScottOakley

Gamespot, you guys are big enough to stand on your own feet. Stop relying on add revenue, early access of games and freebies from companies like EA. I know a review is an opinion, but your opinion is heavily influenced by money. I know you guys can win this corrupt struggle against mega corporations!

Avatar image for Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@ScottOakley: You conspiracy nuts crack me up. These guys are paid writers and editors. If you look through their review archive they've given plenty of Triple A games low scores. It's only when they give a good review to a game type YOU don't like and start crying foul play. Get over yourself

Avatar image for deactivated-5ca532262d747

@ScottOakley: the game looks dope regardless but who knows...

Avatar image for deactivated-5bda06edf37ee

"-Poorly written narrative"

Yeah, well all i need to know is that the protagonist is called Jack Cooper. I sense a heavily Mountain Dew infused singleplayer campaign.

I'm semi-interested in the multiplayer though, but BF1 just came out... i dunno.

Avatar image for Zenwork21
Zenwork21

Still recovering from the first one.. no thank you

Avatar image for ivory_soul
ivory_soul

2016 is the year of the shooter.

Overwatch
Titanfall 2
Shadow Warrior 2
Battlefield 1
Gears of War 4
DOOM
BioShock: Remastered

and now I'm ready for Call of Duty to completely screw up the win streak.

Avatar image for rojoyinc
rojoyinc

I never played TF1 - because it was multiplayer only. I don't like blastfests. I bought TF2 last night because of the solo player option. So far (about 1 hour) it's AMAZING. the graphics are outstanding and the play so far is awesome. (good control) and slow - and methodical. (so far) and I haven't even gotten INSIDE A TITAN YET. Looking for the battery... but I had to jump out to rave the game so far. If multiplayer is more "thinking" I will enjoy that too. I quickly (5 minutes) get bored with blast or be blasted multiplayer games. (dislike most) which is why I love Mech Warrior online. Hoping this is similar in that you can think out your moves and not just SHOOT OR BE SHOT.

Avatar image for Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@rojoyinc: see! Judging a game prematurely and turns out you like this one. Shame too, the last one was fantastic. You missed out

Avatar image for rojoyinc
rojoyinc

@Gravity_Slave: thanks - best part it's really cheap now so I may give it a shot should I like this one in multiplayer. I'm now in a mech - only thing I don't like is the "talking mech - and their optimus prime voices". I still haven't played it much, I got it as I was getting into ELITE and that's a 100's of hours game... been hard to look away from it to get back to TF2.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Navarro of Giant Bomb East's remarks about the enemy soldiers which the player fights highlight just how typically mook-ish they are.

Avatar image for deactivated-5ad5af79a96e8

I enjoyed the original TF but thought the lack of a single player campaign really hampered the game. Playing through TF2 campaign at the moment and it does a good job of showing the bond between Pilot and Titan, which is sort of what we needed in the first game. Just adds that extra dimension to the game. And makes it feel well-rounded/fully developed.

Avatar image for swimbearuk
swimbearuk

@Fallenlords69: Exactly what I was about to say. The campaign in the original was just learning the controls for the main game. This is much better.

Avatar image for iaruelas
iaruelas

@swimbearuk: This game sucks!!!!! Its a downgraded version of the original.

This game will fail due to that.

Avatar image for Cochleadoc
Cochleadoc

@iaruelas: Tell us how you really feel??????

Avatar image for Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

After seeing so many good reviews and a 5/5 from GB especially coming from an ever growing cynical Jeff I decided to pull the trigger on this game.

On top of that Respawn said that they won't divide the community with map packs so free updates of maps and other features is a HUGE plus..that and apparently the game has A LOT of customization and weapons compared to the first game (which I liked for around 2 weeks..wasn't worth going for prestige).

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

I feel no one mentions this about both TF1 and TF2 but these games show off some of the most stylish shooting mechanics in a shooter. Sort of reminds me of Vanquish, another game I truly love. To the way the pilots hold the guns at angles, the sliding, wall running/jumping and overall animations used for takedowns and entering and exiting Titans, the game is aesthetically appealing to the eye.

I remember when I first got my hands on TF1 at launch and realized I could wall jump between walls to get to a rooftop and was completely floored by it.

I know people will compare to the recent COD games but those games don't feel as fluid

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

Titanfall did with fluid movement what COD BO3 and COD IW can't. As much flak as TF1 got on XB1 (mainly by Sony fanboys) the game was rock solid but lacking in content. TF2 looks to be a step in the right direction.

Guaranteed buy on the PS4

Titanfall 2 More Info

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  • First Released Oct 28, 2016
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Titanfall 2 is a first-person shooter from Respawn Entertainment that will be a multi-platform title.
    8.1
    Average Rating301 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Titanfall 2
    Developed by:
    Respawn Entertainment
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genre(s):
    Shooter, 3D, Action, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Language, Violence