December 21, 2012 is right around the corner, the dreaded date that a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists claim that the Mayans predicted as the last day of the world (Spoiler: They totally didn’t). We don’t know how the world is supposedly supposed to end; all we know is that a lot of people are preparing for all kinds of different scenarios. We here at All That’s Epic are preparing in our own little way; by compiling a list of some of the best games that deal with the Apocalypse, Armageddon, or the end of the human race. This way, come December 22, you’ll have some ways to live out what might have been. Or, if something does happen, you can start playing these right now and learn the necessary survival skills.
Not Even the Apocalypse Can Stop John Goodman.
In Rage, mankind is wiped out by an incoming asteroid. Select individuals were sealed away in cryogenic sleep in order to eventually rebuild civilization. Like pretty much all cryogenic experiments ever, something goes wrong, causing most people inside to expire except for you. You awaken far later than you were supposed to and find a barren wasteland that’s teeming with psychotic bandits, a totalitarian regime, and settlers like John Goodman just trying to eke out a living. It was an ambitious title that suffered from texture pop-in and an atrocious PC launch, but most of the original issues have been fixed through the wonders of patching. If you’re curious it just had some new DLC launch!
The Fallout Franchise
Bottle-cap Collectors Instantly Become the 1%.
The premise of Fallout is similar to that of Rage (Fallout came first) except the asteroid should be replaced my nuclear war. Most of the games feature underground Vaults designed to shelter people wealthy enough to buy passage from the nuclear fallout (Guess where the title comes from), placing you as a descendant who grew up knowing only the inside of your steel cave. You eventually leave for some reason and explore the surface as a naïve newcomer and must fight against mutated creatures, bandits, and, you guessed it, totalitarian regimes. Fallout 3 is probably the most memorable recent title in the franchise and if it does happen to be a nuclear war that takes us out, it’s probably your best option to prepare yourself.
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
For Halloween-Obsessed Time-Travelers.
The pseudo-sequel to Ocarina of Time is fondly remembered by many as one of the best Zelda games. In it, Link finds himself in a new world with an expiration date. The moon, a giant rock with a terrifying grin, is plummeting towards the world and Link has only three days to awaken four ancient guardians that can prevent it. It’s an impossible task, but luckily for our young hero he can reset the clock while taking some of his progress with him. He also collects masks, lots and lots of masks. The impending destruction of the world created an unmatched sense of urgency to the game as the always present moon gets larger and larger as time goes on.
Resident Evil 5 and 6
Your Idea of Home-Improvement is Wiping Out All of Humanity.
The Resident Evil games have always been about viruses and parasites that turn people, animals, and even plants into psychotic, murderous mutations. The original titles were always small in scale; a mansion here, a city there, etc. 5 and 6 made the threat global with villains looking to infect the entire world with their biological menaces in order to direct human evolution. I guess their hearts were in the right place since they just wanted to make the world better or something, but seriously, just volunteer at a soup kitchen next time.
Final Fantasy XIV
Going Out in Style.
Final Fantasy XIV was an awful MMO. I know this because I love MMOs. If I get into a Beta, there’s a 95% chance that I’m going to tell all of my friends how it’s the best MMO ever and they should play it with me. Not true with FFXIV; I knew something was off the minute I started playing and I never looked back. Apparently many gamers agreed with me on such a scale that Square-Enix decided to turn off the servers and reboot the game. Rather than just shut the game down, however, SE decided to go out with a bang, literally. As the date for the shutdown loomed closer, a giant fireball entered the sky. As days went on, the fireball got bigger and bigger and bigger until the last day when it crashed into the world, effectively wiping the game off of the map. The reboot, titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is due out sometime next year.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Destroyed, or Made Better?
Cataclysm was the weakest World of Warcraft expansion thus far. Rather than build off of the existing lore from the Warcraft strategy games, Cataclysm delved into the expanded lore from several books to create a villain who came across as a mopey emo teenager and it consisted of a lackluster endgame that was missing the creativity of the original game (Vanilla), Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King. The strongpoint, however, was that during a temper tantrum the villain destroyed most of the original content from Vanilla, effectively re-creating all of the zones for levels 1-58. Cities were crushed and rebuilt, some towns were wiped out completely, and many zones were turned into fiery wastelands while others had new life. Regardless of what happened to the zones aesthetically, they were all re-written and streamlined for cleaner quest progression and more interesting objectives. If nothing else, the game gave new reasons to start a fresh character while avoiding the weak end-game.
For Those with Really Badass Ancestors.
Look, I’m not going to even try to explain this one. I’m supposed to do one paragraph for each of these games, but explaining the Assassin’s Creed franchise in a meaningful way would take a novel. Just know that it involves the sun sending a solar flare towards Earth that would immediately cook us all and that the only way to prevent it is for on e guy to re-live the memories of his ancestors who were all parkour free-runners and loved stabbing people. They were also tied to an ancient civilization that for some reason we’re supposed to trust to stop the solar flare even though they failed to do so for themselves. It would be like us electing a bunch of morons to bankrupt us and then task them with fixing the problem they created (oops).
For When You Have Lots of Free Time to Reminisce About Point-and-Click Adventure Games.
