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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare.

TranscriptEdit

I know that historically it's Queen Battlefield and King Call of Duty that share the dogshit crown as they drift through the skies of the annual shooter season like two greasy zeppelins made of rancid luncheon meat, but this year, those two have undergone trial separation. All the signs were there; the way they both surreptitiously roll their eyes as they air-kissed for the photographers, the occasional half-hearted stabbing. They've had to face the fact that their mutual love of realistic violence fueled by politics on a level appreciable by frustrated chest-thumping cockslops just isn't enough anymore, because Battlefield got back into historical war re-enactments and Call of Duty got back into sticking rabbit turds up its nose. Happily, a much starker parallel exists in this year's shooter season between Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Titanfall 2, so I'm going to do them together! 'Cus I'm trying to keep on top of the year's releases and I want to get the shooters out of the way so I can stop reflexively reaching for the iron sights button every time I aim my piss stream at a toilet bowl.

Tittyfall 2 is, spoiler warning, the sequel to Tittyfall 1. Basically the same, but with a single player campaign now. But I hope it doesn't expect to score any points for that, because selling Tittyfall 1 at full price without single player was like forgetting to inflate the bouncy castle, and resulted in about as much head trauma for me. Call of Duty, meanwhile, decided to start doing games about modern warfare for a while, but for now the series is like the brooms from The Sorcerer's Apprentice that kept doing that because no one told them to stop, and things have reached the inevitable conclusion with Call of Duty: Infinitum Warfare suddenly being IN SPAAAAACE! like it's a fucking Saturday morning cartoon adaptation. But the question you have to ask with sci-fi is if the story actually needs to be sci-fi and couldn't work perfectly well set in, just to pick an example completely out of the air, the First World War. Tittyfall does, because both the plot and the gameplay center around giant robots and jetpacks, and there weren't too many reports of giant robots in the Somme. Maybe they were all being very quiet; we'll never know. The main purpose of the sci-fi setting in Informal Warfare, meanwhile, seems to be for the sake of showing us people we have been clumsily assured are BAD getting their shit ruined in more and more spectacular setpieces, and the actual plot can be transplanted into literally any preceding Call of Duty game, because it's the same cast as always; a bunch of shouty interchangeable lads, all with the single defining personality trait of being very dutiful, like they're answering a call of some description. And in the final act, they all start getting picked off with the laughable regularity of a game of "This Little Piggy".

Both Tittyflaps 2 and Infantile Warfare open with a narrated plot recap for a plot that hasn't actually started yet, unless you count that fucking elevator music of a story Titanfall 1 claimed to have, I suppose, with the clear intention to establish the bad guys as BAD. Tittyflaps gives us the IMC, evil corporation oppressing independent planets for their precious resources, fairly cut-and-dry stuff, whereas Call of Duty: Infy Winfy gives us the SDF, Mars-based military nation that despises the people of Earth because question mark. Their leader is played by Kit Harington, and after carefully analyzing his performance in this game to ascertain his character's motivations, the only conclusion I had reached was that Kit Harington could be out-acted by a dying blobfish in a Kit Harington mask. Like a teacher's pet with an exhibitionist fetish, telling is never quite as satisfying as showing.

Tittyfuck 2 swiftly backs up the opening plot dump by having the main character, who had one of those generic everyman names that I can't remember, so let's just call him "Brian Twatchops", join a big assault against the IMC that promptly goes about as well as a charity barbecue at the home for very large, very poorly-trained dogs, leaving Brian alone and scared behind enemy lines with a faceful of dirt and and someone's shoe up his bum. Great! Threat established, protagonist sympathetic. Nice work. Meanwhile, the first we see of the very threatening SDF in Call of Duty: Improvised Wanking is when we ambush and kill a bunch, break into their house, kill about 50 more of them and smash some of their stuff, before getting killed ourselves by Kit Harington, which is as humiliating as getting licked to death by a mule. We then cut to our real protagonist, let's call him Barry Pisscup, going on about how the SDF must be taken to task for defending themselves against the previous protagonist and ruining his attempt to break his massacre record.

Compared to Interminable Whining, Titwank 2 is the better experience, but then, so is licking a used scouring pad. So let me clarify that even in a vacuum, like, say, the vacuum of SPAAAACE, Titwank 2's single player is pretty all right as campaigns go. Brian Twatchops teams up with a pilot-less mech to form a vaudeville comedy act based around pulling the "I am oblivious to your human sarcasm" gag about seven million times, but the AI comes to respect Brian's skills, and their relationship actually means something by the end. Meanwhile, Impertinent Waffling also has an AI character, who is exactly the same as everyone else except he's got a traffic light for a head, and another character is really awkwardly and inexplicably racist at him for no better reason than so he can equally inexplicably stop being racist two missions later, which made me go "Uh oh, I smell hastily-resolved character arc! I wouldn't start reading any long books, Mister Ex-Racist, mate!"

Not that the plot points in Breastdescent 2 are any less predictable, but at least there's a sense of growth and development to get us invested in characters. The problem with Call of Duty plots is that every character starts out as an off-the-shelf fully-developed soldier type with super skills and various hitherto-unmentioned superweapons ready to be pulled from their arse, and the plot is just about giving them an excuse to use it all on something that will bleed or catch fire amusingly. Brian Twatchops isn't even a mech pilot when he starts piloting a mech, and has no superweapons up his arse, save a military-issue breakfast burrito.

The curious parallels between the two games continue in that both feature wall-running and double-jumping, but Boobytits 2 bases the levels around it, with wide open spaces, jumping challenges, and hard-to-reach secrets, whereas Indecent Wobbling takes place in the usual claustrophobic ruined cities and military bases, and I think you're only obliged to wall-run maybe twice in the whole campaign, making the wall-running just another toy for a spoiled child, another lovingly-crafted wedding cake to mash up and add to the trough.

Breastmelons 2 has its issues, of course. In fact, the biggest annoyance for me in the big giant robot piloting game was having to pilot a giant robot, which I know is like saying that I'd love sucking my fat grandma's arsehole if it didn't taste so horrible, but switching between the runny-jumpy on-foot controls to thundering about like your fat grandma's clinging to your legs makes for a jarring contrast. And since you only get into your mech to fight other mechs, you don't even feel more powerful. Your heath bar is still disappearing like chocolate biscuits around your fat grandma, but what's Ignoble Weatherman got to compete with it? The token flying vehicle that controls like a magic carpet? The whole game's already far beyond fat grandma, not unlike the Atkins Diet.

AddendaEdit

  • The Man from Mars who eats guitars: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • I just don't see how anyone could look around Mars and think "Yes, our planet is far superior to one on which chicken nuggets exist"
  • Fat grandma appears courtesy of the Federal Whaling Commission
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2

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