A fluke victory in a multiplayer game. A memorable battle against a giant foe. An amazing come-from-behind win. There were great moments in the games we at Kotaku played last year. These are my 10 favorite gaming moments. (Spoilers)
We'll have favorites from the rest of the team throughout the week.
Note: This list is not ranked. There are some spoilers below, but nothing that gives away how a game ends or that will ruin the whole experience of playing it.
Stephen Totilo's 10 Favorite Gaming Moments of 2010
No Good Option (Heavy Rain): In Heavy Rain, a game full of memorable situations and stirring moments, one of the players you can control is locked in a room full of sharp objects. He can only leave if he cuts off a finger, or so he is told. What do you do? My heart raced as I spent five minutes trying to decide. I've blocked my decision from my memory, but I can still feel my stress. This is how another player did it:
The Burning Man (Singularity) : In the underrated time-travel game Singularity, you spend most of your time shooting Russians and hopping between the present and the past, manipulating time as you go. But who was that man burning to death at the beginning of the game? I don't remember exactly when I figured out who he was, but I loved when it clicked in my mind and when, later, I was proven correct.
A Losing Struggle (Medal of Honor): The revamped Medal of Honor wasn't the best game of 2010, but it had one of the strongest, most powerful scenes of desperation I'd experienced in the games I played that year. At the end of one sandy level set in Afghanistan, I was a U.S. soldier, barely covered behind a crumbling wall as dozens of Taliban fighters descended from the surrounding hills to apply so much relentless pressure that I was sure the soldier who I played would die. This provided the opposite of the common Rambo rhythm of advance-and-kill that is prevalent in most scenes of most war games. I was sure I couldn't win and yet felt the strange sensation of knowing death would not be immediate. I could fight against it. But eventually, unusually, I accepted that death would be a hero's fate...which isn't to say that's the end of the story, just the end of what made that moment so memorable.
This is part of it, as played by someone else (jump to the 5:15 mark):
The Reverse Strike (Red Steel 2): Kinect and Move got headlines late in 2010 for their addition of motion-control gaming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but it was the spring's Wii game Red Steel 2 that offered what felt to me like the year's most satisfying motion controls (yes, I gave it a glowing review). The Wii's Remote, made more accurate thanks to the MotionPlus, was marshaled in Red Steel 2 to let me wield both gun and sword. It let me bash armor off of enemies, knock them into the air then leap to slice them in the sky… and best of all it let me swing my arm just so in order to stab the bad guys sneaking up behind me. The move never got old. It felt great each time I did it.
Welcome To The Big Apple (Enslaved: Odyssey To The West): The way in which the game Enslaved lets the player know their adventure will happen in New York is just one of the many breathtaking, gorgeous moments in the game's exhilarating and beautiful first level. Watch and enjoy:
A Look Of Disgust (Red Dead Redemption): Whenever John Marston kills an animal and skins it in Rockstar Games' great western Red Dead Redemption, players must watch, from a carcass-eye's view, as the game's cowboy hero crouches to the ground, unsheathes his knife and does his handiwork. The pelts and hides Marston gets from skinning the creatures of the West can be redeemed for money. But some avid Red Dead hunters hated seeing the few-second skinning animation all the time and rejoiced when they found a way to skip it. It shouldn't be skipped, because skipping it dulls the impact of an unexpected pay-off. Late in the game, Marston teaches a key character how to skin an animal. Their reaction — shown via a change to the animation we'd seen so many times — and what it says about that character and about John Marston, well… it's a rare feat when a tediously repetitious moment in a game is made entirely worth it.
A Different Perspective (BioShock 2): The superb final hours of BioShock 2 bring climax to what is essentially a squabble between parents set in a most unusual place and featuring two most unusual parents. For most of BioShock 2 you are a Big Daddy, the father in this conflict, a father in a diving suit with a drill for a right hand. But near the end, in a moment that's best not to ruin, the player is able to see the game's undersea city of Rapture through the eyes of someone else.
The Sniper Who Didn't Kill Me (Spy Party): Unreleased computer game Spy Party arms one player with a single bullet that can't miss and makes the other player a disguised spy. The spy player must complete a few tasks at a party before the sniper player figures out who they are and pulls the trigger. I played as a spy against the creator of the game and enjoyed the frozen moment when I, an untrained spy with a devious plan to exploit the rules, realized I was about to win — even as the sniper (the game's creator!) boasted that he had me in his sights. And then I won, as joyfully recounted in a story in March.
The Wrong Side Of Rage (God of War III) Video games in 2010 found new ways to use their violence to express anger, chief among them Splinter Cell: Conviction (the moment when the hero snaps and, briefly, becomes an infallible marksman) and God of War III. The latter game culminated with a stunning exhibition of rage that only ended when the player realized enough was enough. The game's best angry moment, though, is when it lets you see anti-hero Kratos' fury through the eyes of a god he is in the process of killing. Watch:
Trypticon (Transformers: War For Cyberton): I grew up playing with Transformers, and so no matter how much I want to put one of the many beautiful moments from Kirby's Epic Yarn on this list, I don't have room. I must use this space to reminisce about battling Trypticon, one of the ultimate Transformers bad guys, in outer-space, while plummeting toward the surface of the Transformers' home planet of Cyberton.
Those were my favorite video game moments of 2010 (And these were my '09 ones, if you're interested). Throughout the week, we'll be publishing the favorite moments of other writers on the Kotaku team. And at week's end, we'll want you to sound off.