2023 Golden Lance Award for Moment of the Year

One word defined the best Moments in gaming in 2023: Epic. While in previous years, this category has been full of twists, shocking story beats, and intimate character moments. This year the moments were the fist-bumping, pulse-pounding, eyes-widening kind. Games this year brought the heat over and over again. Scale is nothing new to video games. We have played games with world, galaxy, universe-ending stakes. Games that feature gods and demons and everything in between. The moments featured here mix style with substance. Challenging gameplay with jaw-dropping audio-visual spectacles.  With that said, here are the winners of Lords of Gamings 2023 Golden Lance Award for Moment of the Year.

Winner: Bahamut Fight Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy XVI distills all its best features into one incredible memory with the Bahamut Fight.

Clive Rosfield’s dispels his biggest ghost, reuniting with his brother, Joshua, to quell a rampaging Bahamut. Players tag off between Clive’s Ifrit and Joshua’s Phoenix Eikons before coordinating attacks and combining forms to end the onslaught.

Final Fantasy XVI has a slew of incredible moments like this. Incredible, fast-paced gameplay, combined with kaiju-like fights, and polished off with the bombastic Eikon fight theme creates instantly Eikonic (sorry) moments in Final Fantasy history.

Yet this fight so perfectly entwines these excellent parts that it stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Runner Up: Kale Fight in Hi-FI Rush

Anything involving Nine Inch Nails automatically makes it better. Naturally, when players reached the Kale fight in Hi-Fi Rush, it was clear that there was something special about it. A dastardly enemy that looks like Handsome Jack? Check. Controlling one of the most adorable feline characters of  2023 during the fight? Check. Awesome rhythm-based featuring one of the most influential industrial rock bands ever in Nine Inch Nails? Check and check!

The Kale Fight did an amazing job of creating a wonderfully epic boss fight. All the elements coalesced into one of the most standout boss fights of the year for a truly unique game. The boss fight also benefits from the fact that Kale isn’t a pushover. When you finally defeat him, there is an intense moment of achievement while remaining engrossed in the fight’s visual treat and awesome beats. 

Runner Up: Venom’s First Appearance in Spider-Man 2

In Spider-Man 2, there is a moment in the game when Venom takes full control over Harry Osborn’s body. Honestly, I really did not know what to expect from the Venom story. Insomniac makes great games, they might be my favorite developer but, they do not do dark-edgy stories. Plus, I have never been surprised by any story element from their games ever. With that said, I was absolutely shocked with how they introduced Venom.

I was not expecting to play as Venom, I was waiting for either Miles or Peter to show up and then have the gameplay cut back there. Having the camera turn and position itself behind Venom as the cutscene ends into a gameplay transition was a jaw-dropping moment. Afterward, as the gameplay continues, it transitions into a boss battle with Kraven, set in a tribute to the 2005 game Ultimate Spider-Man. Finally it ended with the most shocking moment of them all. They have you, as Venom, kill Kraven. I just never imagined they would have you the player, kill someone in the game. This was a dark and welcomed turn from Insomniac. I hope their hero future is more Christopher Nolan and less Disney Marvel.


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