Festive Feature: Top 5 Cutscenes of 2009

Festive Feature: Top 5 Cutscenes of 2009

Written Tuesday, December 22, 2009 By Dan Webb
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We all love a good cutscene. It’s the way in which the vast majority of developers decide to deliver their story and we don’t know about any of you, but we sure love our stories around here.

In the third festive Top 5, we turn out attention to the year’s greatest cutscenes, either using the in-game engine or CGI cinematics to deliver their message. To make our Top 5 this year, you had to do one of three things, either; deliver an action packed cutscene that’s stunning to watch, try something new or last but not least, appeal to our emotional side. Hopefully all three, but that’s probably a little too much to ask. Join us as we take a look at the year's best as we countdown our 5 favourite cutscenes.

Oh yeah, this one is pretty much spoilerific as well, so unless you’ve played all the year’s top titles, you may want to wait and come back here when you have. You’ve been suitably warned.

Slipping in at 5th for the second time in our festive Top 5’s is Resident Evil 5. The cutscene in question took place near the beginning of the game and it wasn’t long after you took on the crazed chainsaw Majini for the first time.

Our choice cutscene  from Resident Evil 5 involves some crazy motorbike Majini, Chris & Sheva in a spot of danger and BSAA  agent, Josh, makes a stylish appearance to save the day. This scene is the only one in the top 5 that makes the cut entirely on action alone. It’s too early in the story to have a lasting impact on us in any other way, but the cinematography in it and camera angles are the stuff of Hollywood. It’s got explosions, suspense filled clichéd gun jams, a bit of gore and of course, a happy ending. Hollywood would be proud.


For our fourth favourite cutscene we move from the intense action of Resi 5 to a more emotionally engaging scene from Rockstar’s latest downloadable GTA IV adventure, The Ballad of Gay Tony.

The scene in question takes place towards the climax of the game’s main story and after being left to pick up after club mogul, Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince, for so long, Luis has been offered an easy way out... to kill Tony and defect to a more grateful employer. Someone who can make his dreams of being more than a two-bit hitman come true.

Luis, a self confused nut job, goes through the notions of killing long time business partner and friend Gay Tony to save his own back, and at one time, you thought he might actually pull the trigger. Thankfully Luis's inner puppy got the best of him and Luis opted for a more fitting response instead. A tense and equally as gripping scene.


The third Arkham Asylum Scarecrow encounter was the scariest cutscene of the year, but not for the usual reasons, something entirely new. If you played Arkham Asylum on a 360, then it’s probably a fear that you didn’t want to face again. We’re talking about the illusion of Arkham Asylum crashing your console and instantly making you look at the rings of the 360, praying to the gaming gods that those red rings hadn’t returned. Thankfully they hadn’t and it was all a clever tool by Rocksteady. A devious, evil, ploy to introduce the third Scarecrow cutscene... and we loved it.

Granted, we panicked at the time, but watching it back, all the signs are there; the cough, and the voice asking whether you’d caught the game are huge giveaways. The scene itself was quite a surreal one after the initial panic has subsided and Rocksteady did a fantastic job in switching the tables. Kudos.


Halo Wars is the only title to feature in both the opening cinematic Top 5 from yesterday and today’s Top 5. I suppose that’s what you get though when you employ the animation specialists, Blur Studios, to work their magic on your cutscenes.
Whilst the Halo Wars Elite and Spartan showdown is mostly in for its action, it does have another, more touching side to it. Whilst the Spartans are kicking Honor Soldier ass, Sgt John Forge is facing off against the Arbiter in an equally as epic battle. After he uses his trusty combat blade, Lucy, to take down the Arbiter, Forge sacrifices his own life to stay behind and manually detonate the FTL engine to destroy the Covenant's Shield World.
Touching stuff and a valiant end for a combat-ready soldier. Did we tell you how awesome it looks as well?


I’d go out on a whim here and say that the Shepard betrayal scene of Ghost and Roach towards the end of the Modern Warfare 2 would probably have shocked everyone. We didn’t see it coming and there was no indication at all that this was on the cards.
What ensued after Roach and Ghost got to the LZ after searching for Makarov at his safehouse on the border of Georgia and Russia was an emotional ending for one of our favourite characters. If the shock of the betrayal wasn’t enough to move you, then watching Shepard’s men toss a limp Ghost towards you with his eyes rolled back into his head and then watching them douse you in petrol and set you on fire will surely have done it.
To heighten the atmosphere of the event, the music of Hans Zimmer roars in all its glory whilst Captain Price discovers Shepard’s dastardly deeds, but all too late. Seriously emotionally engaging stuff.

