Content of the article: "Titanfall 2’s story – Overhyped?"
TF2 kind of got itself a reputation for being that "underappreciated" game, which I only got round to in recent months, and while I found the gameplay pretty novel, something that bugged me was how much I kept hearing about how people enjoyed the story, and I'm just not sure I get it.
The most presumptious, dismissive part of myself says that people liked the story because they hold stories in games to a lower standard than they would for movies, and if a game even makes an attempt at a "tearjerker" moment, then bring in the oscars! But I'm also aware that I can be pretty obtuse when it comes to subtler details in stories (I often don't even catch basic plot connections in a movie until my second viewing), and there's always the chance that I went in a little harder to please than I would've been if I'd gone in blind and unaware of its' cult following.
Regardless, the crux of my issue comes down the relationship between the guy and the robot. … … imma quickly google what their names were…
So, I don't detect any kind of arc or growth, when it comes to Jack and BT's relationship. All I basically read was; when they first started together, they acknowledged that they made an effective duo, and as the adventure continues… … more of that. They're still effective.
It just seems to coast along staticly, with neither of them really exhibitting any changes, or learning any lessons, or anything. I dunno if I might get some folks who'll insist that not all good stories depend on "growth" in order to be effective, but when you got moments like that Commander offering to get BT paired with a proper pilot, and BT politely turns her down and insists Jack's the guy for him, I feel like you're supposed to get some catharsis from that? But where's the satisfaction when it was pretty bluntly said from Minute 1 that they worked well together?
I just keep thinking about how easy it would've been to make their union reluctant at the start; BT's cranky that his old pilot's dead and now he has to settle for this rookie, and Jack's probably frustrated in return that BT's holding him to unfair standards (probably like I'm doing with this game).
The game seems to make it clear that machines in this setting are emotional beings with their own agency; BT refers to his old pilot as a "good friend" and the commander seems to respect BT's preferences like she's talking with another person, so I feel like there was room to work with this… This is where I start inventing threads that didn't exist in the game's story, but then I don't think the game offered much to expand on, so when you want to offer suggestions for improvements you kinda gotta invent stuff.
Like, what if BT grew increasingly aware across the adventure, whenever Jack was moving on foot, that he NEEDED a pilot around in order to feel stable? He'd start exhibiting stress, paranoia, and might even grow less effective defending himself, when on his own, as he'd never had to fight without his previous pilot around, before. But seeing as they have their radio chat, Jack figures out how to console him, how to talk him through his emotions, because Jack's also a veteran of war who's experienced emotional trauma, and this actually calms BT down, so when they eventually physically meet up again, BT might actually be glad to see Jack again, for the first time.
Then we get to that ending. "Protect the pilot".
I found it a little hollow because I don't think we were ever given reason to think BT's emotions superceded his programmings, so I got no reason to think he could even choose not to follow that protocol. So what if they actually established that during the adventure? Like, BT sticks to protocol, but that's kinda just his stubborn pragmatic self, and Jack teaches him to sometimes think on your own intuition, and play by your own rules sometimes. So when BT eventually pulls the protocol as he hurls Jack to safety, it can be like a cheeky wink to the audience, like BT's playing it off as if he's compelled by his duty to do it, when he's grown into a person who can think through his emotions now, and is clearly doing that because he chooses to, and is probably just using the "protocol" thing as a cover, because he still doesn't want to verbally admit he's gone soft.
Do you guys think some of the details I think were necessary were actually present, and I just wasn't paying enough attention? Or do you think this game's narrative had a lot of room to improve?
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