I almost wanted to give this to Ultima from FF6, but by the end of the game you can toss out so many Ultima attacks it loses its luster. FF4 spends the entire game building up how amazing Meteo is and when you finally get it, it feels like a big deal. Calling down meteors always feels like an act of amazing power and seeing those 9999s on every enemy on screen did not disappoint. RIP Tellah ☹
9. Soulcalibur 4: Zasalamel Scythe Throw
I don’t even like fighting games very much and SC4 was the only game I played in the entire series. However, my short experience with Soulcalibur was enough to leave me in awe of Zasalamel’s throw abilities. I never got tired of watching him impale someone with his scythe and then hurling them over his head into the ground; It has so much weight to the impact. Scythes are always cool weapons to use but they are usually confined to slashing attacks, limits in animation rarely allow you to interact with your target in such a meaty way. I don’t remember much of my time with SC4, I even had to look up the characters name, but that animation really stuck out in my mind even 10 years later.
8. Deus Ex Human Revolution: Lethal Take Downs
People generally seem to dislike pre-animated take downs but that never bugged me in HR. 2011 was when that generation really started to hit its stride with impressive technology and we were still a way off from getting truly fluid melee animations with the hardware we had available. HR’s take down moves provided a nice balance that gave us some glorious spectacles. I would replay scenes over and over again so I could show my buddy all the sweet take down moves with Jensen’s arm blades. Even though it’s more efficient to do non-lethal takedowns, I just loved watching those moves too much to pass them up. Those blades weren’t put there to trim the hedges after all……..
7. Link to the Past: Bombos
Link to the Past had so many items that were amazing it feels bad picking only one. While the Bow was equipped more often, and the Hookshot felt new and exciting, it was the Bombos medallion that wowed me the most. 1991 was very early in Video Game development so we were more easily impressed back then, but watching the entire screen get engulfed in in flames and explosions really did feel like “The Shit” back then. I recognize that it did have very limited uses but the 6-year-old version of me never got tired of running into a group of enemies and feeling like a firey god.
6. Doom (2016): Shotgun Grenade Launcher
It was the speed of doom 2016 that made the game amazing. Jumping around environments killing demons by the hundreds like you were a space marine off their Ritalin never stopped being exhilarating. The speed made precision shooting a bit more precarious which is where the shotgun came in. Shotguns are always amazing weapons but the grenade launcher on Doom’s shotgun was its most useful feature for me. No matter how fast I was going or how high I was jumping I always felt in complete control with the grenades from the combat shotgun. It was so easy to land kills with satisfying explosions and I relied on that weapon for most of my Doom playthroughs.
5. Chrono Trigger: Spire
Chrono Trigger had amazing animations for a SNES game, combat had a real sense of place that went beyond the two sides lining up against each other on opposite sides of the screen. There were a lot of amazing attacks in Chrono Trigger from Dark Matter to Falcon Strike but “Spire” was always my favorite. A kickass frog would stick his sword in the head of an enemy (Or as close to the head as SNES animations could calculate) and lightning would strike it. There was always a satisfying impact from the lightning that made the entire character model go white and the larger the enemy the more satisfying the effect. As a kid Frog was always my favorite character and that ability was used over and over and over again during my childhood.
4. Vanilla World of Warcraft: Windfury Crit on 2H Weapons
In the old days Shamans used to be able to wield two handed weapons and it was glorious. Shamans were also a bit OP in Vanilla (*Cough Frostshock…… *Cough) but the most satisfying tool in a Shaman’s arsenal was getting a Windfury infused 2H weapon to crit. The burst damage that single attack caused was obscene. There is still nothing like playing a Tauren Shaman and getting those 2H Winfury Crit hits on Gnomes and watching their little bodies go flying with that death animation behind a barrage of large numbers. Those really were the good old days.
3. World in Conflict: Air Strikes
I often go on about how underrated World in Conflict was. To me what made the great RTS games of the 2000s stand out was the animations. World in Conflict was produced with phenomenal production values and every unit felt superbly animated, but the air strikes were the games crowning achievement. There are SO MANY different kinds of air strikes to call in and they all had unique planes and effects. The battlefields in WiC felt so alive with aircraft flying in from offscreen and delivering their payloads with beautiful particle effects. A-10s would strafe armor, F-15s would drop napalm and laser guided bombs, F-16s would launch AA missiles, and B-52s would carpet bomb a massive area. Calling in Air Strikes was always my favorite part of one of my favorite RTS games.
2. Bloodborne: All of it…….
Just all of it…… There are too many amazing weapons in Bloodborne, especially after The Old Hunters DLC, to narrow down any one let alone a particular move. Everything in Bloodborne felt weighted and visceral. I constantly felt proper feedback from the animations of my attacks. I rarely had the disconnect many action games give after performing a massive set of attacks only to watch a health bar drop down 1% with little feedback from the target. My personal favorite weapons were the Church Pick and Rakuyo, I regularly log into Bloodborne to swing them around. A game’s combat system can be considered amazing if you find yourself spending hours in areas fighting mobs without any reward other than that it feels good. This is something Breath of the Wild just didn’t get right with me, even if I found something I enjoyed swinging around I never wanted to optionally participate in the combat because my cool toy would break in 10 minutes anyways.
1. Terraria: The Last Prism
This feels like an odd choice but Terraria is one of my favorite games and The Last Prism just speaks to me in ways no other attack ever has. I love colorful things and watching a giant cone of rainbow colors fill the quarter of a screen and then narrow into a massive laser beam satisfied me in ways nothing else has since. The feedback possibilities of a pixel art game are limited but the damage ticks per second always gave a satisfying sound as a flurry of big flashed numbers across the screen. Fighting hordes of enemies gives a wonderful symphony of rainbow-colored effects that splattered mobs in rapid succession. Watching the concentrated laser beam shred bosses in seconds was equally satisfying. No matter how many times I play Terraria I always end up going the Sorcerer route because of this weapon.