The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
A semi-recent trend in video games has been the introduction of player-driven choices. It has been experimented on in the past, but the last generation of consoles took it to another level. The beautiful thing about player-driven choices is that it really opens up for more options and replayability. Letting me choose between this or that is a great incentive to explore my options in a second (or third?) play through. Games like Mass Effect have done an extraordinary job at this, but there are many games that less consequential outcomes or subtle hints that may go under the radar. Warning: There are minor spoilers to BioShock Infinite, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (I know, right?), Mass Effect 2 (which has major spoilers), and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
5) The Bird or the Cage - BioShock Infinite
(You were expecting this to be higher on the list, weren't you?)
A running theme in the BioShock series has always been choice and consequence. And early on in the game you get a would-be inconsequential choice. A Gentleman and a Lady ask Elizabeth to choose between a bird or cage pendant. After getting her attention, Elizabeth asks the player to pick which pendant they liked more. There isn't much of a difference at the time. But when the plot twist hits you at the end, and the revelations of the story unfold, keen players will see the reflection of their choices.
4) Live or Let Die - Splinter Cell: Double Agent
(Don't worry, just a nameless NPC. Or is it...? Nah, just kidding, he's a nobody.)
Let's face it- Double Agent was an awful game. It completely reversed what made the series great, and the end was terrible. Nonetheless, it did usher in a great choice system. You were, as the name implies, a double agent, infiltrating a terrorist group and bring it down from the inside. Along the way, prisoners are captured, and to prove yourself to the group's leaders, you had to execute them. The game is shifts to a dramatic first person view, and you are given a predicament. Shoot the innocent and gain the trust of the enemy, or let them go, but softening in your boss' eyes? Ultimately, it is up to the player to decide, and it is definitely one of the more difficult decisions I've made in gaming.
3) Cause and Effect - Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
One thing Treyarch did to shake up the campaign for Black Ops 2 was introduce choices. Many of them led to different endings, which was a great addition to the one size fits all style of the past games. Many of the choices (To kill a character, which path to take in a mission, the very ending itself) had a great impact on the outcome of the story. I absolutely loved this system, and I hope it is used more in the next games.
2) The Collector Base - Mass Effect 2
After (hopefully) surviving the suicide mission and defeating the Collectors, Commander Shepard is contacted by the Illusive Man. The player is then given a choice to hand over the base to the Illusive Man, or destroy the base. The choice you make has consequences in the final act, Mass Effect 3 (albeit not in as deep of a way as players were expecting). Either way, it's a player crafted experience, and that's why it earns a high spot on this list.
1) The Truth - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
(Yeah, I've got nothing ...)
In the very end of the game (in a location I won't spoil), you are presented with three choices. These are well explained, so you won't need a wiki guide to decipher the meaning. They all present their own cost and benefit, and leaves it up to the player. You thought this was an easy decision, eh? Well, think again. You know the truth, and now it is up to you to decide what should happen to it. There is no easy answer to the conclusion, but that's what makes it so great, isn't it? You are never going to have a "and they lived happily ever after" story in life, so the way they present this issue to you is both realistic and impactful.
Thanks for reading my list, and hopefully I didn't spoil too much. Though I doubt you'd get as far as to read this if you heeded my warnings. Nevertheless, share with me some of your favorite decisions in gaming. Just make sure to add a spoiler tag to the end for others.