Titanfall 2 has boost-jumped back into the spotlight today with a 650% increase in active players. The cause of this mega bump in its popularity is likely down to multiple factors.
Currently the game is on sale at Steam with 75% off, no doubt grabbing plenty of fresh sales. But why would people be suddenly interested in Titanfall 2 now when it’s release was late 2016.
Special offers aside its likely piggybacking off the huge success of Respawn Entertainments wildly popular Apex Legends. Releasing 2019, Apex legends had a very strong start then appeared to die off as quickly as it started. However, over the months regular new content has dropped and kept the game very much alive. Recent reports show a player base topping 100 million. This isn’t all at once of course, with the average daily players still hitting in with a very respectable 60,000.
Given the somewhat similar game play in Apex to Titanfall and this new fanbase for Respawn, seeing the game that undeniably led to Apex go on sale has caused many fans to check it out.
This along with the growing word of mouth about this 2016 first person shooters brilliance, it’s easy to see why many have jumped into their Mechs again or for the first time.
I played the game myself for the first time earlier this year, it was from the aforementioned word of mouth that I decided to do so. This and it being on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, i had no excuse. I did buy the original for the Xbox 360 in sales quite a while after its release, and was pretty disappointed. Even at the low price I paid, I had barely any play time with it at all.
It was of course a multiplayer only game, and by joining the party so late the skill wall I hit was disheartening. I couldn’t get the hang of the wall running or grapple hook to be effective on foot, and the moment I finally got my Titan to fall, I quickly was blown to pieces by foot soldiers with rockets and more importantly experience.
I never returned to it. When the second game released, I was in no hurry to feel inadequate again, and by the initial sales, no one else was either. Releasing between two more prominent FPS games, including Battlefield 1, a game I stuck many hours into the online play with, its sales were 28% lower than the original.
Right now, in 2021, it’s not a hot take to say this game was slept on. Ask anyone who’s played and they will tell you ‘It's probably one of the best FPS campaigns ever’. They are not wrong.
I’ve not delved into the online competitive multiplayer of Titanfall 2, as It’ll likely end in another tantrum from me. But the campaign I relished. Going in with high expectations I was not disappointed. Functionally it plays well as a shooter, the guns feel decent enough. Perhaps lacking some of the impact felt in some of my other favourites, such as halo. Running on the walls is always fun, giving some levels a nice platforming challenge, though I never really became adept at picking off my enemy mid run.
Graphically it is beautiful. I played on my Xbox Series X, and was stunned that an older game looked this good. Now even it has been boosted to 120 frames per second, so should look buttery smooth for anyone with a TV that supports this frame rate.
The edge it has over other FPS campaigns is of course the interplay with your mech suit. Able to fight independently of yourself and packing many different weapon sets, it gives an arcade feel to those mission sections that you’re strapped in.
A mission towards the end of the campaign features a torrent of mechs on both sides of the fight, to the point I wasn’t always sure which ones to aim for, really bought back feelings of old PS1 games such as Armored Core. When robots blowing things up was just cool, and not focused on realism.
The variety of missions was decent too. Running along moving platforms to escape a mechanized factory, or fighting your way alongside and atop of an air ship, to the previously mentioned mass mech brawl.
But the highlight has to be the time jump mission. My gawd. This mission needs a game to itself. Having taken the time dilation device (or some other sci-fi word) off a corpse you are then able to jump between two points in time through a science facility. The present where it’s been largely destroyed, and is host to the big alien cat creatures and security robots. To the past when it was a busy science lab / apparent soldier barracks.
Picture this, you have soldiers on your heels, heading towards your goal you hit a dead end. The glass panels in the floor show that there is an escape downwards. You need to get through the floor, lucky in the present there is no floor, so you time jump back to the future, fall through the floor. But oh no, fire is consuming the room. Jump back to the past and land safely.
It’s hard to do this level justice with the finite words in the English dictionary. It feels like a spin-off of Portal, but you have a big ass gun, and you’re not breaking out of a facility but breaking in. I sincerely would love Respawn Entertainment to release a game that is just this for ten levels.
Reluctantly moving on, this game also is packed with heart. Now I don’t cry at games, and I didn’t at this one either, myself having less emotional depth than my mech suit. But if I was built of flesh not wires, I'd certainly be leaking eye fluids. The friendship between your character and his mech is wonderful to see, you really get attached to this machine in a way that hasn’t happened since I found out I could program Alexa to tell me she’s proud of me.
One moment that stands out in my robot adventure was the first time I needed to reach a platform that was way over there. Climbing into my robot best friends' hand so that he could launch me through the air and straight into a wall run. Nothing else feels quite as epic.
All in all, I can only parrot the opinion shared by anyone who’s ever played this game. It’s probably one of the best FPS campaigns ever. Then will the fates to have Respawn make ‘Time Jump Wristwatch’ the game.
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