The White Whale – Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was a welcome breath of fresh air in the sails of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. After the mediocre reviews and lukewarm reception Assassin’s Creed 3 received, the series was put back on track with this excellent fourth installment. Set in the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag allowed players to captain their own ship and sail the high seas in search for loot and grog.
One of the few welcome additions to the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed 3 was the hunting mechanic which was also featured in this entry. Players could hunt both marine and land animals in order to collect their pelts to either sell or upgrade their equipment. Needless to say, hunting for great white sharks at sea was excellent fun, and stalking jaguars in the jungles was equally tense but the greatest of all these hunts has to go to The White Whale.
Not only was The White Whale a nice reference to Moby Dick, but it was also the toughest and rarest hunting encounter in the game. The only way players would find the whale was by being connected to the game’s online community. From time to time a pop up would appear letting players know that the whale had been spotted in certain waters. Players would then have to set sail to that part of the ocean and look for the beast.
Once found, players could jump into a rowboat and then harpoon the creature before he got away. The White Whale was no push over and he’d fight to live another day. Unprepared hunters would find their boat smashed to pieces whilst getting a healthy respect for the legendary whale. Those who did manage to conquer the beast were rewarded with upgrades and the most valuable hunting skin in the game. Next time you’re sailing the high seas, singing sea shanties, keep an eye out for The White Whale.
Ninja Cat – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Despite being somewhat of the odd one out in the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was still a highly entertaining action hack and slash with some seriously cool ninja gameplay mechanics. The game put players in the role of Raiden, the cyborg ninja who may not have been so well liked in Metal Gear Solid 2, but who won our respect when he came to Solid Snake’s aid in Metal Gear Solid 4.
Revengeance allowed players to see what Raiden got up to after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, swapping out the usual stealthy gameplay mechanics of previous games for the insanely fast and adrenaline fueled pace you’d expect from a game about a cyborg ninja. By the end of Revengeance we’d fallen in love with Raiden and all the badass things he could do with his ninja sword. Once players had mastered how to unleash their inner ninja, it seemed nothing was safe from Raiden’s blade. Nothing except a certain cat…
In the first mission of Revengeance, players would find themselves on a beach near the outskirts of a town. Most players will have rushed ahead and started slaughtering bad guys but those of a more observant persuasion may have opted to explore the beach instead. Those players would have discovered a cute little cat walking along the sand. Should those players decide to do the unthinkable, and try to slice the cat up, then they would watch in awe as the cat performs a ninja flip and land safely out of harms way. Seriously, it doesn’t matter how fast you are or how highly leveled Raiden is, you will never so much as slice a hair on that cat’s head. Pull of all the moves you want, that cat will dodge it all like it’s nothing.
As part of a little tongue in cheek Easter Egg, in the third mission, players can watch as an enemy soldier is approached by the cat. The enemy then lets his guard down and begins to play happily with the cute feline. Seriously though, that cat needs it’s own game.
Your Dog – Fable 2
As the sequel to the hugely popular RPG known as Fable, Fable 2 had a lot riding on it, especially given that it’s Designer, Peter Molyneux just can’t seem to help himself when it comes to bragging about how great his latest game is. Luckily, Fable 2 turned out to be a great RPG full of classic British humor, a charming world to explore, and great voice actors such as Stephen Fry.
Fable 2 featured many new additions and improvements over the original game, including the gameplay feature which gave your hero a dog to accompany you on your adventures. Players were free to interact with their pooch as much as they liked and the stronger your bond became, the more you could do.
The first thing you did was name your trusty companion and of course he or she would bravely fight alongside you. The fun didn’t end here however, players could perform interactions with their dog that could effect how NPC’s perceived you. Having your dog play dead would delight those around you, whilst having him pee on their leg would make them pretty annoyed. As an RPG, Fable is known for having an excellent sense of humor and adding a canine to the mix was a great way to add a new element of comedy in a Shaggy and Scooby sort of way.
Over the course of your epic adventure, you may have found yourself getting very attached to your four legged friend and at the end you were forced to make a very difficult choice. Lets just say I knew who to save every time.
The Les Enfants Terrible Snakes – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for being a series that is made of consistently well-made games. One of the most popular of these is without question Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Set during the cold war, Snake Eater told the fantastic story of Naked Snake before he was Big Boss, the story of a soldier having to take down his beloved mentor and friend. It may sound like a clichéd plot, but Metal Gear Solid 3 has us blubbering by the end.
Set in the Russian wilderness, Snake Eater was all about stealth and survival. The jungle is teaming with animals and plants which players could use to their benefit. Certain plants could be used for medicine whilst animals could be eaten or used as a distraction against the enemy.There were many cool creatures to encounter in Snake Eater, from birds, crabs, bats, rabbits, and of course, snakes. Different animals would have different effects once eaten and different animals were found in different parts of the game according to their habitats However, there were three very rare snakes which could only be found in one area of the game. The Les Enfants Terrible Snakes.
In Metal Gear lore, the Les Enfants Terribles was a project where Big Boss’ DNA was used to make three clones of him in order to create the perfect soldiers. Les Enfants Terribles is French for The Terrible Children and is of course responsible for the hero known as Solid Snake and his villainous brothers, Liquid and Solidus. In the hauntingly beautiful and very difficult final boss, it is possible for players to capture three different Snakes that can only be found during that boss fight. These snakes are known as the Les Enfants Terribles Snakes as they each represent one of the cloned kinsmen.
The snakes are silvery white in color and are an awesome Easter Egg and reference to the events that are set to occur because of Big Boss. It’s a great nod to the players and each one of those snakes represents a badass in Metal Gear mythology.
Bears – Red Dead Redemption
Upon it’s release, Red Dead Redemption received high praise from both gamers and critics alike for not only it beautiful graphics, excellent story, and solid gameplay, but also for its ability to capture the melancholy nature of classic old west films. Redemption gave players a vast open world to explore either on foot or on horseback and within that world was countless species of flora and fauna for players to hunt for and skin.
Gameplay wise, these animals and plants could be used to create items to help players on their missions or could be sold for cash at towns or outposts. Some animals, like armadillos and rabbits, were harmless, others not so much. There were plenty of deadly animals to watch out for in Red Dead Redemption, but the most fearsome of all was surely the bears found in Tall Trees.
Found up north of Redemption‘s large map, Tall Tress is a dense forest area filled with rare plants and creatures rarely found in other territories. However, anyone who goes hunting there should be wary, for there are creatures living there that are far more dangerous than any bandit. You’re minding your own business, picking flowers like the badass cowboy you are, when you turn around just in time to see a massive grizzly bear come charging towards you. Before you can even raise your revolver, the bear has torn into your flesh and is now decorating the surrounding area with your corpse.
Seriously, if you go into Tall Trees without some serious firepower, you’re asking for death. Even if you’re heavily armed, a moment of distraction can be your end. These bears are sneaky, fast and spawn quickly. If you’re headed to Tall Trees, remember one thing; don’t mess with the bears!
Frostbite Spiders – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Possibly one of the most anticipated games ever released, Skyrim is one of the most-applauded RPG’s available right now. It seemed almost impossible that a game could live up to the sort of hype that surrounded Skyrim upon its release, and yet somehow it did. Featuring an epic soundtrack, beautiful open world, and freaking dragons, Skyrim had millions of gamers hooked.
Like many open world games, Skyrim featured a realistic open world teaming with plants and animals. There were plenty of dangerous animals that could have made it on this list (bears, trolls, wolves, etc) but perhaps the most terrifying was one that would have really been a problem for those with arachnophobia. We’re talking those goddamn Frostbite Spiders.
Skyrim is filled with ancient ruins and caves to explore. Most of these are hiding something foul from zombies to vampires, but surely the worst of all are those giant spiders? Creeping carefully through cobwebbed ruins, your sword drawn at the ready, you enter a large room that’s seemingly empty. Suddenly you hear a noise from above and look up just in time to see a monstrous spider emerge its hiding place. That’s the point where anyone afraid of spiders turns off the game. It’s even worse for melee fighters who have to get right in the spider’s face in order to attack. If you’re not prepared, these things can ruin your day in moments.
There’s a mod currently around which changes the spiders into bears. That’s how creepy these things are, people would rather fight bears.
Giraffes – The Last of Us
Unlike the other creatures on this list, the giraffes in The Last of Us aren’t deadly beasts capable of ripping you (or your enemies) face off. Instead, these gentle long necked mammals play an important role in one of the most touching and peaceful scenes in an otherwise dark and violent game.
If you haven’t played The Last of Us then you wouldn’t know that it tells the brutal story of a young girl named Ellie and a middle aged man named Joel as they walk across the United States in search of a cure for the strange infection that has turned so many people into mindless, zombie-like creatures. The game is filled with harrowing sequences and Joel and Ellie go through a lot of physical and emotional pain as they journey onwards. One particularly dark chapter sees Joel and Ellie very nearly broken by the world around them and players will still have their jaws on the floor when the next chapter begins.
