samedi 7 décembre 2013

Seventh Generation Review - Most memorable moments

The 8th generation has - mostly - arrived and it's time to look back at the rather excellent Seventh Generation slowly leaving us. Last time I reviewed what I perceived to be the best franchises of this generation, and Bioshock took the proverbial cake in a very, very close fight with Portal. This time around I'll look back at the most memorable moments of the 7th gen. There will be mainly in-game moments, obviously, but there will also be a few industry-related events which captured my attention and deserve to be mentioned here. There will be no rankings involved, although some will definitely be more "important" than others.

The Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare campaign
Regardless of the general feelings towards what the Call of Duty franchise represents today, no one can argue the importance Modern Warfare had. Much has been said and written about the now-omnipresent multiplayer feature, so I'll skip over that. What I'll remember most about it is the campaign, which is still the best I've ever played in a military FPS (and that's saying something). I specifically remember, as most everyone who played this game will, three moments.
  • The first one is the "All Ghillied Up" mission, which had me holding my breath from A to Z. As I was crawling around listening to Captain McMillan, I was constantly thinking : "I can't believe I'm doing this, how the f*** did they achieve this?" And basically every military FPS has tried to emulate this mission since, including all the other Call of Duty games I've played. It shows how important it really was.
  • The second one is your character dying when the nuclear bomb hits. As I was witnessing Sgt Jackson slowly agonizing, I kept thinking what games had taught me for the past 15+ years : Your character never dies. So obviously something was going to happen soon to save me. But nothing happened. You simply died. 
  • The last one, while not as epic as the first two, was one of the most enjoyable and captivating missions ever designed. I can't remember the name, but you're in the AC-130 raining death upon your enemy via your black-and-white screen while receiving orders through radio. It's pretty darn amazing and copied 19748927 times since. It's no wonder CoD4 stands tall as one of the most important games of all-time.
The PSN "outage"
I don't know what to call that "event" exactly. I've read terms like "Security breach", "Intrusion", "Hack" among others. No matter how you call it, it was a big mess, as Sony acknowledged sincerely. Since I wasn't (and still isn't) much of an online gamer, it didn't affect my playing time on a day-to-day basis, but it was still a bit freaky that a company as large, as powerful and as seemingly untouchable as Sony could be hit like that. While it didn't affect me personally (apart of hooking me on PS+, which they offered for a sizable discount after the outage), it did beg the question of personal information security in this new day and age.

The Bioshock : Infinite reveal
Rarely - if ever - have I been more hyped for a game. And it all started with this trailer and this gameplay video. Still epic years later.

The first platinum trophy
Some people will likely remember their first achievement or first trophy (depending on which console you preferred at that moment. For me though I had to log on to to remember which trophy was my first (2x multiplier from LittleBigPlanet), but I really didn't need it to identify my first platinum. It was the Fallout 3 platinum trophy. I have to admit I needed help (from the Internet) for a few of them, notably the one where you have to find and defeat the 5 Super Mutant Behemoths in the game, but I loved the game so much I didn't really care about extra hours spent roaming around. And it has to be said I only have 12 platinums, so I kinda remember all of them a little bit. But the first one was extra special.

The LittleBigPlanet introduction
Opinions might differ on LBP's real worth in the gaming industry (I personally think it's an awesome piece of work), but few - if any - can deny the quality of the game's introduction. It's such a happy moment, I couldn't help but smile, amazed by the beauty and happiness of it all. Obviously, the narrator himself, Stephen Fry, played a large part in its charm - the British accent does help. Anyway, while I was guided through the main features of the game, I once thought something along the lines of "Hey, this intro will soon end. No! I don't want it to. It's way too much fun. Don't end!" And that says it all.

The Bioshock "plot twist"
I won't go into too many details in case someone still hasn't played the game - and if that's the case, close this window and go play it now - and plans on playing it. Bioshock is one of the most beautifully crafted adventures ever conceived. And, for me, it all starts with the storyline, exquisitely written mysterious. When you reach the confrontation with Andrew Ryan and discover the true meaning of your presence in Rapture, you probably won't believe your eyes nor your ears. I clearly remember being frozen, jaw on the floor and not knowing what to do or think. Remarkably executed.

Telltale's The Walking Dead
All of it. Every single second of it was just amazing. The most amazing part is, I went in thinking : "Oh this thing was free (1st episode) on PS+, let's try it" with absolutely no knowledge of the game, the comic books or the TV Series. I finished Episode One in a flash and immediately purchased the rest. I just couldn't wait. I'm the kind of gamer who usually - meaning 90% of the time - doesn't play for more than an hour at the time. But playing this, I just HAD to finish the episode if I started it. I finished it in about a week and it won my Game of the Year award for 2012 over games like Borderlands 2, Dishonored and Journey. All of which were pretty epic. Anyway, now I have started the Comic book series and it's yet another very enjoyable experience.

