Titanfall 2 single-player preview: Man and Machine

Titanfall as a multiplayer game is a known quantity, but Titanfall 2 will be Respawn's first attempt at a full-blown single-player campaign. Shacknews takes a first look at what this solo mode will entail.

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By now, anyone that has played the original Titanfall knew something was noticeably missing. Respawn's debut effort for Electronic Arts was among the standout multiplayer games in the Xbox One's first year. However, it didn't feature any single-player campaign to speak of, which was a shame to many that had hoped to go solo with the game's massive mechs and agile pilots. Titanfall 2 is looking to change that, with Respawn unveiling a solo campaign during this year's E3. Recently, Shacknews had an opportunity to check out exactly what this story mode would entail.

Titanfall 2's story is mainly a linear military conflict, with players strapping on the boots of a young militia rifleman named Jack Cooper. However, as largely implied by the E3 trailer, the unique element of this story is that it's ultimately the story of a man and his mech. The original Titanfall only lightly alluded to the idea that a soldier was tied to his Titan armor mech, but Titanfall 2 fully explores the idea of being in a futuristic war with your Titan as your greatest ally.

Titanfall2-Campaign

The opening minutes see Cooper's battalion devastated by enemy IMC forces, forcing an emergency evacuation from their transport ship to the planetary surface below. Among those to fall in the evacuation effort is Captain Lastimosa, who's mortally wounded while inside his Titan. His final act is to formally transfer the neural link of his Titan, BT-7274, to Jack, while also bestowing the rank of pilot onto the rifleman. The neural link officially ties Jack and BT together, setting up the relationship that will endure for the rest of the story, with BT acting as a voice of guidance throughout the adventure.

Respawn's goal with the Titanfall 2 campaign is to show off the various elements of the game's formula, while also avoiding simply plastering the multiplayer experience onto a single-player story. Producer Drew McCoy emphasized that the estimated eight-hour campaign would be built upon three core pillars: pilot combat, Titan combat, and pilot mobility. The first two are straightforward, while the third concept veers more towards utilizing pilot abilities for traversal or puzzle-solving. To help illustrate what the studio is aiming for, Respawn quickly shifted away from Cooper's origin with the Titan to show off other parts of the campaign, each displaying a different type of objective that the player will experience. This includes sequences that involve traversing a planet's surface using pilot abilities (like the wall run), finding other militia survivors, and navigating unknown areas while warding off native hostiles. Yes, in addition to enemy soldiers, players will also need to watch out for unfriendly wildlife.

Downtime in-between combat will often be filled by dialogue between Jack and BT, which provides the opportunity for various dialogue choices. The choices are simple "A or B" selections and do not appear to affect the plot in any way. They're simply ways to push forward the idea of Jack and BT's burgeoning partnership, but they also provide some levity, given that Jack's human penchant for wit and sarcasm will clash with BT's robotic nature. There were several humorous exchanges over the course of the demo, especially in one particular instance where Jack had to trust BT to chuck him across a giant chasm towards an IMC facility.

But while Respawn is aiming for variety in mission design, at the end of the day, this is still Titanfall. There were several firefights with IMC forces shown over the course of the demo. This series of battles culminated with a one-on-one confrontation with an IMC higher-up wielding a Titan of his own, with the demo concluding before the two sides could clash.

Much of what I saw of the Titanfall 2 single-player demo looked to be standard fare for the genre, but Respawn does appear to be going for more of a structural overhaul. These aren't simply shooting galleries, for the most part. Those looking to play through the campaign should expect to master the pilot's various abilities, almost like a far more advanced tutorial. On top of that, Respawn is aiming to flesh out Titanfall's lore by illustrating the Titan's core protocols, telling a story of a Titan that is linked to its pilot, while also showing that the Titan's ultimate goal is towards the mission, even if that means sacrificing the pilot to complete it.

Respawn is looking for a Titanfall 2 campaign that's substantially different from the game's multiplayer and the story does look to set it apart. Whether the amalgamation of different objectives works in its favor remains to be seen. Titanfall 2 is set to release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on October 28.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 11, 2016 9:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Titanfall 2 single-player preview: Man and Machine

    • reply
      August 11, 2016 9:07 AM

      "This video is not available".

      Otherwise, interesting. I liked Titanfall. Ultimately too shallow to keep playing after a fair number of hours, but it was worth the money for me. The best moments in the game were truly spectacular. I'd love to see them add some properly destructable environments into the formula.

      As for the SP, all it needs to do to interest me as a bonus is have high production values and tight controls. It's hard to make an AAA SP shooter that I get nothing out of, at least if I get to play it on m+kb. Also, giant robots.

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        August 11, 2016 9:14 AM

        EA will be flipping the video switch on their end. It's just copypasta on ours.

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      August 11, 2016 9:35 AM

      Thanks, Ozzie!

      • reply
        August 11, 2016 1:05 PM

        Is 0unce back with a brand new edition?

    • reply
      August 11, 2016 10:05 AM

      Wait, huh? What? Ozzie? I'm sooo confuse.

      • reply
        August 11, 2016 10:10 AM

        When Shacknews makes the call, I make sure to answer. (Or send it to voicemail and return the call at my earliest convenience.)

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      August 11, 2016 10:14 AM

      I really liked Titanfall, suprised me. I'm looking forward to this.

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      August 11, 2016 11:44 AM

      OMG! This looks amazing!

      This is exactly what I wanted(prayed for) since Titanfall 1.

      Damn I am freaking happy right now, it looks so damn good.

      Day one with out question.

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        August 11, 2016 2:01 PM

        Did you see the knee melee ‽‽‽

        The animations look very well done. We will see!!!

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          August 11, 2016 2:07 PM

          Yes! :) , their animator needs to receive a Beer or a lap dance for their work, it looks pimp. Even Sagat said "Brah! High five me Bro!".

          Yeah in general all the animation in that vid look super tight and HOT!.

          Man I really hope it will be awesome and not meh, seems really positive I believe.

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      August 11, 2016 12:43 PM

      Too bad it's not going to look that good on console. Oh,and the smart piston and NPC enemies are still in the game? Yeah,fuck Titanfall 2.

    • reply
      August 11, 2016 12:46 PM

      Whoa an Ozzie post, fresh straight from the farm goodness

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      August 11, 2016 12:56 PM

      that video disapointed me on many levels. GB has trained me to translate "quick look" into "about an hour of someone actually playing the game".

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      August 11, 2016 1:49 PM

      "...while also showing that the Titan's ultimate goal is towards the mission, even if that means sacrificing the pilot to complete it."
      Sounds aweSOOOOOOOMMMMME! I want just that as the entire main story arc.

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      August 11, 2016 1:52 PM

      Game looks supergood. I was a big fan of Titanfall 1, glad to see it make a return.

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      August 11, 2016 1:53 PM

      Hmmm...in the middle of this trailer I serious thought about finally getting an Xbox again (had the original and loved Halo, briefly had a 360 and enjoyed Forza).

      But seeing as this will go to the PS4 as well, which online multiplayer experience will be better for Titanfall?

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        August 11, 2016 2:10 PM

        PS4 has a larger user base but Xbox has an established fan base for Titanfall already, so it's hard to say. Your experience might possibly be better on PS4 because you want be getting paired up with as many veterans right away like you would on Xbox.

        I'll be playing the PC version, although who knows anymore with BF1 launching one week before. EA, you dummy.