Titanfall 2 is a magnificent accomplishment in game design and execution. Every aspect of the game is impeccably well done – it looks and sounds amazing, plays like a dream, and, most importantly, is incredibly fun. While a lot of games have similar mechanics to Titanfall 2, nothing feels like Titanfall 2. That is what makes this the best shooter of the year – the way it feels. Everything about the controls for the wall-running, shooting, special abilities, and Titans have a smoothness and flow to them that can really only be understood through direct experience. You absolutely need to play it to understand how amazing the controls in Titanfall 2 are.
Another refreshingly strong aspect of Titanfall 2 is the level of freedom it affords players. Instead of trapping players in a restrictive character class, Titanfall 2 lets people customize almost every aspect of their multiplayer Pilot loadout. While the Titan half of the multiplayer experience is somewhat more restrictive in terms of loadouts, the Titans themselves are differentiated well enough from one another that they offer plenty of variety. The game is even more distinctive on account of its campaign which is a masterclass in how to pace gameplay mechanics. Titanfall 2 is constantly introducing and discarding new, interesting gameplay mechanics and consequently never becomes dull or repetitive. When the mechanical brilliance of the campaign is put together with Titanfall 2’s solid “A boy and his robot” story and one of the year’s standout new characters, BT 7274, you get, arguably, the best campaign of the year.
Doom is a game about momentum, which is important because that’s the way it is different from practically every other game this year. The new hotness in games lately, shooters especially, has been agility; letting players flit about the environment hither and thither. Doom ignores this trend almost with disdain, forcing players to stay mostly planted on the ground but letting them move at unheard of, in recent years at least, speed across it. So Doom isn’t a game about not getting blasted so much as it is a game about blasting things and smashing things and ripping things and tearing things. This isn’t just a return to form to the series because this year’s Doom added a new piece to the old formula: storytelling. In Dooms of yore, story was an afterthought for the most part. This Doom, though, actually has a story with a plot and everything and an interesting supporting cast of characters. This game even managed to give the “Doom guy” a little bit of a personality. In a year where the most popular game is often about five opposing team members finding ways to keep you from killing the sixth, Doom is a breath of fresh air, letting you really cut loose against a horde of angry demons.