Metal Gear Solid 4's ending
Truth be told, I never played a Metal Gear Solid game before I got my hands on my PS3. In fact, the PS3 model I bought was a Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle, so I kinda had no choice but to play it. And I have to admit I was intrigued because that website I used to visit in 2008 gave it a very rare (for that website) 10 out of 10. Anyway, MGS4 bamboozled me for a while because the story was extremely hard to understand (at least for me), but the end stuck in my mind for some reason. I particularly remember when Old Snake had to go through a tunnel filled with some sort of microwaves burning through his suit and his flesh. As he slowly crawled for what seemed like hours, I felt very uncomfortable watching this old man suffer like this and all I could do was press "X" infinitely. After witnessing that, you had no choice but feel emotionally attached with Snake. The following fist fight with Liquid was beyond unexpected and the hour-long ending cinematic confused me even more, but it sealed what I consider to be a very important game of the Seventh-Generation.

Bloodwing's death in Borderlands 2
In last year's awards, I pointed out how fond I was of Bloodwing following the superb original Borderlands and how actually pissed I was when he was killed by Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. Anyhow, as painful and sad as it was, I have to say it was a powerful - and memorable - moment.

Many, many things in The Last of Us
This game was as close to perfection as any this last generation. I'm not going to say anything here you haven't read anywhere on the Internet or in magazines, as it was widely acclaimed by critics and gamers alike. But damn... it is a fantastic piece of work. You could point out more than a few very powerful moments, like the perfect ending or Ellie savagely killing David in the burning restaurant, but I found that the game and the characters felt more alive and real in the small details. The conversations, the one-liner, the way Ellie sits somewhere when you try to figure out something, all the little things together make for a fantastic, epic game.

Fus Ro Dah!
Fus Ro Dah, a Dragon Shout acquired in Skyrim which can be translated by "Unrelenting Force", is one of the most satisfying thing ever put in a video game. Most of us grew with Dragon Ball's Kamehameha as the ultimate attack, yelling it hundreds of time because it was such a thrilling thing to imagine, blasting people off with pure energy. I think, in a way, the Dragonborn's Fus Ro Dah enabled us gamers to experience the closest thing to a Kamehameha yet. When you finally get the whole shout, you can't wait to try it on people, animals, enemies, anyone! It's so powerful and savage, and now I want to play Skyrim all over again. Which I probably will...

First time going around the Nürburgring in Gran Turismo 5
Top Gear (UK, not that terrible US version) transformed me from someone who didn't care about cars to someone who reads EVO and Top Gear every month. And when you talk about exotic cars, sports cars or basically any car with any sense of speed, the Nürburgring is a must. So in Gran Turismo 5 I was pretty anxious to try it out. But it wasn't available from the start of the game, you had to unlock it by completing a challenge. And I didn't complete that challenge until much later. Therefore, the first time I "drove" on the Nürburgring was in A-Spec in a VW Polo race. Sure, a 100hp-or-so car doesn't sound as enticing as a Ferrari F40, but it worked for me just fine. Since the car wasn't extremely fast and very easy to handle, I could enjoy my ride around the world's most famous track. And it was a blast. I enjoyed it like I couldn't believe what I had just did. The track is so tricky, so long and so intense. Eventually I went around in other cars (GT-R, SLS, etc.), but that first time was unforgettable.

The M95 Sniper in Battlefield : Bad Company 2
In my many years of gaming, I've yet to come across a Sniper Rifle half as satisfying as the M95 was in BC2. I don't know if it's the "best" or the most powerful one in the game and frankly, I don't even care. Just hear the sound this thing makes. It's so violent, so powerful, so freaking manly, it feels like it could pierce through a meter of concrete without even slowing down one iota. As youtuber nickbunyun once said, I'm pretty sure you can hear it from other servers. Not only that, but using that sniper in BC2's multiplayer made me actually a decent Recon soldier. I'm usually not a sniping type of player in online shooters, I'm always a tenth too slow. With most gun types, it doesn't matter, but with a sniper, it makes a HUGE difference. In BC2, I was actually not bad with the M95, I even managed a few solid kill streaks. Sure, I was still way better as an engineer or assault, but that gun made me decent at something I was bad at... and that sound.

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