We've been blessed with well over two decades worth of first-person shooter games and in that time, especially the last six years or so, the industry has been saturated with the genre, with titles delivering varying degrees of quality. This over saturation, while a sobering cornerstone of the violence in video game argument, has also been a definitive hindrance on innovation and overall progression in the genre. Even the mighty Call of Duty is starting to whiff of desperation as it hurriedly remasters quality titles for a quick cash flip as its core release gets disliked into oblivion on YouTube.
Titanfall was originally blocked from multi-platform release thanks to financial constraints and exclusivity deals that both enabled the title to come to fruition, but also smothered its clear potential. Through the mild success of the first release and the outcries of almost every fan, Titanfall triumphantly returned in 2016, and this time it came packing a single player experience.
"Titanfall triumphantly returned in 2016, and this time it came packing a single player experience"
Peel back the macho, 'oorah' exterior (that's evidently some kind prerequisite to be allowed into the shooty bang-bang club) and Titanfall 2 flexes its narrative muscles in a far more meaningful way – companionship. The titans have progressed from lumbering war machines into sentient soldiers with a clear purpose and role within the story. While the main arc follows the typical end of the world scenario, the real thread is found within the bond you build between yourself and BT - 7274, a titan you've inherited from a fallen comrade and whose logical responses to human nuances are simply priceless.
Having your own personal titan mixes up the typical shooter gameplay wonderfully, making most encounters multi-layed. Hop into BT - 7274 and blast away the larger enemies then pop out and start clambering the walls as an agile pilot, picking off stragglers. It's a testament to the ingenious level design that a linear experience can deliver such varied scenarios and remain enjoyable throughout. It certainly has moments where it slips into the cliche genre conventions, but they're so diluted with moments of grace, fluidity, and intelligence that they're nearly always forgiven.
Titanfall's roots are firmly established in multiplayer, and that hasn't been forgotten. The online components are fleshed out and brilliant in their own right, with modes of gameplay that feel hand-tailored to suit the dynamics of both the pilots and the titans. Better yet, Respawn seems to have taken a leaf out of CD Projekt Red's book and is delivering a lot of DLC for free, driving another welcome nail into the coffin of the Season Pass.
We're spoilt for choice when it comes to the shooter genre, for better or for worse. Innovation and the ability to rise above much of the swill is becoming increasingly difficult so for Titanfall 2 to make such waves is an impressive feat. It's an example of incredibly intuitive design and clever storytelling that has been sorely absent from the genre of late and what better way for it to come back than in the hull of a gun-wielding titan.
Do you believe that nothing beats BT's tale this year? Have you got the bug for more Titanfall now that the franchise has finally appeared on a PlayStation format? Drop a bot in the comments section below.