2016 turned out to be a fantastic year for the shooter genre. DOOM and Overwatch were two unexpected successes early in the year, and currently we’re being hit with shooter after shooter with Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and, of course, Titanfall 2. So it begs the question: which one should you play?
Respawn Entertainment, the developer of the Titanfall series, are known for their work with Infinity Ward on the Call of Duty franchise. While the first Titanfall didn’t exactly set the world ablaze, it became a cult classic before the player base died out. Respawn’s pedigree was evident in its quality, but it was criticized for it’s lack of a single player campaign and meaningful progression system–two things the ex-Infinity Ward developers revolutionized with their work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
But there was something there that made Titanfall stand out next to its competition. Standing next to the slow, plodding gameplay of the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield game, Titanfall 2 appears to be on another level of fast and crazy. The newly-added single-player campaign is frantically paced, action-packed dumb fun. There’s a surprising sub-plot about the bond between a Titan and its pilot, though it could have been fleshed out more. The campaign introduces surprising gameplay mechanics that–much like the campaign itself–stick around for only as long as they’re fun.
Despite the quality of the single-player mode, the multiplayer is the main focus of this game. The basic multiplayer gameplay of Titanfall 2 and its predecessor are very similar. You wall-run, double-jump, and shoot bad guys until it’s time for you to call down your Titan, a giant robot you control by hopping inside. And each of those actions feels incredible.
Once you get the hang of it, each input to your controller does exactly what you want it to. It’s hard to blame the game’s precise controls for your own failures. Each of the dozens of guns feels fantastic, and all six of the Titans control unique from the last. Titanfall 2 makes it hard to not feel cool, whether you’re doing mid-air gunning, knee-sliding into a melee kill, or climbing on top of an enemy Titan to dismantle it.
You should play Titanfall 2. It’s a true gem buried beneath a pile of slightly above-average games. The thought of its sales dwindling due to lack of attention is depressing. The first Titanfall failed, and Titanfall 2 is not shaping up much better. Maybe there’s hope for Titanfall 3?