Check back tomorrow for our penultimate festive feature where action takes the front seat.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 839
Comment #1 by Feel My Rage
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 10:51:51 PM
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Haha, i think #'s 1 and 2 are well deserved! Another great list guys! keep it up!

Forum Posts: 268
Comment #2 by Lord of Orion
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 10:52:57 PM
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I am glad Modern Warfare 2 won this. They put a lot of work in the cut scenes and deserve it, even if the story got a little carried away.

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #3 by HT101
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 10:55:11 PM
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Great list again. Didn't check the GTA 4 one since I haven't played BoGT yet so I don't want to spoil it for myself.

Forum Posts: 182
Comment #4 by Dave of Canada
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 10:57:21 PM
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I agree with all picks except for Resident Evil 5. Personally, it felt out of place for a horror game and felt more like an action game.

Then again, the game is an action game pretty much. :P

Forum Posts: 430
Comment #5 by PakoRawr
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 11:24:17 PM
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Pretty Solid List.
Modern Warfare Tend to eliminate Player characters in shocking ways, it's sad :(.

Forum Posts: 2161
Comment #6 by mjc0961
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 11:27:08 PM
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Wait, Rocksteady actually had the game tell the console to display the RROD instead of the normal controller light when that part happened?

Forum Posts: 126
Comment #7 by linkin10362
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 11:37:26 PM
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@6 no,the screen looks as if you are getting a red ring by freezing up and doing some weird noises.My friend turned the game off 3 times because of that part before finding out it was a trick,fun stuff.

Forum Posts: 14904
Comment #8 by Webb [STAFF]
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 11:48:25 PM
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@#7 - Admittedly, so did I, ha ha. Only twice though =P I was scared it jumped back to the beginning and the autosave would lose all my progress, so I turned off twice and then Googled it. Damn those buggers!

Forum Posts: 118
Comment #9 by FiNaL Mirage
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 11:48:29 PM
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Awesome list, all deserve to be up there.

Forum Posts: 183
Comment #10 by SoBeRxFTW
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 12:08:26 AM
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Modern Warfare 2 cutscene really deserved it, because it was kind of emotional. FUCKIN SHEPARD!! ='[

Forum Posts: 3511
Comment #11 by Yunder
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 12:13:53 AM
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Look at Harley Quinn shaking her hips in that cutscene. ;)Damn.

Forum Posts: 2161
Comment #12 by mjc0961
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 12:28:19 AM
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Oh, alright. Thanks #7. The PS3 version did the same thing, but when I read the article I thought they actually made the 360 show the red ring. Would have been a nice bonus for the "DAMMIT MY GAME FROZE!" moment they had there.

My favorite part of that is "use the middle stick to dodge Joker's gunfire", though. At first I thought I really died, and then I saw the "middle" part. Good one Rocksteady. :p

Forum Posts: 126
Comment #13 by linkin10362
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 12:53:48 AM
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@#12 Yeah your welcome,I liked that part as well,I forgot what exactly it told me to press,but I know if you tried to skip the cutscene,it told you to press the "J" button,thought that was pretty funny as well

Forum Posts: 126
Comment #14 by FirsthandJordy1
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 01:42:23 AM
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What about The Cole Trains AWESOME cutscene ?!?!
Number 5 I remember and number one

Forum Posts: 111
Comment #15 by XxHamRxX
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 01:58:39 AM
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I dont care at all about story in any thing cos i cant follow it but i still got taken aback by #1. It is that emotional

Forum Posts: 131
Comment #16 by The Dark Wyvern
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 02:52:10 AM
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Ahh Scarecrow was the greatest villain in Arkham Asylum. That part was a serious mind-fuck.

Forum Posts: 324
Comment #17 by MrIacob
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 02:58:23 AM
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Best list could be made.

Forum Posts: 47
Comment #18 by eggflip66
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 03:27:39 AM
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mw2 won because so many retards bought the game

Forum Posts: 193
Comment #19 by sneh
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 03:49:05 AM
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totally agree with the #1 pick. the feeling of total betrayal made me want to kick a small dog.

