There are plenty of video games released every year. The ones that set themselves apart from the pack, however, feature those indelible moments that truly stick with us; that inspire chatter among friends; that have you thinking years from now, “Man, remember that time we first faced down the boss from _______. What an amazing time.”
Here are ten such moments brought to us from the video games of 2013. Please note that there WILL be SPOILERS, so read at your own risk.
10. Call of Duty: Ghosts – Into the Deep
Modern Military Shooters are getting a little stale, no doubt about it. At this point, we’ve fought on land, ships, in the air and underground. (Take that G.I. Joe.)
Call of Duty: Ghosts managed to surprise players with an underwater level. Sure it’s still linear Call of Duty with flaming helicopters falling down around your ears — but the subtle differences in movement and shooting mechanics, and the way cover and enemy behavior changes for this level manages to make this MMS feel fresh and thrilling.
09. Mass Effect 3: Citadel – Archives Mission
Sure, this DLC is full of comedy and fan service, but unlike the generic and barely climactic Earth mission of the main game, the Archives mission feels like a near perfect last chapter to the incredible trilogy: A few final questions get answered. A few last references to the previous games are made. And your entire squad is with you for this final push against a powerful and enigmatic enemy. It’s a great way to finish a series and an awesome way to please us fans one last time.
08. Crysis 3 – Gods and Monsters
Maps with vertical combat, flanking routes, and lots of tactical options are what makes Crytek’s latest outing stand out among myriad other shooters — and this last campaign level is the best showcase of that.
The world around you gets turned upside down; you don’t know where you are or what is going on. You’re alone, with only your suit, bow and whatever guns you can find. Enemies are plentiful, but so are your options. Hack minefields, use gun emplacements, turn enemy drones against their masters, sneak past entire squads, take them on in open combat –- you do what you can to survive. Gods and Monsters has interactivity and immersiveness written all over it.
07. Remember Me – First Remix
Remember Me is all about anti-utopian themes, melee combat and memory control. And if there’s something that helps you forget about RM’s drawbacks, it’s the Memory Remixing. The first time you realize you’re diving into someone’s mind and changing them to suit your own needs is empowering, satisfying and terrifying at the same time. And surprisingly, the effect doesn’t wear-off until you finish the very last Remix.
06. Bioshock Infinite – Entering Columbia
Bioshock Infinite is not a gameplay-centric game. The title’s strong points are its presentation and story. And if, like many gamers, you’re smart enough to expect the twists and predict what’s going to happen next, then what you’ll remember the most is the beginning.
When the rocket shoots you up into the sky, then you walk through a baptizing temple, past the Founding Fathers’ statues, into the city for the first time… it’s breathtaking.
05. Dead Space 3 – Chapter 12: Autopsy
In the third game of a trilogy all about ancient twisted monsters trying to kill you from every shadow and tension at a constant high — what do the developers have to do to make you feel vulnerable and scared again?
Simple: They put you inside one of the bastards and make you hurt it. And if being inside a dead one is somewhat bearable, when a live one swallows you, the sheer rush of thoughts and emotions about what’s next is something rarely experienced even in horror games.
04. Metro: Last Light – The Dead City
Few games are as immersive and gripping as M:LL, but one level stands out: The Dead City. A chapter full of flashbacks into times past, relics from an era long gone and comments from a person of a different species discovering those who came before him makes you feel like a pioneer, an archaeologist and a guilty criminal at the same time. It will bring you sorrow, curiosity and satisfaction. And it will definitely not leave you bored or unsurprised. The Dead City is undoubtedly one of the most atmospheric levels in the history of video games.
03. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – entire game
Blood Dragon is what separates video games from films. Immersion, interactivity and ridiculous fun are constant, and the fourth wall gets smashed into pieces. Add to that all stereotypes from 1980s movies and dinosaurs that shoot lasers out of their eyes and you get one hell of a game through and through.
02. Gone Home – The Attic
Being an evolution of Dear Esther, GH gives you an enormous mansion to explore and clues to discover. In peace and serenity. That’s what it’s all about. But near the end, when you get into the attic, you enter an inner sanctum of a girl, whose secrets you’ve just learned. And as you are about to find out where she is, your heart races, your eyes are wide open and you hold your breath. The feeling stays with you for a long time.
01. The Stanley Parable – Confusion Ending
Stanley Parable plays with you as much as you play with it. Narrator takes turns in addressing you, Stanley, the game, and the devs. The visuals and design screw with your mind. The choices of how to progress seem limitless. But more than all other parts of the game, the Confusion ending blows your mind. You end up in a dimly lit room, and find a list of criteria and a counter. Then suddenly, the narrator loses it and starts questioning everything you see and almost seems to guess your thoughts. It’s unnerving and hilarious at the same time. It’s immersive and unexpected. It’s what makes gaming unique. And that’s what makes it the most memorable gaming moment of 2013.
Agree? Disagree? Did we leave any glaring 2013 gaming moments off the list? Sound off in the comments.