Ever since I got my first gaming console (Nintendo GameCube) all the way back in 2005, I have played many games from many different consoles such as the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4. There have been many games throughout my gaming journey that have provided me great memories, which not only made fall in love with the game I’m playing, but gaming as a whole. For this list, I am looking at the 10 video games that have most contributed to my love of gaming, making memories that still hang in my mind. While I play a lot of sports games, those will not appear on this list as it will compose of story-based games. Spoiler warning for each game included on this list.
10. The ending of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Growing up, I was told that video games tend to suffer from terrible or bland endings. Even the endings of the Gothic trilogy are nothing special. However, the ending of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood changed that, making it the first great ending I have seen for a video game. While it wasn’t the last, Brotherhood remains the best video game ending I have ever seen. After Ezio Auditore hid the Apple of Eden underneath the Roman Colosseum, Desmond Miles and his allies attempt to recover the artifact. After a pulse-pounding sequence to get the artifact, Desmond is suddenly taken over by Juno as she explains how humans lack knowledge and he is a direct descendant of the First Civilization. Desmond is forced to stab ally Lucy Stillman in the abdomen, killing her as Desmond falls into a coma. The sequence building up to it was brilliant and the pay-off of the twist and exposition for Juno made the journey worth it while raising the anticipation for the third game in the Ezio trilogy. While Revelations was a disappointment, the ending of Brotherhood was still fantastic, making it one of the best games in the franchise.
9. The quest for the Elders Scroll at the Tower of Mzark in The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the first modern RPGs games I have played. When I first downloaded the game onto my PC, I struggled my way through the game. I stuck with the main story as I gathered my bearings during the first few levels. Because I get easily attached to stories , I began my quest for the Elder Scroll: Dragon underleveled. I entered the dwarven city of Alftand, which led me to spend four hours constantly dying, losing my way and getting stumped on the puzzles. This quest was an intense experience for my 15-year-old self, as I became completely immersed in the adventure. I was determined to win and, fueled by the epic music, I became captivated in the action. This sequence made me fall in love with Skyrim, while helping me improve at the game. I love the adventure RPGs provide and those four hours perfectly represent why that is the case.
8. Rafe reveals Sam hired him in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has one of the best stories of any video game I have ever played. The scene that emphasizes this the most is when Rafe reveals to Nathan Drake that he released his brother, Sam, from jail, contradicting Sam’s story where he was broken out by drug lord Hector Alcazar. This is vital, as Sam’s story that he needs to find Henry Avery’s treasure or Hector will kill him was false. Nate left his wife, Elena, to go on this adventure to save Sam, making the realization for Nate a painful one, as Nate lied to Elena about his whereabouts. After Rafe tosses Nate down a cliff, Nate is saved by Elena, causing them to begin to reconcile as they attempt to rescue Sam. What makes this great is not only the believable and well-executed twist, but also the repercussions of it, as they allow for incredible character growth. Nate and Elena’s conversations as they rescue Sam are beautifully written, making it my favorite video game relationship. This twist thoroughly develops the characters and their relationships, making it a very heartfelt scene and cementing this game as one of my favorites.
7. Vivian’s Revenge in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is one of my favorite games of all time. One major reason for this are the unique characters The Thousand Year Door introduced. Vivian is the best among these characters as her story adds depth to the characters and her journey. She is a member of The Shadow Sirens, a trio of sisters who are working with the X-Nauts to steal Mario’s legendary map so they can open the Thousand-Year Door and acquire the legendary treasure. Vivian’s oldest sister, Beldam, abuses her throughout the game. In Chapter 4, Mario meets her after his name and body were stolen by Doopliss. She befriends him, not realizing that she was helping Mario, her sworn enemy. However, she decides to join him after learning his identity because he treats her better than her sisters. She becomes the best partner in the game due to her fire attacks which can burn all enemies on screen. In Chapter 8, I always have Vivian as my partner during the confrontation with The Shadow Sirens in the Palace of Shadow. By placing her in your party, you can allow Vivian to get revenge on her sisters. This makes the fight more satisfying as she punishes her abusers, creating a fantastic character arc in this Paper Mario game. It is my favorite moment in the game as it exemplifies the sheer amount of depth most partners get throughout the adventure.
6. Revenge on the Old Camp in Gothic
Speaking of revenge, Gothic provides possibly the best I have seen in any video game. When the hero gets to the Old Camp at the beginning of the game, he is weak and defenseless as many people beat him up for no good reason. The hero must work his way up the ladder, eventually joining one of the three camps in the Colony. At the start of Chapter 4, the Old Camp’s mine, the Old Mine, caves in, forcing the leader of the Old Camp, Gomez, to take over the mine in the New Camp. If you are a member of the Old Camp, you are exiled from them after they realized you were doing a quest for the Water Magicians in the New Camp. Outside of your best friends, the entirety of Old Camp becomes hostile as the guards try to kill you on sight. After the hero and Gorn free the mine from the Old Camp again, the hero eventually becomes the strongest man in the Colony. In Chapter 6, the hero uses the magic sword, Uriziel, and teleports into the Old Camp after finding a teleportation rune in the previous chapter. He goes there to reinforce his ore armor with the help of the imprisoned backsmith, Stone, slaughtering the leaders of the Old Camp in the process. Regardless if the hero was a member of the Old Camp or not, this scene is incredibly satisfying as the members of the same camp that beat you down at the beginning are left to beg for mercy as you become an unstoppable killing machine. Gothic makes you earn your increased strength after a grueling beginning, making the progression feel more natural than it would in any other game.
