What’s up, folks? For this week’s list we’re down a staff member (Ari is on vacation) but up on a whole mess of spoilers for The Top 5: Twists in games! Needless to say that if you haven’t played the games discussed on this list you might want to skip sections of it.
In the interest of spoiler warnings the games we discuss here are Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Final Fantasy VII, Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic, Final Fantasy VI, Persona 4, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid 2, Spec Ops: The Line, Virtue’s Last Reward, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Metroid, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Bioshock, Portal, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Resident Evil. You’ve been warned.
Now, let’s do the twists (sorry – no I’m not):
5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater -
The Boss was loyal to her mission until the end.
Probably one of the stunners that I’ve had playing any game was when it was revealed in the ending that The Boss was really acting under the interest of the United States the whole time. Unfortunately, The Boss was branded as a traitor early in the game, and Naked Snake was forced to take her down. Like what Eva says in the end, “She was a true patriot.” Her death set in motion the events of the entire Metal Gear series.
4. Final Fantasy VII -
Other than being a party member which, according to the official Final Fantasy VII strategy guide, had a level 4 limit break which suggested that she’d last throughout the adventure, no one had any clue that Aeris would be taken from us early in the game. It is this tragic turn of events that made countless gamers everywhere cry and swear vengeance against Sephiroth. Truly a classic moment.
3. Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic -
You are Darth Revan.
One of the biggest holy sh*t moments I’ve ever had in gaming was when it was revealed to you that you are Darth Revan. All the events that lead up from the reveal to the end of the game was breaktaking, but the actual reveal itself was one of those hush hush moments where people would just tell you to finish the game and tell you, “You’ll know what I mean.”
2. Final Fantasy VI -
Kefka becomes a god and destroys the World of Balance.
Final Fantasy VI holds a special distinction above all other Final Fantasy titles in my book because it’s the only game where Kefka, a crazy henchman of The Empire, manages to successfully destroy the world and become a god. This event completely shifts the gameplay of the game from a heavy linear story based RPG to an open world RPG, opening with quite possibly one of the most heart wrenching scenes in gaming.
1. Persona 4 -
Nanako gets abducted.
Nanako Dojima, the Protagonist’s uncle’s daughter, always greets him every single day without fail when he gets home from school. That’s actually quite often, given that players will spend at least 90 hours of game time that they’ll spend in Persona 4. Couple that with moments where Nanako gets frustrated with the Protagonist’s uncle that the player will have to somehow cheer her up or mend the bridges between the both of them.
So imagine how it felt when Nanako was abducted in the most crucial part of the storyline and players all over were forced every single day to come home to an empty house with no Nanako to greet them. The way that Persona 4 handles the player’s daily routine as a high school student and how it plays into the drama is something that I’ve always held in high regard, and this comes to a head when Nanako gets kidnapped. Poor Nanako.
5 – Heavy Rain -
The identity of the Origami Killer.
That one of the four main characters that you play as is the Origami Killer is actually predictable, if only for the fact that Quantic Dream can bust out some pretty good twists from time to time. My favorite kind of twist, though, is one that you can see coming. However, some of the information about this twist is hidden from you, the player, as if Scott Shelby knows you are playing, and actively obfuscates things.
4. Metal Gear Solid 2 -
The fact that Konami cooked up a trailer with fake elements to hide the fact of Raiden’s existence earns number 4 on my favorite twists. Everyone expected to be Solid Snake; Hideo Kojima was willing to do what he wanted to make the game he wanted to make.
3. Spec Ops: The Line -
The game starts with tips like “Dodge grenades when you see them thrown,” and ends with tips like “This is all your fault.” Everything in the game gradually changes alongside the main character’s deteriorating psyche. Then of course, it was all in his head.
2. Virtue’s Last Reward -
There’s actually a bunch of twists that hit in the last section of the game over the span of about an hour, such as that you’re actually on the moon, and it’s 50 years later than you think it is. None have the individual punch of the twist that’s number one on my list, but it’s a great cap to a good 30-35 hours of adventuring.
1. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors -
The Second Screen.
The twist here is that while you have been playing the game on two screens, both screens are not your point of view. The bottom screen was and always has been from a perspective of a character nine years in the past. This ties in with the rest of the plot of the game, and if you pay close attention to the game, this twist isn’t 100% surprising. That said, it’s masterfully executed.
