Top 5 Video Game Space Battles

Top 5 Video Game Space Battles

Video games have played host to some of the best space battles in science fiction. Join us as we share a few of our favorites!

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I love how the Lucifer Battle video ends with the "Insert FreeSpace CD 2" message.
Anyways, how about some FreeSpace mods, yo!

Blue Planet: Universal Truth
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Blue Planet II: Delenda Est
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Honestly...? Mass Effect's place there feels rather weak. You mentioned Battle of Naboo wasn't as satisfying ultimately because you don't take out the big bad ship. Yet even that is playable, Mass Effect 3's space battle however is a static event. It doesn't take into consideration any of your choices, it pays no heed to any of the allies you may or may not have. And no matter what, it always plays out the same way. On the other hand, the charge into the Omega Relay in ME2 feels a lot more personal. And if we are settling for cutscenes in this list too, I'd of much preferred that. Your choices, how you played, all the things leading up to that easily affects the outcome of that scene and the mission following.

As a player, Suicide Charge just felt much more epic than The Final Battle. Heck, while that isn't quite so much a space battle I'll admit, ME 1's battle for the Citadel feels more impactful as well, because your choices again are impactful. It's also the first time you take out a Reaper, and see that they can actually be beaten.

Re: Star Fox

My friend and I would play the Katina multiplayer stage, and spend the whole time fighting the endlessly spawning NPC ships instead of each other.

SilverHunter:
Honestly...? Mass Effect's place there feels rather weak. You mentioned Battle of Naboo wasn't as satisfying ultimately because you don't take out the big bad ship. Yet even that is playable, Mass Effect 3's space battle however is a static event. It doesn't take into consideration any of your choices, it pays no heed to any of the allies you may or may not have. And no matter what, it always plays out the same way. On the other hand, the charge into the Omega Relay in ME2 feels a lot more personal. And if we are settling for cutscenes in this list too, I'd of much preferred that. Your choices, how you played, all the things leading up to that easily affects the outcome of that scene and the mission following.

As a player, Suicide Charge just felt much more epic than The Final Battle. Heck, while that isn't quite so much a space battle I'll admit, ME 1's battle for the Citadel feels more impactful as well, because your choices again are impactful. It's also the first time you take out a Reaper, and see that they can actually be beaten.

I get where you're coming from and I would definitely agree that in many ways the Suicide Run is far superior to the Mass Effect 3 battle. That said... the Mass Effect 3 battle just got to me for some reason! It's just so big and bombastic and the music and the impossible odds and.... When this sequence began I literally turned to my wife and said "Holy shit, they're all going to die." It was just so cool and I still love it, even with the ending being what it was.

But yeah, your criticism are still really valid and I did struggle with that one.

Seeing Starlancer mentioned anywhere always makes me sad. I just can't get my current PC to run the damn thing.

Good list, makes me want to play some of those games again.

No mention of the sheer cosmic terror involved in the tense, life-or-death struggle against the horrifying Tatanga?!

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Shame there was no mention of EVE Online. We have an enormous space battle like twice a month. But it's not a set piece deal that everyone sees, so I understand the lack of EVE representation. And I suppose there's also the issue of the fights taking what feel like years. Thanks to Time Dilation, the battles can last for hours upon hours. Still, I would argue that EVE's battles have far more impact than any of these linear events.

Also, to parrot an earlier comment, Mass Effect 3's finale doesn't really belong. Mass Effect 1's, however...

At least Rogue Squadron 2 was there.

As odd as it sounds...I'm going to have to add a Gundam game to the mind.

Gundam: SEED (PS2) was a solid game with some VERY chaotic space battles.

No love for FTL with the fight against the Rebel Capital Ship? Because that's without a doubt my favorite.

Ironman126:
Shame there was no mention of EVE Online. We have an enormous space battle like twice a month. But it's not a set piece deal that everyone sees, so I understand the lack of EVE representation. And I suppose there's also the issue of the fights taking what feel like years. Thanks to Time Dilation, the battles can last for hours upon hours. Still, I would argue that EVE's battles have far more impact than any of these linear events.

Yeah, I totally expected to see at least the Battle Of Asakai here (which seemed to be the first one to really cross over into the popular consciousness); I note that Wikipedia actually has an article on the Bloodbath of B-R5RB.

Ironman126:
Shame there was no mention of EVE Online. We have an enormous space battle like twice a month. But it's not a set piece deal that everyone sees, so I understand the lack of EVE representation. And I suppose there's also the issue of the fights taking what feel like years. Thanks to Time Dilation, the battles can last for hours upon hours. Still, I would argue that EVE's battles have far more impact than any of these linear events.

