A Frankenstein of past games, but in a good way.
Back when the original Titanfall released, I was in love with the concept. Multiplayer with mechs and crazy intuitive controls. The game completely delivered everything I was expecting...except one thing; a campaign mode. The game had some sort of quasi campaign where you basically fight multiplayer matches with a very weak narrative playing out in the lobbies, which quite frankly I completely ignored. It was missing a true story, of any kind. But in a multiplayer only game, I guess that was okay...
With the release of Titanfall 2, it brought with it a full 0n 8-10 hour campaign. Respawn, the developer, put effort into making the Titans and their pilots have personality. While it's an appreciated effort, the story never really compels you, and the characters are truly forgettable. Literally... I hardly remember anyone or anything's name. The plot is thin too, with your basic "bad guyz t3h blow up SCHTUFF...AAHHHH" scenario. But that's okay, because what it lacked in story development, it excelled in gameplay.
Titanfall is an odd campaign. It feels like it draws from many games to create this new, simplified Frankenstein...and it works. Imagine Halo 5 with Metroid Prime-esque or Mirror's Edge platforming with a dash of Quantum Break time traveling. Of course, we're talking surface level here, but this combination of elements presented in a paired down fashion actually worked. In some ways, the platforming aspect even stands out in it's own right, and really breaks up the shooting gameplay. There are times you are forced to put away the gun and start figuring out simple effective puzzles, in the form of linear progression. Some parts have you jumping through time, some parts have you disoriented as fuck as you are standing sideways on a dangling pre-fab 'neighborhood' in a giant future Ikea factory, making you wonder which way was up. Yeah. It's odd. And again, it's a nice change of pace from all the shooting.
That's not to say it's shooting game is off. Quite the contrary. Titanfall 2's gunplay is an absolute joy. Never once did I feel that my deaths were due to control problems. I could swing around corners with short controlled bursts, popping heads off enemy soldiers by the dozens. I could wall run, double jump, swing down a zipline and pull off a headshot on the way. The controls are that precise, if you want them to be. But what about when you hop into a Titan?
Piloting a Titan changes the pace, yet again. Movement is slower, controls are different, and tactics change. Your first thought with a Titan is that you're indestructible...nope. You will die a lot until you realize how to master all the aspects of the machine. Figuring out loadouts, each weapon's strengths, and when to back off is something you'll likely find the hard way when you die over and over. There are times when you're rewarded with tons of cannon fodder as you paint your missile lock and take out droves of enemies at one time. There are other times when you are confronted by other titans that are a major roadblock. Run up to them. BOOM, dead. Stand there guns blazing. Boom, dead. It's not always easy. Which brings me to my next point.
I found the game surprisingly difficult in spots. It wasn't impossible, but they really ratchet up the complexity in some areas. Imagine wall jumping and having to switch between time where the platforms exist (or don't). Or running across a sky city, wall jumping, shooting, platforming...all the while a mech is on your ass. At times I was frustrated, but mostly in a good way; as in, I knew were my faults were. There were a few times were enemies just overwhelmed and it seemed unfair, but that wasn't a common occurrence. There were different types of enemies, which kept you on your toes...or dead. One minute you're fighting infantry, the next you're running from alien dinosaurs...then you may turn a corner and there's a Terminator looking mother fucker. Shoot him, his legs fall off and his upper body crawls towards you. It's good stuff, and generally feels well balanced.
Titanfall 2 campaign is a welcomed addition to an already great game and franchise. It delivers a unique take to a very linear style game; which some still might find stale. I don't think the series will be winning fans over with emotion or story, but it really does something different than the competition (CoD, Battlefield) when it comes to scenarios and gameplay. It's a helluva ride.