Thursday, 22 February 2018

Second fall of Titans

Titanfall 2

Platform tested: Xbox One X
Release year: 2016

Review: Titanfall was one of the earliest titles I bought for my Xbox One back in 2014, much to my surprise it brought back a lot of love for multiplayer first person shooter matches. You can read my positive review from back then, here. Fast forward to playing  a multiplayer beta of TF2 in late 2016 and my excitement for a sequel soured. So much in fact I I ended up playing it early this year instead. Boy was I wrong about the beta impression and should have given this sequel a second chance much earlier. It's fantastic.

There's a part of me that's glad I waited though; I got to play this in a sweet upgraded form on my Xbox One X. Going for a ridiculously low price, like most Electronic Arts sales do, I purchased TF2 and dug in to play the singleplayer only, initially. As you may recall the rather disappointing aspect of TF1 was that it had no singlepalyer part, it was a multiplayer only game. While this is fine and it never proclaimed to be anything else, the amount of time put into the game world and the design of it, kinda made it almost beg for a singleplayer. Luckily TF2 offers just this, and not just a quick and generic singleplayer. No, it's generally a incredibly entertaining one to boot!

TF2's campaign eases you into the way Titans work and let you do a fair amount of playing on foot first. This lets the player become familiar to the super fast movement of the pilot. As a pilot you can wallrun, take huge jumps and keep yourself airborne by parkouring around the environments. The story then puts you into a Titan, a huge armoured robot, and learns you the basics of controlling it. It's a great way to get familiar with everything in an engaging and gradual manner. You visit lush jungles with dangerous wildlife, to high tech factories and abandoned cities. The locations and tasks along the way are consistently varied. Combat shifts from small enemy engagements to huge, full-on battles. It's a hectic and fantastic campaign journey with lot of new ideas and breathtaking moments. They even managed to make each main enemy pilot into a cool boss fight, I looked forward to each one along the way!

When I'd finished the sweet singleplayer campaign, it's approximately 8 hours long, I decided to at least give the humans versus enemy AI waves multiplayer mode Frontier a go. It was a great addition to the first game and has since been made available for TF2 too. In fact I'd recommend new players to start here, it's easier getting used to things in increasingly difficult waves of AI with the company of teammates helping out. As I played the Frontier mode it dawned on me how much I missed the TF1 online days. So I decided to test out the more classic multiplayer modes too.

I was pleasantly suprised to find that some of the annoyances from the beta had gone and the multiplayer matches were a blast, just like the first game. Gunning down either AI soldiers or real person pilots to gain sweet points towards a Titanfall is just as fun as back in 2014. Once you get your hands on a Titan and jump in to wreck havoc on other enemy Titans, the Titanfall games just go into this amazing zone of endless fun. You feel like a bad-ass Transformer just gunning huge weapons away at other robots. It's a fantastic feeling and great way to shift between traditional first person shooting and something rather different in one online match. The huge scaled maps work so well on multiple levels too; there's small and narrow spaces for pilots to roam on-foot, while there's huge open landscapes fort he Titans to battle out in.

Visually Titanfall 2 is beautiful, I'm especially weak for the combination of stylish, minimalist buildings in white, combined with a orange sky and natural elements like trees and grassy fields. With everything running at a super high resolution and rock solid 60fps TF2 looks so smooth, fast and stunning in motion. Sure, TF2 doesn't quite reach the super detailed heights up close compared to the more graphical pushing singleplayer titles on console. However, it aims to make gameplay fluid and boasts an artstyle that works perfectly with the balance between large levels and the amount of available detail within it. You'll be blown away by great visuals all through the campaign and even in multiplayer it looks way better than lots of the competition. Thumbs up for a field of view slider too, letting me get a wider view of the game world. 

It's hard to pick out anything specifically bad in TF2, it's basically TF1 with more of everything, prettier than before and just faster. More Titans and pilot setups to choose from too. If there's only nitpicking to be made I'd like to mention is that it perhaps could have tried even more new ideas as it sometimes feels so close to TF1 it's like just a graphically upgraded version in multiplayer. The singleplayer campaign could perhaps have been a couple of hours longer too, sweet but short in other words. 

Titanfall 2 is for those seeking something a little different to the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises and considering the comibnation of single and multiplayer now it's the best place to start for beginners of the franchise. What to rate such a game then? It's better than the first game in every way, which I also gave a five star rating, but the existence of the first game keeps this second outing on the same rating, even though it's better. But man, is that a strong five star rating! Go play it!



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