I was going to do a whole “best games of the year” series of blog posts. I really was. Then I took stock and realized that a) I hadn’t really played enough games released in 2011 to be able to write any such posts with authority and that b) I’m a lazy motherfucker. So instead of a week’s worth of posts that no one will read highlighting such things as “Best Knee-Jerk Steam Purchase” and “Why Skyrim is the Best Game Ever” I decided to do something a bit different, condensing all my various thoughts and feelings about the games I played this year into one condensed top ten list of my most memorable gaming moments of 2011. Or something like that.
A caveat: not all of the games I’m about to highlight are 2011 games, just games I played in 2011. In fact, 2011 games are in a distinct minority on this list (I’m a poor high school student. Whatcha gonna do?).
Oh, and a final warning: SPOILERS. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.
Now, without further ado….
BaneFireLord’s Top 10 Moments in Games He Played in 2011
10. ‘Splosion Man (the ending, and what happened IRL as a result)
‘Splosion Man is a pretty punishing experience. Of course, it has nothing on the whip-wielding dominatrices of Super Meat Boy and Dark Souls (more on that bitch later), but it’s still up there, maybe in more the role of a…uh…okay, my knowledge of S&M analogies has run dry. Whatever; ‘Splosion Man is still a hard game. I had long ago abandoned any hope of seeing that wacky, live action cutscene so many websites had snickered about back in ’08 outside of a YouTube video. However, one night this past summer, after finally realizing that I didn’t like Bioshock and really could care less if Andrew Ryan’s dystopia went to hell or not, I idly scrolled through my list of XBLA games and settled on ‘Splosion Man. “Well,” I said to myself, “It’s not like I have anything else to do,” and commenced playing.
A good, harrowing three hours later, I finally hit that stupid meat boss for a third time and the joy of CGI steaks was spread throughout the land of FMV. I gave a great cheer of joy and banged a fist on my desk for good measure.
Unfortunately, I had neglected to glance at the clock and was unaware that it was almost three o’clock in the morning and everyone else in my house had gone to bed a good five hours earlier. As a result, my parents were rather irritable (an understatement on the level of classifying Nome, Alaska in January as “chilly”) and more or less refused to talk to me all the next day.
But hey, that live action ‘Splosion Man was pretty funny, huh?
9. Left 4 Dead 2 (“Concert”)
I like zombies. I like loud rock music. I like things that are badass. Honestly, if I had to go down fighting zombies, I would choose to do it on a stage with metal blaring through loudspeakers and fireworks exploding everywhere, with me beating the bastards back till my last breath with an indestructible Les Paul. Awesome.
Well, either that or suicide bombing a crowd of the undead with a Ferrari packed to the gills with plastic explosives and blaring “Highway to Hell” over the stereo system. That would be pretty sweet.
8. Rock Band 3 (“The Beautiful People” a la falsetto)
Say what you want about the death of the rhythm genre, but damned if Rock Band isn’t one of the best party games ever, especially when a guy who is either drunk, high or a combination of both chooses to sing a Marilyn Manson song. With a falsetto. At midnight.
If I had somehow managed to record it, the film would have taken the internet by a storm and both Mr. Falsetto and I would be rich and famous. But, as it was, everyone was doing their best to not fall off their chairs laughing. Thank goodness the song failed when it did or we might have all died from oxygen deprivation.
7. Batman: Arkham City (Tiny the Shark)
When I fell into the lake of water at the museum in Batman: Arkham City I literally fell off my chair. I mean, usually whenever Batman falls into water, he just rappels out, no biggie. But this…this was different. I mean…
Who the fuck expects a giant Great White Shark to show up in the middle of a Batman game and eat you? Let me repeat that: A Great White Shark fucking eats the Batman. He EATS MOTHERFUCKING BATMAN.
Like I said, I fell off my chair.
