7 Video Game Spoilers that are Now Unavoidable

The worst part about a great plot twist is that spoilers for it are bound to precede the story it appears in for anyone that was late to the party.  Even if you’ve never seen a second of the films Psycho, Planet of the Apes, or The Sixth Sense, you probably already know all of their most famous surprises due to how ingrained they’ve become in the popular culture.  With video games often growing into franchises, spoilers are even harder to avoid as major twists of previous games can be played up in promotions for the newest one.  The following spoilers are almost unavoidable now due to how much they’ve been brought up since in their respective franchises.  If you follow games media even lightly, you already know all of these inside and out.  However, for the sake of those that have managed to avoid learning these twists early, I’ll just be listing the titles of the specific games being spoiled so you can skip any entries that you’re worried about.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Aerith

7. Final Fantasy VII

This one doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the article given that the Final Fantasy franchise tends to reboot its lore with each numbered entry, but its hard not to call it one of the most famous and unavoidable plot twists in gaming history.  Part way through the game, one of your party members, the kind-hearted Aerith, is fatally wounded by the villainous Sephiroth.  Despite countless rumors of a way to revive her, her death is irreversible without hacking the game.  While Final Fantasy VII has had plenty of spin-offs, the only one I can think of that made a point of Aerith’s death is the Advent Children film.  However, it still belongs on the list just for being the one thing that is always the first to come up in any discussion of the game.  It’s gotten to the point where most people don’t even recognize it as a spoiler and just assume it to be common knowledge.  How many news outlets do you think mused about the possibility of resurrecting Aerith while reporting on the recently announced remake?  Even the quirky competitive FPS Screencheat uses her name as one of its many analogies for killing an opponent.  That’s the thing with big surprises; everyone starts to either analyze or satirize it endlessly.

Snake_&_Raiden

6. Metal Gear Solid 2

The first thing that comes up with any conversation on Metal Gear Solid 2 is its infamous bait-and-switch that had regular protagonist Solid Snake built up as the lead in all demonstrations and marketing for the game, only to replace him with an entirely new character named Raiden.  Where the big twist of Final Fantasy VII is one of the most discussed topics of the game, the bait-and-switch of Raiden is the only thing that ever receives any attention when discussing MGS2 or even just the character of Raiden.  When Metal Gear Rising, a spin-0ff centered entirely around Raiden, was released years later, many were still so jaded by his appearance in MGS2 that they refused to give the spin-off a chance.  It’s actually pretty ironic given that Raiden was actually built from the ground up as a parody of the very fanboys that hate him, spending most of the game whining right alongside the bitter players for the ‘real’ Snake to get involved in the mission.  Typical Kojima.

Arthas

5. Warcraft III

Prince Arthas Menethil, the main hero of Warcraft III, is pretty much your typical Prince Charming when the game starts out.  That’s what makes it such a shock when he turns to the dark side and ultimately changes from being one of Azeroth’s most celebrated champions to one of its most repulsive monsters.  His descent begins when an undead curse begins to spread across the land, turning people into mindless ghouls.  Desperate to contain the curse, Arthas resorts to slaughtering an entire village that has been infected but has yet to fully turn.  It’s a brutal choice that immediately turns both his mentor and his beloved against him.  Eventually, his struggle against the forces of darkness leads him to not only embrace the undead curse himself, but to even become its leader as the infamous Lich King.  From there, Arthas quickly became Warcraft‘s most iconic villain with an entire expansion in World of Warcraft centering around his final downfall and being made a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.  If you haven’t been following Warcraft lore from the start, it’s likely too late to check out Warcraft III without already knowing who goes full Darth Vader in it.

MaskedLucina

4. Fire Emblem: Awakening

Here’s a tip: If you don’t want games spoiled for you, don’t even look at the Super Smash Bros games as you can find massive spoilers for other games just by looking at the character roster.  For example, there’s the identity of the masked swordsman going by the name Marth from Fire Emblem: Awakening.  This was built up as the big mystery for Awakening right from the game’s reveal and remained the focal point of its marketing all the way up to its release.  How could the legendary hero king from the very first Fire Emblem game, whose reign was generations ago, be appearing in this era?  Well, you could play the game yourself to discover the truth, or you could just take a glance at Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  As it turns out, it’s not King Marth traveling from the past, but Prince Chrom’s daughter Lucina traveling from the future.  While having Lucina appearing on the roster may not immediately give away that she’s the Marth impersonator, her using the mask from the disguise as one of her taunts and Kirby wearing the same mask after stealing her ability certainly make it obvious.  At least they didn’t give away the time-travel part from tha… She mentions it in one of her victory quotes, doesn’t she?

