Movies, television shows, and books have the power to move a variety of emotions within us. However, video games have the power to do so much more as it wields the power of an interactive medium. Unlike others, video games allow us to control and be a part of a story instead of just being mere observers.
We become more attached to the characters in the game. We invest hours into protecting an ally and sometimes even develop co-dependent relationships. Role-playing and choice games have even given players the opportunity to influence or directly decide the fate of these characters. Thus, betreyal, loss, and death in-game hurts a lot more since we are actively involved in the story.
Here are just some of the games that have made me an emotional wreck... (Warning! Spoilers ahead!)
1.) Fable II
Fable II is arguably the best game in the Fable franchise. It's not a fully depressing game, but there was one moment that caused me to break down completely. It was a product of hours adventuring with a loyal companion- my dog. He was helpful during fights and looking for items. However, it was fun simply exploring the different parts of Albion with my dog.
Suddenly, he sacrificed himself trying to save my life near the end of the game. I had a feeling that the dog would die because killing animals is an easy way to tug the heartstrings of players. However, I wasn't prepared for it when it actually happened. I felt like I lost a limb. My partner was gone and I didn't know what to do.
In my lifetime, I experienced witnessing my dog die of old age and another put down because of severe cancer. Seeing the dog die in the game hit home. I was so attached to my companion that I chose its life over the lives of thousands or millions. Yes, i'm selfish but that's how much my pet meant to me.
2.) The Walking Dead
Another type of character aside from animals that will surely pull your heartstrings would have to be children. In Telltale's The Walking Dead, we follow Lee and a young girl under his care named Clementine. Throughout the game, you grow a bond with her and develop a sense of responsibility towards taking care of her.
There were a lot of heart-wrenching moments in the game, but the end breaks your heart to little pieces. Lee gets bitten and players have the choice to let Clementine leave him to turn or shoot him before it happens. I chose the latter to end his misery, but I ended up an emotional wreck after.
3.) Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 was pretty much 90% depressing because everything was tragic for the most part. What's worse is the original ending was really vague and didn't really imply anything good for those who survived. My Shepard romanced Miranda and my heart couldn't take it when she died in-game. I apparently made some bad choices during my first run. I got so upset that I wished that it was possible for Shepard to jump out of the airlock.
The game was also poignant even if someone didn't die in the game. The Citadel DLC was pretty much an onion that me cry the entire time. It was the last time I'm going to see Shepard, his love interest and crew happy in one place. As Shepard said "the best" looking up at the Normandy, tears were flowing down my cheek.
4.) The Last of Us
The Last of Us is another game that puts us in a protective parental role. It's interesting how I became so attached to Ellie even if I have never even had a child. I guess it mirrors the same feeling of responsibility towards your siblings, friends, and other family members.
The part that really got to me was when Ellie just killed David. Joel came up to her and said "oh, baby girl." For me, that was a very powerful moment in the game because he finally acknowledged his attachment to the girl after having an emotional wall for so long.
It was sad because if anything happened to Ellie in the future, Joel surely wouldn't take it so well especially since his real daughter died. In the end, they both survived but it was more poignant than it was a happy ending.
5.)Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII was probably the first RPG that I ever played. It was as long as four discs on the PlayStation and that was more than enough time for me to get to know the characters.
It probably didn't help that Nobuo Uematsu and Faye Wrong composed and performed such a beautiful soundtrack to this game. It wasn't just the love story that made me cry like a baby, but it was also witnessing the generally poignant moments in the game. The closing scenes with "Eyes on Me" playing in the background was the moment when tears started falling. It was a long game, but very rewarding in the end.
Nowadays, I think I mostly feel sad that this game will never be as popular as VII.
Start at 5:49 for the feels.
If you don't know why Heavy Rain is depressing, then you have clearly not touched the game. You play four protagonists in the game who are pursuing the Origami Killer, a serial killer who likes to 'test' a father's love for their child by kidnapping the latter. The game excellently portrays despair and desperation really well through all the characters.
The endings are the most depressing part of the game for me. The happy endings are bittersweet and the others are just beyond tragic. In one ending where you horribly fail, Ethan Mars kills himself as Madison uncontrollably mourns him in grief. That was one scene I did not expect and it really messed with my emotions.
7.)Final Fantasy X
I played this game at a young age, so I wasn't able to fully grasp the whole idea of the story. However, I was able to understand the fact that Tidus and Yuna won't be together. This was particularly heartbreaking since the couple has been through a lot of trials throughout the entire game.
I remember fighting an intense battle just to break up her wedding with Seymour only to find out that they won't live happily ever after. I mean come on, it was so sad to see Yuna pass through Tidus as he fades away.
When the HD edition comes out, be ready to feel the rollercoaster of emotions once more.