Be it reloading a gun, using magic powers, pushing a button, or even just picking up everyday objects and throwing them at innocent NPCs, well-crafted hand animations are one of the most important elements in first-person games. Sure, VR promises us more immersion, but for my money a good set of video game hands trumps just about everything else in making me feel less like a hovering camera and more like a real, living person.
Let's put our hands in the air and wave them like we just do care, and celebrate some of the best first-person hand animations in PC games.
Doom came roaring back from hell this year, and with it came some pretty excellent and gory melee kill animations as we bashed, snapped, throttled, and crushed the heads, necks, and bodies of any number of demons.
But it's not all about brute violence. DoomGuy has a softer side, as we can see in this tender fist-bump with his favorite toy. Adorable.
Corvo Attano is a gifted assassin, and while most of his time is spent lurking around catwalks and ledges, it's quite a sight when he springs into action. Even with time stopped, he's a glorious show-off, spinning his blade and gun as he takes out a collection of guards. This gif is from a video by StealthGamerBR, who showcases tons of exciting and funny kills.
Rainbow Six Seige
Rainbow Six Siege has lots of excellent animations like setting breach charges, bashing through walls with sledgehammers, or using a nailgun to board up a doorway. I think my favorite is the wall reinforcement animation, though. It's elaborate, and you can really feel the strain of pulling up the barricade and pushing the metal lever into place.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
There's nothing like some good, visceral melee animations, and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has a bunch. Whether it's jamming a knife into a soldier's neck, ramming a metal spike through another's torso, or using one pipe to hammer another pipe through some Nazi's neck, nobody puts enemies down like BJ Blazkowicz.
Overwatch is full of well-crafted first-person hand animations, but there's something special about Zenyatta, the robotic monk. He offers sage wisdom, deep understanding, and healing buffs, not to mention some pretty sweet moves, which you can see above. Get zen.
Far Cry 4
Healing in games is sometimes as simple as walking over a health kit, sucking down a potion, clicking a piece of bread in your inventory, but no series really shows you what's going on under the hood like the Far Cry games. You can watch yourself yank out shrapnel, dig out bullets, pat down flames, set broken bones, and all other manner of gloriously gruesome DIY surgery.
It's the most crowdfunded game of all time, but where is Star Citizen spending all its money? Well, some is going to its ships, some to its planets, and certainly a bit is being spent on sweet hand animations. Above, the flip-off inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy is deftly recreated, as well as a double-bird for good measure. The finger is funnier in space.
The Battlefield games have always provided some enjoyable and amusing hand animations, often in the form of easter eggs, and Battlefield 1 is no different. Above you can see the tiny 2mm Kolibri pistol in action, along with its rather dainty reload animation. It's tiny, but packs a punch.
There's more great hand animations on page 2!