As the video game industry has evolved over the years, so too has the cinematic value of the games fans know and love. From the early days of first-person shooters and MMOs to the modern-day third-person shooters, RPG’s and beyond, the gaming industry has become one of the top tier entertainment fields in the world.
With that level of success, the visuals and technology has to constantly evolve as well. Part of that includes making truly stunning visual displays of battle in larger than life game conflicts that surpass even movies. Let’s explore the ten best cinematic battles in video games.
One of the first cinematic battles worth noting on here has to be the Battle of the Citadel in the game Mass Effect. The game that started a franchise explored the life of Commander Shepard (male or female, depending on player choice), and their crew who explored the threat of a rogue Spectre named Saren.
The game eventually brought to light the true threat facing the galaxy, a mass race of robot monsters who end all intelligent life in the universe every 50,000 years named Reapers. This battle showed the fight against the first of these Reapers in true glory.
Of all the Batman: Arkham games to be published, the fan favorite in the franchise has to be Arkham City. The game had a lot of iconic moments to the franchise, from the final battle between Batman and one of his biggest foes to Batman’s true identity being discovered by the villainous Hugo Strange and more.
One of the big battles of the game came towards the end however, when it was revealed that Hugo Strange was operating under the direction of none other than Ra’s Al Ghul. A cinematic battle that saw the end of Strange and more ensued.
One of the best cinematic moments in the Mass Effect series came in the final mission of the second game, which had the potential for many different endings. However the most cinematic of them all came when the player managed to acquire all upgrades, perfect relationships with all teammates, and sealed the key to a perfect ending.
In the perfect ending, all teammates survive the final mission against the Collectors and large humanoid Reaper being built. The battle saw Shepard lead their team back to the ship, dodging debris and fire from the Collector base in a stunning visual display.
Sometimes the best cinematic battles come in the opening minutes of a game, and that was certainly true of the hit zombie apocalyptic game Dying Light. The game saw a soldier parachute into a city quarantined by the world after a zombie outbreak, who must fight to save the survivors from zombies, mutated zombies and human enemies alike.
The opening moments saw the player parachute in, only to be greeted by a horde of zombies and immediately bitten. Being rescued by one of the survivors, the cinematic battle saw one survivor fall in battle as the others chased the player.
One of gaming’s biggest surprises in the last decade has to be the massive success of Valve’s Portal franchise. The story set within the same universe as the Half-Life series saw a young woman named Chell stuck in a never-ending series of tests run by the mad A.I. GLaDOS.
The sequel to the first game saw the A.I.’s return, but after Chell managed to switch another A.I. with GLaDOS, things got worse. Forced to work together, GLaDOS and Chell fought to survive and ended with a cinematic battle including a portal onto the moon.
One of the most iconic gaming shocks and moments has to be the first ending of Red Dead Redemption. The hit Rockstar Studios game saw main character John Marston discover too late that the U.S. Government had betrayed him, going on to attack his family’s home and threaten his family.
In a truly amazing Western style moment, John saves his family by taking on the federal agents himself, knowing he won’t survive. In a quick shootout, he is quickly outgunned and loses his life, looking at the home he tried to build while his wife and son soon flee.
A truly tragic battle has to be in Gears of War 3, which concluded the first trilogy in the franchise. Throughout the series, one of the most emotional aspects of the story had to be that of Dom, main character Marcus Fenix’s best friend. Losing his wife, only to discover his wife a shell of herself at the hands of the Locust, suffered more than anyone.
It was in that vein that a sad yet momentous scene took place, as the Lambent surrounded the human fighters. Dom drove a car into a gas tank, sacrificing himself to save his friends.
One of the longest cinematic moments in the past year had to be with the highly anticipated game Kingdom Hearts 3. Throughout the game, Sora fought to battle the heartless and nobody armies, as Organization XIII fought to unlock Kingdom Hearts once and for all under the direction of a powerful foe.
In the final battle, a large and powerful horde of heartless known as the Demon’s Tide attacked the keyblade wielders, and in an awesome display of power, players watched as Riku made the ultimate sacrifice, holding back the horde in an attempt to save a truly distraught Sora.
Anyone who has played the Mass Effect franchise in recent years has to see why the series is featured so much on this list. In the third game of the original trilogy, fans witnessed the last stand of the galaxy against the nearly unstoppable threat of the Reapers, with Shepard leading the march.
In the final battle of the game, fans witnessed Shepard lead a ground assault in an awesome display of determination as the battle in space continued. If the player’s romantic interest is on the field, Shepard has an emotional sendoff to them in the midst of battle.
If any gaming franchise had more iconic cinematic battles in its history, it would have to be Halo. The best, however, comes in the final battle of the final game in the original trilogy, Halo 3. With the fight against the covenant over and the threat of the Halo rings and Flood nearly defeated, fans are treated to heartbreaking losses and spectacular chases.
In the final moments, fans must drive through a deteriorating Halo ring to find a ship to escape, fighting off the Flood, rogue revenants of the Covenant, and the defense system of the installation just to survive.