My Top 10 Moments of Current-Gen Gaming Excellence
This is it. We have arrived. As of midnight tonight/tomorrow, next-gen will be current-gen and the trappings of the last 8 years with the PS3 and Xbox 360 will have come to a glorious end. (Unless, of course, you are waiting to pick up a next-gen console; in which case I would like to simultaneously apologize for this entry and congratulate you on having monk like patience in the face of something obviously better than what you currently own. Kudos, friend.) The journey has been long and the memories made will forever remain as some of the best, and worst, in gaming history. In recognition of time spent, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite moments from this generation.
It should be mentioned that there are potential spoilers included and that this is very much a list based on mine own personal experience, not that of the gaming community at-large.
The first-person shooter genre can be a rather polarizing topic in gaming, depending on the “type” of gamer you associate yourself with (let’s face it, old dudes tend to enjoy an FPS far less than the Monster-fueled youngster…though they are arguably better. Eat that 13-year-old prick that tea-bagged me last night). Despite where you may fall on the rather large bridge of FPS opinion, there is nothing quite like running rampant through lobby after lobby.
I first experienced this deity-like empowerment during a Halo 3 session. Equipped with the ever-deadly sniper rifle and an energy sword, I made fools of all those running through The Pit that day, forever spawning my love for the FPS; a love that burns brightly to this day, despite my arthritic thumbs.
Remember the first time a V.A.T.S. headshot kill happened in Fallout 3? Of course you do! Remember the first time a V.A.T.S. headshot kill happened when the “Bloody Mess” perk was active? Of course you do!
Fallout 3 was most excellent, but the usage of V.A.T.S. throughout the game, without it ever becoming stale, was a colossal achievement.
Why did I do it?!?! I remember thinking to myself: Damn Wrex, after everything we have been through, you’re going to start doubting my judgment now? What the hell do you expect me to do here, bro? AND, you’re being a bit of a bitch about it. So, when that Renegade option came up, exactly at the moment when my anger peaked, I shot that over-grown snail right in his face (kind of).
And then immediately regretted it…and continue to do so. I’m sorry Wrex, old buddy. You were right.
Yeah, Bioshock. The entire series. The beauty and absolute horror that these games possess, and simultaneously provoke in the gamer, is breathtaking. There are very little games that existed during this generation that kept me enraptured quite like Bioshock.
The psychological horrors of Ken Levine’s finely crafted narratives are something that will continually bring me back to the series. The way he and the crew from Irrational visually flay modern tropes is most excellent.
Am I right? You never quite know what is going to be waiting for you when that loading screen finishes. There could be a vast landscape of unparalleled beauty, or that same landscape marred by a dragon intent upon extinguishing all life in a given area. Either way, Skyrim is beautiful in all its forms, dangerous and fulfilling alike.
I will say that toward the end of my time with the game, I preferred the soundtrack and sprawling landscape to the dragon encounter. My legendary archer picked dragons out of the sky like a flame thrower wrecking snowflakes in a blizzard. No big deal.
Again, all of it. Portal, both 1 and 2, were the kinds of isolated experiences that narrative-driven gamers look forward to. Not only were the puzzles engaging and fun, but the general script was hilarious.
I can’t tell you how many times I completely lost my place in a puzzle after stopping to listen to the perfectly performed voice-acting that was going on in the peripheral of the game. Actually, I can…17.
I have followed the Gears of War series with vague interest throughout its career. I buy the game for the story, an occasional jaunt through Horde mode with some compatriots, and a wee-bit of sawing through big baddies in multiplayer, but nothing more. I dig the characters and the story being told, but the gameplay mechanics always feel a bit clunky and sluggish.
When Dom died, Gears of War firmly planted itself within my psyche. Yes, the characters that occupy the gamespace are roid-buff and grisly, but they show quite a bit of emotional depth throughout the series. So, when Dom dies and Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” began to play, I cried. Yeah, like a little baby. Miss you Dom…
Bungie, you had better thank [insert deity here] that I waited until the end of the credits! I was already looking up ticket prices for flights out west so that I could pour out all my rage (and some tears…yes, more tears) on your faces! But then you had to go and totally redeem yourselves. Thank you for that, by the way. We’re cool now.
Ron Pearlman, the Arbiter, scratched 117, sunset, and Marty O’Donnell…I need to remember to put those in my will.
Yup, just him, in all his glory. Never have I been more immersed in a fiction as I was during my time with Ezio Auditore de Firenze. We were allowed to follow him from brash youth to aged and wizened old man, and I cherish every moment.
We conquered the Vatican, overthrew Templar plot after Templar plot, and revived the Assassin’s brotherhood. All in a good day’s (read: lifetime’s) work for me and my favorite video game character.
Yes, I am aware I have a problem. I just don’t care about the next eleven steps.
After all the amazing experiences I have had with this generation’s swath of excellent games, nothing quite compares to the excitement of powering on the console and settling in for a session. That flutter deep down and the smile that consistently crawls across the face are just unexplainable to those not “in the know.”
I can only hope that feeling never goes away; no matter what generation it may happen to be.
Thanks for reading. See you next-gen!