Welcome to my Friday Five, where every week I put together a list of five awesome items from various topics.

This week’s list? Great Vehicular Moments!

Playing Rocket League has me thinking about how much movement can influence a game. It reminds me of how cool it is to get a set of wheels and just tear through an open world, or creates that tension as you barely hold on trying to control through break-neck speeds. We all remember the stinkers like being forced to control the clunky Mako in Mass Effect, the awful floodlight/tank in Gears of War, or the recent rage against the Batmobile in Arkham Knight. Now and then though you get a game where it just brings you to a new appreciation of the world you’re in. Whether it be an intense race to get someone to the hospital, or given the ability to explore on a previously unprecedented scale. Here are some of my favorite moments when vehicles kick it up a notch during your play.

5) Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Riding The Battle Dragon

This amounts to probably the coolest moment in the game. FC3:BD’s creation concept was “wouldn’t it be cool if…”, proceeded by tons of 80’s nostalgic action inferences. You play as Rex Power Colt, a cybernetic commando dropped on an island of evil. Free-roaming through it there’s neon lining the streets and laser-wielding dinosaurs being groomed for war. These eponymous blood dragons are the big bad of the game, and the final act concludes with you driving one through a victory lap of sorts. Rex set out for power and absolute awesomeness. Plowing through everything in your path riding this beast of war delivers exactly that. Even if you don’t dig Far Cry’s core games I feel this is worth checking out for the duration of it’s 4-6 hour campaign.

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As usual, a conversation with folks on Twitter got me thinking further into the topic after virtually walking away. Nearly all games have gone in the direction of adding one in some form. Some thank RPGs for the incorporation of this leveling, while personally I think it’s just a natural evolution of games. I mean if you’re going to dump dozens of hours into an experience, the idea of losing everything at the end of your session just isn’t appealing. The depth being added to the experience creates layers of skill for advanced play while still being accessible when you first sit down. Imagine trying to sort through all the guns and mods in Call of Duty if out of the box you were able to select what you’d want. You won’t have a basis for what’s going on or be able to gradually grow into your play style. Are you a sniper by default, or more of a run and gun infantry player? There’s beauty in a progression systems let you slowly build into what you want from the game. The end result is a win for consumers and developers alike. As a player you get what feels like a tailored experience, and for developers you can widen your net of appeal to welcome new gamers into your world.

With progression systems abound though, what makes them stand out from one another? Just having a system doesn’t mean it’s going to improve the game. Personally the addition of advancement in the Halo series multiplayer starting with Halo: Reach actually turned me off from the series. The idea of prestige in Call of Duty terrifies me from playing; a reset button to completely wipe all your progress to gain a shiny star next to your emblem. Really they can come in a myriad of forms good or bad, but here’s a few notable experiences where the progression system really drew me into the game.

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