Portal

3. Portal

Here’s one that’s become so ubiquitous that you’ve probably forgotten that it even is a plot twist: GLaDOS, the mastermind behind the first Portal game, is actually a psychotic computer out to kill you.  Today, that just seems as obvious as the fact that you use portals, but this was actually a massive surprise when the game first came out.  Remember that Portal was first released as a part of the Orange Box alongside the highly anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 with little build-up for the tacked-on puzzle game.  People started it up thinking it was just some simple bonus that was thrown in with the big releases because it wouldn’t sell on its own.  Then it starts throwing around a dark sense of humor slowly enough for it to be cynically charming.  As you dig deeper, it becomes more and more apparent that this facility is not what it seems and that everything has been designed to tear you apart physically and mentally.  Finally, you meet with the mechanical mastermind to shut down her devious plans… And then GLaDOS became the most iconic character in the Portal franchise, being heavily promoted for the sequel, making cameos in Poker Night at the Inventory 2 and the film Pacific Rim, and generally made it impossible for anyone to enjoy the same mental trip that Portal once offered again.

OcarinaSheik

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Smash strikes again, but at least it’s not the only guilty party for this one.  The fact that the mysterious ninja warrior named Sheik is actually the missing Princess Zelda in disguise has been made abundantly clear in anything and everything to feature Sheik since.  First, Super Smash Bros Melee introduced both Zelda and Sheik as playable fighters with the unique ability to transform from one to the other during matches.  This was carried over into Brawl before being cut with the 3DS and Wii U entries making the two completely separate characters, but the damage had already been done by that point.  Even then, Hyrule Warriors came by to make sure nobody forgot the princess’s double-life by making it a plot point in its own campaign.  At this point, expecting anyone to be surprised at Sheik’s true identity is a joke in and of itself.

AlbertWeskerFMV

1. Resident Evil

Capcom really couldn’t try harder to make the single biggest plot twist from the original Resident Evil known to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever even touched it game or any games in the series.  One of the members of your team sent into the Spencer Mansion, Albert Wesker, is secretly a double-agent working to sabotage your operations from the inside.  It’s shocking to discover that, after all of the horrors you’ve struggled to survive against, one of your own is actually complicit in it all and working to cover it up.  Or, at least, it would be shocking if Wesker hadn’t been made into the main villain of the series and highly advertised his turn to the dark side in future titles.  Not only did he reappear as the antagonist in several RE games, such as a major selling point for Resident Evil 5 being the chance to finally take revenge on him, he’s also appeared in two of the live-action films and as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Lost Planet 2.  Each time he’s appeared, it’s been readily apparent that he’s the baddest bad guy that the entire RE series has to offer.  Honestly, it feels like he should have just been a low-level goon that died within the first game and have a new character take up the role of the mastermind if only to keep the surprise fresh for a lot more people late to the party.  If you haven’t already picked up Resident Evil with any of the half-dozen rereleases that the game has had over the years, you’re going to have to go in already knowing who the surprise villain is right from the start.

What spoilers are you sick of seeing everywhere?  Do you have any that should have been included on the list?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain Guide: Defeating Garr

Garr

Rather than try and cram an entire wing into a single article, I’ve decided to tackle each boss in this week’s wing individually.  This will allow me to go into much greater detail on each of the bosses, but feel free to let me know if you preferred having all of the bosses covered in a single article in the comments below.  In the meantime, let’s get into the first boss of the new Molten Core wing for Hearthstone‘s Blackrock Mountain and go over the basic tactics that will earn you victory regardless of what cards you have in your collection.

