Titanfall 2 ReviewPrice:
PC, Xbox One, PS4
Titanfall 2's opening single-player cinematic plays out like something from a wartime John Wick. Your player character, rifleman Jack Cooper, narrates: 'Of all the things I've seen on the frontier, the pilot is the dominant force', he says, during which the pilot on screen takes out somewhere in the region of 40 armed soldiers.
All at once you want to be the pilot nearly as much as Cooper, who speaks with such reverence it's unclear whether Titanfall 2's campaign is going to be wish-fulfilment for you or Cooper himself. In its greatest moments, however, Titanfall 2's campaign lets you feel like that dominant force, shredding enemies and directing the combat with ease.
I don't know what EA has done recently, but after telling us for a couple of years that the single-player aspect of its games wasn't important, pretty much every EA multiplayer release this year - Fifa 17
, Battlefield 1
and now Titanfall 2 - has delivered a campaign that's thoughtful and interesting. Thing is, Titanfall 2's is the best of the bunch: a campaign that has the shooting and pace of the better Call of Duty titles, while also having the ideas and imagination to bring to mind Valve's Portal 2.
This is helped somewhat by the fact that Respawn Entertainment was set up by people leaving Infinity Ward after the dual successes of Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and the crackling pace from those games is still evident here in addition to a couple of familiar moments: The campaign starts with an obstacle course, with your speed through it determining the difficulty you'll be asked to play it on.
The shooting starts and remains excellent, with enemies taking just the right amount of punishment to die, and the game encouraging you to switch weapons regularly - ammunition is sparse but a variety of weaponry is common. To aid this, each time you pick up a weapon or equip it, you're given a single sentence description: 'Adhesive grenade launcher'; 'Full auto, but with a punch'; 'semi-automatic precision pistol'; it usually does a solid job of telling you exactly what the gun is going to do at a glance, which means you can focus on putting rounds into people as you wall-run around the map.
Inside the Titan, too, the combat is fresh and interesting. In the single-player campaign you can near-instantly switch between different loadouts and abilities on the fly, with a quick tap of F1 being all you have to do to switch things up, and it's easy to do in the middle of combat.
The story is well written, if generic. A lot of the chatter between BT (your Titan) and Cooper brought a wry smirk to my face, as did the fact you can choose the dialogue yourself, tapping X or V as you dash about the place, bantering back and forth.