We all take risks each and every day, no matter how small or big it is. Risk is certainly an unavoidable part of our lives and how much welcome it gets is determined by how risk loving or averse a person is. However, it is said that sometimes by taking on more risk means harvesting more rewards, and that has been proven time and time again by the successful individuals who went beyond their own doubts and limitations in order to earn their wealth and/or fame for their accomplishments.

Video games are no different than real life when it comes to risk and reward. We all take risk when we wait for the perfect chance to counter the opponent and use the finishing moves on him or her; we take risk when we go in and give everything we got to fight the last boss; and even take risk when we decide to roll the dice in a game like Mario Party. Video games are, if you ask me, one of the best simulators for risk because there are so many different gambles which we could take a part in and either win big or come out with nothing. There's nothing like the feeling of excitement and anticipation which awaits every gamble and that's a part of what makes video games fun.

This top ten is dedicated to certain abilities featured in a few games which offer the player a risky gamble in exchange for possibly a handsome reward.

Before VII formalized Limit Breaks, VI had an earlier implementation of the now staple feature in the series.

Desperation Attacks are unique attacks for each character except for Gau and Umero, and could bypass the enemy's defense and deal high unblockable damage or inflict death to enemies which are not immune to it. However, the catch is that Desperation Attacks could only be activated under the following conditions: the character must be in critical status with only 1/8 of their max HP remaining and also if the character is not currently affected by zombie, invisibility, image, or confusion. That's not to mention as well that Desperation Attacks could only have a 1/16 chance of successfully activating with the Attack command. Attempting to activate Desperation Attacks could therefore become a huge gamble and one that might not be worth it at times for other skills which could deal damage in a safer kind of way. However, if a Desperation Attack does activate then one may be awestruck with the sight of a Desperation Attack dealing considerable damage to an enemy in one hit. Other than that, it's just cool to watch.

It is worth noting though that players could exploit the Rippler Bug in order to earn constant critical status without placing themselves in danger with low HP. The Lore, "Rippler", copies an enemy's status exactly but it was never intended to copy the critical status as well. Strago or Gogo could use Rippler to copy the status of an enemy in critical condition and then take it as their own or pass it on to others to benefit from the critical effect without being in the actual critical status.

Desperation Attacks makes it on the list for its great power and cool appearances at the risk of dying and having a low chance for success.

The Masamune is Auron's Celestial Weapon. You must first start by finding the Rusty Sword and then use the Rusty Sword in order to find the Masamune itself. In order to fully complete the Masamune, you must find both the Mars Sigil and the Mars Crest. The Mars Crest is at Mushroom Rock Road and the Mars Sigil could only be acquired through the participation of the Monster Arena in which you'll have unlock a combination of ten Area or Species Conquest monsters by capturing monsters from different parts of Spira.

Auron's Masamune is unique among the Celestial Weapons for its property of allowing Auron to inflict more damage with lower HP unlike the other Celestial Weapons which grants damage boosts based off of how close the character is to either max HP or MP. The Masamune is equipped with the Break Damage Limit ability which is the standard for all the Celestial Weapons and that means he could inflict more than the max initial ceiling of 9999 damage. Now, as Auron gathers more strength points for his stats, he could usually be the character that inflicts the most damage ahead of everyone else and possibly reach the full 99,999 damage first. At the near end of the game where there are normal encountered enemies with high HP, Auron's Masamune combined with First Strike and Counter could have the flexible power which the party needs to kill those enemies. Even a few of the Monster Arena creations could be managed with Auron's damage potential before everyone else could muster up to the amount of strength he has with their own Celestial Weapons.

The real only downside to the Masamune though is remaining at low HP in order to benefit from the effects of the weapon. This could be risky when facing with some challenges such as enemies being able to counter attack, being inflicted with ailments, and overall survivability when you need to be the muscle of the group. Still, the Masamune is good early on when everyone's strength may not be significant enough to go over the first max damage ceiling of 9999 or over. After the stats have been maxed out for each person, however, the difference is very minimal.

The Masamune makes it on the list for being a unique Celestial Weapon and also helping Auron become the strong attacker of the group early on in the post end-game.

