Titanfall 2, nice story arc. (Spoiler alert).
(Spoiler alert: major plot points are discussed here.)
The title may be a bit mild, but I felt a calm approach to the game is useful for this article: just finished the Titanfall 2 campaign, and what a ride it was to enjoy. Returning to the frontier we see the Militia winning the war against the IMC; with a new titan chassis unique to the Militia (the Vanguard class) entering into the arena, and a better organized military movement the Militia seem to hold the upper hand in this war on the frontier. Yet with all that said about the success of the Militia don’t expect the IMC to go away quietly – hiring hardcore (and psychopathic) mercenaries named the Apex Predators the IMC have bolstered their forces with advanced technology and intend on making the Militia pay dearly for every victory they achieve in this war.
Assuming the role of Rifleman Jack Cooper, you are sent straight into the action where you learn first hand the reality of the war against the IMC. Fate intervenes and your mentor (at least what I assume to be your mentor) dies handing his Titan off to you; as a Rifleman you were simply going through an informal training regimen with your mentor who was an experienced pilot – inheriting his machine you march off to fight the IMC on the planet Tython (sorry guys, no force users here) to stop the IMC from deploying a super weapon.
The character design was quite well done this time around; recall back when Titanfall 1 was released and there was barely a story to be had. Fast forward to today and we are treated to one interesting story that at points feels similar to other shooters we have played (go here do this, return here press that) but such is the nature of games these days. Still, I liked the moments when you interact with your titan BT and I enjoyed seeing a return of characters like Sarah and Blisk (now no longer sergeant Blisk, just Kuben Blisk) who, while somewhat there in Titanfall 1, are really well put together in Titanfall 2. Staring with Sarah, she now heads a special division of the Militia named the Marauders who take on difficult missions to bring the fight to the IMC and to disrupt their research and development. Next we have Blisk who seems like he is no longer a top fellow in the IMC, instead reverting to his mercenary roots of getting paid and fighting hard. Blisk is part of an outfit listed earlier titled the Apex Predators, and the mercenary outfit isn’t exactly what you would call top soldier material – many of them are supposed war criminals (great guys to have on your side, aye?). Sadly there is no Bish, but there is Barker; the drunk pilot that you have to fish out of Angel City back in Titanfall 1 – man still drinks a lot but he gets the job done.
The Predators are ruthless in their work, and some of them display levels of unstable minds to an extent. The first fellow you encounter is a recorded narcotics user according to your titan, with the big German-speaking one encountered later in the campaign having an interest in looting corpses for trophies. Blisk himself seems only interested in money (though he is still professional and upholds the contract) as seen near the end where you defeat the last of the Apex Predators and though your titan is damaged and you are trapped inside Blisk ejects out and places a Predator card (what appears to be a card) on your display and proclaims that you have earned it. Shortly thereafter the general of the IMC forces orders Blisk to kill the titan with Blisk replying: “not my problem, you should have put it in my contract: I’ve got other people with money to see,” before wandering off into the distance.
That’s the thing about mercenaries, they will only work for their contract and once it is up forget camaraderie and loyalty – they are only loyal to the contract and once it is completed they are gone. This is portrayed well in Titanfall 2, and I hope to see Blisk return either in DLC which follows their perspective, or in the next Titanfall game if another one is to be made.
Sometimes the missions feel a bit stale, and like Battlefield 1 they can turn into shooting galleries, yet Titanfall 2 delivered a story to us that we were demanding when Titanfall 1 came out – it isn’t a masterpiece, but it is better than some campaigns out there which feel very stale by comparison.
There you have it folks, Titanfall 2’s campaign is a step up from Titanfall 1, and while I miss fighting alongside human players the titan you inherit from your dead mentor is sufficient enough to get you through the campaign before you hit the multiplayer scene. Strap in and prepare for combat – it’s going to be a long war.
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