Game of the Year 2016 #8 (Tie): Titanfall 2

Titanfall's engaging multiplayer only suggested the strength that these mechanics could have in a campaign setting. Titanfall 2 proved it.

Sharpened by years of experience with the Call of Duty franchise, Respawn's campaign mode feels familiar and polished, right down to delivering important story hooks while your incapacitated player character watches helplessly. But what really stood out to me was the speed and versatility that these traversal tools opened up. While wall-running to take down an enemy in multiplayer is always enjoyable, each of those players is just as mobile as you are. Using your superior mobility against an overwhelming legion of grunts is something different altogether. 

On top of that, the connection with your own Titan, BT, made for some wonderfully complex tag-team combat scenarios. At one point I wall-ran across a wide chasm, saw BT struggling in the distance against a swarm of enemies, jumped into the fray guns blazing to clear a path to him, hopped inside to wreak havoc, and then jumped back out to mop up the stragglers. It was a singularly thrilling moment in a game chock full of them, and expressed how strong the push and pull of having and occasionalyl losing access to your own superpowered mech can feel.

That's to say nothing of the variety. There's a particular moment in the campaign, immediately recognizable to anyone who has played it, that introduces a gameplay concept so inventive and perfectly executed that it's some of the best shooter gameplay of the year. 

That's all built atop a solid multiplayer foundation that takes the original Titanfall framework and builds on top of it, with more mech frames, a refined player progression system, and an easy-to-use guild infrastructure called "Networks' that more developers should imitate. It deserved a better reception than it received, but it was one of many reminders this year that shooters can still pack plenty of variety in a traditional framework.

2016 Game of the Year Countdown: 

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