The first Titanfall was released in 2014 and quickly proved itself to be an addictive, well-designed multiplayer experience. However, one of the biggest criticisms of the game was its lack of a single-player mode. With Titanfall 2, Respawn seeks to remedy that by including a campaign set in Titanfall’s universe, casting you as aspiring pilot Jack Cooper and his new Titan BT as they navigate a planet after a failed military operation.
I recently got the chance to watch about 20 minutes of edited gameplay from the campaign and came away rather impressed with what I saw. Here are the most noteworthy takeaways from that demo.
You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside Of Your Titan
While one of the key components of Titanfall and its sequel’s multiplayer is getting to stomp around in a giant mech suit, a large amount of Titanfall 2’s campaign has you playing as Cooper on foot. During the 20 minutes of gameplay we saw, there was only one section where Cooper was actually controlling BT and fighting enemies, with the Titan serving as an AI companion during most sequences. That’s not a bad thing, though. The segments I saw with Cooper running around, experimenting with his piloting abilities (like cloaking and wall-running) were genuinely interesting and a nice mix of action and puzzle-solving.
Gameplay Is Open-Ended
Several of the sections in the demo showcased Titanfall 2’s inclination to let you play how you want in a way that’s reminiscent of Far Cry or Crysis, though the campaign is linear and narrow in its structure, like Call of Duty. Early on, Cooper comes across a camp filled with enemies. Going in loud is obviously an option if you just want to shoot up the place, but in the demo, he went in quiet with his suit’s cloaking power activated, killing a handful of enemies stealthily before being spotted. Still outnumbered, he managed to make short work of the remaining foes with grenades, power slides, and a few bullets.
Players Have Dialogue Options With The Titan
One of the most interesting things showcased during the demo is that the player are often be given chances to interact with BT. A dialogue wheel gives players agency during conversations with the Titan. Sometimes you can choose between cracking a joke or asking BT about his relationship with his previous pilot. It’s not earth-shattering stuff and doesn’t seem like the kind of feature that will have a huge impact on how the story plays out, but it seems to nudge Cooper and BT’s relationship forward in small ways. Whether those ways are meaningful or just superfluous design remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting feature to have in a first-person shooter.
It’s Surprisingly Goofy
If you’re worried about Titanfall 2 joining the ranks of grim and gritty sci-fi shooters, don’t be. The action is frantic and the tone is amusingly ludicrous. During the demo, there were several humorous scenes that broke up the action and had the room I was in breaking out in laughter. My personal favorite was a grimly funny sequence which involved BT having to throw Cooper across a giant chasm to reach a target. Cooper is understandably reticent about this and asks what the chances for success are. BT, being a robot, matter-of-factly tells him he has a 60 percent chance of surviving the throw and then goes on to list what could happen to Cooper if he falls in the void: lacerations, broken limbs, decapitation, spinal injuries, and so on. The tone of the game seems to be dipping into sci-fi buddy comedy, which I’m all for.
Enemies piloting titans you encounter in the game are presented as rectangular pictures on your HUD when they talk to you a la Star Fox. The foes we saw in the demo were big and dumb, including a man named Richter, a bulky dude with a Mohawk who threatens you a lot in a ridiculous Schwarzenegger-esque accent. It’s all zany and rather unexpected, given just how grim the lore snippets the first Titanfall divvied out during multiplayer matches.
There Are Puzzles
Along with the sort of gunplay you’d expect in a first-person shooter like Titanfall, Respawn is also incorporating puzzles to create varied gameplay. The example showcased during the demo had Cooper moving a crane holding a section of wall around a structure that looked like an oil rig so he could wall run wherever he needed to go.
Later on in the demo, Cooper gets his hands on a laser-powered device called an Arc Thrower that seems to have a similar function to Portal’s eponymous gun or Wolfenstein: The New Order’s laser welder, acting as a tool needed to access sections of certain levels by opening doors or turning devices on and off. Whether the Arc Thrower doubles as a weapon wasn’t made clear in the demo.
Titanfall 2 is due out on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.