Forum Posts: 64
Comment #20 by S Luker 92
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 03:50:17 AM
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I loved the Batman one made me crap myself seeing as I'm on my third Xbox! MW2 deserved winner.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #21 by reg12365
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 04:04:06 AM
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@14 That wasn't 2009

@18 Shut up....-.-

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #22 by crazyman
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 04:29:09 AM
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the modern warfare series is amazing, but always seems to make me want to gauge my eyes out, feed them to a small KILLER WHALE and stay alive so i can watch myself get eaten, from the inside of that KILLER WHALE, and be slowly digested untill i don't exist.

they are the best games ever, but seriously;

-griggs getting headshotted,
-captain price 'dying' at the end of mw1
-ghost and roach being betrayed and burnt


but on a lighter note, a good top 5 :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #23 by CheesyToast111
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:16:47 AM
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The Halo Wars cutscenes were fucking good

Forum Posts: 882
Comment #24 by BlindxLink
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:17:59 AM
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I got so scared on the Batman scene when I first played. I'll never forget it.

Forum Posts: 1988
Comment #25 by Midnight Malice
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:46:05 AM
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Hmmm, the betrayal was good for storyline, but did it really make for a good enough cutscene for #1? A good cutscene is something you can watch independantly from the story and go... awesome... these were top 5 scenes, not top 5 plot twists. Halo Wars is the perfect example of cutscene gold, you watch it alone and it is sweet, show that MW2 scene to someone that has never played the game, they would go... uh ok. You would have to explain why it is good, destroying the whole idea of a good cutscene. Noobs....

Forum Posts: 1988
Comment #26 by Midnight Malice
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:48:30 AM
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After reading the opening, it sounds like they chose thier 5 first, then gave justification as to why they were there. Whatever...

Forum Posts: 225
Comment #27 by Shadow Warlock
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:54:04 AM
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Batman should have got #1 and Overhyped Warfare 2 #3.

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Comment #28 by Webb [STAFF]
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 06:54:47 AM
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@#25 - Actually, cutscenes are designed to advance plot. They aren't created to just look good. So it's only natural we give the winner to the scene that advances plot and creates an emotional response in an unforgettable way, a la Modern Warfare 2.

Forum Posts: 179
Comment #29 by xgonscm2
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 06:55:09 AM
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are you serious about the batman one....that's the only reason i stopped playing that game, i even deleted my save info and started again, got to that point in the game, and it happened again. i feel like a total dumb shit right about now...lmao

Forum Posts: 2019
Comment #30 by martdude16
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:06:03 AM
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Great list, Modern Warfare cutscene was brilliant as was RE5!

However just incase some people haven't seen the cutscenes yet, you could add a spoiler.

Forum Posts: 27506
Comment #31 by Barad
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:06:31 AM
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I loved the Halo one bt MW2 was also pretty sick..damn sheppard.

Forum Posts: 25
Comment #32 by jirvine64
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:10:28 AM
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The guy at IW who decided to kill off Ghost is an asshole

I hope he has a bad Christmas tbh

R.I.P Ghost :(

Forum Posts: 2019
Comment #33 by martdude16
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:11:36 AM
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...Nevermind, it says on the opening page. My bad! :)

Forum Posts: 120
Comment #34 by Desmondo2000
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:17:54 AM
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Damn you Shepard!

Forum Posts: 96
Comment #35 by Aliasalpha
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 08:16:28 AM
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I almost shat myself with the Arkham Asylum one. It was the day I got the game and the day I got the PS3 I was playing the game on so I was extra worried by that,

Clever bastards, to this day I don't know if I want to hug them or kill them

Forum Posts: 96
Comment #36 by Aliasalpha
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 08:17:58 AM
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Oh yeah, and "Use middle stick to aboid gunfire" when the joker shoots you... bastards, I actually looked for it!

Forum Posts: 1844
Comment #37 by InkedUp
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 08:27:47 AM
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Good list Webb, MW2 definitely deserved the #1 spot.
@18 I must have missed the part where people who bought the games could vote on the Top 5 for the year, since you seem to be saying that all the "retards" who bought MW2 had a say so in these Top 5 cutscenes, or maybe your referring to Webb as a retard, which isn't to smart of you. Put a little thought into your post before you type.

Forum Posts: 212
Comment #38 by Jimbob131190
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 08:31:43 AM
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I only played MW2, but from the videos i've to say I think Batman should be replaced with Halo wars. Also that makes me want to play my resident evil now XD

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #39 by Astrex
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 08:57:23 AM
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I got to admit the M Dub ya 2 one had my heart racing!

Forum Posts: 1728
Comment #40 by H0p3sfalL
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 09:25:27 AM
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NICE LIST !!!!!! liked the halo wars one a lot..... got to love the human spirit! But i felt when price launched the nuke should have been # 1. I mean at that point in the game that was where i had my jaw the lowest with a hint of a grin for the awesomenes of it all.

