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50 Best Games of 2016: #26 – Titanfall 2

Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

They say that you shouldn’t judge too early, but after a mere five hours of Titanfall 2, I knew that it would make this list. Almost every other FPS game released this year pales in comparison to what Respawn have accomplished, filling in the gaps from the undervalued original in style. A tad hyperbolic, sure, though recognition it deserves.

Initially hampered by a lot of criticism during its beta stages and a tricky release date that always meant it had a lot of work to do, only the latter problem turned out to damage the game after its launch. Sandwiching the sequel to a polarising Xbox One exclusive between two of the heaviest hitters of the year in Battlefield 1 and Infinite Warfare looked like a bad idea on paper, and so it was. Titanfall 2’s sales haven’t been spectacular, though it’s worth remembering that it hardly be qualified as a disaster.

For my money, though, Titanfall 2 is the best of the bunch.

A sentiment that many have echoed, the game plays in a way that’s so satisfying that it’s almost impossible to define. You don’t walk, you swagger. You don’t run, you glide. You don’t wallrun and massacre a bunch of dudes with ease, you re-enact Swan Lake with bullets.

Taking feedback from the betas on board, Respawn have crafted a seamless multiplayer experience that’s essentially digital crack. Short bursts of pure adrenaline keep the formula fresh, whether it’s the first hour of play or the hundredth – and you won’t even realise that amount of time has passed by. When there are so many different ways to play and such a barrage of different customisation items to unlock, it’s hard not to get sucked right in.

The real jewel of Titanfall 2 however -and it’s almost unbelievable that this is the case- is its single-player campaign. It provides more heart than any other FPS this year and enough variety to keep the momentum going throughout its brisk six-hour playtime. Short but sweet never seemed more appropriate.

Putting you in the boots of rifleman Jack Cooper, a regular grunt with aspirations to become a pilot, Titanfall 2 could have very easily been by the numbers. Man gets robot, kills other robots, becomes king of the robots. While that may have still provided guilt-free entertainment, Titanfall 2 takes the heartfelt route and somehow makes you care about the relationship between one man and his Titan, BT-7424.

The star of the show, BT-7424 has the same qualities that made The Force Awakens’ BB-8 shift so much merchandise. His voice might be monotonous, but there’s depth and great humour behind it. The banter between the pair is what keeps the fairly threadbare story interesting and creeps up on you as the thing that keeps you invested. Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 both did their best to emotionally blackmail players this year, but Titanfall 2’s single-player does it organically and almost perfectly.

If you’re disappointed by Infinite Warfare or want a change of pace from the macabre Great War, Titanfall 2 should be your next port of call. Put your preconceptions to one side and just focus on the pure fun of it all.

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