While the original Titanfall was generally well received by players and critics alike, many felt that the game's lack of a bespoke single-player campaign was a glaring omission. That won't be the case with the sequel: Titanfall 2 will feature a full single-player campaign to go along with its multiplayer component.
At a recent Titanfall 2 preview event, I got the opportunity to watch a tightly-edited 20-minute video of the upcoming campaign, which showcased a variety of segments from the game, from its beginning through to its latter stages. It turned out to be a quite a surprise – not what I was expecting at all.
The story follows the adventures of Jack Cooper, a rifleman in the Frontier Militia who finds himself in the middle of a mission that has gone disastrously wrong. His transport ship has crash-landed on the planet Typhon, and there are many casualties – including his Captain, Lastimosa. However, before he dies, Lastimosa relinquishes command of his titan, BT-7274, to Cooper, essentially putting him on a search and rescue operation.
Complicating matters is the fact that hostile Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation forces occupy Typhon – and Cooper's mech is out of power. This sets up the campaign's first mission, which is to infiltrate an IMC camp and find a power source to jump-start BT. Rather than go in guns blazing, Cooper elects to take a more stealthy tack, using his cloaking device to sneak up on outlying enemy guards and take them out using melee moves. The focus of this level seemed to be using Titanfall 2's chained movement system to swiftly navigate through the camp, while not alerting your presence to the enemy forces.
After working his way through the camp, Cooper finds a power source and returns to BT. At this point, I assumed the rest of the video would be Cooper combating enemy forces in BT, but that wasn't the case. While we were shown a couple of segments where there was mech-to-mech combat, it seems that many of the game's levels are tackled on foot, and comprise what almost feel like action adventure and platform puzzle components.
There was a section where Cooper has to work his way through a factory-like complex using wall running and double-jumps to avoid deadly hazards. Another level had Cooper using an arc tool to open and close doors, and move platforms and walls so that he could navigate through the maze-like environment. It was only then that there was a sequence that played out like a more traditional shooter, with Cooper running and gunning through a series of rooms, using chained moves to quickly leap over obstacles and close in on the enemy robots that were attacking him.
But the biggest surprise for me is that the game features simple branched conversations at critical junctures. Some of the dialog between BT and Cooper was really quite funny. At one point, BT needs to throw Cooper a considerable distance from the roof of one building to another, and Cooper is rightfully concerned about whether or not he can make it. BT dryly gives the odds, and lists all the things that might possibly go wrong – which turns out to be an exhaustive series of gruesome injuries. It was a great moment that provided some really good comic relief.
From what I gleaned from the video, the dialog really helps establish a bond between Cooper and BT. I don't know how much bearing conversations will have on the story, or whether this aspect of the game is more of a cosmetic mechanic, but either way it seems to be well written and adds a little wisecracking levity to the proceedings – as well as additional backstory and character development.
Although the video only gave us a brief insight into Titanfall 2's single-player campaign, it nevertheless very much piqued my interest. What struck me was the variety of the gameplay – the video made the game look like a cross between an action adventure and a first-person shooter, with additional mech combat thrown in for good measure. The story seems to be robust, and the characters are quite endearing – Cooper comes across as nervous, but keen, and BT is just great as a droll mech companion.
Will it deliver the goods? We'll be able to find out when Titanfall 2 is released on October 28th.