In this Top Ten, I will be talking about the Equalizer before the Pyromania update had split the original properties of the weapon into two different weapons, the new Equalizer and the Escape Plan. The new Equalizer has the damage effect and the Escape plan has the speed effect.

The Equalizer is an unlockable melee weapon for the Soldier and its main property is that the base damage of the weapon and how fast the Soldier could move is opposite of how much HP the Soldier currently has. At its minimum, the Equalizer could only inflict very weak damage to an enemy, but as the Soldier's health diminishes the Equalizer will improve in power and could inflict powerful damage when the Soldier is near death. In addition to the incremental damage given by lower health, the Soldier's speed is also affected and being a few hitpoints away from dying could allow the Soldier to dangerously run almost as fast as the Scout. The Equalizer is generally used as a last resort fight or flight weapon in which both properties could give an advantage to the wielder and allows the player to retreat in a blur or astonish the enemy with a powerful strike. The Equalizer could also be fun for its taunt, Kamikaze, in which the Soldier will spend a few seconds to toss a grenade into the air and kills himself and anyone surrounding him with the explosion.

There are several disadvantages with using the Equalizer: the Soldier's HP must be depleted substantially to the minimal of almost half of his HP in order to just reach the base damage of some melee weapons, the Soldier cannot call for Medics and Medics cannot also heal the Soldier while the Equalizer is out, and sometimes even the sharp increase in speed cannot not guarantee the Soldier to be able to flee successfully and he could be tracked down and killed while he's at running. Provided that the player would want to put up with those risks, the Equalizer is generally not used as a weapon of choice for melee combat when the Soldier is healthy.

The Equalizer makes it on the list for its usage as a risky weapon with a remarkable increase to damage and speed at the cost of staying at low health in order to benefit from the effects.

Sword Techniques has been in the Zelda series since the very start and has evolved over the period of the series's lifetime. Different techniques offer a variety of methods to combat your enemies, from the classic Spin Attack to the Parry, all of which have their own uses to strategically defeat enemies. In Twilight Princess, Sword Techniques are taught by the mysterious Hero's Shade and one interesting and deadly skill which could be taught to Link is the Mortal Draw.

The game gives you your first Hidden Skill as part of the storyline. To acquire a Hidden Skill after the initial given one in the story, Link must meet up with the Hero's Shade by visiting specific Howling Stones and howl along with the melody of the Stone while beside it. Once he does it, he'll be transported to another dimension where a Golden Wolf will present itself and howl along with Link when Link howls the melody again. The Golden Wolf will then ask Link to find him in Link's Human form, and when he does find the Wolf then the Wolf will reveal himself to be an ancient deceased warrior who's ready to teach Link another Hidden Skill. Now, Hidden Skills must be learned in order and Link will be asked to demonstrate that he has an understanding of the previous skill which he was taught in order to begin learning the next. Once he satisfies the pre-requisite, the Hero's Shade will then proceed to teach Link the next skill on the list.

The Mortal Draw is the fifth Hidden Skill in the course and is perhaps the deadliest. The Mortal Draw deals death to any opponent whom Link successfully executes the skill on, but it comes at the cost of Link becoming completely defenseless. To execute the skill, Link must stand still with his sword sheathed and also not target the opponent he faces. Link must wait until the opponent is within close proximity of him in order for the action button to change to "Draw", and then be able to deftly pull his sword out and deliver a guaranteed fatal blow to the nearest enemy.

This ability makes it on the list for its lethality in exchange for personal safety. The Mortal Draw is most notable for its ability to kill most enemies in one hit and being the most powerful Sword Technique in the series in terms of damage.

What's an ostentatious way to shut down your entire enemy team and have a chance for your team to humiliate them? Introducing the M.O.A.B(The "Mother Of All Bombs"), an extravagant way to put your enemies to shame if you could take the risk for it.

The M.O.A.B is a hidden 25 or 24 (with Hardline) kill streak reward which could be acquired from using any Strike Package. The kills cannot be earned through Pointstreak rewards and assists and the player character also cannot die in the process or else the killstreak will be reset. Once the player has his hands on a M.O.A.B, he could detonate the bomb and kill off every enemy player in the current game, shut down and prevent their equipment from working properly, and also add a nice red dust effect on the battlefield in the aftermath. Your teammates could also greatly benefit from the effects of the M.O.A.B by being rewarded with double experience for the remainder of the match.