5. Tie – Metroid -
Samus is a woman.
Maybe the twist is more about my apparently inherent sexism even as a young child that I assumed the bad ass I was navagating through Metroid‘s punishing difficulty was a dude. Either way, when that helmet came off my world view was forever changed.
5. Tie – Assassin’s Creed
It’s a science fiction game?
This twist mostly plays into the advertising of the game prior to release, but man, was it fantastic. The whole game takes place in the “Animus” which uses ancestral DNA to tap into memories in which the player relives to help Abstergo locate the “Piece of Eden.” It was an original and interesting concept that still stands as one of my favourites of all-time.
4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare -
You die… like, for good.
Never before has a game had the player fail on purpose and never before has failure been so devastating. After chasing down a Nuke for a large portion of the game as Sergeant Paul Jackson of the USMC it detonates and you, the player, are caught in the explosion. You crawl around for a bit – just enough to see the resulting mushroom cloud and the resulting devastation, and then keel over. It was monumental and every Call of Duty game has been chasing this twist since.
3. Bioshock -
“Would you kindly…?”
Players being sent on fetch quests during games is nothing new but Bioshock turned the concept on it’s ear while commenting on the menial hoops we jump through in video games. In a game full of list-worthy twists, it was brilliant and unrivaled. Not even by it’s successor, Bioshock Infinite.
2. Portal -
“The cake is a lie.”
Through the early sections of Portal the game is a fun and humorous puzzle game with simple controls and complex puzzle mechanics. When I discovered the Rat Man’s room for the first time, I thought ‘huh, that’s a neat little Easter Egg.” Halfway through the game, that Easter Egg lead to the fact that there was an actual plot being told and that GLaDOS was sentient and actively trying to kill you. It’s dark, original and utterly hilarious.
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
You are Darth Revan.
I suppose the twist could have been the mere fact that Bioware wrote an even better, more complex Star Wars story than even those in the films, but after playing through the entire game as a trope (amnesiac hero tasked with saving the world) only find out you are the villain my mind was properly blown.
5. Final Fantasy VII -
4. Heavy Rain -
Scott Shelby is the Origami Killer.
Heavy Rain was an awesome game. It’s about a serial killer dubbed the Origami Killer because he leaves origami figures at each crime scene. Players take on the roll of four characters in the game. A detective, a reporter, an FBI Agent and a father whose son is missing. The game is fun to play and the choices you make as one character can directly affect the other characters. I was diggin detective Scott Shelby and was shocked to find out he was the Origami killer. Shelby was killing children to see how far their fathers would go to save their children.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops
The whole damn thing.
Call of Duty: Black Ops was a great game and had a better story then Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Playing as CIA operative Alex Mason, you tried to assassinate Castro at the Bay of Pigs incident but got captured instead. Mason is freed from a gulag prison by Viktor Reznoz, a former Red Army soldier from Call of Duty: World at War. Mason teams up with US soldier Frank Woods to hunt down Nikita Dragovich. Mason is convinced the only way to find Dragovich is with Reznov’s help who pops up every now and then to give Mason clues on where to go. Players find out late in the game that Reznov died helping free Mason from a Russian prison. In the End, Woods dies with Lev Kravchenko and Mason goes on to stop Dragovich. Then Mason kills Kennedy because he was the sleeper agent programmed by Reznov.
2. Resident Evil -
Wesker is evil.
I played Resident Evil wondering what was going on in this crazy mansion. How did we get here and how do we get out. You later find out that the S.T.A.R.S. commander Albert Wesker was the one who set everyone up at the mansion to gauge the BOW (Bio Organic Weapons) capabilities. Wesker appears to die at the end of the game but that proved to not to be true as he comes back in later games.
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -
You are Darth Revan.
I love Knights of the Old Republic. It’s a great game and was lots of fun to play. I assume most others played as a Jedi but KOTOR lets players choose their own role. The story was engaging and the controller was hard to put down. Players make all their own choices guiding the story to its ultimate conclusion. The only choice the player doesn’t make is that of their past. You see, you the player are the reason the galaxy is at war. You are the galaxy’s savior and its conqueror.
So there you have it, The Top 5: twists in games! Let us know what you thought of our lists as well as your personal top 5 in the comments below!