Rather than try to come up with a top 10 list of video games from the past decade, I thought I would try something a little different and focus on trailers. My list is comprised of trailers from the past decade that have been especially memorable for me.
Consider this one a quality short film, because it definitely isn’t a trailer for Dead Island. When it comes to video game trailers, this one is about as misleading as they come. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great just on its own merits. I wish Dead Island had been more like this and less like what we ended up getting.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of my favorite games of the last console generation, so I was pretty hyped for its sequel. And this trailer revved me up even more. Tense music, impressive visuals, killer action, emotional stakes for the protagonist — It has everything I would have wanted from a Deus Ex trailer.
I wasn’t expecting much from the Mortal Kombat 11 launch trailer, so this was a pleasant surprise. They absolutely nailed it with this remix of the theme from the first Mortal Kombat movie, and the entire trailer is put together in such a way that it flows extremely well with the high energy music. If you’re a Mortal Kombat fan, this probably got you pumped for MK 11.
“Sure, we can have fire. And we can have the knowledge of fire. But with that comes the knowledge of everything.”
I love that line, and it’s just one part of the epic third trailer for Red Dead Redemption II. It’s a trailer that lets the audience know that this game has a powerful story just waiting for us to experience it. The music has such an authentic western flair to it and such an emotional resonance that I would think it had been composed for a major motion picture if I didn’t know it was connected with a video game.
This is basically an accolades trailer, but the music and editing elevate it — at least in my mind — above all other Mass Effect trailers I’ve seen. And the way the “Engages your mind and moves your heart.” blurb is timed with the swelling of the music is absolutely perfect.
Not only did this trailer advertise Mass Effect 3 extremely well — it also served to remind me of the storytelling journey I had been on in the games leading up to it.
Generally speaking, what should a video game trailer accomplish? Should it look cool? Check. Should it tell people exactly what they’re going to get if they buy the game? Check. Should it give people an idea of the story? Check. Should it have ridiculously fun dubstep music and a dancing Claptrap? Check and check.
I haven’t played this game. From what I’ve read about it, it might be a slightly above average experience for most players. Kind of a shame if that’s true, because this awesome trailer makes it look like one of the best games of the past year. I love the high energy song that sounds like an homage to ‘80s synth rock, and the editing in time with the music is just phenomenal.
Take what is arguably the best monologue from Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and build a trailer around it. It’s a simple concept, but it’s pulled off incredibly well here. Everything about this trailer told me that Hellbade was going to be a dark, heartbreaking, and meaningful experience.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was looking impressive before this trailer even hit, but this took things to a whole new level.
I think one of the more notable things with this trailer is how it takes its time. It slowly introduces us to the world and to our playable protagonist before ramping things up for the trailer’s second half. And what a second half it is. Incredible music, exciting visuals, emotional moments... This is unlike anything I would have expected from a trailer for a Zelda game. And that line toward the end that has Zelda’s father pleading with Link to save his daughter is the perfect way to wrap up such an emotional rollercoaster of a trailer. The part at the very end with Zelda telling Link to open his eyes is perhaps unnecessary in light of everything else, but it is a nice way to close things out.
Typically, an accolades trailer is little more than a long advertisement for a game that’s filled with reviewer quotes about how great the game is. This is not that kind of accolades trailer.
The “accolades” in this trailer are heartfelt messages from fans about the positive impact Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has had on their lives — many of which are genuinely heartbreaking. This trailer had me in tears, and that’s not the kind of thing I can normally say about a trailer for anything.
Well, there you have it. That’s my list, but it obviously doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the great trailers that have been produced over the past decade. What are your favorites? Do you agree or disagree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments.