It takes a big gamer to cry.
There are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who admit to crying when their favorite character in a game dies, and those who are liars. In all of gaming, here are our 10 most emotionally charged moments that wreaked havoc on our tear ducts. Warning: Major game spoilers ahead. Seriously, this shit will ruin the game for you, so tread lightly.
Gears of War 3: Dom goes kamikaze.
Watch a war movie and you’ll be pretty attached to the platoon in the spotlight by the end. Stick with a team for three games over the course of five years and those guys will start feeling like your family. Dominic Santiago was always quick with a joke, would bust a buddy out of jail and have his back on the front lines. So, when Dom drove into a tanker to save the rest of Delta Squad, it hurt. But when you consider the fact that he did it immediately after putting his COG medallion at the foot of his family’s grave, it gives you a serious case of the feels.
Halo 4: Cortana succumbs to rampancy.
For over a decade we’ve battled all over the Halo galaxy as Master Chief and, whether we were fighting the Flood, the Covenant, or the Prometheans, we couldn’t have done it without Cortana. That sexy, little blue minx was the closest thing the Chief would ever get to a girlfriend (it’s hard to be intimate when you wear an armored suit 24/7). So when we watched Cortana lose herself to the schizophrenia of Rampancy throughout Halo 4, we knew it’d be bad, but we never thought we’d have to say goodbye to our favorite AI in all of the UNSC.
Katawa Shoujo: Hanako reveals her scar.
Katawa Shoujo isn’t the kind of game that winds up in our typical weekend rotation. While it’s actually a visual novel about relationships in a school for kids with disabilities, it’s probably one of the deepest games we’ve ever played. The stories that unfold all have the potential to zing your cryballs, but when Hanako, a girl who was burned badly in a fire, reveals that her whole right half is scarred, we pretty much melted into a blubbering puddle right there. And since we hate feeling emotions, we vowed to never play another visual novel again.
Mass Effect 3: Legion ponders the soul.
If we were an overstuffed geth mobile platform, the question foremost on our mind would be wondering how we even fit into a pair of pants. Legion, on the other hand, chooses his emotionally charged final moments to ask, “does this unit have a soul?” slamming home a boatload of questions about the nature of existence that most humans spend a lifetime avoiding.
Assassin’s Creed 2: The Auditore Family visits the gallows.
We’ve tagged along through the long life of Ezio Auditore, but the moment we began to feel like part of his family was precisely the moment when his family ceased to exist. Ezio may have spent most of his life as a master assassin but when he was just a roof-running rapscallion of a teenager, he couldn’t be bothered to show up on time for a family business meeting. It ended up saving his life as the Borgias decided to hang the rest of the Auditore men on some trumped up charges while Ezio looked on from the crowd, helpless. Like Ezio, we shed a tear, steeled ourselves and then vowed revenge on the crooked Catholics who murdered our Papa.
Dead Space 3: Isaac dies...or does he?
It seems that you can’t go three games deep into a franchise without losing some important people along the way. Dead Space certainly adheres to this rule...or does it? When Isaac pulls a Harry Stamper (That’s Bruce Willis in Armageddon for anyone who hates awesome movies) and destroys a moon (and himself) to take out the Necromorphs, we have to admit we welled up hard, especially when Ellie utters, “Isaac? You’re really gone, aren’t you?” But crying isn’t always because you're sad, and the water works didn’t start until after the credits, when Isaac, who presumably took his sweet ass time to shake off the blast coughs “Ellie?” into the mic. We were more emotionally exhausted after that little rollercoaster than we were over our past four girlfriends leaving (and one of them drove off a cliff and died on impact).
Journey: Just, Journey.
A game doesn’t always need to bash you over the head with a feelstick to illicit a response. Sometimes, it’s the subtlety itself that can really move you. For many, Journey was the video game equivalent of poetry, with sweeping visuals and a moody, unforgettable soundtrack. After playing it you just felt different (not “served a nickel in Riker’s different” but “plucked your heartstrings like a harp different”). The whole game contained this quality, but the culmination happened at the end, when you’re revived and finish your trek up the mountain and peer into the crevice. There was more finality in that moment than that time our parents were murdered in cold blood outside an opera house. Or was that Bruce Wayne’s? Eh, whatever.
Final Fantasy VII: Aeris gets skewered.
When your race is known for having powerful magical abilities AND you’re the last member of that race, chances are you’re gonna have a rough go of it. Aeris was basically born into captivity at the hands of the Shinra Electric Power Company only to escape after seven years and becoming the rope in a tug of war between people who wanted her abilities. Tough breaks abound until Aeris winds up impaled...while praying at an altar. Adding insult to injury, Aeris is skewered with one of Final Fantasy’s signature Masamunes, which, we assume, roughly translates as “giant toothpick” in Japanese. For a woman so dear to our hearts, it was especially rough seeing her turned into the most tragic cocktail weenie ever committed to disc.
Red Dead Redemption: Attack on the Marston Ranch
If you loved Red Dead Redemption, you probably loved it because of a man named John Marston. John’s past is a grizzly one that he wants to leave behind for a fresh start for himself and his wife and child. His sage-like wisdom and earnest desire to help the innocent are why we grew attached to John Marston. His quick trigger finger and success in rounding up his old gang for the US Government were why he was a hero. His sacrifice for his family to a government that betrayed him is why we immediately dried our eyes and picked up a copy of Undead Nightmare. Because the surest way to keep a loved one around forever is to turn them into a zombie.
The Walking Dead: Lee.
No matter how you slice it, a zombie apocalypse is a bleak situation. If there was ever a game to capture the hopelessness and relentlessness of a war with the undead, it’s The Walking Dead. While every other person in the game waivers or changes, both Lee and Clementine remain steadfast and determined in their resolve to survive and find Clementine’s parents. Their bond is strong and grows throughout the episodes, and our love of Clementine grew with it to the point that we’d sacrifice just about any character in the whole game if it meant getting Clementine out alive...which is exactly what happens. Lee, we’ll miss you, but the reason we cried isn’t because you’re gone, it’s because Clementine is alone.
For a video game moment that will make you cry tears of joy, check out our Maxim-sponsored Gears Of War: Judgment map and the new Execution Mode!