Our 10 Favorite Moments Of The Generation
Great gameplay and stellar graphics always impress, but an amazing moment often sticks with us the most. Sometimes that is a surprising plot twist; other times, it’s a hilarious character exchange or a jaw-dropping action segment. Regardless of their form, these experiences can turn a fun game into a memorable one.
That’s why we compiled a list of our 10 favorite in-game moments/sequences of the current generation. In order to include moments from PC-only titles, any game released after November 2020 is eligible. This feature will be an evolving list that we’ll update with new moments as they occur. Additionally, these entries are not ranked in any particular order.
WARNING: To add context and give these moments their proper due, this feature contains SPOILERS. However, we're keeping the titles of the entries as vague as possible, so if you see a game listed you don’t want to know anything about, skip past it.
Lady Dimitrescu headlined Resident Evil Village up to launch but exploring the terrifying dollhouse of Donna Beneviento stole the show. Navigating the creepy dwelling is terrifying and evokes games like Resident Evil 7 and P.T. Alone and unarmed, you must unravel a series of puzzles in a deceptively mundane home surrounded by unsettling dolls and mannequin parts, constantly checking over your shoulder at every creak or groan convinced you’re not alone. When your worst fears are proven correct, it leads to one of the most disturbing and frightening hide-and-seek sequences in recent memory.
Episode 3 of Life is Strange: True Colors features a surprising and entertaining change of pace. Alex agrees to partake in a townwide LARP (Live Action Role-Play for the unfamiliar), serving as the bard companion to her imaginative young friend, Ethan. The game takes this as seriously as its characters, shifting its entire gameplay style to that of a turn-based RPG. It’s incredibly charming and novel to cast fake spells, manage potions and mana, and watch your friends role-play as quest-givers and monsters. It’s also a heartwarming romp, given that the entire campaign is designed to help the struggling Ethan cope with the death of his father figure and Alex’s brother, Gabe. The adventure concludes with a bang thanks to an over-the-top final boss battle.
Solving A Murder
Hitman III outdoes itself during its second mission at the lavish Dartmoor Manor. Agent 47 must assassinate Partners of Providence member Alexa Carlisle, who happens to be busy trying to solve the murder of her younger brother on the same day she planned to hold a funeral for her own, faked death. With several family members and staff on the scene, everyone’s a suspect, and players can hijack the identity of a hired detective to solve this Knives Out-style murder.
Not only is the mystery intriguing, but solving it is fun and requires genuine detective work as you talk to suspects, cross-reference evidence, and hunt for clues throughout the brilliantly designed mansion until you nail the culprit. It’s wild to think that IO Interactive poured so much love into a totally optional quest. You can eliminate Alexa in various ways without engaging with the murder story at all. We recommended putting your detective hat on, though, as it’s arguably the best part of Hitman III.
The Mid-Game Reveal
Returnal stars Selene, an astronaut trapped in the time-looping alien world of Atropos. Each time she dies, she’s reset to the moment she crash-lands on the planet and even encounters the corpses of her past lives. Given Returnal’s difficulty, reaching and conquering the third zone is often a long and brutal endeavor. But doing so allows Selene to contact Earth, where she is finally rescued. The game then treats players to a montage of Selene peacefully living out the remainder of her life back home until she dies of old age … and then reawakens on Atropos. The revelation that Selene remained bound to the loop even after all of that was shocking, and it kicks off an entire second act that has other major surprises in store.
Phin Saves The Day
Insomniac is getting way too good at making us tear up with its Spider-Man games. When Miles discovers that the villainous Tinkerer is his old friend Phin, he subsequently is forced to reveal his identity to her as Spider-Man. This sours their relationship, given that Miles wants to stop Phin from violently avenging her brother’s death. The conflict culminates in a final emotional battle where Miles chooses to absorb the energy of a faulty bomb Phin planned to detonate. Realizing Miles can’t contain the energy for long and that releasing it at ground level would devastate Harlem, she flies him to the sky where he “detonates,” sparing Miles and the city but killing herself in the process. It’s an effective and bittersweet redemption moment for Phin, a likable character with a brilliant mind led astray by unfortunate circumstances.
Not The Ben That I Know
After the departed soul of Benjamin Brynn fails to lie his way into the afterlife by spinning a falsely grandiose narrative of his life, we then learn his real story. He did not, in fact, grow up to become a successful, world-renowned artist. He was a depressed, bedridden, terminally ill child who didn’t live to see his teenage years. That alone is a gut punch, but the real tear-jerker comes during Ben’s final moments. Your mom sits by your death bed after reading the sad story you wrote of your life, saying it didn’t sound like the Ben she’d been lucky to know. Listening to her share her summary of Ben’s life from her perspective, saying he lived a full, meaningful existence despite its mundane brevity, guarantees waterworks as a mother does her best to give her child a final, hopeful send-off.
Samus Gets Very Angry
The epic (and challenging) final battle in Metroid Dread is one for the books. When Samus is pushed to her limits by her sort-of-father Raven Beak, her escalating rage causes her Metroid DNA to awaken and take over. Watching Samus go full Metroid and using her newfound powers to obliterate Raven Beak with one final Dragon Ball-caliber blast is a big fist-pumping moment that also has major implications for the lore moving forward. We’ll likely have to wait a long while to find out what exactly, but the image of seeing the typically stoic Samus emit an eye-widening scream will stick with us even longer.
It’s easy to forget that Drax has a horribly tragic story given how funny and entertaining he is. But, one of Guardians of the Galaxy’s best moments does an amazing job reminding us. Drax is seduced by the Promise, a false reality born from the malevolent Magus that imprisons minds by giving them what they desire most. In Drax’s case, he longs to reunite with his slain wife and daughter. To free Drax, Star-Lord and Co. enter his psyche where they see first-hand just how much Drax’s family means to him. Watching the battle-hungry warrior who killed Thanos lovingly interact with false representations of his loved ones gave us a brief glimpse into his former home life, endearing us to the Destroyer better than any misunderstood metaphor ever did. It also makes it that much harder when you have to convince Drax that none of it is real and to willingly abandon his greatest desire in order to save the galaxy. As heartwrenching an ordeal as it is, it brings the Guardians closer, further solidifying them as not just a team, but a family.
The Festival Begins
Forza Horizon is about silly fun first and foremost, and the fifth entry slams the pedal on over-the-top action from the outset. Your starter jeep is dropped from the back of a cargo plane and lands atop a volcano. As you race downhill, you begin switching between other airdropped vehicles to barrel through a variety of Mexico’s locales, from its lush forests to its arid deserts, until you arrive at the Horizon festival to the sweet chorus of cheering fans. Oh, and there’s a giant sandstorm somewhere in there too. This intro is a blast and a great sampler of what Horizon 5 has to offer.
The First Big Twist
You can tell something is off about Inscryption mere minutes after awakening in its dank cabin for the first time. Defeat your mysterious glowy-eyed foe in his twisted role-playing card game campaign, and everything changes. The presentation unexpectedly shifts to a computer desktop with a series of live-action video clips of a trading card enthusiast documenting his puzzling discovery: a weird game called Inscryption. This fourth-wall breaking moment kicks off a compelling and sinister rabbit hole about the game’s origin, leading to some bizarre revelations, including references to creator Daniel Mullens’ previous titles. After finally beating the cabin section following numerous attempts, we were floored to realize that Inscryption was just getting started, and the journey only gets stranger going forward.