First required spoiler warning. There are spoilers. I’m warning you of them.
Every now and then a game does more than just keep us entertained. There are times a game makes us truly feel for our characters, and leaving us crying like small children in front of our screens.
I will also include links to youtube videos so you can relive these moments for yourselves.
Safe to say, spoilers ahead, and lots of ’em.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The first one had me staring at the credits of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood with my jaw nearly to the floor.
Assassin’s Creed (2007) – Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)
In a game series where death is pretty much right in the title, it’s not a surprise that there is plenty of character death in the story. But usually that happens to the historical Assassin characters in the story, like Altair or Ezio. In the series it always felt like Desmond Miles played a backseat compared to the much bigger and more epic tales of his ancestors.
And just as we were getting to really understand Desmond, where he came from, his relationship with the Assassins, everything takes a spin when the Apple of Eden reveals the truth; Desmond was just a pawn on a chessboard.
And Juno, possessing Desmond through the Apple, displayed that truth when she used his hidden blade kill Lucy, with their team nearby frozen and completely helpless.
Though it’s true that Lucy was really a Templar, it still hits you hard to have a character that you followed from the very first game get killed so quickly and with quite literally no time to recover from it, as the game ended with Lucy in a pile of her own blood. Desmond’s and Lucy’s feelings for each other were never sorted out, though many fans speculate that they did have strong feelings for her by Desmond’s response to her death in Assassin’s Creed 3, where he went into a deep coma as a result of the incident.
Captain John “Soap” MacTavish
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty might be known for its multiplayer, and it gets a lot of hate, but every once and a while they make a story that sucks you in. The Modern Warfare Trilogy was one of them.
We witnessed Soap start out as an FNG and then followed along as he evolved to the full-on badass we know in Modern Warfare 3. Honestly, I had a bit of trouble picking which Call of Duty character’s death I would choose, though in the end I had to decide on poor Soap.
After an attempt to assassinate the antagonist Makarov in Prague, Soap dies a warriors death.
The remainder of the 141 work with Kamarov, the leader of the Chzech Resistance fighting the Ultranationalists, and finally track Makarov to the Hotel Lustig where he is having a meeting with his top advisors. Soap and Yuri find a place to perch and wait for Price to descend into the hotel to kill Makarov. As they watch Price make his way into the hotel they see an unconscious Kamarov appear from an elevator with explosives strapped to his chest. Makarov’s voice can be heard coming over a radio that was waiting for Yuri and Soap. Makarov refers to Yuri as his ‘old friend’ just before explosives detonate and kill Kamarov and destroy Soap and Yuri’s sniper perch. Soap and Yuri are sent plummeting down scaffolding and into a firefight where Yuri helps an injured Soap across a battlefield and into a makeshift medical treatment center set up by the Czech Resistance. Price attempts to help Soap but with his dying breath Soap tells Price that Makarov somehow knows Yuri.
Soap then dies on the makeshift operating table.
It’s not so much his death, you’re still in shock, it’s Price’s reaction to losing one of the last friends he had before the world went to hell that will tear at you.
Metal Gear: Solid
Right, I feel like I should explain myself with this one. Because this is the only one where the character isn’t actually dead.
Though she was. (She returns in later games, blame Occam’s Razor.)
This one hit me hard. I was a young gamer when I played Metal Gear. Hell, it was the game that got me into gaming. And, I will admit, I looked up to Meryl quite a bit. She wanted to be a soldier, and she was living her dream. Here was a head-strong, tough, brave, and intelligent young woman who was going into a dangerous world that didn’t even think she was going to make it. She was a character evolving from a time when most women in video games were trapped in castles and in need of saving. Meryl was a step forward, one of the very first.
In Metal Gear: Solid there are two possible endings, one where Meryl lives, and one where, well, she doesn’t. The thing is, it’s entirely up to you whether she does or not. And if she doesn’t, it’s entirely a failure on your part.
After finishing off Psycho Mantis and trekking through a cave full of wolves, you’ll find a room that’s been mined. Soon after passing the mines, Meryl will be shot from a distance by Sniper Wolf… many times. Snake manages to find cover, but every time he leaves it to try to get to her, he will get shot, and there is literally no way that he can get to Meryl. His only option is to escape, and he only does so on Meryl’s own will. She begs him to go, to save himself, and, grudgingly, Snake does so.
Snake promises that he will save her and makes his way back to get a weapon in order to deal with Sniper Wolf, but by the time he gets back, Meryl is gone, only a pool of blood remains.
The thing is, not soon after defeating Sniper Wolf the first time, Snake is captured and tortured by Revolver Ocelot.
If Snake submits to Ocelot’s torture Meryl dies. If he doesn’t, she lives.
Either way the next time you see Meryl will be on the endgame, atop Metal Gear Rex, though whether she is still alive or not, is up to you.
The Last of Us
Joel’s daughter is the first casualty gamers experience in the epic game, The Last of Us. She only appears in the prologue of the game, and is the first playable character.
She is a completely normal little girl living a normal, happy, life, that is, until one night everything falls apart. An outbreak of a mutant fungus ravages the United States, which transforms its human hosts into cannibalistic monsters… zombies. As Joel, his brother Tommy, and Sarah flee the chaos, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel’s arms.
There isn’t much to say, but a death of a child in the first half hour of the game really speaks of the overall tone of this game. There are really no words. You just need to watch, or play, through the game and see it for yourself.
Mass Effect 2 – Mass Effect 3
Before this, never has a character death made me tear up like this.
I was crying gamer tears at my television.
Former STG, and a brilliant scientist, you first meet Mordin on Omega, running a clinic and helping save its residents from a plague. After stopping the plague, he joins the Commander in the fight against the Collectors. And soon we learn about his complicated past, and his part in modifications for the krogan Genophage.
In Mass Effect 3, Mordin is hell-bent on fixing the mistake that he made with updating the Genophage to the krogan physiology which had been developing an immunity to the disease. This gives you two of three sad options because Mordin will only back down from trying to cure the Genophage if Wrex is dead as is Eve. In the other two endings he is either shot by Shepard preventing him from saving the krogan or he is allowed to cure the Genophage but sacrificing himself in doing so. As he ascends the tower to the top to spread the cure, he will die doing one of the things that he loved; singing. He also has a great line beforehand: “Would have liked to have run tests on the sea shells.”
If you don’t shed a single tear after that you’re inhuman.
It had to be him after all, someone else might have gotten it wrong.
Those are the five I picked. What are your most heartbreaking gaming moments? Please feel free to share!