Sometimes, there are moments in gaming when you just have to set the controller down and walk away. Mind-blowing, nerve-frazzling, amazingly epic moments that simply leave you speechless.
In honor of these, we have assembled this list of gaming moments from the current console generation that made our collective heads explode. Enjoy.
Tomb Raider – Opening Sequence
Lara Croft’s origin story definitely raised the bar for the Tomb Raider series as whole. The opening sequence takes off at a full sprint, and the action never really stops. An amazingly intimate survival situation emerges, and a pulse-pounding escape from the bowels of the island ensues.
Gears of War – First Berserker Encounter
In the first Gears of War, you have the pleasure of meeting a terrifying creature called a Berserker. This abomination is blind, sensitive to sound, and impervious to conventional weapons. So how can you possibly eliminate this menace? How about delivering a fiery beam of justice from space? Yeah, that’ll do it. Using the Hammer of Dawn is always a pleasure, but using it on this atrocity is simply priceless.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Slaying Your First Dragon
For years, The Elder Scrolls games have told us that dragons were extinct and no longer a threat to the people. And we believed them. Of course, that made killing your first dragon in the land of Skyrim all the more satisfying.
While not your first encounter with a dragon in the game, this is the first time you’re not just running for your life from one. Plus, to be able to stand toe-to-toe with a dragon, slay it, and absorb it soul is pretty much the ultimate display of medieval badassitude.
Fallout 3 – The Bombing Of Megaton
From the moment we saw that nuke in the center of Megaton, we couldn’t help but wonder “Can that be blown up?” Our suspicions were quickly validated when this choice had to be made: Disarm the bomb and save Megaton or blow it sky-high in a fiery mushroom cloud. We chose the latter. I mean, how often do you get to set off a nuclear device?
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots – Returning to Shadow Moses
Revisiting Snake’s old stomping ground from the original Metal Gear Solid was a nostalgic romp. Seeing the degradation of the island since Snake’s previous visit was a welcome stroll down memory lane.
Fighting new enemies in this graphically revamped environment was amazing, but the real impact of this sequence was how memories came into play. Some of the most memorable boss battles ever happened here, and the blending of personal memories and onscreen action delivered a truly unique experience.
Portal – The Cake is a Lie
GLaDOS was never the most trustworthy of A.I.s, hell-bent on getting Chell killed. All that aside, we still retained hope that if Chell made it through the test at Aperture Labs, she might somehow be able to use the handy-dandy portal gun to escape.
Upon the completion of the final test chamber, it seems our protagonist is on her way to that oft-promised cake, but instead she’s delivered to an incinerator. Damn you, GLaDOS.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Opening Sequence
Waking up in a train, covered in your own blood, and hanging off of a cliff is probably not the ideal scenario. Regardless, this is where Nathan Drake finds himself at the beginning of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Probably the most intense tutorial stage of all time, this jaw-dropping turn of events launches you into Nate’s predicament with no explanation whatsoever, adding to the tension of the whole scene.
Mass Effect 2 – Opening Sequence
After Shepherd survived the veritable onslaught of dangers contained within the shiny discs of the original Mass Effect, its successor threw us quite the curveball, if only for a minute. All seemed well onboard the Normandy, but if Mass Effect has taught us anything, it’s that the calm always comes before the storm.
And what a storm it is. Within the first minutes of the game, the Normandy is destroyed, several crew members are killed, and Shepherd plummets to his death. Virtually everything you worked for in the first Mass Effect is destroyed. Or so you’re led to believe, until the Elusive Man gets involved.
Halo: Reach – End Credits/Voiceover
The Pillar of Autumn is away, Cortana is safe, and here you are stuck on a world full of Covenant that want to kill you. It’s not the best place to be, but hey, at least you ensured the survival of the human race, right?
Noble Six’s valiant last stand is punctuated by a stirring eulogy by Halsey, presented as a voiceover with Six’s broken helmet laying in the background, urging Halo fans everywhere to “Remember Reach.”
BioShock- Descending into Rapture
The original BioShock opening is amazing to say the least. From the moment you arrive at the entrance to Rapture, you are transplanted into an amazingly detailed and breathtaking environment.
The world unravels in front of you, ultimately leading you to your ticket below: The Bathosphere. Following a short film presentation courtesy of Andrew Ryan, you are blindsided by the underwater beauty of Rapture. This astounding achievement will be a benchmark for environmental design for years to come.