The next chapter follows Joel and Ellie, who may be alive, but are clearly still shaken by the events that recently unfolded. They’re wandering through a quiet abandoned city when suddenly Ellie catches a glimpse of something and runs off. As you chase after her, you’re sure that something terrible lies in wait, but when you catch up, there’s a beautiful scene awaiting you.
I don’t want to spoil this excellent moment for those who haven’t experienced it for themselves, but the presence of a giraffe suddenly reminds Joel and Ellie how much beauty there still is in the world, and how what good that’s left is worth fighting for. The giraffe may not have helped us destroy our enemies, but it did offer much needed relief to two much loved characters, and that in itself is badass.
Dogmeat – Fallout 3
Set in a strange post apocalyptic 1950’s style American wasteland, Fallout 3 featured countless hours of exploration and some truly memorable characters and quests. Life in the wasteland can destroy even the hardiest of survivors, and friends who have your back are few and far between. Luckily, man’s best friend is here to help once again.
If you find yourself exploring a certain old scrap yard in the Capitol Wasteland, you might hear barking and the sound of gun fire. Race towards it and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a fight between a group of raiders and a large dog. Take out the raiders and congratulations, you’ve just got a buddy who will fight by your side and find items that will help you survive.
Known as Dogmeat, this trusty canine companion is one of the most valuable allies you can have in Fallout 3. Dogmeat has impressive health stats and will fight by your side against even the most hopeless odds. He’s also very smart and can be ordered to run of and hunt for supplies which he’ll return to you. Not only is Dogmeat a fierce comrade to have in a fight, he’s also as loyal as any good dog should be. In a post apocalyptic world where the monsters and the humans are hard to tell apart, it’s a great comfort to have man’s stereotypical best friend walking by your side.
Agro – Shadow of the Colossus
Created by the talented Team Ico, Shadow of the Colossus is without question one of the greatest PlayStation 2 games ever made, often voted the absolute best in numerous gaming polls. Set in a huge open world, Shadow of the Colossus is different from many open world games, in that the player’s character is the only human to be found. In fact, other than a few lizards and sixteen ancient Colossi, the land you explore is empty. Thanks to the beautiful art style, Shadow of the Colossus may seem empty but is never dull or uninteresting. It’s possible that players might feel lonely on their travels were it not for their trusty steed, Agro.
To say that Agro was simply a gameplay mechanic that allowed us to traverse the open world quicker would be such a disservice to that noble horse. Agro was the one other intelligent creature we had to interact with in that game and any player who didn’t feel a strong connection between horse and rider has a heart made of stone. Not only did Agro help players defeat many Colossi, but she provided companionship in a land devoid of life, in a quest that seemed hopeless.
Agro wasn’t just a great companion, she was loyal to her core and she would charge without faltering towards even the most intimidating of Colossi. Were it not for our valiant and trusty steed, we would never have been able to overcome the seemingly impossible task of defeating those wandering giants. Here’s to you, Agro.
Honey Badgers – Far Cry 4
What else was going to come first on a list of badass animals? It seems like every living creature in the world of Far Cry 4 is ready to kill you, but none of them are anywhere near as goddamn awesome as the mighty honey badger.
Compared to many of the animals found in Far Cry 4, the honey badger is pretty small and unassuming. Players unfamiliar with the honey badger might make the mistake of thinking it was some cutesy, easy to kill animal. Oh how wrong they would be. You so much as get too close to the honey badger and he will reign hell-fire on your ass. You thought the nuke in Call of Duty 4 was bad? Well a bloodthirsty honey badger is like a million nuclear bombs all going off at once. Just like in real life, the honey badger does not give a shit.
Even when you’re armed to the teeth and able to take down even the most powerful human enemies, the honey badger is still a force to be reckoned with. Not only can these fur-balls of death inflict serious damage on you, they are also capable of soaking up full clips of ammo without breaking a sweat. When you realize you’ve made a huge mistake by rousing the ire of a honey badger, you might want to start running for your life. Unfortunately for you, honey badgers are fast creatures and unless there’s a vehicle near by, the chances of you getting away are slim.
More cautious players can use the honey badger to their advantage. Some enemy camps may have animals locked up. If you shoot the lock off a honey badger cage, you can sit back and relax whilst the honey badger takes sweet revenge on the fools that tried to trap him. Seriously, don’t piss off a honey badger.