Most games grant you some kind of powers or abilities, but which one is your absolute favorite? While there's plenty of choice, there must be one spell or effect that you really enjoy using. If so, what is it?
While you think about your answer, here are the spells and abilities that the USgamer team really enjoy deploying.
While there's a mind-boggling amount of choice here, I have to go with the first thing that sprang to mind when I thought about this question - and that's Mind Control, a Priest spell from World of Warcraft. It basically allows you to take control of an enemy creature for a short period of time. It's fun and occasionally quite useful in PvE, but it's in the PvP aspect of the game where it really comes into its own.
Casting this spell gives you control over a player character for about seven seconds or so, and all they can do for its duration is watch as their character runs wherever you want them to go. And if that happens to be off the top of a very high cliff, then that's what they have to endure. For a healing class like a Priest, who has little in the way of offensive capabilities, it can be a very satisfying way of getting rid of someone who's attacking you.
However, it's not an easy spell to cast. It takes a second or two to channel the ability to get its effect to properly kick in, and during that time you're vulnerable to being counterspelled, feared, knocked back, and other such crowd control effects. But if you're skilled and sneaky enough, you can really take people by surprise.
I can't tell you how many people I've killed with it, but it's plenty over the years. I've also been Mind Controlled to death by other Priests, and know just how frustrating it is to watch your character leap to her doom and not be able to do a thing about it. But that's what makes it so damn fun. To me, it's one of the best spells in any game - to be able to take control of an enemy character and run them around like an idiot while they can do nothing about it is just really entertaining.
I cannot for the life of me think of a special video game ability, spell, or weapon that fills me with glee when I use it. I mean, the upgraded gravity gun in Half-Life 2 was pretty satisfying the first time I used it, but I'm afraid the charm wore off with repeated use. Hopefully it's OK if I just name a basic skill: Grappling.
The idea of grappling has been with gaming for ages. Maybe since… Roc ’N Rope? Sometimes it appears as a secondary skill, but I respect games that feature it as a central mechanic. Contra 4 used it for quick traversal between the DS's screens, which was brilliant in its simplicity; Super Metroid briefly forced Samus to grapple for exploration, until she mastered the defiance of gravity; Ninja Five-O used it even more extensively.
And then of course are the masterpieces: Yumi's Odd Odyssey and Bionic Commando. Where other games put grappling to use as a complement to the standard action interface, those two turned it into their central premises. They were transformative works, entirely upending the concept of what a platform action game can be. Swinging around in Bionic Commando added an element of speed and grace to platform-hopping, while the complex physics of Yumi's Odd Odyssey demanded technical precision. Both games escalated a mundane, well-known genre to something different, something unique, something that sticks in the memory… simply by investing the effort it took to make grappling exciting and new.
This is another one I racked my brain on. Do I do a joke answer like Cliff Fittir's Sphere of Might from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time? To this day I can't get that out sound effect of my head. Do I pick something crazy like Bahamut Zero from Final Fantasy VII of any of the Ultimate Jutsus from the Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm series? In the end, I decide to go with a move that's relatively simpler, but feels so good whenever I pull it off.
Ryu's Shin/Metsu Shoryuken, an upgraded version of the basic Shoryuken that he shares with Ken. Introduced in Street Fighter Alpha 3, the Shin and Metsu share the same command input, but which one comes out is based on the distance to your opponent. The Shin is from farther away, while the Metsu is close-up. In Street Fighter III, the Shin Shoryuken added the strong pause that gives the attack its powerful feeling.
There just something really satisfying about the one-two punch of the Shin/Metsu Shoryuken, the first hit delivered in the same direction as Ryu's normal Shoryuken, while the follow-up final blow switches hands. That's carried until today, with the Shin Shoryuken in the Street Fighter IV line of game, where the camera zooms in on the gut punch and then on Ryu's fist connecting with the opponent's jaw. You can feel the hit, almost to the level of Mortal Kombat's X-Ray attack, but not as gratuitous. It's simply one of the best feeling moves ever.
My favorite iteration of Pokémon competitive metagame was probably Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, narrowly edging out Black/White in my mind for one reason - no team preview. With no team preview before a battle, the element of surprise suddenly became a factor. You could mess with people by making them wonder if you had a particularly strong Pokémon, or you could lead them to believe that you had particular build even though you were running something totally different. The mind games associated with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum were fantastic.
One way to counter this was U-Turn - a move introduced in Diamond and Pearl that allowed certain monsters to attack before automatically withdrawing. This was crucial because switches always happened before an attack, which meant that you could scout for a switch and immediately send out a counter. It also gave monsters like Scizor a way to scout for hard counters like Magnezone and switch to Dugtrio, which could trap and kill it. In so doing, U-Turn allowed you to build up momentum and put your opponent on their back foot, forcing them to react rather than attack.
U-Turn was no less effective after the advent of team preview, but the scouting metagame that it helped create was sorely missed. These days, there are a lot of counters to U-Turn and equivalents like Volt Turn, so they aren't quite as fun to build a team around. Nevertheless, it remains a sentimental favorite.
As I argued in an episode of Retronauts late last year, Devil May Cry emerged in the early 21st century as the first game to get 3D combat right—even if those prescribed camera angles could make things a little awkward. And while the series has seen plenty of changes—and at least two developers—in its time on this planet, one ability of Dante's persists: The Stinger. (Okay, and a few other moves as well.) True, it's likely the first ability you'll buy in any Devil May Cry game, but, for me at least, this powerful forward plunge remains a combo-starting standby from beginning to end. In essence, it's not very flashy or complicated, but The Stinger still provides an effective way to slide from point A to point B via the business end of Dante's sword. It's such a satisfying move that Capcom saw fit to sneak it into Dragon's Dogma, where it somehow feels welcome amid the game's various wizards and warriors. And it's very possible that I Stingered my way into the kitchen to refill my coffee in the middle of this paragraph. But please don't tell anyone.
As a long-time Final Fantasy fan, I’m usually pretty down with whatever Bahamut is selling. What I mean is, I’m a big fan of the “Flare” series of spells: Those massively destructive surges of power that stretch beyond elemental classification to shatter through all manner of buffs. You just can’t beat ‘em.
First off, you have to call upon the power of the King of the Dragons just to use one of the high-tier Flare spells. And when the Hallowed Father enters the fray, he’s usually accompanied by a grand cinematic. Just to let you know the Chocobo dung is about to hit the fan.
It’s not like Bahamut’s ability caps with “Mega Flare,” either. He can also shoot off Giga Flare -- but not before teleporting his foes into the skies, where he can minimize collateral damage. And If you’re really confident about your dragon-handling skills, you might even get a chance to command the almighty Tera Flare, a spell so devastating that it ripped apart the very fabric of Final Fantasy XIV’s world.
Even if the Final Fantasy VII remake lets us skip Summon animations, I won’t ever fast-forward through Bahamut ZERO’s actions. That big damn six-winged lizard literally nukes bad guys from space. How can I not pay attention every single time?