Finally. Something that would give M. Night Shyamalan the kicks and giggles. It’ll be spoilerific, today’s challenge, by it’s very nature so please be wary. If you’re one of those that finds stories ruined by spoilers, than I’d recommend you read the last several Mage Challenges instead. But if you can suck it up, read on and be sure to share with us your favorite plot twists! If it seems like it’s too much of a spoiler, consider speaking in vague terms if you can! This post contains potential spoilers for:
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of LibertyArkham City
Mega Man 7
Final Fantasy X
“What is the Most Shocking Plot Twist in a Video Game?“
The Timely Mage
I love a cleverly executed plot twist and there are certainly some good ones out there. The big dark-clad villain is your brother? The bad guy actually succeeds in destroying the world? The antagonist is you from the future? Would you kindly kill your father with a golf club? The ghost is your stillborn twin brother? Sorry, I’ll stop but one of my favorite plot twists was a sort of Sixth Sense moment in Heavy Rain when they reveal the Origami Killer. While I think the reveal could’ve been handled better it certainly makes you think back through the story up until that point and appreciate how well-hidden in plain sight the answer was.
The Black Humor Mage
I was barely getting serious about video games when I played Metal Gear Solid 2, so I did not expect the plot twist that Raiden was communicating with an AI the whole time. And that there was a secret society controlling world events. And that Raiden was a child soldier who had his memory wiped. There were a lot of things, really. It’s a complicated game. I’m pretty sure I still don’t understand a lot of that game today. That game had a perfect twist because not only was it one of the most “Huh?” moments in gaming, but I also hadn’t learned to see a plot twist coming. Now, they don’t surprise me too much.
The Rage Mage
Speaking of armpit hair. How about getting stiffed with this platinum blonde waif? I’d call that a plot twist… when all we wanted in MGS2… was to play as SNAAAAAAKE!
The Green Screen Mage
Undertale takes the cake on this one. There’s been a few games that left me in utter shock, but none like this one. The reveal of Flowey at the end of the True Pacifist run and learning about the First Human. It was just such a jaw dropping moment.
The White Out Mage
Finding out that Tidus’ own father had become the monstrous monstrosity Sin in Final Fantasy X was quite the shock. It deepened the drama knowing Tidus had to confront Jecht and face his ruined relationship with his dad.
The Well-Red Mage
Three twists popped into my head that I’ll give mention to: The Joker’s death at the end of Arkham City, finding out Samus Aran was a woman the whole time at the end of Metroid, and Mega Man almost killing Dr. Wily. In that last one, in Mega Man 7, the blue bomber defeats Wily, who says he’ll go quietly. Mega Man says he doesn’t trust him and aims his buster cannon at the old man, saying (with terrible translation): “I gonna do what I should have done years ago!!” Wily retorts that robots cannot harm humans (referencing Asimov’s 3 Laws), and Mega Man says… “I am more than a robot!! Die Wily!!” Only the intervention of Bass stops Mega Man from icing the evil scientist and committing cold-blooded murder. That’s quite the twist on the generally cheerful blue android, who admits he is more than a robot.
But my top choice ultimately goes to the Joker’s death from Titan poisoning at the end of Arkham City. It was so shocking because who kills the Joker? Nobody kills the Joker! Unless you’re Frank Miller. You don’t just up and kill off the Joker! But Rocksteady did it. And the moment was quiet and strangely tragic as the Joker breathes his last, having stabbed Batman and causing him to drop the last of the cure for the Joker’s sickness, thereby ending all hope for recovery. Batman looks down at him and says “Do you want to know something funny? Even after everything you’ve done… I would have saved you.” The moment is played so heartfelt by Kevin Conroy’s steely baritone, it’s intensely solemn despite it being the death of the worst possible criminal there could be. Batman carries his body out and lays it on the hood of a cop car. Fade to black. Roll credits. Play a voicemail left by the Joker earlier in the game where he sings “Only You” to Batman. Sick and terrifying and shocking. My jaw tumbled down the steps and came to rest two floors below me.