6. Dark Souls (Killing the Taurus Demon)
I don’t like Dark Souls. I bought it to kill time until Skyrim came out and really regret my purchase. It’s not really the difficulty; I expected that. It’s more the repetition that goes along with that difficulty that overwhelmed me. Usually, I’m the kind of person who excels at repeatedly beating my head against a problem until it goes away (works every time, except in regards to getting a prom date last year). That strategy, coupled with the Drake Sword, served me rather well through the first hours of Dark Souls. However, after I died about twenty times fighting the asshole with the two dogs and the meat cleavers, I suddenly had the revelation that I wasn’t enjoying the game at all, and had in fact not been enjoying myself for about six hours. So I stopped, because I’m not autistic or a masochist: I don’t enjoy doing the same thing a million times, nor do get my jollies by having a woman in stiletto heels stomp on my STOP STOP DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT.
I have a lot of negative things I’d like to say about Dark Souls, but this isn’t the place for them. Instead, I want to talk about one of the few times in the game I legitimately enjoyed myself. This was the time I defeated the Taurus Demon, after the bastard had thrown me about like a damn tennis ball five times in a row. (Yes, I know its only the second boss)
I cleared out the two archers on the tower overlooking the bridge, timidly tip-toed up to the boss-trigger area and, the instant I heard the demon roar, turned tail and sprinted like a madman back to the relative safety of the tower. I clambered up onto the top, missing being clubbed by a hands breadth. So, there I was, looking down at the demon, knowing I had maybe ten seconds to dive attack before he bounded gleefully up to join me and rape my face. I hurriedly panned through my inventory, looking for something, anything that might give me an edge. I alighted on some substance whose effect read, in very poorly translated English, something along the lines of “lightening effect to on you’re sword.” Sounded good to me.
I applied this mysterious substance to my greatsword and was pleasantly surprised to see some nice yellow crackles along the blade. After my nasty experience with Tiny Being’s Ring and its misleading description (seriously, fuck Tiny Being’s Ring), I had half expected my character to blow up. But no, clearly there was lightening on my sword, and lightening meant damage. I sprinted to the edge and, screaming for blood, dived, sword point down, onto the head of the bull devil.
The instant the game registered the hit, three quarters of the demon’s health vanished like Batman into the maw of Tiny the Shark. Elated, I vaulted off the demon and, while he was still roaring his discomfort to the skies, swiftly stabbed him thrice in his filthy back. There was another howl, a flash of light and “YOU DEFEATED” flashed on the screen. The entire fight had lasted about 15 seconds and I emerged with no health lost.
I was ecstatic. I strode confidently across the bridge, waiting to see what other terrors I could so easily vanquish. Five minutes later, I was killed by a dragon when all I was trying to do was walk across a bridge. Sigh.
5. Mass Effect 2 (Jacob’s Loyalty Mission)
I’m a paragon, except when being renegade just feels right. It might have been the fact that I had just finished reading Lord of the Flies (which the plot of the mission was certainly inspired by) or it might have been my own morals, but something about the circumstances surrounding Jacob’s loyalty quest just pissed me off. Someone had to pay for all the forced mental breakdown, dammit. Anyway, when I reached the final confrontation with Jacob’s father, I decided I wanted that asshole to suffer, and suffer good. So I picked every single renegade option the game presented me with. When Jacob finally hands his dad the pistol with one shot in it and he and Shepard walk off without looking back and dad raises the gun to his temple...the catharsis and justice was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Pity Jacob was so boring everywhere else, but oh well.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (The last twenty seconds)
Before I played the last twenty seconds of AssCreedBro, I had never screamed at an inanimate object before. After Desmond jerkily stabs Lucy and the screen went instantly to black, that changed. Seriously, a cliffhanger is one thing, but come the fuck on! That’s just plain cruel!
3. Fallout: New Vegas (Killing Caesar)
Caesar’s Legion is a bunch of jerks. I hated them the instant I set foot in Nipton and met Vulpus Assholeus and heard his bullshit speech about “paying for their sins” and whatnot. Fortunately, I had dynamite and he didn’t.
