I know what you’re thinking, don’t we have enough to cry about right now? Well yes, yes we do. But let’s take a break from the horrors of real-life and get into the emotional horrors of video games. I love looking into these heart-wrenching moments in gaming because you know that the game has touched something in you.
Now before you hate on this list I’m going to put it out there that it’s not a Top 10 list. It’s just 10 emotional video game moments from the last decade specifically. We’ve been working with the team at Gamehubs to make more video content. Check it out, let us know what you think! And if you’d prefer to read rather than to watch, well we got you covered there too.
– – – SPOILER WARNING AHOY – – –
1. John Marston & Arthur Morgan’s Death – Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2 (2010 & 2018)
In the last 10 years, we were not only given one gunslinging cowboy epic but two. It’s all fun and games in the Rockstar universe, pub fighting, robbing houses and horse chasing, but the true beauty of Red Dead Redemption is in its story and both these games did not disappoint. In each ugly cry moment over the years we’ve had to watch our protagonist grow, reform but ultimately perish at the hands of fate.
In the first Red Dead Redemption, you play as John Marston a reformed gang member, who finds himself blackmailed by the government to hunt down his former partners in crime. He follows their orders, to try and protect his family. In the end, they come for them anyway and in his last sacrificial moment, he sends them away and faces down the firing squad himself. After all, you’ve been through to be shot down like a dog in the street. Bastards! Oh, that song at the end? No, I’m not crying. You’re crying!
Fast forward 8 years later and Rockstar has me sobbing all over again. As amazing as the first Red Dead Redemption was, the second one is even more spectacular. The story writing in this game was hard to beat but ultimately the most moving moment was Arthur’s death, and that’s saying a lot. Here’s a character who’s developed as one of the greatest protagonists we’ve ever seen in any game. Going through his richly layered story only to see him die. There’s no ending by the way, in which he doesn’t. Either from an illness or by being executed by Micah, which is devastating.
2. The Death of Thane Krios – Mass Effect 3 (2012)
The Mass Effect trilogy is more than a sci-fi game, it’s a deep space opera that will demand all your emotional investment. And in return, you’ll receive one of the best story epics in video game history. We could’ve easily done a whole video on every single narrative that pulled at our heartstrings. But we only have time for one, so I’m going with the death of Thane Krios.
Thane Krios – part Drell assassin, part holy man, all lover. We first meet Thane in Mass Effect 2 when he slides down that vent into our hearts, well mostly he slid down to kill that chick. It’s here that Thane joins your suicide squad against the Collectors. He’s an assassin with a soul and spends most of his time in prayer and meditation, well you know, when he’s not killing people. Throughout the series, you get used to and perhaps even fall a little bit in love with Thane’s charismatic, gruff mannerisms.
In Mass Effect 3 if Thane joins you in defending the Salarian Councilor against Cerberus and their jerk of an assassin Kai Leng. Thane gets mortally wounded and is rushed for medical attention. But it’s too late. He’s already lost a lot of blood and the only thing that’s left for you is to say goodbye. In his last act on this earth, struggling for breath, he prays for salvation. Once he passes, his son tells you that, that last prayer was not intended for his father’s soul – it was for you. Losing Thane is emotionally wrecking enough, but Thane’s final act of trying to preserve your soul is an emotional punch in the gut.
3. Clementine and Lee’s Goodbyes – Telltale’s The Walking Dead (2012)
All of the Telltale Games force you into making one impossible decision after another and The Walking Dead is no exception. More than just a zombie-infested world where you smash heads, The Walking Dead is a story about humanity and relationships when everything goes wrong. As you can imagine any story in a post-apocalyptic world isn’t going to be all hearts and roses. But it’s especially hard to watch a young girl have to lose everything over and over again. At the end of Season One, Clementine is truly alone when she loses Lee.
We first meet Clem at just 8 years old, and man that feels like a long time ago. She’s a young child at the very start of the zombie outbreak, being forced to do what she needs to do to survive. She’s just lost her parents but finds herself a guardian and second father in Lee. Tossed another bad hand in life it seems that Lee and Clem might have just found some hope at getting through the end of the world together. In each other, they find a home. That is until the zombies win and Lee gets infected. With his remaining breaths, he tries to make sure that Clem has everything she needs. And at the end no matter whether you choose to end Lee’s life or let him turn into a zombie. Clem is forced to be all alone in this world.
Can someone hand me a tissue?