Just before the year ends, I thought I would look back and pick out my favourite gaming moments from the last 12 months. I haven’t been able to play all the biggest releases this year, so I’m just going to be including games that I’ve played. I’m not including games that I’ve completed more than once however (I did replay almost all the Metal Gear’s this year, and about five Zelda’s), simply because the reason I’m replayed them in the first place is because they have plenty of amazing moments.
Starting with the worst moments, and in no particular order, the list! Please be aware that whilst there are no major plot twists spoiled, I do discuss several moments from in the middle of games, so if you want absolutely no spoilers, then it’s probably best to skip to the next entry.
Grand Theft Auto V – The Torture Scene
If in earlier Grand Theft Auto’s, Rockstar was standing by your shoulder and constantly whispering, “we don’t trust the Government”, then the torture scene in Grand Theft Auto V was Rockstar smashing us over the head with a sledgehammer whilst yelling, “WE DON’T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT!”
Well for starters - WE KNOW YOU DON’T ROCKSTAR, FOR FUCKS SAKE! The scene itself seems it was added just for controversy, it’s almost complete superfluous (especially as an actual gameplay moment) and it just wasn’t very fun to play at all.
Tomb Raider – The Plane Crash
Tomb Raider is a perfectly fine game, but it seems to think that you’ll get bored if there isn’t an enemy to kill every two minutes, or Lara going five minutes without something on the island trying to or succeeding in horribly injuring her. It’s like the universe hates her and it actually got to the point where I was actually laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all.
Nothing sums this feeling up like the plane crash. Lara has just climbed to the top of the radio tower to signal the rescue plane, when the rescue plane gets hit by lightning and starts to crash. And no, it doesn’t crash off in the distance, it homes right in on Lara’s face for some reason. It was a hilarious and terribly stupid moment.
Dead Island – The City
Dead Island started out interesting enough. You’re stranded on a holiday resort island with your buddies and you have to scrounge for weapons and supplies to complete some fairly straightforward missions. What was interesting about it was the setting, and the moment you leave the vibrant and colourful resort to head into the town, you realise just how standard and in some cases, broken, the game actually is. We made it to the end, but not before going through every standard zombie game location first; prison, sewers, lab, all looking dull and boring and exactly the opposite of the resort. Way to hook us in there, Dead Island.
Resident Evil 6 – Ubistvo
Resident Evil 6 is a terrible game, but the worst moments all feature one boss, Ubistvo. Ubistvo is a chainsaw wielding boss, and you fight him not once, not twice, but NINE times. You “kill” it five different ways, and only one sticks. It would have been fine if you fought him once, perhaps twice, in any of the locations you find him, but nine times is just lazy game design. Oh wait, I forgot we were talking about Resident Evil 6 for a moment there.
Assassin’s Creed 3 – Being Utterly Incompetent as an Assassin
It would be quite easy to write ‘Connor’ for this entry, and that would sum up the entire game. He’s quite stupid, arrogant, impossible to like, and terrible at assassin-ing. The moment that exemplifies this the most is during a speech being given by George Washington. Master Assassin Connor Kenway, is sat SEVERAL FEET in front of his lifelong enemy Charles Lee, and he doesn’t even notice until Lee points it out to him. Good work there genius, the Assassin Order is in great hands with you.
Dead Space 3 – The Last Co-op Mission
Dead Space 3 is a poor horror game, I won’t deny that, but it is a really fun co-op third person shooter. One moment that truly stands out for me is towards the end, and it hinges on one thing; the players can’t see that same thing as each other, because Carver is hallucinating. I truly think that this is a mechanic that should be explored in other, much better games, as there is nothing more disorienting and terrifying than the reactions of your co-op partner seeing something that you can’t. “Can you see the toy soldier?” he yelled, “How about all the presents and the sign saying Daddy hates me?” “There are pictures of my dead wife and child on the walls!!” You get the idea.
Resident Evil 6 – The Maze
Resident Evil 6 is a terrible game, but it has some truly standout moments that I thoroughly enjoyed. The bit when you sneak through the cave around Urtanask, the invisible snake (I am not making this up), fighting against HAOS, but my favourite moment is the maze.
Towards the end of Chris and Piers campaign, you need to find three keys to escape from one section of an aircraft carrier. However, the three keys are somewhere in a winding series of dark corridors, made even more difficult to navigate by the presence of Rasklapanje. Rasklapanje are a regenerating enemy that can appear out of grating on the floor at any moment, and are very difficult to kill. You are first introduced to this enemy as it eats the face off a scientist and creates another one of itself from the corpse. So yeah, tensions are a bit high trying to find those keys. Resident Evil may not necessarily be able to do horror any more, but they’ve certainly nailed ‘panic’.
Dishonored – Not Killing the Lord Regent
In Dishonored, you are seeking revenge against the people who framed you for the murder of the Queen you were meant to be guarding. You can choose how you want to do this however. Do you simply kill everyone, or do you figure out more appropriate punishments? I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself, so I played it by ear. I’d decided to kill the Lord Regent, but after sneaking into his bedroom I changed my mind. After all, this guy was responsible for everything that had happened to me and killing him would be too easy. Looking around a bit, I discovered you could expose his entire plan by playing a certain tape over all of the loudspeakers in the city. Nothing was more pleasing than watching him being found out and getting his just desserts.
Bioshock: Infinite – The Mark
There are a lot of excellent moments in Bioshock: Infinite; the ending, the Boys of Silence, returning to Rapture, Songbird. I particularly loved the arrival in Columbia, especially from the isolation of knowing you didn’t belong there, and you were about to rip the city apart by stealing ‘the lamb’. But the one thing that stuck out for me, leaving me both puzzled and with the feeling that shit was about to go down was the moment when you find the ‘You Shall Know the False Shepherd by his Mark’ sign, and Booker holds up his hand to show you that he’s branded with the same initials. Not only does it feel like everyone in Columbia is about to turn around and start trying to attack you, but there’s the dread that they knew you were coming, so what else do they know?
Grand Theft Auto V – Miniguns
In Grand Theft Auto V, you pull off a series of increasingly outrages heists (maybe not as many as I would have liked) to get money for various causes. My favourite of these missions is when you rob a small town bank, also known to be where all the corrupt police officers keep their ill gotten gains. Trevor, Michael and Franklin only have exit strategy; fight their way out against an entire police force. When the police arrive, Trevor and Michael emerge from the bank, wearing full body armour stolen from the military, and a Gatling gun. What follows is a ridiculous shoot out as the Gatling gun tears through cars, crashes helicopters, and kills a lot of police officers. Who’d want to be a cop in Grand Theft Auto anyway?