Video games are the best way for players to live out their wildest fantasies. One pervasive fantasy is to be able to wield superpowers. Comic book readers can empathize that it is the dream of many to be able to do some very cool stuff if the universe only allows such manipulation of physics.
In video games, though, this can be a reality, where a player can take control of (or create) a character who is already endowed with some powers or the other. Several superhero video games out there allow players to embody some of their favorite heroes.
But sometimes, a game comes up with power or ability that stands on its own. These powers tend to be more on the unique side of things, unlike abilities in the comics, which more than one hero typically wields. Certain powers are staples of a particular video game series, while others are specific to characters. Let’s take a look at five such unique abilities in video games.
Five unique superpowers in video games
1) Shouts - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Who knew shouting people to death could be so entertaining? Indeed, when Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim dropped for the first time back in 2012, this was the main takeaway from players. This was because Skyrim allowed them to weaponize the very voice of the protagonist: The Dragonborn.
In the world of Skyrim, the Dragonborn is set above mere mortals with the ability to use their voice (or Thu’um in dragon speak) to generate shouts for a variety of effects. One of the first shouts the player can learn Unrelenting Force (kind of like Jedi force push, but with words), which players can use to a great extent to send enemies flying or hurtling off mountain tops (a common cheese tactic).
Aside from Unrelenting Force, players can learn a total of 20 shouts in the base game alone, giving them various ways to deal with enemies. See, in Skyrim, the Dragonborn is descended from Dragons and can use their native tongue in battle just like the winged reptiles. And thus began the age-old Skyrim tradition of meeting creatures off a high cliff using the Thu’um.
2) Witcher signs - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witchers of Sapkowski’s novels are not especially adept at magic, so Geralt keeps sorceresses like Yennefer and Triss around to do proper magic spells. However, they can do some rudimentary spells known as signs, which can greatly help during close combat encounters.
Geralt can use five signs from the books, as depicted in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game. These include Igni: capable of producing fire, Aard: which can send a concussive force in a direction, Yrden: can create a barrier that can harm enemies, Quen: able to form a protective shield around the caster and Axii: which can calm down or even take control of weak minds.
Throughout the video game, these signs can make or break a fight. When used correctly and opportunistically, Geralt can overpower much stronger foes. These can also be further enhanced for additional damage or even alternate forms.
This, along with the Witcher’s engaging swordplay, makes each combat encounter a memorable experience. Due to their significance to the lore, Signs will probably make a comeback in the next game.
3) Spartan Rage - God of War (2018)
2018’s God of War sees Kratos putting aside his god-murdering days behind him and starting anew with his life and being a father. However, the game doesn’t let him enjoy it for very long and a god soon attacks him at his own house. Kratos can’t catch a break.
As the fight ensues, he is forced to finally tap into all that rage he has buried once again and let loose. Using about four games' worth of pent-up anger, Kratos unleashes Spartan Rage, enabling him to get the upper hand and dispatch his opponent. Throughout the rest of the game, players can access this ability anytime the rage meter (because Kratos has a rage meter) is sufficiently full.
While in his rage state, Kratos is immune to dying and any damage dealt to opponents is restored as health. Additionally, any damage Kratos takes is transferred to the depleting rage meter, which, when empty, forces him out of Spartan Rage. In the ultimate “F**k it” move, players will more than once have uttered the phrase when they were in low health and decided to take things to the next level.
4) Sin Devil Trigger - Devil May Cry 5
The now-iconic Devil Trigger is a staple of the Devil May Cry series, an ability that the sons of Sparda can access: Dante, Vergil and grandson Nero. First appearing in the first video game, this ability lets the character assume their alternate demonic form since Sparda is the Legendary Dark Knight of the demon realm.
Along with this ability come many added benefits, which vary from game to game. As of the last video game in the series, Devil May Cry 5, this powerup, fully enhanced and now known as Sin Devil Trigger, regains health while in this form. Dante can now hover at will, which unlocks a variety of entirely new attacks and movesets.
As Vergil or Nero in DMC 5, players have access to different abilities in Sin Devil Trigger mode as Vergil players can create a copy of him while in the battle to assist them. As Nero, players can use his arm-like wings in offensive attacks as follow-ups to his normal melee moveset.
5) Domino - Dishonoured 2
Dishonored and Dishonored 2 have various powers that players can choose from while completing the main story. These powers are mostly character-specific, as the playable character Corvo and his daughter Emily have access to different abilities. This is a gift given to them by the Outsider, a suave-looking gentleman with mysterious motives from an extraterrestrial plane of existence.
This video game series has some cool powers to utilize, with players picking the ones they want based on their playstyle. One of the most unique though is the Domino power. This ability is specific to Emily and lets her ‘link’ two people together. When this happens, whatever one of the linked individuals' experiences, the others will also experience it. This comes very handy when attempting to kill more than one target simultaneously.
This power was so popular and innovative that developer Arkane brought it into their next video game, Deathloop. Renamed for this iteration as Nexus, it physically worked the same way as domino, giving players a great way to eliminate all targets in a single move.