The Molten Core pits you against Ragnaros the Firelord and his three most powerful lieutenants, starting with the obsidian elemental Garr.  His ability will deal 1 damage to all minions for only one mana and this ability will automatically activate at the start of each of Garr’s turns.  It may not seem like much, but the real threat is what he’ll have on the board.  Right at the start, Garr will have a full board of seven 0/5 Firesworn minions, each with a deathrattle ability that will deal damage to your hero for every Firesworn that dies on that turn.  You’ll need to quickly take out the Firesworn one by one in order to minimize the amount of damage they do.  If Garr is able to blow up even four or five of his own Firesworn in one go, it will be a massive blow against you.  Even if he can’t get you on the first round, he has a spell called Rock Out that will summon three new Firesworn to the board.  He also has plenty of powerful minions like Fire Elemental, Fireguard Destroyer, and Madder Bomber to finish you off, so you’re going to need plenty of survivability.

Your best bet is going to be an aggressive Warrior deck with a focus on charge and enrage.  Priest can also be very viable, but we’ll get to him later.  For Warrior, you’ll first want to put some fast plays in your deck that can eliminate the Firesworn on cue.  Your best card for this job is definitely the Fiery War Axe as it can guarantee that two of the Firespawn will go down alone without Garr’s interference.  Charge minions like Bluegill Warrior and Wolfrider will only be able to get in one hit, but it’s still worth it to use them in this fight just to keep those Firesworn under control.

The rest of your deck should take advantage of Garr’s hero power.  He has to cast it at the start of every turn, so minions that profit from taking damage are a must for this boss.  Minions like Acolyte of Pain and Amani Berserker will give you a strong edge in the fight, but one of the best minions to have is Armorsmith.  Her ability to generate armor for you whenever a friendly minion takes damage will give you all of the endurance you’ll need for this fight.  Gurubashi Berserker may seem great here, but he’ll prove too slow to keep the board under control.  The more reliable option will be that Grim Patron you just picked up in Blackrock Spire.  Ironbeak Owl can also be useful as a silence tool, but keep in mind that a silenced Firesworn will still count as a Firesworn.  It won’t have a deathrattle of its own, but it will still multiply the effects of its kin.  One last minion to consider is the Lil’ Exorcist from Goblins vs Gnomes.  With the amount of Firesworn you’ll be facing, her battlecry granting her extra attack and health for every enemy deathrattle on the board can result in a huge minion at a low cost.  Toss in a few spells like Execute, Battle Rage, and Rampage and you’ll be set to bring down Garr and  claim your Druid of the Flame card.

The Warrior class challenge against Garr will play out much like the tactics I listed above.  The only thing you should be wary of is that you’ll be stuck with about four copies of Axe Flinger and it is too slow to keep control of the board.  Save the Flingers after you’ve seized control of the game and they can help finish off Garr.  Play them too quickly and they’ll only make a dent while you get burned.  Win here and the Axe Flinger will be added to your personal collection.

Hearthstone Screenshot 04-09-15 17.10.22

Finally, there’s Garr’s heroic challenge.  He’ll start with 45 health and his Firesworn will now deal three times as much damage with their deathrattles.  There’s no doubt that he can now kill you with ease, but it is possible to bring him down on a budget with a fine Priest deck I found.  If you don’t have the exact cards for the build, here are the basics to keep in mind.  Your best chance is to get Mass Dispel early and use it to silence the full group of Firesworn.  Once silenced, they’ll pose no threat and actually be a big help to you as Garr can’t play any more minions with his board full.  Just hang onto a Circle of Healing to keep the Firesworn alive and a Silence or Ironbeak Owl in case Garr uses Mark of the Wild to buff one of his guys.  From there, just smack Garr around and you’ll have the fight in the bag.

Even if you can’t draw the Mass Dispel, this deck has plenty of options to turn the fight in your favor.  Mind Control Tech and Cabal Shadow Priest will let you give Garr a taste of his own medicine by stealing his minions from him.  It’s fun, but it won’t be enough to win you the game on it’s own.  It’s mainly to buy you time and seize control of the board.  Light of the Naaru and Earthen Ring Farseer should be reserved to keep you alive rather than preserve your minions.  Your guys can wait for the Circle of Healing to be healed; you generally need it more in this fight.  Finally, Northshire Cleric, Acolyte of Pain, and Power Word: Shield will help you with cycling through cards while Nerubian and Lil’ Exorcist will be your main damage-dealers.  If you can’t build the exact deck, Injured Blademaster can be a suitable substitute for most cards.  However, you will need to build most of the deck in order to stand a chance.  Heroic mode is not for the faint of heart, but it will wait around if you need to stock up your collection.