If you remember this one, then we’re both old and we should sit in rocking chairs together and talk about how awesome point-and-click adventure games were. This game, like others on this list, featured an impending asteroid crash that will destroy the world. You play as an astronaut who leads a team up to the space rock in order to place explosives at key locations with the hopes that the explosions would divert its course into a stable orbit around Earth. You succeed in placing the bombs, but after their detonation you go inside and discover that the asteroid is actually an alien ship that whisks you and your team off into space. After finding yourselves on a strange alien planet, you have to explore this desolate world that faced its own Armageddon and find a way home. I highly doubt that the game has aged well, and many of the puzzles were nearly impossible without a guide, but I still have fond memories of the game and it convinced me that all we need in order to prevent an asteroid-induced catastrophe, and most other problems, is a lot of bombs.
Mass Effect 3
Saving the Universe Comes Second to Romance.
The entire Mass Effect franchise was building up to the events of 3, when the mechanical Reapers would appear to wipe out all life in the galaxy. It falls on you, as Commander Shepard, to unite the various races in a climactic last stand. The game faced its fair share of criticism, but the destruction of Earth and other planets was expertly done and convinced the player that it was all or nothing. Mass Effect 3 also succeeded in creating urgency because you knew that every minute you were off having fun adventures, humanity was being systematically being wiped out. Maybe we shouldn’t have spent so much time dancing in the bar or trying to rekindle our Shepard’s relationship with Liara…
Saving Our World By Beating the Ever-living Crap out of Somebody.
The Mortal Kombat franchise is about another dimension that wants to take over ours. Thankfully the gods worked out a deal with some bros on the other side, stating that the only way that they’re allowed to invade is if they can beat us in a Kung-Fu tournament 10 times in a row. Honestly, the fact that it got so close is kind of our fault for sucking so much. We just have to beat the other guys once every so often, but we weren’t able to manage that for hundreds of years. If I were Raiden I wouldn’t have even bothered by the 10th tournament, we obviously didn’t like our existence all that much.
Left 4 Dead kind of tells the story about 4 survivors of a zombie outbreak that must work together to survive and find ways out of a linear set of predicaments. Probably the most beautiful part of Left 4 Dead is how little exposition there is. Most of the story is told through writing on the walls in safe houses; on my first playthrough, my friends would sometimes get mad at me because I just wanted to sit there, read the messages, and wonder if these families ever found each other. It was also great because there was no explanation for the zombies. All you needed to know was that they were between you and safety. Also, if there was a Spitter, she would always spit in that elevator at the Sugar Mill and wipe out most of your team.
In Case Only You and Everyone You Hate Survives
DayZ makes me hate people. No joke, I have yet to meet a helpful player in that game. I spawn and then BAM, sniped. I spawn, run into the bushes and BAM, shotgunned. I spawn, find some other poor loser who got shot, help him up and BAM, backstabbed. Before you know it you too are a jerk, using your latest victim’s blood as tribal war paint and his skin as a warning to anyone else that passes your territory. If a zombie apocalypse plays out like this, then we had best hope that as few people survive as possible. It’s also kind of eerie when you think of how much fun the game still manages to be.
Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light
Hopefully the Aftermath is Not This Realistic.
The Metro series takes a setting similar to Fallout and makes it way more real and, by association, more difficult. Humans find themselves hiding underground after a nuclear war turned the surface into an inhospitable hellscape. You play as a young survivor who must venture out and find help for your home or “station” by navigating abandoned metro tunnels and occasionally the surface. Bullets form the currency of this world so you have to be conservative with your ammo. Also, a gas mask protects you from the hostile environment but damage can cause it to break, forcing you to scavenge for a new one. You must also find air filters for your mask because if one runs out without a replacement, you’ll breathe in the heavily radiated air. No on-screen HUD warns you about your impending predicament, only the air gauge on your watch. It’s a harsh, terrifying game and I hope we live long enough for the sequel.
Our Only Real Hope is Time Travel.
Most games have you either trying to prevent the Apocalypse or trying to survive its aftermath, but Chrono Trigger shows you both. You play as a young man who finds himself accidentally sent back in time by your genius inventor of a friend. While trying to fix it, she instead sends you too far forward into the future where you discover your world destroyed. Humans scratch livings out of rubble while malfunctioning machines hunt down anything that moves. You then learn that this future was created by a massive creature that emerged from the Earth, wiping out all civilization. The creature was brought to the world by events in the past, leading you on an adventure throughout all of time as you try to prevent the future from coming to pass. While I could go on and on about how this is one of the best JRPGs ever made thanks to excellent characters, pacing, and battle system, just know that as far of tales that touch on the idea of a Day of Reckoning are concerned, this is a special one.
You Are the Apocalypse.
Plague, Inc places you as a disease. You can be a virus, fungus, or even a biological weapon. Whichever you choose, your goal is always the same: wipe out the human race. You do this by first increasing your infectiveness. You can increase your resistance to cold environments, arid ones, or countries with better preventative healthcare. You can make yourself airborne or be transmitted by contact with other people or animals. Once you’ve decided that you’ve infected enough people, you can start developing symptoms and eventually become fatal. However, the governments of the world will focus all of their resources on trying to discover a cure for you, so it becomes a race against the clock. As you progress, the earth slowly changes color, becoming dead and brown and signifying your victory. It’s a terrifying diversion in no small part because of how entertaining it can be.
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