Forum Posts: 54
Comment #41 by Grimm Tim
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:04:03 AM
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Awesome list. I really dont think Arkham Asylum should be there though. Yea that part was amazing but to me its not really a cutscene

Forum Posts: 360
Comment #42 by Justin Case
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:07:51 AM
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Past two list has been very well chosen. I love it

Forum Posts: 1081
Comment #43 by CaptainSpanner
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:32:30 AM
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Agreed. MW2 deserved it.

Forum Posts: 318
Comment #44 by THC BLUNTED
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:36:39 AM
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Personally I think 1 and 2 should be swapped. I thought the halo wars cutscene was a lot better.

Forum Posts: 214
Comment #45 by xGoRmSx
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:45:32 AM
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No way! HALO WARS SO WAS MUCH BETTER!! *sad face*

Forum Posts: 726
Comment #46 by IceKingz
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 02:13:57 PM
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I was so mad at the MW2 cutscene. Gaz was my fav character of MW then Ghost came along and I was like 'he's the same VA, amazing mask, he can't possibly die as well' ....he died. Thanks IW, FOR TOYING WITH MY EMOTIONS!!

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #47 by SuperWoody64
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 02:33:02 PM
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I'm with number 4. As much as I love RE5 I don't think it, or 4 for that matter, deserve a number. They're more like spinoffs.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #48 by Wolfofthewind
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 02:36:54 PM
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Hahaha, I felt bad for Roach/Ghost, but I can't say I didn't see the betrayal coming. It was impending, Shepherd's personality was very fitting for the role. Not to mention the whole "danger close" issue, and the way he handled a lot of the scenarios. Also the incident with the CIA agent in the airliner? That's a perfect way to initiate the war he wanted, no?

@46, haha! I had a bad feeling Ghost was prolly screwed, just because of that same VA.

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #49 by dcif20
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 04:51:08 PM
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i laughed during the whole mw2 cutscene

Forum Posts: 102
Comment #50 by N00B EATA
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 05:21:26 PM
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you can call me whatever you want, but i have to admit i actually cried when ghost got shot.

Forum Posts: 98
Comment #51 by zr122
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 06:16:17 PM
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It's weird hearing people say "damn you Shepard!" when all I've been reading for the past two weeks has been ME2 tidbits.

Great list, only played one of the games on it, but very well done.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #52 by Calmed Fury
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 06:22:18 PM
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does anyone know if you can buy the CODMW2 soundtrack anywhere? I've been looking for it, but it's not even on iTunes....

Forum Posts: 247
Comment #53 by samjustsam
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:02:22 PM
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man i think that arkham asylum scene should have won. im sick of hearing about halo anything. and modern warfare is good but that arkham asylum scene is just awesomeness.

Forum Posts: 1719
Comment #54 by UNDERWALLY
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 07:57:03 PM
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Terrible list :(
The best cutscene by far is the ending from MW2,with the knife and all, it make me wet my pants.

Ghostbusters the videogame, had lots of cool cutscences too, and why the love for Halo Wars, that game sucks, and it's cutscenes are confusing and stupid

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #55 by Specter1000
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 09:18:11 PM
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Halo Wars got a well deserved spot probably one of the best cut scenes in any halo game.

Forum Posts: 252
Comment #56 by Wulfaur
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:36:57 PM
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Halo Wars should have taken number 1. I remember me and my friends playing co-op and at that point we were like, "Oh Shit, those Spartans are raping." Halo Wars had some good cutscenes. I think Modern Warfare was very, (Cue Geese) Predictabo with its story, betrayals and cutscenes.

Forum Posts: 415
Comment #57 by KingSigy
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 @ 10:46:39 PM
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I don't know about anything in MW2. The singleplayer was rather weak, in my opinion. I also didn't much care for Batman.

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #58 by toonsage
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 12:08:22 AM
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that never happened to my 360 when i played batman o.o so odd...awesome list webyy =D

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #59 by Rirakku
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 01:06:40 AM
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Eh, list was eh. I felt some bias in MW 2, everybody seems to love that game

Forum Posts: 63
Comment #60 by Gearbolt
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 05:10:20 AM
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Batman should be #1, otherwise good list.

