Most games revolve around finding a happy ending for the main character. Even games that have complex plots and deal with tricky issues like Uncharted 4, The Witcher 3, and Cyberpunk 2077 have endings that end on a relatively happy note.
However, there are some games that aim to invoke a strong emotional response by weaving in the death of the main character in the gameplay. While this can make gamers feel as if all their efforts were made in vain, the death of the protagonist usually serves a bigger purpose in the game’s story and character development of the supporting roles.
Persona 3 (2006)
In Persona 3, a silent protagonist gets recruited to an after-school club that deals with evil beings called Shadows. Despite seeming calm and self-contained even when faced with guns and enemies, the Protagonist has an extremely dark and chaotic past that ties him to his present predicament.
At the end of the game, the Protagonist chooses to do the noble thing and sacrifices himself to lock away an evil entity that can bring everything to an end. Players of the game are given a bittersweet ending though, as the Protagonist still lives for a month after fighting the final boss just so he can keep his promise to his friends.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)
Upon its release, Red Dead Redemption 2 was praised by gamers for its immersive narrative, elevated open-world experience, and multifaceted characters. In the game, gamers play as Arthur Morgan, who is an outlaw and a trusted member of the Van der Linde Gang.
There are a lot of sad moments in Red Dead Redemption 2. Despite doing the best they can to avoid the various perils in the game, players will have no choice but to see Arthur die. Depending on how they place in the game’s honor system, players will see Arthur perish in the hands of the game’s main antagonist or succumb to his disease as the sun rises.
Shadow of The Colossus (2005)
13 years after being released for the PlayStation 2, Bluepoint Games remastered one of their biggest titles for the PlayStation 4, screenrant.com/tag/shadow-of-the-colossus. In the game, a young man named Wander embarks on a dangerous journey to revive a damsel called Mono.
A mysterious entity promises Wander that Mono will be resurrected after killing sixteen colossi. But after defeating the last colossus, players of the game will quickly see that they’ve been tricked and understand that Shadow of The Colossus is a game about consequences. Wander is transported back to the temple where he made the deal with the entity, but he soon changes into a shadow creature. No matter what the player does, Wander will be trapped and finished off by the remaining humans.
L.A. Noire (2011)
Following LAPD detective Cole Phelps, L.A. Noire is an adventure game that throws the player into a dark world full of corruption and crime. Gamers will get to acquaint themselves with the main character’s strong principles and desire to make Los Angeles a better place.
However, it is soon revealed that Cole is not the perfect man that he seemingly is as he sought comfort from another woman. At the end of the game, Cole is killed by the strong current in the river tunnels after saving his colleague and mistress.
Halo: Reach (2010)
Halo: Reach is a much-loved title in the franchise due to its enhanced multiplayer experience as well as its immersive and well-written missions. In the game, players assume the role of Noble Six, a soldier-slash-assassin who valiantly dedicates their life to fighting The Covenant.
Gamers who play Halo: Reach shouldn’t get too attached to Noble Six though. Due to their physical skills, Noble Six was able to push back an entire army of Covenant without any help. But to secure the escape of The Pillar Of Autumn, Noble Six volunteers to stay behind and sacrifice himself.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (2007)
Crisis Core takes place seven years before the events of Final Fantasy VII and puts the spotlight on a Zack Fair. Working under the fighting force of Shinra Electric Power Company, Zack Fair is known to players as a charming warrior who has a highly-positive attitude.
The game effectively sets the stage for Final Fantasy VII. Accompanied by fan-favorite character Cloud Strife, Zack gets ambushed by Shinra troops in an attempt to free the last copy of his mentor Angeal. However, only Cloud survives the ambush and in the emotional scene, Zach hands down the iconic Buster Sword to Cloud.
Mass Effect 3 (2012)
Commander Shepard’s story ends in Mass Effect 3. In the game, players see Commander Shepard unite different alien species to help reclaim the earth. What’s fascinating with the game is that the player’s choices throughout the whole series, including the first two entries, can alter the endings the player will have.
While it is guaranteed that Commander Shepard will die in almost every ending of Mass Effect 3, there is one exception where it is implied that the Commander gets to live. But to get to that, payers will have to be extremely mindful of the choices they make in the game, as well as their Effective Military Strength.
Far Cry 3 (2012)
Far Cry 3 is about Jason Brody, an American man who is desperate to help his detained friends escape a belligerent group of islands. Developed by Ubisoft, Far Cry 3 was well-received by fans due to its excellent game mechanics and outstanding character stories.
The last crucial choice the player needs to make in the game is to whether save Jason’s friend Eliza or slit her throat. Fair warning, though, as both endings don’t exactly have Jason coming out of the islands alive and well.
One of the best stealth horror games to come out in the last decade, Outlast’s plot will surely give any players goosebumps. In the game, players take on the role of Miles Upsher, a freelance investigative journalist who bravely enters a psychiatric hospital found deep in the mountains.
Miles soon learns that the psychiatric hospital is being terrorized by a strange entity. Despite his best efforts to rid the hospital of the tyrannical ghost, Miles becomes the host for the said entity. In the final encounter in the game, Miles and a military team exchange gunshots as the screen fades to black.
The Walking Dead: Season 1 (2012)
Many people think of The Walking Dead: Season 1 when they think of the best example of an episodic video game. Playing as the brave Lee Everett, gamers will have to make very important choices that can ensure the survival of their group in a zombie-filled world.
Sadly, Lee gets bitten at one point by a zombie. His companion, Clementine, must then save herself by either shooting Lee to prevent him from reanimating or leaving him by himself to succumb to the horrific infection.
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