Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Titanfall 2 [official site] changes little of the parkour-and-mechs formula from the first game, but it employs that formula within a singleplayer mode for the first time. It’s a brilliant level design showcase.
Pet theory: Valve were a game studio once ruled by level designers, now they’re a game studio ruled by system designers. That’s why they used to make first-person shooters and now they make card games. If you’re a level designer and you want to be involved in defining the player’s experience in a game, you go to Arkane and work on Dishonored or Prey, or, I think maybe you go to Respawn and work on whatever they’re doing after Titanfall 2.
Titanfall 2 has little story to speak of: there’s war, you’re in it, and you’re promoted at short notice to one of the super-soldiers with their own mech. Yours is called BT, and there’s some minor but winning buddy-movie stuff over the five hours it’ll take you to complete.
But it’s how often it changes things up through the level design that makes it memorable. Clamber across cliffs and into enormous crashed spaceships; double-jump across a battlefield that’s being constructed around you in a factory; wall-run along platforms suspended in frozen time; navigate a sci-fi laboratory across two timelines simultaneously, and more. It’s not particularly beautiful, but it’s never predictable. It introduces an idea, develops it a little, then throws it aside after half an hour so it can do something new. That’s great.
I’d comment on the multiplayer but I tried queuing in matchmaking and it never put me in a game.