It’s hard to believe but looking at NPD’s video game sales charts for October, Titanfall 2 seems to be a commercial failure. It’s a remarkable disconnect because critically the game is outstanding and is currently the 7th best game for the PS4 this year behind Uncharted 4, Witcher 3, and Dark Souls 3. That’s high praise so it’s bizarre the game didn’t churn out higher sales volume – though Forbes’ take that there’s market confusion due to the first game being an Xbox exclusive makes some sense.
We had the chance to play through TItanfall 2’s campaign this past week in literally two marathon gaming sessions because it was so damn hard to stop playing. It’s great, really great. We will do a full write up for next week’s review, but in the meantime we wanted to quickly highlight some of the reasons why every gamer should try this surprisingly outstanding game.
Here are 5 Reasons You Should Play Titanfall 2.
5. You Steal the Enemy’s Radio
The game includes many homages to famous films most notably through the achievements or trophies which include “Incepted” when you climb up the vertical fabricated world or “I Know Kung Fu” when you snipe 3 enemies while wall running. One reference, which we’re not sure was deliberate, occurs early when you manage to steal an enemy radio allowing you to eavesdrop on the other side for the remainder of the game, very much like Die Hard.
It’s a small detail but one that we can’t really recall happening in another game before. It’s also an ingenious way to introduce bosses which typically only occurs in games like this when they taunt you before a fight or during a Metal Gear style cutscene where you observe them performing strange rituals from a distance. Monitoring enemy conversations throughout gives enemies a chance to develop during the course of the game. By the time they realize you’re listening and shut up, you know each of the bosses well and are ready for that final showdown.
4. It Includes the Best Time Travel FPS Level Ever
Many games from Quantum Break to t the Timesplitters series tackle time travel in games. Some, like Braid, get it right and rise to justifiable levels of notoriety. Others, like Blinx, don’t and quickly disappear into obscurity before a franchise can emerge.
Titanfall 2 does an interesting trick and pulls out time travel as the McGuffin that’s been weaponized you need to stop. This comes out of left field in an utterly fantastic level called “Effect and Cause.” In this level you suddenly get the ability to switch between two alternate times at will as you attempt to escape a research facility (either in the present as a derelict building and overrun with deadly creatures or in the past when armed guards patrol the hallways). Neither time is safe and your attempts to evade attacks by switching between them has the effect of turning you into an unstoppable omnipresent killing force. You soon realize the ruinous building of the present is due to your efforts in the past. It’s a brilliantly constructed level that incorporates time travel in an outstanding way and makes the game almost worth the price of admission by itself.
3. The Writing is Pretty Great
The game’s story focuses primarily on the relationship between your titan’s AI, BT, and your character, pilot Cooper. They do a good job of illustrating early why soldiers aspire to become pilots not only because they drive these enormous machines but they also are equipped with Crysis style super suits allowing them to perform superhero like feats when not in their titans. Your character gets entrusted with BT early before he can undergo pilot and the story takes some obvious twists and turns going ahead.
Yes, if you’ve seen Flight of the Navigator or even the early Transformer movies, you get a sense for the type of humor to expect. BT doesn’t understand sarcasm or takes your comments literally (HAR HAR!). But surprisingly the game is good enough that it’s kind of easy to go along for the ride. Just because it’s familiar territory doesn’t mean it has to be bad. It’s also got some really clever ideas like when early on in the campaign BT asks your heartrate during some early gun fights which seem chaotic in the first few levels. At one point you jokingly tell BT that to get to higher ground next time he should just throw you to which he responds, “Noted.” (In the final levels BT tosses you several times to get to the end.) You actually care about BT and, through a throwaway line in the Effect and Cause time travel level, are pleased with the post credit scene.
2. It Reminded Me of Contra 3
Contra 3 to this day is in my top 5 games of all time. I played that game on repeat through grade school and relished every time I made it to that victory parade at the end when you finished the game on hard. It was a formative game for my childhood. It also had some of the most outlandish levels I had ever seen. My favorite, and perhaps the most notable one from the game, was the level that started as a hover cycle highway chase to bring down an alien ship but ended with you surfing missiles in the sky. It was just insane but pure escapism for me.
Titanfall 2 brought me right back to that level. Trying to dance around spoilers, there’s a level near the conclusion that involves piloting giant gunships near the planet’s surface. It’s a last ditch effort from stopping the bad guys from launching their superweapon. For a while and against all laws of physics and probability, things seem to be going your way until you’re suddenly on the bow of the ship fighting an enemy force with your titan. It doesn’t feature near the acrobatic prowess did for Contra 3’s missile sequence, but it’s still a ridiculous last fight to a frenetic level that takes place in the sky. If you enjoyed Contra 3’s over the top levels, you’ll no doubt feel right at home in Titanfall 2.
1. I’m Only Talking about the Campaign
My list of reasons to play this game are only tied to the single player mode. There’s an entire multiplayer component on which this game is built that I’ve yet to even try. The campaign is arguably as good if not better than this year’s Doom’s (also easily worth your time) with some of the most impressive levels we’ve ever seen and with a storyline that’s better than it should be for a AAA multiplayer focused game like this. Gamers may not be talking about this game much, but the critics are right, it’s really good. If you’re at all on the fence about buying or even renting this game, don’t be, it’s way better than you expect it to be.