Having read somewhere that this 2016 first-person shooter had one of the best single player campaigns of recent years I just had to download it when it came up as a free monthly game on Playstation Plus and see if it was true. I was not disappointed. Although the tutorial ‘gauntlet’ I played while the rest of the game was downloading was not really that good.
The action really got started once I was down on an alien planet Typhon running and jumping around the terrain in my pilot suit collecting batteries for a big ol’ ‘mecha’ combat suit similar to those seen in various other games, anime and recently in the animated short ‘Suits’ in Love, Death & Robots on Netflix.
As with other games I tended to stick to the original loadout for the suit although various alternative weaponry is available as you progress for the various missions. I had not played the previous game and so the mix between out of the suit and in the suit action was quite novel for me. However, it’s really the story that impressed me. There’s some similarities to the likes of Half-Life and Halo campaigns and I think that’s praise indeed. I don’t enjoy wall running but I do enjoy good voice acting, well-developed or fun characters and a good variety in the types of missions to detract from the linearity of something that was only really tacked on to a multiplayer game. I haven’t even bothered with the multiplayer game to be honest.
You play rifleman Jack Cooper who soon finds himself piloting a ‘Vanguard-class Titan’ mecha suit called BT-7274 and nicknamed ‘BT’. Cooper inherits BT’s previous (dead) pilot’s aim to rendezvous with a Major Anderson. Cooper fights through various locations including a huge underground terrain assembly complex where you have to juggle combat with some tricky platform hopping. It’s a very memorable level.
After navigating various obstacles, Cooper is trapped inside a live-fire combat testing area and forced to fight his way out without the help of BT. Waves of increasingly difficult enemy technology test your skills of evasion, aim and ammo gathering. Once you finds BT and gets back inside him you have a boss battle and then proceed to an enemy lab which is in ruins because of some time-dilation event.
You get hold of wristband that allows you to instantaneously hop between the past and present. Using the wristband helps you navigate through the destruction, hazards and the enemies of past and present. It was a unique playing experience that left me smiling. It was really imaginative and I was a bit disappointed that the wristband only featured in this level.
You discover that the enemy has developed a ‘Fold Weapon’, which uses time-displacement to destroy planets. You then have to attack and take control of an enemy communications array to broadcast a message containing this intel back to high command. The level involves some repositioning of various obstacles to work your way up the structures of the radio array. After receiving the message, allied reinforcements arrive on Typhon.
Cooper is officially promoted to be a full pilot rather than a lowly rifleman and joins the main assault on the enemy base where the super-weapon is located. The level is mostly a big Titans versus Titans fight where you have the opportunity to play around with various alternate weapon configurations you’ve collected up to that point. The allies over-run the base but are too slow to stop the weapon being put aboard a transport ship to be taken off-planet. The allies take control of some enemy ships and a chase ensues.
You have to ride on the outside of the ships before you are able to get inside the main ship. That’s not before BT is almost destroyed by a fast-moving enemy Titan called Viper. BT loses an arm, but you kill Viper’s pilot by shooting him after his access hatch is damaged. You recover the core of the super-weapon, and secure it inside BT’s pilot compartment before the enemy ship crashes with you on it.
Along with a severely damaged BT, you are subsequently captured. BT is forced to hand over the weapon core and is put out of action permanently by one of the enemy commanders. BT has just enough power to hand you something called a SERE kit and his data core before he flatlines. Assisted by the SERE kit you fight your way back to friendly forces and quickly resurrect BT in a brand new chassis.
You then have to fight your way to a base where the Fold Weapon is being powered up. There’s some more Titan v Titan action and then the dynamic duo have to figure out how to disarm the super-weapon. With firing imminent, BT makes a heroic sacrifice throwing you out of harm’s way and self-destructing to blow up the Fold Weapon. Oh and the planet Typhon is completely ripped apart too. It’s a big and ballsy ending to a very enjoyable single-player campaign.
If you’re more interested in the multiplayer side of things I’m not sure how many people will be online playing the game, but here’s the official multiplayer gameplay trailer:
The game is currently free for Playstation Plus subscribers and is well worth a go!
The single-player campaign can be completed in five to seven hours, depending on how often you end up getting killed and knocked back to a previous save point. The autosave points are numerous and so it is not particularly frustrating when you have to start over. It took me a couple of enjoyable evenings of play to complete it.