With the year-end onslaught of racing games currently hitting store shelves, we here at G4 have suddenly become mindful of some of our favorite non-racing vehicles of the last year. Looking back over 2010’s extensive library of releases, a few particular modes of transpiration stand out as being the most explosive, dynamic and destructive vehicles we’ve played in a long, long time.
Here are our favorite rides from 2010, most of which we’d be more than happy to trade in our jalopies for. Especially a light cycle. Talk about getting the ultimate revenge for someone cutting you off in traffic. And parking worries would be no more since it converts into a rod that you can slip into your pocket or backpack. Maybe some day. In the meantime, read on and ride on.
Four Horses of the Apocalypse (Red Dead Redemption)
If you’re going to ride around the American West – particularly while it’s infested with hordes of ravenous, brain-eating zombies – you’ll probably want to make the journey on a fairly sturdy horse. For our money, we’d recommend any one of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse available in the Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare DLC, allowing you to climb aboard the ominous frame of Pestilence, Famine, War and Death. From the poisonous cloud hovering around Pestilence, to the head-exploding powers of Death, to the fiery trail of War and the swarming locusts of Famine, these nearly immortal, high-stamina mounts are well worth your time to discover and collect.
Normandy SR2 (Mass Effect 2)
As with all great ships that explode dramatically in space – much like the Enterprise before it – the Normandy from Mass Effect found itself reconstructed and reborn in this year’s riveting sequel, Mass Effect 2. It’s an effective tool when you actually consider it. Players get all the nostalgia of flying around on their favorite ship from earlier in the series while the developers get all the freedom to redesign and re-tweak the vessel in a way that makes logical, narrative sense.
Hence the Normandy SR2, a sleeker, more streamlined and technologically advanced ship than the Normandy, although sharing the same basic lay-out and design. And if you upgrade the ship just right throughout the game, it may just survive the major ass-kicking that takes place at the end.
Shiva’s Bike (Final Fantasy XIII)
While you don’t technically get to ride Shiva’s bike in any playable sense of the word, Final Fantasy XIII certainly offers one of the coolest pieces of machinery seen this year: a smoking hot, mystical Summons that somehow transforms into what must certainly be a very reliable motorcycle. We’re not quite sure what’s going on under the hood, so to speak, but the bicycle can flip, jump and ride inverted on glittering trails of ice, so that’s probably the one to get next time you’re at the dealer.
Harrier Jet (Just Cause 2)
Lord knows that Just Cause 2 featured a few thousand metric tons of vehicular badassery, each of them readily stolen with a strategic flip of your grapple arm, but few of the vehicles were as fun to control and dealt more damage than the harrier jet. With mounted machine guns, bunker-busting missiles and a full, mid-air, 360-degree range of motion – not to mention the incredible speed at which one would move across the island paradise – the jet allowed players to deal maximum damage at the cost of some precision. The jet was all well and good until you tried to land it, realizing quickly that it’s much, much easier to simply parachute out and let it crash in the distance.
The Sabre (Halo: Reach)
There was much saber rattling – get it, folks? – when space combat was announced in Halo: Reach, so perhaps it’s only appropriate that the vessel with which Noble Team takes down the Covenant onslaught is called the Sabre. Breaking up the game’s first-person focus, your dramatic trip into the heavens is immediately interrupted by enemy laser fire, forcing players into a quick, strategic, zero-gravity firefight that’s even better in cooperative gameplay. But let’s face it. Well executed space combat never, ever gets old in gaming, and as much as we could take down alien battle cruisers all day, the level was quick, effective and left us wanting more.
Hind Helicopter (Call of Duty: Black Ops)
Every now and again, a good, old-fashioned, on-rails shooter moment can really make a game. There are a few of these moments in Call of Duty: Black Ops – the first being a harrowing motorcycle chase through the countryside – which eventually culminate in a spectacularly explosive scenario behind the cockpit of a hind helicopter. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to fly above a river cutting in-between the mountainside whilst firing missiles into nearby enemy structures, navigating through fireballs as they rise into the air, then Black Ops is probably your must-play game of the year.
Invincible (World of WarCraft)
If you’re looking to truly earn your mount – versus simply achieve it during the course of any given game – then jump into the World of WarCraft and enter the realm of the Lich King, Arthas. Take on this MMO baddie in 25-man Heroic Mode and prove yourself the victor. Rise to the challenge and you’ll receive Invincible, truly the most unique and highly textured flying mount in the WarCraft stable. This is the horse that’ll earn you some serious street cred.
Chainsaw Motorcycle (Dead Rising 2)
This’ll be the second motorcycle we’ve included on this list, and especially considering that the last one was a magical, ice-sliding ride, Chuck Greene’s bike from Dead Rising 2 probably doesn’t seem that impressive by comparison. Until, of course, you duct-tape some chainsaws to the grill and barrel forward through a crowd of zombies, cleaving them in half and leaving a bloody swath of tire tracks in your wake.
Light Cycle (Tron: Evolution)
We’d count Tron’s light cycle as a motorbike except that it doesn’t really exist. It’s made of light – also, one’s and zero’s – but in the digital world, there’s not much cooler than a vehicle constructed entirely out of illumination. Even cooler is onesuch bike that leaves a snake-like trail of energy in its wake, destroying all that collides with it and turning enemy vehicles into pixilated shards. In all honestly, this is probably the one motorcycle on this list that we’d spend ridiculous amounts of money to own if it really existed, and having seen the real-life model on display at the last two Comic-Con’s, we’ll continue to hold out hope.
The Cloud (Enslaved)
Your primary mode of travel in Enslaved is your giant, ape-like feet. They navigate you through the wastelands, facilitating jump after jump as you platform your way up and around the collapsing buildings of an overgrown New York. But once you achieve the energy hoverboard The Cloud, you’re suddenly able to traverse vast distances quickly, rising up and down on currents of air atop a blue-green electronic disc. It makes Marty McFly’s future-skateboard look like a pair of rainbow roller-skates. Then again, there’s a three hundred pound, muscle-bound gearhead named Monkey riding around on the thing.