Know what’s awesome? Giant robots. Know what’s even more awesomerer? Giant robots with giant guns.
But do you know what’s even more awesomerer than giant robots with guns? Giant robots with giant guns punching other giant robots with giant guns in their giant, robotic faces.
So, it’s not difficult to imagine my delight when Respawn Entertainment tightened every conceivable nut and bolt on its robot-face-punching super formula in Titanfall 2 – a notable upgrade on its two-year-old predecessor in every possible way.
But some titans – Woofers, for instance – may never get the chance to face punch or be face punched. And that’s why you, reader and pilot to be, need to adopt a titan this Christmas.
Because it very much feels like an entire franchise – and the very existence of Woofers and his metal-skinned kin – depends on it.
Titanfall 2 doesn’t really seem to be selling, and it doesn’t take a robot-face-punching scientist to figure out why: EA deployed Titanfall in the no man’s land between Battlefield and Call of Duty – a place where younger intellectual properties are sent to die in the promotional cross between two of the industry’s largest shooters.
‘CTRL+F’ virtually any review of a modern Call of Duty and the words ‘shooting gallery’ will inevitably rear their tiresome head. Modern shooter campaigns often feel like whack-a-mole: faceless henchmen popping up for a shot, waiting to be mowed down by yours truly.
But in Titanfall 2’s campaign, you take the initiative – you’re not sat with marshmallows and a camp fire waiting for the next vaguely-eastern-looking-insignia-imbued soldier to rear their dubiously-accented noggin. In Titanfall 2, you jump, hop and skip to that noggin and shoot it in its nogginy face.
At this point, it’s seemingly tempting to say ‘That’s it, really’, because such an obvious difference produces such profound results: a game that feels part sim, part platformer and part shooter – a hybrid that gives Respawn a tasty platter of variety to stop any one element from overstaying its welcome. Its brisk, intelligently-paced campaign exploits this core combination without ever feeling forced.
In short, this is a campaign that never takes a dump on your carpet. Woofers is a good house-trained murder bot.
Still, I suspect there’s more to Respawn’s titanic woes than just a dodgy release date. The original Titanfall’s Xbox exclusivity locked out a large base of potential franchise followers, a fact not exactly helped by an anaemic offering that did nothing to develop the brand’s identity. Titanfall was simply a small multiplayer suite with robots punching each other in the face.
Awesome. But perhaps too tough a sell for £45 quid.
But we also have to remember that this year, the future is totally yesterday’s thing. Battlefield’s re-found popularity seems large in part owed to its World War I trappings. A setting in which giant robots had yet to be invented.
So, if you’re to do one thing this Christmas, make sure you adopt a titan. And call it Jeff. Or Max. Or Woofers. Then take Woofers onto the battlefield and be more awesomerer than those blue-team scrubs. Make them wish they’d never met you or your Woofers.
And remember: an awesome robot-face-punching franchise is – and should be – for life, not just for Christmas. Give Titanfall 2 the chance it so desperately deserves.
We’re coming, Woofers.