Now the explanation about why the M.O.A.B is risky: the player cannot die. Besides the added restriction about kills cannot be from Pointstreaks or assists, the survival part often could be a challenge on its own. What's more frustrating than being on a team that's being dominated badly, losing a killstreak when you're very close to the requirements or just other unfortunate events which hinders your goal? Even in good conditions, death is sometimes inevitable and we cannot help but die from the unexpected. The upsides of acquiring an M.O.A.B though are the ones which are mentioned in the paragraph above and acquiring an M.O.A.B could also be for bragging rights.

M.O.A.B seekers have many strategies nowadays to acquire one. They could be defensively playing and occupying a certain spot, knowing the spawn locations of each map helps for ambushing your enemies, utilizing the Specialist Strike Package which allows the player to earn Perks which could favor their performance, and some players choose to not concentrating fully on going for the M.O.A.B and to just go with the flow and work your way to the M.O.A.B without overthinking it. Overall, there are many strategies for acquiring one.

The M.O.A.B makes it on the list for its highly advantageous reward with the risk of losing everything from a single death.

There are many high risk, high reward type of moves in the Pokemon series and they seem to be widely popular with many players who utilize at least one in their setups. From Draco Meteor to Close Combat, these highly risky moves are designed with the goal of finishing the opponent in one powerful strike if possible or at least severely cripple the opponent. Hi-Jump kick is a move which is highly recognized in this regard.

Hi-Jump Kick made its debut as a Fighting type move and the signature move of Hitmonlee back in Generation I. With a Base power of 85 and the only consequence for missing being very minimal, it was a preferred choice for Fighting type users. As the series advanced, the move's properties also made its changes. Hi-Jump Kick not only grew in power but the consequence became greater by punishing the user who didn't land the blow with a costly amount of HP.Generation V in particular made its consequence the worst by having the punishing effect of costing half of the user's max HP upon missing.

The move's downsides comes from the fact that it could miss if the target uses Protect or is a Ghost type, stat and status manipulating moves such as Charm could potentially weaken or hinder it, and the move being disabled when Gravity is in play. Another condition which could be trouble for Hi-Jump Kick users are Pokemon who use last stand techniques such as having a Focus Sash equipped or having Sturdy as an ability, both which denies the Hi-Jump Kick to be the single move which ends the opponent's life.

On the plus side, Hi-Jump Kick's base power of 130 as of Generation V is ridiculously powerful and its 90% accuracy is very high for a move. Not only that, but having Hi-Jump Kick as a STAB move also made its potency much deadlier by adding on to the power of its attack and allowing whichever Fighting type Pokemon who uses it to have enough stopping power to OHKO most Pokemon or at least inflict substantial damage to even those who could resist it. The preference for using this move is up to the user's preference for risk and playstyle, and some risk adverse players may prefer to use some other move like Close Combat instead because it is safer to execute. However, Hi-Jump Kick is still a viable powerful move which is popular among players who likes to make risky moves with high rewards.

Hi-Jump Kick makes it on the list for being an ability which inflicts great damage at the risk of crippling self-injury.

The Hexer class specializes in using magic to manipulate enemy stats and statuses. A Hexer's arsenal of spells consists of spells which could wither the enemy's defenses, bind an enemy's body parts, and even make the enemies turn against each other. Hexers are too frail to fight in the frontrow, but they could be good candidates for the backrow because of how the backrow offers protection. Normally, the Hexer's abilities are designed to suit the class's dedicated role in providing support for the team, but the Hexer has an ability which stands out from the rest of them and that's "Revenge".