Molten Core is only just beginning.  Stay tuned for the detailed guide for taking down Baron Geddon next time.  Once again, let me know what you think of breaking up these guides into individual bosses.  If there’s a demand to pool the entire wings into single articles, I’ll cover all of the remaining challenges for Molten Core in the next one.  Until then, good luck with completing your collection.

Blackrock Mountain Adventure Revealed for Hearthstone

Blackrock Mountain

Blizzard’s PAX East panel had plenty of major announcements for their free-to-play games, but the biggest announcement was certainly for Hearthstone.  Along with showing off the new interface that will be used when the game is officially brought to smart phones, there was also the reveal of a new PvE adventure.  Blackrock Mountain will task players with fighting seventeen bosses across five wings with 31 new cards to earn as rewards.  For an active volcano, Blackrock has a surprisingly large population filled with Dark Iron dwarves, Blackrock Orcs, fire elementals, and dragons, and you’re going to have to go through all of them if you want your cards.  For example, the first boss fight takes you to the Grim Guzzler tavern for a bar fight with Dark Iron dwarf Coren Direbrew with his ability to automatically summon a random minion from the deck for both himself and for you at the start of each of his turns.  Expect plenty of unique and mindbending hero powers like that to test your tactics in the upcoming boss fights.

Five of the new collectible cards were revealed for the expansion, such as the Rogue exclusive Dark Iron Skulker that is a 4/3 for 5 mana that deals 2 damage to all undamaged enemy minions when played.  It functions like a boardwide version of the Backstab spell that can instantly clear a Zoolock swarm.  However, tougher minions will be able to shrug it off and proper timing will be vital to garner a devastating effect.  The class neutral Grim Patron, most likely the reward for beating Direbrew, is the embodiment of a bar brawl with the ability to summon a buddy every time he takes damage without dying.  Those duplicate Patrons will have the same effect, offering an ability to flood the board with just one card.  The downside is that he is a 3/3 for 5 mana, so actually getting a swarm of drunken dwarves going is easier said than done.

The biggest addition with the new cards is the introduction of dragon synergy.  Dragon-type minions have always been in the game, but there haven’t been any cards that take advantage of that like there are with beast, demon, and mech minions.  Blackrock will fix that with cards like the Blackwing Technician, a 2/4 for 3 mana that gains +1/+1 if you play it while holding a dragon in your hand.  Given that most dragons have high mana costs, this card will give you a benefit to drawing one of them early with an very powerful stat line.  At the same time, it also gives your opponent a clue to what cards your holding onto and what plays you might have planned down the line.  There is also the legendary Rend Blackhand, who has a terrible 8/4 for 7 mana stat line, but can instantly destroy another legendary minion when played if you have a dragon in your hand.  It’s certainly a situational card, but it can offer some incredible plays in just the right setup.  Of course, there will be new dragon cards as well, like the Hungry Dragon that has an insane 5/6 for 4 mana stat line, but creates a random 1 mana minion for your opponent.  Depending on what minion is summoned and what your opponent has available, this could either be devastating or a worse Lost Tallstrider.

Along with new cards comes a new game board to play on.  The Blackrock Mountain board will be used as the backdrop for all of the boss fights and will be added into the rotation of boards used in online matches.  The new board is very thematic of the Dark Iron dwarves with flowing magma and blacksmithing materials to play around with while waiting for your opponent to finish their turn.  Heroic missions also return for more difficult versions of the bosses and an exclusive Nefarian cardback waiting as your reward for beating them all.

Like Curse of Naxxramas, Blackrock Mountain will be priced at $24.99 in total or $6.99 for each individual wing.  Wings can also be purchased with 700 gold.  Blackrock will be open to preorders on March 19th and preordering will get you the exclusive Molten Core cardback.  If you want to save some cash and are willing to give up on that exclusive cardback, the first wing will likely be free for a limited time as was done when Curse of Naxxramas was first released.  Blizzard hasn’t officially confirmed or denied that they will be repeating this practice, but that might be to encourage preorders.  Blackrock Mountain is scheduled for release next month.  You can check out the expansion’s official website here.