Just like escort quests and tailing missions, a turret sequence can quickly derail a player’s enjoyment of a game. While they have become rare in recent titles, turret levels were once almost obligatory, with dozens of games featuring at least one sequence. At its worst, a poorly designed stationary shooting gallery can annihilate a game’s pacing.
Though some levels end up feeling like absolute filler, some turret sequences were hidden gems that provided a fun challenge or provided a much-needed shake-up to gameplay. Here are some of the best times games locked players in place and made them shoot at things.
8 MAWLR Battle – Killzone 3
For better or worse, Killzone 3 dialed up the insanity of the conflict between the ISA and Helghast from the somewhat subdued Killzone 2. One of the best examples is the second half of the boss fight with the MAWLR, a massive Helghast war machine.
After an intense ground skirmish with the gargantuan mech, Sevchenko and the gang board a dropship to attack it from the air. With the dropship handling all the boring stuff like “dodging,” you're left to focus entirely on shooting the mech with a minigun. While it may ultimately be just an exercise in holding down R2, we’d be lying to say it wasn’t a spectacular moment.
7 Marcadia – Ratchet And Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Early in the game, the titular lombax and robot duo are tasked with traveling to the planet Marcadia to help fend off a Tyranoid invasion. Up Your Arsenal was unique for its open battle levels, which would see the player defend a base against waves of foes. Marcadia battle section was no different, save for a segment where Ratchet hops onto a missile turret to shoot attacking drop-ships.
It’s a great segment that throws multiple threats at you without it feeling too overwhelming. You're also free to enter and exit the turret at will, which helps to mitigate any tedium.
6 Valkyrie Flight – Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
In the chapter “The Weapon,” the hulking Ultramarine Captain Titus boards an Imperial Guard Valkyrie Gunship during an assault on an ork-infested industrial complex. The Valkyrie squadron is ambushed mid-flight by a mob of orks wearing crude DIY jetpacks, and it’s up to Titus to defend the ship with a side-mounted heavy bolter.
The short sequence is pure chaos, with orks zipping around the aerial battlefield and knocking out Valkyries left and right. At one point, an especially unlucky ork falls into the engine of Titus’s gunship syndrome style, causing it to fall out of the air. Conveniently, Titus lands near his objective completely unharmed.
5 Jet Ambush – Wolfenstein: The New Order
Beginning your game with a turret sequence is a gamble, but Wolfenstein: The New Order somehow pulls it off. Mere seconds after the game begins, B.J. Blalcowicz is tasked with shooting a group of attacking Nazi jets out of the sky before they can prematurely destroy the last ditch assault on General Deathshead’s compound.
The sequence serves as a great tutorial on aiming and shooting fundamentals, which you must master before anything else. B.J successfully knocks out the jet squadron, but not before his own plane is sent plummeting into the sea.
4 Hotel Escape – Far Cry 3
Though it may not specifically tether the player to a mounted gun, Far Cry 3’s island Port Hotel escape sequence is too fun not to include. After narrowly escaping Vaas’s capture, Jason Brody and his girlfriend Liz hijack a Jeep to escape.
Conveniently, the Jeep has a grenade that Jason, and by extension, you, the player, must use to fend off the approaching pirates. Knocking out two enemy motorcycles with a single grenade is easily one of the game’s many highlights.
3 AT-AT Joyride – Jedi: Fallen Order
One of the most memorable moments from Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars adventure sees Cal Kestis hijack an Imperial AT-AT Walker during a battle on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. Kal is dropped in the middle of a large lake next to the walker, which is conveniently covered in climbable moss.
After politely asking the imperials inside the walker to leave (just kidding, you kill all of them), Cal takes the walker on a joyride through an imperial stronghold. Though you can technically control the waler's movement, this is still a turret sequence at its core and we’d be lying if we said that giving the empire a taste of its own medicine wasn’t one of the most cathartic moments in gaming.
2 Facility Chase – Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The opening mission of Battlefield’s best single-player campaign centers on a group of U.S. operatives tracking and infiltrating a Japanese base in search of a superweapon during World War 2. Naturally, the squad’s cover is blown, forcing them to hijack a nearby truck with a mounted gun.
The exhilarating sequence takes full advantage of the Frostbite engine to create one of the most impressive chase sequences of the era. It’s hard to focus too much on the visual fidelity, however, as the player will most likely be occupied with gunning down Japanese defenses with a huge mounted gun.
1 Train Robbery – Red Dead Redemption 2
A major theme throughout Red Dead Redemption 2 is the steady creep of modern technology into the old west. This is bluntly exemplified in the climactic train robbery towards the end of the game where, after hours of using slow-firing weapons from the era, the player is handed the keys to a mounted machine gun.
The relentless mounted gun shreds through horse-riding lawmen with ease, and only further cements that era of the gunslinger is truly over.
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