Also, to parrot an earlier comment, Mass Effect 3's finale doesn't really belong. Mass Effect 1's, however...

At least Rogue Squadron 2 was there.

It's funny you mention that because I actually considered throwing an EVE battle in this. I was trying to limit the list to games I'd personally experienced though and I've never played EVE. :(

Piss off Mass Effect 3. Any of the honorable mentions beat out that brainless, thoughtless lightshow that doesn't even give a shit about it's own universes stance on space combat. Freaking ME1 had the same scene but a lot better, probably because there was actual thought put into it. ME3 felt like a kid throwing two buckets of legoes at each other.

Decent list otherwise.

No, friends. You've forgotten the greatest space epic of all.

A lone savior fights against fate, and the inevitable entropic decay of the universe. He knows he can't win, but he keeps fighting anyway. The difficulty of the game only reinforces the nihilistic nature of the theme of the game. Thus we see the gameplay reinforcing the themes.

There's also a fair amount of ambiguity. Why is this noble foul fighting to save the universe? Is it for his family? For love? Or because he still has hope? If he gives up, then its over, and so the struggle is real. The game doesn't give us any answers, only the grim, set, determined jaw line of flappy bird.

You almost believe he can make it. Then...

Yay, space battles. Starlancer seemed interesting, so added my +1 to http://www.gog.com/wishlist/games/starlancer Lets hope they can make a deal and can fix it so it works.

ME1 definitely had the better cut scene battle. Plus you got to make a major decision that should've had a great impact down the line.

Aw, no Love for Halo 2?

Granted it's a cutscene and not playable, but it's still in a videogame...Good list otherwise though, very happy Rogue Squadron made the cut.

Kinitawowi:
Yeah, I totally expected to see at least the Battle Of Asakai here (which seemed to be the first one to really cross over into the popular consciousness); I note that Wikipedia actually has an article on the Bloodbath of B-R5RB.

The after-action reports from Asakai were what drew me to EVE in the first place. It was definitely the first time I had ever really looked into EVE. I'd never seen a game where that many people could interact in the same place, at the same time. As for B-R5RB, you know it's serious when the devs build an in-game monument to the battle and then the real world media talks about it.

StewShearer:
It's funny you mention that because I actually considered throwing an EVE battle in this. I was trying to limit the list to games I'd personally experienced though and I've never played EVE. :(

Fair enough. EVE's certainly a niche market and there's a lot to wade through to really get to the core of the game. For all the tired spreadsheet jokes people make, EVE really is something remarkable, in both scale and complexity.

Is it just me, or are there two number fives on this list?

You're to be congratulated, Stew. I read your number one entry, and my first reaction was saying to myself "Oh, man, wait until he plays the sequel"- while giggling. I haven't found myself giggling in a very, very long time; it's something few people can boast of doing.

By the way, have you ever seen the magazine ads for the first game? What brought the game into focus for me was seeing those and wondering just how much they'd exaggerated the scale- then being astounded when I discovered the result was "very little".

I did like that Mass Effect 3 cutscene (and there are actually a few slight changes to the scene depending on your Warscore and how the Geth-Quarian battle got resolved). But on the other hand, it did indeed violate just about every rule of the ME-verse's spacefighting as detailed in the codex (to be fair, so did the space-battle cutscenes in all the other games). The codex had actually a moderately realistic model, the cutscenes could've been lifted from star wars.

I think both this and the attrocious ending would've benefitted from introducing playable space combat. That way there is one consisten way in how battles work, AND you don't need to write your ending such that all the important things can be done by one or three people on foot.

Oh, and while that starlancer mission is pretty cool, it's less fun that you have to do that whole slowly sneaking-up scene every time you screw up later in the mission. An auto-save when you dock and change back to your fighter would've been helpful.

As a Wing Commander fan, I'd like to point out a few nostalgic WC battles that may be worth remembering as well.

Destruction of Kilrah (Wing Commander III)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wwCW66EL1w

Race to Earth (Wing Commander IV)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s91GgOjTpSU

Enjoy!

I liked how in Mass Effect 3 they completely disregarded their own canon and fired blindly at the Reapers. What about that whole "Sir Isaac Newton is the Deadliest Son of a Bitch in Space!" rant? I felt they did more damage to the earth via missed shots than the Reapers did.

Much props for the awesome placement of the StarLancer mission. It was SOOOOO hard and playing through that initial several minutes every time was annoying, but so satisfying to win.

Death of Shadow. Yeah that hurt. But for Wing Commander 3 I'd have gone with Battle at Kilrah. Especially if you had earlier let the traitor go, because you get another shot at him there. Plus, like the StarLancer mission, cap ship battles in Wing Commander were awesome. Torping a capital ship was always satisfying. Seeing all those systems go out and go red, then watching it start to break up.

Booooo for the console Rogue rail-shooter. The X-Wing & TIE series on the PC had dozens of missions better than anything on-rails. From the "historic" Redemption Scenario to the Battle of Yavin to the Golan in Alliance... everything (well, to me anyway) was way better than anything in the Rogue series. Hell, my favorite on rails Star Wars game isn't even a Rogue game. It's the vector graphics arcade cabinet.

Alcom1:
I love how the Lucifer Battle video ends with the "Insert FreeSpace CD 2" message.
Anyways, how about some FreeSpace mods, yo!

Blue Planet: Universal Truth
image

Blue Planet II: Delenda Est
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I haven't looked for years now, but is all that Blue Planet stuff complete now? There were a couple mods I had back in the day that I loved.. the other was... Derelict? I think. FreeSpace is probably the best space combat game ever IMO.

Captcha: sacred cow? Are you implying that freespace is a false idol Captcha?

Shinkicker444:
I haven't looked for years now, but is all that Blue Planet stuff complete now? There were a couple mods I had back in the day that I loved.. the other was... Derelict? I think. FreeSpace is probably the best space combat game ever IMO.

Blue Planet 1 is complete with voice acting, except for a few outdated ship models.
Blue Planet 2 is up to act 3 of 5 without voice acting. It's all still in production, though. I haven't played act 3 yet. I've been savoring it.

Nice. Will have to update my mods some time.

Seeing Starlancer make it into these lists again just makes me want to pick it up and play it even more...

Too bad I'm without a gaming rig until September. :c

Mostly agree with this list, at least on the ones I've played. Tho I would have included at least one from Freelancer. Walker's sacrifice, for example. That scene always gives me the shivers.

I had no idea Halo Remastered looked that good. Might have to play it.

Redlin5:
Seeing Starlancer make it into these lists again just makes me want to pick it up and play it even more...

Too bad I'm without a gaming rig until September. :c

It came out in, what was it, 2001? Or earlier, somewhere between 1999 and 2001. Not only do you not need a gaming rig to play it, you'll actually have better luck getting it to run on a modern E-mail and facebook machine than a modern gaming rig, because a lot of the graphics relied on features that are no longer supported by Nvidia or AMD cards, but actually are still supported by current Intel integrated chipsets.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Redlin5:
Seeing Starlancer make it into these lists again just makes me want to pick it up and play it even more...

Too bad I'm without a gaming rig until September. :c

It came out in, what was it, 2001? Or earlier, somewhere between 1999 and 2001. Not only do you not need a gaming rig to play it, you'll actually have better luck getting it to run on a modern E-mail and facebook machine than a modern gaming rig, because a lot of the graphics relied on features that are no longer supported by Nvidia or AMD cards, but actually are still supported by current Intel integrated chipsets.

You are seriously over-estimating this piece of crap toshiba netbook I'm using.

Gaming rig it is, probably would have to do something like virtual PC or something if it becomes a big deal.

Redlin5:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Redlin5:
Seeing Starlancer make it into these lists again just makes me want to pick it up and play it even more...

Too bad I'm without a gaming rig until September. :c

It came out in, what was it, 2001? Or earlier, somewhere between 1999 and 2001. Not only do you not need a gaming rig to play it, you'll actually have better luck getting it to run on a modern E-mail and facebook machine than a modern gaming rig, because a lot of the graphics relied on features that are no longer supported by Nvidia or AMD cards, but actually are still supported by current Intel integrated chipsets.

You are seriously over-estimating this piece of crap toshiba netbook I'm using.

Gaming rig it is, probably would have to do something like virtual PC or something if it becomes a big deal.

Man, unless that thing was actually made in 2001 (in which case that's not a piece of crap, it's a museum piece), it should be able to run it at max settings. You're underestimating just how far back 2001 is in gaming terms. And it's actually even older than that -- just googled it, it came out in 2000, not 2001.

Owyn_Merrilin:
SNIP

I'm too lazy to tackle the Linux gaming question at the moment anyway so I'll just wait. :P

 

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