With an incomplete, half-hearted story and no real concern regarding whether you win or lose, Titanfall’s campaign strikes a strange balance between being unfulfilling and entertaining.
Respawn has not been shy about its stance on a single player campaign for Titanfall. The company knows that most people play multiplayer for significantly longer than they play the campaign. In fact, so few people actually complete the campaign in top games anymore that it made sense to put all of the resources at their disposal behind making a killer multiplayer game. That doesn’t mean there would be no campaign at all, but rather that the campaign would exist in the multiplayer environment.
The campaign mode for Titanfall consists of nine missions, which you can choose to play either as IMC or Militia. You’ll want to play both eventually, because completing each of them unlocks Titans that you’ll be able to use when you play in the regular online battles.
The story walks you through a series of fights for strategic points across The Frontier, the fringe of civilisation that is currently being contested. The winner deals the loser a crippling blow and maintains control of this region of space, as it is now significantly difficult for the other side to mass any significant force against the other. It’s not exactly an original story, but it’s fun and there’s just enough going on to keep you interested.
The storyline is all but irrelevant, and regardless of which side you are on or which side wins, the story continues on to the next combat point. Each mission is either an Attrition match or a Hardpoint Domination match with story at the beginning and end of the match. There are occasional fixed points in some of the missions where you get a small scene in a video window of your HUD, but otherwise the gameplay is still very much what happens in the multiplayer. All that is required is that you play all 18 missions in order to unlock the two new Titan classes. These are awarded to you as a part of completion, and if you have not completed all of the missions for either of the campaigns you get a message explaining that you’re not quite finished.
The interesting thing here is that there are no hero characters. While the Titan pilots are certainly the rock stars of the IMC or Militia, your actions are but a small splash in a much larger ocean of activity. This, combined with a stunning lack of information surrounding what started the conflict in the first place and how the Militia became so heavily armed, makes you feel like nothing more than exactly what you are – a single soldier in an ongoing war.
Given the incredibly rich scenery and masterful level construction that went into creating Titanfall, there are going to be more than a few people desperate to learn more about the universe that has been created here. It’s unlikely that we’ll get much in the way of additional in-game story from the folks at Respawn even with the two DLC packs that are already slated to be released later this year, but it’s clear there’s plenty to work with.