Video games have a way of affecting us like no other medium. Yes we may be moved to tears and/or laughter by a good novel or a particualrly evocative movie, but we're active within the narrative of a video game which brings the emotional distance of the occurrence so much closer to home.
That's what makes these seven upcoming moments of true hearbreaking beauty so much more powerful, we've journeyed with these heroes or have been thrown into situations where empathy runs at its most high, leaving us coating our controllers in saline.
Saying that though, beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, so come with me now and see if you agree with my...
7 Most Heartbreaking Deaths In Gaming
I hope you're sitting comfortably, there will be tears.
7. Noble Team
In Halo: Reach
"You belong to Reach. Your body. Your armor, all turned to glass."
The last Halo game I truly loved, and one of the stupidest off-the-cuff collector's editions I've ever bought (no regrets though), the deaths of Noble Team in Reach were surprisingly gut-wrenching. I never expected to feel so much for this rag tag group of heroes. Why did you ever leave Halo, bungie? Oh why.
6. Mordin Solus
in Mass Effect 3
"...It had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong."
Ah Mordin, you Gilbert & Sullivan loving, awkward genius of a Salarian. We first became fast friends in that titan of a video game, Mass Effect 2 and I enjoyed every conversation, every quip and generally stopping by to upgrade the Normandy.
We went on a tremendous and emotional arc with Solus by our side; the heartbreak of learning of his role within the Krogan Genophage, his past as a trained killer, and then had to watch as he nobly give his life to save those who he had wronged so viciously in the first place. Proper rollercoaster, man, I tell you!
in Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a relentlessly solitary game, where you would venture across open seas of grass and stone in order to do battle with the Colossi, and save Wander's one true love, Mono. Which I've just realized is a pretty unfortunate name. But if the game had not have given Wander a trusty companion in Agro, it could have been an even bleaker and more isolated affair.
But, man, when that wonderful steed, our only friend in the entire world of the game, gave its life for ours moments before the game's final battle, surely your face squeezed out a few tears as Agro fell far into the watery depths below? I'm legit welling up just thinking about it.
4. Gray Fox
in Metal Gear Solid
"A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal."
In my opinion, Gray Fox is one of the creepiest and most dynamic characters in video game history; a badass cyber-ninja that moves quicker than bullets and stalks our hero relentlessly throughout the halls of Shadow Moses? See, creepy and badass. But his tale was way more standout than just: conflicted robo-cyclops.
The final mission of Metal Gear Solid, which had Gray Fox, who was insistent on killing Snake, acrobatically backflipping into action to save his former advisory from his villainous brother was a brilliant and emotional final act. How this humanoid badass tried to warn Snake against the dangers of living for battle, and then eventually died trying to stop him from being crushed by the unflinching foot of a MG Rex. Immense!
3. John Marston
in Red Dead Redemption
"You stay out of trouble, John!" "Ain't no trouble, Abigail. Ain't no trouble."
One of the greatest endings in video game history also happens to be one of the saddest final acts of a wonderful character. John Marston, the hero of RDR had finally returned to his farm to be reunited with his loving family, then he was to be double-crossed by the feds, and all that he loved was put at the ultimate risk.
What else would you have done in his boots? After sending his family away to safety, and lying saying he would be making his way closely after, he was to be mowed down in cold blood by tens of shooters standing outside of his barn door. Epic, emotional and simply great.
2. Lee Everett
in The Walking Dead: Episode 1
"I'll miss you." "Me too."
I knew what to expect heading into The Walking Dead series -- becoming well acquainted with well realized characters, then having to sit through as they die one by one -- but I never foresaw just how hard Lee's death would hit.
I bawled my eyes out as I had to dissuade Clementine from shooting Lee after he gets bitten by a Walker and had to choose whether to remove his arm to slow the change. But when Clem and he say their last goodbyes, man. As she left him to die and be reborn a bloodthirsty Walker, no moment in games moved me as much as this, up until I played The Last of Us for the first time.
in The Last of Us
"You're gonna be okay, baby! Stay with me!"
I knew The Last of Us was going to be an immense game. Following its development, the reviews and the general buzz around it said so. But I had no idea that it would be so emotionally charged from the get-go.
As Joel and his little girl are being chased by infected, they meet a soldier who is reluctant to let them pass into safety. The soldier then, reacting on cruel yet pragmatic orders, shoots at them wounding Joel, but catches Sarah in the stomach. Going from her pained and terrified yelps to total silence actually still haunts me to this day.
Powerful, so sad yet still an evocative and fantastic opening sequence, Sarah's passing set the tone for the rest of the piece, and it never wavered throughout.