We’ve all experienced them. I’m talking about those moments where you’re staring at the screen because you can’t believe what you’ve just seen. Whether you’re astonished, amazed, or straight up pissed, all you can do is put down the controller and utter three simple words… What. The. Fuck.
Of course, with this talking about specific moments this is your official spoiler warning for the following games:
- Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014)
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
- Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic (2003)
- Spec Ops: The Line (2012)
- Control (2019)
The gameplay was not captured by me, I've put source links underneath each of the videos. Please also note that some of the videos (mainly for numbers 4 and 2) have some disturbing sections that may cause distress.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list:
5. Discovering Skyhold – Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014, PS4, PS3, XBOX1, XBOX 360, STEAM)
Picture this, you’ve been leading this rag-tag group of mercenaries, shutting down green portal things with your magic hand of destiny and particle effects, and all of a sudden, this devil man shows up and dunks all over you.
With your allies forced to retreat, it’s just you and the uber demon. Like any logical person, you pull the old ‘if I can’t have it no one can’ move and go all scorched earth on your base and now you’re left wandering the icy mountains searching for the fabled castle Skyhold.
Morale is low and just when you’re ready to roll over and let the cold overwhelm you… it comes into sight. Props to Bioware, they set and shot this scene perfectly, the score swells as the camera pans over the majestic spires.
As the first Dragon Age game I’ve played, they really drew me in and it’s one of the high points of the entire game for me. Kudos Bioware.
4. The Nuke – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007, PS3, XBOX 360, STEAM)
Say whatever you want about the Call of Duty franchise and its quality (or lack thereof) over the years but the Modern Warfare series is considered to be the highwater mark of the entire franchise (1 & 2 more so than 3).
I mean it has to be, it ushered in the whole Modern Warfare trend (more like scourge) that unseated the WWII trend and dominated the FPS genre since 2007. Only being a wee child when the original game released, I only experienced this game for the first time in 2016 when the remaster was thrown to the masses by Activision.
The majority of the campaign is pretty cut and dry… and then we get to Shock and Awe. The tenth campaign mission follows Sgt Paul Jackson as his squad launches a rescue mission of a fellow helicopter crew that’s been shot down in enemy territory.
The entire mission is full of tense firefights and once you get the pilot into the evac chopper you think it’s all over. You hear over the radio that a nuclear device has been discovered but surely American forces will be able to disarm the nuke in time, right?
You can’t tear your eyes away from the screen as the nuke detonates right in front of you and all you can do is watch as the shockwave tears everything to sheds. Your chopper is brought down and the game gives you control back just in time to crawl out of the chopper into the nuclear fallout to breathe your final breaths before everything fades to white.
It’s a truly horrifying sequence and the best moment from the game and the franchise as a whole. All you can do is turn to the person next to you and simply ask “What the fuck just happened?”
3. You are Darth Revan – Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic (2003, Windows, XBOX, Mac, IOS)
Jumping back to Bioware and their 2003 Game of The Year. Throughout the game your character’s origin and backstory is shrouded in mystery as you are thrown into the fray straight away, escaping a Republic cruiser and setting off to save a kidnapped Jedi.
We’re left in the dark as we progress through the story from saving the missing Jedi, to training as a Jedi to travelling all around the galaxy with your band of merry men/Firefly crew, or whatever you want to call it. The entire time you’re completing side quests and building your skills the other Jedi won’t shut up about Darth Revan and how his lust for power led him down the dark side along with his apprentice Darth Malak.
When you finally confront Malak, the game feels like it’s building to a climax until Malak drops the truth bomb on you… turns out you are the big bad Darth Revan that the Jedi captured and brainwashed to forget your past. The realisation is a punch to the gut and the rest of the story is set up as your choice to reject your new life and join Malak once more or accept your destiny and defeat Malak.
Needless to say, this reveal will stick with you long after the galaxy is saved.
2. The White Phosphorous Scene – Spec Ops: The Line (2012, PS3, XBOX 360, PC)
War is hell. This message always seems to fall on deaf ears in the military shooter genre when audiences are too busy trying to pull off trick shots and counting their kills. Spec Ops: The Line grabs players by the scruff of the neck and shoves their face right in the action as you’re reminded just how horrible war can be.
By the time you get to this point in the game, you’ve already seen and played through some horrible scenes, but this is on a whole other level. The setup sees you and your Delta Force operators stumble upon a large enemy force hunkered down between you and your objective: innocent civilians held hostage by the enemy force.
There’s a mortar full of White Phosphorous available for you to use and it’s made clear that this is the only way you’ll be able to neutralise the enemy and rescue the hostages. This is all set up in cutscene but the game makes you order your squadmates to fire on the enemy forces, seeing them as just white dots on a screen. However, once the firing stops, you are forced to walk through the aftermath of your destruction.
This is horrifying enough but this is just the tip of the iceberg. It turns out a bunch of the supposed “enemy” were the civilians being held, hostage. This is bad enough but the fact you ordered the attack leaves questioning whether the fact you’re enjoying the game makes you a monster and if you’re actually a hero (spoilers – you’re not).
1. The Ashtray Maze Sequence – Control (2019, PS5, PS4, XBOXS, XBOX1)
Now, let’s finish this list with a much more light-hearted note. For that, we turn to Remedy’s 2019 action-adventure game Control.
I’ve finished the main game and I’ve got to be honest, for 75% of the game I enjoyed it but nothing was really clicking for me. The gameplay and story were fun and engaging but something felt a little stilted. That is, until I got the headphones from the mysterious janitor and entered into a strange area called The Ashtray Maze.
And by god, this is where the game really hit its stride and finally clicked for me. Entering the maze, the opening chords of Take Control by Old Gods of Asgard made me sit up straight and ask myself where the fuck the game is going with this.
I didn’t have to wait long as the further I delved into the maze, the more I was vibing the music. Every guitar riff and drum snare was another enemy torn to pieces; the music set to the rhythm of this section perfectly, low when exploring the maze and bursting to life as enemies spawn.
I finally got to the end of the maze just as the song ends and all alone in my room, alone by myself I stood up and applauded.
Easily my favourite game moment of the year so far.
What are some of your WTF gaming moments? Let me know either in the comments down below or get in contact.
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