I haven’t done a post like this in a LONG time, and I was feeling the urge to do so. Now, if you’re wondering why I am not doing movie trailers, well, that’s because there aren’t all that many good ones. There are some really cool ones, but not that many that have stuck with me. Game trailers, on the other hand, some of these have been just awesome! Now, before we get into this, let me say that the trailers on this list don’t necessarily correlate with the quality of the game. A couple on this list are games that I cannot stand, or am totally bored by, but was totally hyped because of the trailer I saw. Also, since I know that this list is going to be 100% my opinion, and some of you will vehemently disagree, tell me what your favorite trailers are. Post links. I want to know. Anyway, enough house-keeping. Let’s get to this.
10. Batman: Arkham City
I don’t know how many of you I ever told this to, but one of my favorite villains are a kid was The Riddler. I always loved how this guy was so smart, so cunning, so crafty. If it weren’t for the fact that he has to give Batman clues, because of his own psychological pathology, this guy could have killed Batman 10 times over! And this trailer was so good at making this character feel both intimidating and smart. I love how you actually see very little. It merely shows you brief bits of schematics, some neat Riddler question marks, and a couple shots of the hero. And while you are seeing this, the voice of the Riddler talks about how inferior you are, and how certain your death is. But not in that cartoon-y way, where you laugh at it. It feels intimidating. I love this trailer, and the only real pity is that the Riddler in the actual game wasn’t as cool as the trailer made him out to be.
9. Halo 3
The reason that I like this trailer is because it doesn’t treat Master Chief like a total badass. Something that most people don’t know is that I wasn’t all that much of a fan of the Halo series. Not until Halo 4, that is. That game did what I thought this trailer was showing – took some of the emotional armor off the Chief, making him more of a human being. The whole “White Knight” aspect of most gaming heroes never really interested me all that much. Sure, a guy can kill a lot of people or aliens, but I don’t just want to embrace the killing. Let me get to know this character. I want to understand their motivations. What got them there? Why do they fight as hard as they do? These are great questions to ask. And when I saw this trailer for Halo 3, that’s what I thought it was going to be. You see the Chief as a boy, and he is like a normal kid. Then, it abruptly cuts to him in the future. He’s outnumbered, outgunned and looks to be in real trouble. He uses a shield grenade to give himself cover, desperately trying to survive. That is what I wanted to see from this game, and sadly, the actual package did NOT deliver. It was a pretty mediocre game, if you ask me. But yeah, I still do love this trailer, and always will.
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Man, talk about ANOTHER game whose trailer over-promised, and the actual game under-delivered. This trailer hooked me from the moment I saw it. When I saw this, I was thinking that this game would actually be looking at the idea of another World War. That some of the missions would be incredibly long, and we would actually be a part of this, from all sorts of angles. Meanwhile, the heroes from the last game would be putting the pieces together, trying to make it all stop. Expectations for this game were high. And, sadly, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Most people, when I saw this, hit me back with the fact that these games are made for the multiplayer. And while that’s true, the reality is that there is NO excuse in this day and age why a game can’t have good single player AND multiplayer. Halo 4 proved that this was possible, by leaps and bounds. I won’t lie, the Call of Duty franchise has never interested me all that much. But Modern Warfare 2 was an awesome game, mixing some incredibly cool characters, along with genuine tension. This game, unfortunately, fails. A pity, too, because it could have been great.
7. Mass Effect 3
“Take Earth Back” trailer
Man, when it comes to setting up a conflict and putting the stakes firmly in your mind, no game did this better than Mass Effect 3. And save for the god-awful third act (the shitty ending, the lack of being able to see your war assets in play and the total loss of narrative coherence), this game delivered. But the coolest thing about this trailer is that you see the human side of things. And I’m not talking about it just showing people. I’m not The Illusive Man here. I mean the side of the the story that shows you who is being affected. It’s not easy to make something feel global, and make it into a disaster film. But with a story like Mass Effect, you have free reign to make it feel big, because the stories of these games have been big. And this trailer makes you enjoy every moment of it. From the little girl who is shown at the beginning, you see humanity and its totally overwhelming battle against an enemy who feels nothing and cares even less. It’s totally gripping, and worth every minute.
6. Alice: Madness Returns
If one is looking for a trailer to represent what the game is actually about, you can’t get much better than this. This trailer is nuts. This game is nuts. Sanity really has no place in anything having to do with it. I especially love the use of color in this trailer. It begins so peaceful, with lots of soft and gentle colors. It makes the world feel so much more inviting. You actually want to be a part of it. A credit to a well-done trailer. Never has madness looked so cool.
5. Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Final Fantasy XIII burned us. All of us. We were horribly burned by what a complete mess it was. The linear gameplay, the storyline that made your head hurt, so many things were wrong with it. The only selling point it had was on the cool factor of some of its characters. But they milked that well dry too. Then, a few months later, we saw this trailer. The moment that my friends and I saw this trailer, we all were captivated. This game looked 110% different from the absolute joke that XIII was. It was even in the title that this game was nothing like that! It looked dark, realistic, but fantastical enough for us to get into it. This game trailer was so cool that we were ready to give our money right then and there! And yet, the wait continued. And it continued. And it continued. And seven years later, we are STILL waiting. Most of my friends who were so hyped have moved on. I am going to be moving on soon. It’s kind of like Kingdom Hearts III. Both of these games should have been out by now. But they’re not. And so, we’re left sad and alone. But there is still this trailer, and it looks amazing. Such a pity that it didn’t come with more.
4. Metro: Last Light
E3 2012 “Enter the Metro” Trailer
There are some trailers in games that are so good that it almost transcends that boundaries of a trailer. Trailers that dazzle your eyes and amaze your soul. This is one of them. This trailer is so good that it almost should have been its own movie. Part of me almost wishes it was. This is a live-action trailer, and it is so incredibly intense. Without a single subtitle, you are just seeing the Russian panic as a nuclear war looms. You don’t know what they’re saying. You don’t have to. The sheer terror on their faces and the desperation to go to the one safe-zone is enough. This trailer is absolutely breath-taking. It could have been a short film, because it really does work like one. You have the people running for shelter, the guards having to eventually stop them from coming in, and it ends with a mother desperately trying to get her baby inside. The guard takes the baby, shuts the door, and you see him disappear into the darkness, as she cries outside. Then, you have what is believed to have been that baby, all grown-up, reappearing to see the destroyed city. No sound, except for the song that his mother was humming to him. This is an amazing trailer, and worth every minute of time you spend watching it.
3. Assassin’s Creed
Almost every trailer they have ever done
I know this is cheating, but I’m sorry, I simply could not pick. This franchise has a knack for having some breath-taking and awesome trailers that you absolutely cannot stop thinking about. What makes them even cooler is that these trailers are all made from excellent graphics, but the elements in them are taken right from the game. What you see in awesome fidelity, you can often do. It is so cool! So, without absolutely gushing about all of them, I will simply have links to all the ones that stuck in my mind in parentheses, and you can see the awesomeness for yourself. (Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III, Assassin’s Creed IV)
2. Dead Island
Official Announcement Trailer
Talk about a bait-and-switch. This trailer looked amazing. It told a unique and profoundly sad story about a family who came to a tropical island, looking to get away from their problems. Instead, they are caught in a hellish nightmare with the living dead, and from the looks of things, it kills them. This trailer is painful, beautiful, tragic, memorable. It put the players’ expectations so high for what this game was going to be. We were anticipating a survival-horror experience, with a deep emotional connection. And what did we get? Well, we got a game with a boring story, god-awful and borderline-racist stereotypes and gameplay that was clumsy and awkward. This game had SO much potential, and it wasted every single bit of it. This was such a disappointment. But still, this trailer is amazing. It’s tragic, beautiful, touching and oddly comforting, despite what we are seeing. A bummer that the final product couldn’t be the same.
And the best game trailer, to me, is…
1. Bioshock 2
“Sea of Dreams” trailer
If there is a trailer that is more cryptic but engaging, I have yet to see it. This trailer told us just about nothing. For real, you learn nothing about the game. But who cares?! The amazing design, the soft music that is both comforting and off-putting, along with image of a young woman who is holding one of the Big Daddy dolls, with her mind apparently making the sand move. All of these elements make us just want to dive right back in to Rapture. What is this girl’s story? It’s a safe assumption that she’s a Little Sister all grown up. Does she miss Rapture? Why does she have psychic powers? Again, we never learn anything, but not one person cared. This trailer will probably stick with me until I am dead, but it is so cool all the same, and took me right back to the underwater nightmare.
So that’s my list. Again, if you disagree, hit me back. Have a link with it. I want to know. Because there are a lot more great trailers, and new perspective helps.
Until next time, a quote,
“When all this is over, an’ we’re divvyin’ up Rapture’s bounty, you an’ I will be holdin’ court on a private island, son. Think of it – each world power on bended knee, holding a bouquet made o’ money!” -Augustus Sinclair, Bioshock 2