Revenge is an ability from the "Curse" skill tree and could be unlocked by putting in at least seven points into the Curse skill. What Revenge does is that it uses the amount of HP which has been lost from the total max HP of the Hexer as a base for damage when used. The ability could allow ten points to be invested into it and each point increases the damage potential of the ability. The damage potential goes from inflicting damage calculated with 1.2 times the HP lost up to 2.55 times the HP lost. No matter how many points you could put into the ability, the ability could allow the Hexer to inflict a marvelous amount of neutral damage onto the enemy as long as the Hexer has decent enough HP. There are equippable items, inserting points into raising the Hexer's max HP, and the Troubadour's "Health" ability which could further increase the Hexer's max HP and raise the damage potential of Revenge. Players could also maximize the potential of Revenge with the Medic's "CPR" ability which allows each member of the team to survive fatal hits from the enemy and come back with 1 HP remaining and therefore allows the Hexer to pump out the maximum amount of damage that the Hexer could inflict when the Hexer comes back to life with just 1 HP.

The major consequence of Revenge is staying at low HP. The ability, although fantastic, needs to have the appropriate set up in order to make it work. Chances are that the Hexer isn't going to always be hit, and when the enemy does hit the Hexer the Hexer may or may not survive most hits. Speed is also a factor to consider in regards to using the ability because it matters which characters goes first, although speed could be manipulated by other abilities. Status ailments like binding, sleep and whatever could also hinder the Hexer's ability to use the move. Sometimes it is more reliable to count on your main front line characters to deal damage instead of relying on setups with the Hexer, but the times when the Hexer could use Revenge are well worth it.

Revenge makes it on the list for allowing the Hexer to be capable of inflicting powerful damage outside the Hexer's normal role and for the risk of maintaining the right conditions for the usage of the ability.

Lucario is a newcomer who came into the Super Smash Brothers scene with his debut in Brawl. He is a character who is favorable for being able to combo well, having a good air game, and being proficient at edge guarding. His disadvantages comes from having an average speed, fairly predictable recovery, and him being floaty sometimes being detrimental rather than being an advantage. What is unique about Lucario though is that Lucario possess "Aura", an ability which gives him incremental power through the means of being damaged or by being in a losing position in a match.

Lucario's power is weak when he is healthy and/or when he is ahead in stocks. Many of his attacks cannot do good damage and his killing potential is low which gives him a harder time trying to go for the kill than most other characters. Players who use him may notice that as he becomes damaged or is losing by one or two stocks behind, his power will noticeably start to change and showcase the strength in which Lucario has harbored inside. The damage boost caps when Lucario has reached 167% damage, is two stocks behind or is at last place at which the damage from any Aura based move will be powered up to be double its effectiveness, giving him incredible killing power to knock otherwise hard to kill opponents out with just a few attacks or have the power to stop many opponents' attacks. The good news is that all but three of his moves are Aura based which means Lucario has plenty of moves to choose from to be an effective fighter.

Having Aura's properties comes with a few costs. The first being that Lucario has to be at least decently damaged in order to show some improvement in his otherwise weak attacks, which means that the Lucario player could have some trouble if the opponent has the same or better strength than him but without the Aura's negative effects which could give the opponent a better killing potential earlier than Lucario with their finishing moves. The second cost is that Aura could actually work against Lucario when is ahead in stocks or is in first place with three or more people by lowering his overall strength.

Lucario's innate Aura ability gives it a position on the list for making him a high risk high return character in Brawl for how Aura works.

In Path of Radiance, there are skills with different properties of which every character could use. They could be equipped on the character themselves when they join or taught through the use of skill scrolls acquired throughout the game. Each skill must take up a certain amount of space in the character's total capacity pool, and some skills could be removed in order to free up space while some skills cannot be taken off under any circumstances. Overall, the usage of skills enhances customization and allows characters to have various perks in battle.

