Emmett Watkins Jr. – PlayStation Stan/Kendrick Starved

Titanfall 2

What is there left to say about Titanfall 2 that others haven’t already talked about in countless articles, interviews, and video essays (or by me on Twitter)?

Outside of Jack Cooper and BT’s relationship and the entertaining rogues’ gallery, the single-player story is actually pretty minimal. It’s the levels in between those boss battles that are really the highlight. Effect and Cause alone is one of the most mind-bending and unique concepts for a level ever conceived, and the high-speed platforming of Titanfall served as a great template to apply those ideas too. But outside of that one iconic mission, every level is a treat. Each one has a gimmick unique from the last, and the game switches between them so quickly that it leaves you wanting more of each one, which means none of them ever get old.

But the campaign isn’t the reason I’ve put roughly 100 hours into the game over the last few years. It’s the multiplayer component that has kept me coming back so often. Sure, thanks to its streamlined leveling system, it rewards longterm play just as much as any Call of Duty game. And with a heavy slant to player earned customization items, the game deemphasizes the use of its microtransactions, which are still reasonably priced and limited in quantity. But it’s the expert pace and dynamism of its matches that keep me engaged.

Titanfall 2 fills that lull between spawn and gunplay with the most fluid and fast parkour mechanics that I’ve ever seen in a first-person shooter. It makes for a wonderful back and forth between hitting headshots on enemies in midair and sliding and flying to and from combatants. Plus the map design complements this movement system to both encourage and reward mastery of the movement system.

And that’s before even getting to the Titans! Each one plays differently from each other, and when playing to their strengths, every single one can be a blast. But in contrast to the on-foot movement, Titan combat is much slower paced and more about positioning and timing. Because you can’t double-jump away from trouble a millisecond, you’re often forced to outsmart your opponents rather than outrun them. But this trade-off is welcome, because the Titan weapons are often the most powerful in the game, killing pretty much anyone and anything not in a Titan in one hit.

Titanfall 2 understands the issues often found in typical multiplayer games and solves damn near all of them in its premier mode, Attrition. Aren’t quick enough on the sticks to face human players? There are dozens of AI combatants to shoot that contribute to your team’s score. Tired of trying to nail the parkour system? You can piggyback onto any friendly Titan so you can focus purely on shooting. Can’t rack up enough kills to get your Titan? There’s a timer on it so, no matter your performance, you can eventually get to call it in. Did you just outright lose the match, fair and square? Then you can eliminate the enemy team all before they can evacuate, which is often just as satisfying as a conventional victory. Sure, there are modes like Live Fire, Last Titan Standing, and Pilot vs Pilot that reward player skill and mastery of specific mechanics a lot more. But all of these elements make for a game that is welcoming to every type of shooter fan game sings louder than any other game I’ve played and does so consistently over hundreds of matches.

So that’s why I love Titanfall 2 so much. That’s why I never shut up about it on Twitter. That’s why I bought 6 copies of the game on multiple platforms, not only for myself but to gift to friends. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to spend the last $150 I had at the time to buy the Collector’s Edition off of a friend back when he stumbled across a copy. That’s why, despite some missteps, I will always gleefully jump into anything Respawn makes. And that’s why Titanfall 2 is easily my favorite game of the generation.

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And with that you have our respective Games of the Generation. Keep it locked onto VGU for more end of the generation content.

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