5. The Dragon Hunter upgrade in Gothic II: Night of the Raven
As great as the character progression system is in Gothic, the one in Gothic II: Night of the Raven is even better. You start off the game just as weak as in Gothic, but what makes Night of the Raven’s better is the slower progression. It takes at least until Chapter 3 to kill an orc without an issue, while in Gothic I could kill one midway through Chapter 2. Night of the Raven is the toughest game I have ever played, as it takes serious grinding to become strong and stand up to the army of evil. The path of the dragon hunter emphasizes this point the most. Magic is overpowered once the game reaches Chapter 4, but, as a sword fighter, the game is always challenging, especially in Chapter 4 when you face the dragons in the Valley of Mines. However, once you defeat them to reach Chapter 5, you earn enough gold, find the necessary ore to craft the best one-handed sword in the game and use your earnings to purchase the best armor in the game. This moment pays off all the grueling work it took to get to this point; being able to unleash on the invading Lizard Men in Khorinis is satisfying, showing just how far your character has come. It is the best character-progression system I have seen in video gaming, and this path, culminating in Chapter 5, perfectly displays this.
4. The final battle of Final Fantasy VII Remake
Growing up, I never played a single game in the Final Fantasy franchise. However, I had heard from many Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts fans especially my brother, that Sephiroth, the final boss of the original Final Fantasy VII, was one of the most challenging fights they have ever played. I saw many lists on YouTube proclaiming him as an incredibly challenging and epic villain. When I started playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, I did not know Sephiroth would appear as the final boss considering there were future sequels ahead. After a challenging fight against Whisperer Harbinger, a fight that took me two hours, to my surprise, I faced off with the man himself. I finally got a crack at one of the most iconic villains in gaming history. Now, I had work in an hour, so I needed to beat him quickly or risk having to do the Harbinger fight over again (I wasn’t sure if it saved after that fight). After intense concentration and going all out, I miraculously defeated him on my first try within 40 minutes. I had never felt that accomplished playing a video game before. I was even able to watch the end-credit scenes and get to work on time.
3. The train sequence in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
One reason I love the Uncharted franchise is how cinematic the adventure feels. The camera work is very smooth, the graphics are vivid and the story unfolds like a movie or TV show. The train sequence in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, is the perfect example of this. We have seen many scenes in film and television where the hero pushes his way toward the front of the train, holding off the bad guys in the process. In Uncharted 2, Nate is trying to rescue his friend, Chloe Frazer, after she was kidnapped by their former partner, Harry Flynn. The scene flows incredibly well as the terrain changes seamlessly on the way, showcasing everything from Nepal to the Himalayan Mountains. The action looks great and the scene of battling soldiers and helicopters was intense, making the experience riveting. I am amazed Naughty Dog pulled off such a flawless and fun action sequence, leaving me with an experience I will never forget.
2. Freeing the Hammer Clan’s mine in Gothic 3
Even though I only gave Gothic 3 a 6.5/10 in my retrospective of the game, one of the reasons it is still one of my favorite games of all time is due to its incredible action sequences. While not as cinematic as the train sequence in Uncharted 2, I enjoyed freeing the Hammer Clan’s mine in Gothic 3 more. In the game, the orcs, during their invasion on the mainland, have driven the Hammer Clan’s residents out of their ore-smelting mine, controlling it for themselves. The hero is charged with the task of freeing the mine with a few Nordmarian warriors providing assistance. This scene is nothing but epic, as many waves of orcs come rushing twoards the group one after another. It is a non-stop thrill ride. The music by Kai Rosenkranz is epic, sucking me into the moment even more. The orcs are incredibly annoying and tough, making it a satisfying moment when they finally retreat. It takes me an hour at the minimum each time to liberate the mine, leaving me drained and exhausted when it is over. I felt incredibly satisfied when I first completed it, a feeling I still get to this day.
1. Fighting Taron Malicos in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I am a die-hard Star Wars fan, so it should come as not surprise that a moment in a great Star Wars game tops this list for me. To establish, when I started playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order late in 2019, I had only watched the movies and a little bit of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This was my first single-player Star Wars game I played; it was awesome being able to go on an adventure with Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan post-Order 66. The lore I got from this game was incredible. Dathomir was brand-new to me, as I had not yet seen its other appearances in canon. Here, Cal comes across Taron Malicos, a Jedi survivor of Order 66 who learned dark power from the Nightsister, Merrin. After Cal refuses to join him, Malicos attacks them, forcing Cal to flee. Because of Cal’s emotional confusion, we see Cal survive Order 66 and lose his master, Jaro Tepal, in flashbacks. This emotionally wrecked me, which directly leads to Cal going to Illum to forge his own lightsaber. After this, Cal returns to Dathomir and battles Malicos to retrieve an important macguffin. This is my favorite moment because I got to participate in a lightsaber battle against a dark-force user. The buildup to this fight was tremendous and the action was incredible, as I figured out the game mechanics well enough to defeat Malicos. The help Cal receives from Merrin emphasizes the game’s great character development. The fact I got to partake in a force battle immersed me into the Star Wars universe, making this a moment that grew my obsession. Due to the great action and lore building, this moment became my favorite of any video I have ever played. Interestingly enough, I did this fight right as the calendar switched from 2019 to 2020, so the year started off perfect for me. Too bad it went downhill from there.
What are your favorite moments in video game history? Comment down below.