First-person shooters represent arguably the most popular video game genre in existence. Sure, battle royales can be fun, but FPS games rarely invest in interesting stories anymore. But then there’s Titanfall 2. From Apex Legends developer Respawn, Titanfall 2 not only has some of the best-feeling movement in any video game, but it also has the best story in any FPS of the past decade. Playing Titanfall 2 for the first time is a priceless experience, but until February 2, you only have to pay $2.99 on Steam.
Buddy system — Despite being a sequel to a multiplayer-only game and being made in the midst of conversations about whether or not FPS games even needed campaigns, Titanfall 2 still has a single-player story. What is even more shocking is that it isn’t just a boring rehash of the same gung-ho combat stories that Call of Duty has been telling for years. Instead, the story is a gripping sci-fi action thriller that flies by at breakneck speed.
Players assume the role of Jack Cooper, a run-of-the-mill soldier who is thrust into the forefront of a conflict after his superior officer dies and Jack must become a pilot — but not of a plane. Pilots in this universe control massive mechs called Titans (hence the name Titanfall).
While the sci-fi jargon and race toward a convoluted MacGuffin aren’t that inventive, the game is a brisk six hours. But the heart of the story, and what makes the campaign so compelling, is the relationship between Jack and the Titan BT.
Like the best movies about large-scale human conflict, Titanfall 2 is actually just a story about having some buddies that you are close with and the bonds going through the trauma that armed conflict instills. Yeah, BT is a giant robot that you get inside so you can fight other giant robots, but he is also your only friend and loyal companion. This relationship works so well that Titanfall 2 is able to pull off some great emotional moments in its later chapters.
Flow state — The Titanfall 2 story is a thrill, but the game still delivers on the unparalleled joy of being able to pilot a giant robot and beat the absolute crap out of other giant robots. But even more impressive is how Titanfall 2 makes combat outside of the Titan feel just as good, if not better.
Titanfall 2’s most memorable moments happen outside of BT when you are solely in control of Jack and have to master the game’s fast-paced platforming shooter combat. While the time-traveling “Effects and Cause” chapter is perhaps the most iconic, most of the game’s chapters equally show the joy of just being a human who can run on walls and double jump.
The game itself is so confident in the combat of just being Jack that the final chapter of the game only lets you play in this way. Stripping you of the ability to jump in a Titan and giving you only a pistol with auto-lock on and a massive labyrinth to traverse filled with enemies.
What makes the gameplay so enjoyable is that it makes the player prioritize speed and movement just as much as firing at enemies, this creates a flow state where entire levels can go by without much thought on the part of the player. You don’t have time to think, you just do. For anyone who is a fan of the addictive loop of Neon White, Titanfall 2 will feel very familiar.
If you are a fan of first-person shooters but not too ecstatic about how early you get eliminated in battle royales, Titanfall 2 is the perfect solution thanks to its fast-paced but jam-packed single-player campaign that still hasn’t been topped. And if Apex Legends just so happens to be your favorite battle royale, then know that the game takes place in the very same sci-fi universe as the Titanfall games!
Titanfall 2 is currently $2.99 on Steam until February 2. It is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One consoles, and Xbox Game Pass.