About twenty hours of gameplay later, I was questing near Cottonwood Cove, with Boone and Rex following me. I cleaned out the Legion scum, released the prisoners and was doing some old fashioned looting. I stepped out onto the dock to sort through the belongings of a thoroughly dismembered legionnaire who had been blown there by a frag grenade when suddenly the normally laconic Boone starts talking to me. I do not recall the exact phrasing, but I will do my best.
Boone: Hey, we can see the Fort from here. You wanna go kamikaze and kill that Caesar sonuvabitch?
Me: Hell yes I do!
So a disillusioned sniper, a cyborg dog and a courier with a grenade launcher, a duster and an awesome mustache all clamber into a boat and go storm the Legion stronghold. No punchline. After plowing our way through the legion encampment like an 18-wheeler through a Toyotathon, we burst into Caesar’s tent. Immediately, approximately ten bajillion legionnaires appear out of various nooks and crannies in a hopeless attempt to protect their fearless leader. Three shots with a grenade launcher later, all ten bajillion legionnaires have magically transformed into ten quadribajillion lumps of unidentifiable meat.
Then Caesar, apparently unfazed by this Holocaust, decides to try his hand at killing a juggernaut, moi. As he jerkily stands and walks toward me, I switch to a sawed off shotgun and plug all my AP into a headshot. It was the most glorious slow motion explosion of brains, eyes and jawbones I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing in a Fallout game.
Then, of course, I still had to go save Hoover Dam because apparently Caesar’s Legion is an invincible zombie snake that doesn’t notice when you cut its head off. But whatever: don’t care; had justice.
2. Portal 2 (“The Part Where He Kills You”)
Portal 2 is full of memorable moments, from the opening brain damage musings of Wheatly to the utterly unexpected moon shot. However, what really takes the cake (rim shot) is the “The Part Where He Kills You” title card. It is one of the most ingenious, hilarious sequences in anything ever. I cannot explain it effectively, so just watch it (0:55). Actually, don’t, if you haven’t already seen it, because you should be playing Portal 2 right now and not reading all these spoilers. BAD!
1. Skyrim (Too many to count)
There are far, far too many amazing things that happened to me in Skyrim to pick just one. So I’ll pick several!
First, killing the Gourmet. The guy’s last words were so acquiescing and hilarious, made even more so by my character’s slow motion jump/chest stab finishing movie. “Oh dear, you’re going to kill me aren’t you?” Yup. You’re dead, buddy.
Secondly, the Dark Brotherhood quest line. I almost wish someone would make a big budget movie based on it. Certainly, it’s not as good as Oblivion’s line, but what is, really? I loved all the characters and situations, especially the little chat you have with the Emperor. “I know you have to do this, but could you do me a favor and destroy that son of a bitch who paid you?” Best last request ever. But, actually, the most amazing part of the whole quest line was the very, very end. Everyone’s settled into the new Sanctuary, the Night Mother’s telling me to kill again and everything’s perfect. I walk out of the Sanctuary, jump on Shadowmere and ride off into a blizzard, playing “Believe” by the Bravery on my computer and doing slow motion pans around my guy. It was legit. No, I swear. You had to have been there.
Finally, and perhaps most prominent, was the last dungeon before the portal to Sovngarde. I emerged on the top level of the cairn or whatever it was and was dive bombed by three dragons at once. I ran. I fucking booked it to the portal. I almost made it, too…but then one of the dragons decided to land right in front of me. So I decided “Hey! I’m the Dragonborn! I’m going to mess these guys up!” I equipped the Mace of Molag Bal and my flawless Dragonbane, shouted the max Storm Call and went to town, with lightning flashing everywhere and dragons swooping all over the place. Two minutes later, all three dragons, plus about a dozen draugr, were dead at my feet. It was the most epic battle I had had in the entire game, perhaps any game. It’s just a shame how anticlimactic the fight against Alduin was in contrast.
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! I hope you enjoyed yourself! If you’ve skipped to this part because tl;dr, screw you! (not really…I’d probably have done the same).
Happy New Year, duders.