The game consists of players controlling "pilots" and large robotic vehicles known as Titans and as members of one of the two factions (IMC and Militia), they fight in a war-torn belt of planets known as the Frontier. Many game modes are found within the game that show off the game's solid and unconventional core mechanics in a multiplayer first-person shooter environment. A single-player campaign does exist, which explains the game's backstory in further detail as you play as James Franco, an IMC officer who eventually deserts to the Frontier to escape his death sentence and joins the guerrilla-like Militia. The campaign is a radical departure from the typical shooter campaign, with RPG-like boss fights, exploration, classes, and character design.
Titanfall 2 builds on its predecessor Titanfall by adding many elements seen in more classic first-person shooters such as a single-player campaign, an offline "bot" mode, aircraft, many new game modes and community support features, and an expanded class and weapon system which includes a futuristic wing-suit, amongst other features. The game garnered positive reviews from critics, praising its heavy expansion of game features compared to the previous game, availability on the Playstation 4, and outstanding maps and game modes, which were compared to the Counter Strike and Halo series' features. Critics criticized its lack of completely new game mechanics, but the game overall garnered great reviews. Three years after its launch, Titanfall 2 was considered to be the best first-person shooter of the eighth generation of video game consoles by IGN.
Titanfall 2 is a first-person shooter game in which you control a "pilot", a futuristic ultra-agile soldier who can easily maneuver around the map using a jetpack and magnetic boots and gloves to pull off jumps, wall-runs, and climbs that were inspired by the urban sport of parkour. Players also can control Titans, giant mech-like robots that are controlled by pilots. The online multiplayer consists of many modes, such as a Call of Duty-esque "Attrition" game mode in which 12-24 players on one of two teams kill each other with futuristic weapons and destroy Titans to gain points. The first team to gain a specific number of points wins the game. Games are ended by a spaceship arriving to carry off the survivors of the losing team which can be destroyed by the other team. Another game mode was the highly-touted Adrift mode, new to the game. Taking inspiration from survival-shooter games such as DayZ and arena-shooter games such as Tribes and Halo, pilots are inferred to have been stranded on one of three planets by a crashed colony ship. Each pilot uses in-level currency to "buy" a starter weapon similar to Counter Strike, and each pilot must try to stay alive amidst other pilots, each looking to kill others to gain gear, weapons, and survival gear. Exploration is encouraged by weapons being hidden around the map. When a player collects a predetermined amount of money, they can build a Titan from parts that they've collected. The game ends when the last player dies, as there's no respawning.
A list of the most popular game modes follows:
- Free-for All (All players fight amongst themselves)
- Capture the Flag
- Arena (Straight up multiplayer arena deathmatch)
- Last Titan Standing (Titans battle until there is only one standing)
- Sharpshooter (Only sniper rifles are available)
- Titan Race (Titans race to get from point A to point B on a map whilst trying to stop one another from reaching said goal)
- Ninjas (Players are continually cloaked and only have one life while they try to kill one another)
- Safari (Hostile wildlife overran a map, you must clear them out)
- Guerrilla (One team consists of all Titans, the other team consists of no pilots. Pilots can't acquire Titans, the members of the other team cannot leave their Titan.)
Titanfall 2 garnered almost completely positive reviews at launch, with IGN giving it a rarely-acquired 10.0 citing its all-around great core gameplay and high amount of extra features to keep you occupied. In the words of James Johnson, the IGN reviewer of Titanfall 2:
- Titanfall 2's great. I have to say it is the best shooter that I have ever played, and I have been playing shooters since the first Wolfenstein. The developers began production on the first Titanfall with the idea that they had an award-winning franchise in the making that could differentiate itself from the already-crowded shooter genre and win itself the wallets of gamers everywhere. Titanfall 2 brings us that and more. Whether you're blasting Titans with homing missiles in the Arena, fighting to survive in Adrift, or sneaking and sniping in Ninjas, Titanfall 2's never a dull game. It not only sets itself apart from the competition, it sets itself apart from all other games. It's a unique piece of art.
Other video gaming reviewers were equally impressed, and the game garnered a whopping 1 billion dollars at launch surpassing the record of Activision and Bungie's Destiny.
Following its release, Titanfall 2 was the most popular shooter in the world, a record that no one has broke since, as the first-person shooter genre peaked shortly after its release. Some considered Titanfall 2 "the last hurrah" of the genre, as since the failure of Call of Duty: Ghosts in 2013, gamers have been abandoning the then-dominant first-person shooter games for MOBAs, rejuvinated MMOs, and more "hybrid" shooters such as Destiny. The unfortunate demise of EA in 2018 finally killed off the genre and Titanfall itself, with DICE, the developer of the Battlefield and Battlefront series of video games and Respawn Entertainment, the developer of the Titanfall games getting the plug abruptly pulled on their video games in development, which were ironically the last popular vestiges of the first-person shooter genre. Titanfall 3 was killed in the process and it never saw the light of day.
In the late 2030s, however, when 2010s nostalgia began to go into full swing, Titanfall 2 was rediscovered and thought of as one of the swan songs of the era and of video gaming in general. People began to play it again on their Windows emulators simply for the purposes of experiencing a bygone era of video games similar to the "retrogaming" crazes of old. Many people who grew up with the series in their teenage years looked back on it in the online museums of the future.