One skill in particular to mention about is the "Resolve" skill. Resolve is initially equipped on Tauroneo and also a Resolve Scroll could be found in chapter 27. Resolve only costs 10 points to equip, and its effect is that it will increase the skill, speed and strength of its user by 50% when the user goes below half or less of his/her max HP. Now, any increments to those three stats are highly valued and Resolve will make those stats skyrocket once the condition has been satisfied which then allows powerful characters to become even more powerful and even some weaker characters to possess the capabilities to become passable or even amazing. Speed affects the chance of doubling and so the user will be able to hit twice more often; skill affects accuracy and critical hit rates; and strength affects the damage output of non-magic attacks with a weapon. Not only that, but because of Resolve's low capacity requirement some users could tack on an additional skill which complements Resolve well. Wrath is a candidate for partnership with Resolve because Wrath will increase critical hit rates at half of the user's max HP and thus allows the user to crit even more often. Vantage is another candidate because Vantage always allows the user to strike first and gives the user a chance to kill the enemy before the enemy could even have a turn. Finally, Adept could be another viable choice because it allows the user to randomly to have consecutive hits with the activation of the skill which results in being able to land more hits on an opponent during a single turn; also the sweet thing about Adept is that if the user could already double on one turn, he/she could have another chance to double again with the added strike from Adept. You really cannot go wrong with Resolve and it is recommended to utilize the skill for designated attackers who could make use of it the most.

The downside is quite obvious: the user is going to be hanging at half or less of his/her's max HP. Staying at low HP could spell trouble for characters that may have a harder time dodging than others and some enemy attacks cannot be avoided at all. Enemies ganging up on the user may prove to be troublesome if the user cannot always initiate the first hit, dodge attacks or take attacks well. Not to mention that sometimes luck could be against you and enemies could score a hit or even a crit on even the most proficient dodgers or kill the sturdiest characters when you least expect it. Hanging at low HP spells the risk for death, and death in Fire Emblem is punishing because a character's death is permanent (with some exceptions in other games but not in this game).

The skill Resolve makes it on the list for providing a beneficial boost to a character's stats at the risk of endangering the character because of low HP.

Final Fantasy VIII is the second Final Fantasy after VII to implement the ever popular Limit Break system which is a staple in the series. VIII's Limit Break system is different than its predecessor and is more similar to VI's Desperation Attacks in that there's no Limit Break indicator bar and instead Limit Breaks are activated through chance and manipulation.

Each character has his or her unique Limit Break skills and there are diverse choices for Limit Break abilities. How Limit Breaks in this game works is that it is based off of a hidden "Crisis Level" system in which the occurrence of a Limit Break is tied to different factors which affects the usage of Limit Breaks. There are four Crisis Levels and each Crisis Level determines the choice and power of certain Limit Breaks such as choosing which one of Rinoa’s Combine Limit Break she could use and how many hits Squall could do with his Renzokuken. Normally, Limit Breaks could be acquired through the user having lower than his/her max HP but there are certain statuses which could contribute to the formula for determining the Crisis Level of the character.

The Limit Break system In VIII does offer some interesting Limit Breaks which could reward the player for taking the risk. Squall's Renzokuken is a powerful Limit Break and Squall could have the potential to inflict an incredible amount of damage in one turn through multiple hits and the finishing move. Selphie's Slots Limit Break could pick the party up from danger with Full-Cure or even instantly ending the fight with "The End". There are some which are plain fun like Zell's Duel or Irivine's Shot Limit Breaks. Using the Limit Breaks, if you ask me, is one of the most fun you could have playing this game.

The serious downside to the Limit Break system is how luck reliant most of the Limit Breaks are. Unlike the later installments and VII, there's no indication of when and how you are going to get your next Limit Break and you'll have to sometimes resort to risky manipulation by putting the characters in danger in order to hope for triggering a Limit Break. When you do get your Limit Break to trigger, it may or may not be the right one you want and you could miss a turn or more by wasting the turn(s) trying to pick the right one to use for the moment. That's not to mention that some Limit Breaks are not completely fail proof and you could miss or otherwise not use the opportunity correctly during the Limit Break's lifespan. To put it shortly, Limit Breaks in VIII are sometimes worth it and sometimes aren't.

The Limit Breaks in VIII makes it on the list for being on a unique luck and risk determinant system and having a variety of useful and fun Limit Breaks.

Those above are just ten of the high risk, high reward features in games which make games interesting, fun and often times worthwhile to play. There are of course many more out there and all which are catered to an individual's own unique tastes and tolerance for risk. Whether or not a risk is worth it based off of its conditions is up to the individual, but often times it is better to take the risk and come out knowing that you have tried than to not try and regret it.

List by highwind07 (11/12/2012)

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