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #61 by Blue Thunder28
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 05:15:32 AM
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Good list. I loved the Batman cutscene the most... though I never got scared, the entire time I was loving how fucking sweet it was.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #62 by dR PowerDrain
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 09:13:04 AM
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You guys are good at this! Perfect Choices

Forum Posts: 261
Comment #63 by Madmax410
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 01:39:07 PM
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I knew MW2 was going to get a spot. IMO the final cutscene was better, but still, this one was a good choice.

Although I agree with some other users, after the twentieth scripted player death it was getting a little dull, lol

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #64 by JamMastrHibbert
Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 08:39:27 PM
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The only game on this list that I have played was batman. But I think the cutscene that should have made the top was halo wars, that was epic

Forum Posts: 647
Comment #65 by Munsie
Friday, December 25, 2009 @ 09:27:36 AM
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Decent list but I personally think #1 and #2 are in the wrong order.

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #66 by BlO0DJUNKi3
Friday, December 25, 2009 @ 08:55:59 PM
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Yeah Halo Wars felt best to me but great list

Forum Posts: 133
Comment #67 by SuperchargedNL
Saturday, December 26, 2009 @ 07:02:27 AM
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Great list! The Scarecrow cut-scene really made me look at my 360 to see if it didn't red ring at the time... :P

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #68 by Buzz Killer81
Saturday, December 26, 2009 @ 10:10:09 AM
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Haha the Arkham Asylum cutsceen should've been #1. I played both games and Modern Warfare 2 was a better game compaired to AA, and the cutsceen with Shepards betrayal was epic and emotional, but when you have a cutsceen that people react to and shut their console off because the gamer thinks it's frozen, that alone should be the reason for it's #1 spot. I almost shut down my console but then I remembered "Fission Mailed" from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, so I let it run. Haha glad I did. And the Halo franchise sucks my balls, period! Anytime we see Halo nominated for anything it's only because it's Halo!And that's a fact! The series has offered nothing revolutionary since health recharge in the 1st Halo.

Forum Posts: 467
Comment #69 by NawtyCawty
Sunday, December 27, 2009 @ 03:34:58 PM
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I must admit I personaslly cant stand cutscenes, and really cant see the point of them. Its a game ffs not a film. They just get in the way of the gaming fun (and are usually shit anyway), please no more cutscenes - ever!

Forum Posts: 66
Comment #70 by STZ513
Sunday, December 27, 2009 @ 07:52:33 PM
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@ anyone who thinks MW2 shouldn't get #1. It is one of the most emotional scenes of any game i've ever played. Halo Wars had an ending similar to that of about a hundred action movies. Yeah it was cool, but it really wasn't original, or did it draw out the emotions like MW2 did. As for AA, I was about to turn my console off then I was like "why is the moon a frowney face?"

And @69
Just. wow. I love playing games with nothing to motivate me (not). A story gets the player more involved, hence getting them more motivated to play. (like achievements/ unlockable in-game rewards)

Forum Posts: 73
Comment #71 by LoveAsThouWilt
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 01:32:36 PM
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See, I don't understand. Not likeing cutscenes that is. I have a friend that is the same way and what makes even the least since is that she doesn't like them AND likes RPGS more than anything else. Can you imagine an RPG without any cutscenes? Cutscenes moves the story further and pulls you into the game. Games ARE the new movies. They are an interactive experience. Being a gung-ho shoot everything then stop playing kind of gamer sounds kind of boring to me, but if thats your style so be it.

If a game has a terrible story, I won't play it. The experience has to be worth the effort, whether through an enjoyable story or easy achievements lol. Without the story there are no games! It would be like taking a back-step into the past of atari games; where all you had to do was go through a

Forum Posts: 247
Comment #72 by atomic viking54
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 04:38:34 PM
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good list.
idk about #5 but still good

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Comment #73 by divineDOOMLORD
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:35:10 PM
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why resident evil 5 is on this list is beyond me.

Forum Posts: 162
Comment #74 by Zarkykins
Sunday, January 03, 2010 @ 07:07:54 AM
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I thought the cutscene in Assasin's Creed 2 where he reunites with his uncle Mario deserved it a bit more than RE5.
"It's-a-me! Mario!"

Forum Posts: 883
Comment #75 by i got squeezed
Sunday, January 03, 2010 @ 08:29:03 PM
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Im deep into Mw2 story and the characters, I sheded a slight tear when he shot Ghost and Roach, damn bastard

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #76 by Grufalo
Saturday, January 09, 2010 @ 09:39:02 AM
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Demise of ghost wonderful cut scen but i think the sniper scenen from resident evil 5 should have been on second place.

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