Those moments when you realize you’re in over your head. We’ve all had them. Here are my Top Ten. So far.
1. Jedi Knight II – It’s all so fresh!
That moment happened at the very beginning of the very first mission in Nar Shadaa, the famous Vertical City. It was the first PC game I played ages after having enjoyed the rather pacifist likes of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, and those aliens were just shooting at me and I absolutely had no clue what to do. None whatsoever. After that, Jedi Knight II was one of the greatest rides of my PC-gaming life.
2. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Castle Crasher
That Golem. In my castle! The cheek! Later, much later, I really came to appreciate the heart-warming attempts of my flatmates at keeping me from leaving our home. My initial thought on first confronting the golem, though, was: How the hell am I ever going to beat this monster? Turns out it was easier than I thought.
3. Deus ex: Human Revolution – Updates are just so overrated
There’s an update? Well, I guess I’m probably gonna need it. Guess again! During my second playthrough – the first one ended exactly at that point where actually having updated really hurts – I realized that this was just a very clever trick to check whether you had followed every conversation, read every damn E-Mail and sifted through every single pocket secretary for clues regarding the conspiracy. Needless to say that I hadn’t.
4. Assassin’s Creed II – Can’t. Get. Out!
Ten minutes of frantically searching the entire Duomo in Florence because I had missed the really unmissable hint of just where that god-forsaken window was. I must have plunged to my death three times during that hunt for the exit and probably turned the air blue with my curses. Well. Today, after having played that game probably five times now, I can sleepwalk my way through any of Ezio’s memories. Go, me.
5. Jedi Knight II – Trouble in Paradise.
Yes, so I dabbled a bit in the Dark Side. Why not? Its’ powers are just sooo cool! But, hey, no harm done, right? Sure. No harm done, Kyle, you’ve only just killed your partner. Oh, and you get to be the evil emperor at the end of the game… Right.
6. The Last of Us – Checking in
It is the last mission. Where you get to save Ellie, again, but unfortunately you have to re-collect and re-build all of your gear while stuck in a hospital full of enemy soldiers, all gunning for you. If you don’t know by then how to move stealthily, how to plan your every move before you strike, you’ll definitely know afterwards. I know I did.
7. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag – They don’t come any bigger
Another one of those moments, when the sheer size of your opponent is overwhelming. But just comparing my cute little Jackdaw to that dreadnaught of a man’o’war I was ready to give up. Guess which one of the legendary ships I am getting at? Suffice to say, I am still to beat her.
8. The Witcher 3 – Bad choices
The Witcher teaches you early on that your decision really, really matters. I still was really, really surprised, when, feeling really warm inside, I left the place of a really very romantic reunion of two tormented lovers, one of them sadly and tragically deceased, and suddenly realized, that I had actually condemned an innocent man to his death. If you don’t yet know what episode I am referring to, think of rats. Another example for a mission where you really, really need to pay attention to everything. Really.
9. Assassin’s Creed Revelations – This is not happening.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze, by the time Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood ends, is the Master Assassin, he is the brotherhood’s Mentor, for Christ’s sake, a man who can fight or trick his way through any confrontation. You’ve watched him grow up, a teenager at first, a boy who kept going, cocky, self-assured, despite his losses, against all odds. He matured throughout the story, grew more cautious, or – better – wise, which made him even more likeable, even more admirable. And yet, at the very beginning of Revelations, that man suffers defeat. I remember that I could not believe what was happening. But it happened. And there is that.
10. Thief – Very much in character.
Thief is a game I have not been able to finish. Why? Because Garret is no killer. Never. Ever. For hours I remained patient, very much so. My only goal was being the stealthiest home invader in history. It was a hard learned lesson, let me tell you. You see, while Garret is no killer, he certainly is no fighter. Not in the least. And by the time I had almost reached the final boss fight I did not even think of there being the possibility of simply killing the creatures standing in my way. It took me two days to analyze my failure and realize just what that game had done to me. And all I can say to that is: Awesome.
So. These were my Top Ten Holy Sh*t-moments in gaming so far. What are yours?