Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #18 Metal Gear Solid 3
- #17 Final Fantasy XV
- #16 Final Fantasy X
- #15 Red Dead Redemption 2
- #14 Life is Strange 2
- #13 Detroit Become Human
- #12 This War of Mine
- #11 Beyond Two Souls
- #10 Heavy Rain
- #9 Firewatch
- #8 Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- #7 Life is Strange
- #6 Life is Strange: Before The Storm
- #5 The Last of Us Remastered
- #4 What Remains of Edith Finch
- #3 The Walking Dead
- #2 Blackwood Crossing
- #1 The Walking Dead: The Final Season
Just like all other forms of media, video games have the ability to uplift or demolish your emotions. Plenty of titles offer a relaxing romp that can bring a smile to your face, but if you’re looking for a tear-jerker, you’ve come to the right list. You might want to grab the tissues before embarking on these particular adventures.
It may go without saying, but many entries below will contain spoilers.
After reading through our picks, we want to hear what video game title made you cry the most. Drop us a message and let us know.
#18 Metal Gear Solid 3
Almost 18 years after the release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the gaping wound left by the game’s ending still stings. Despite being filled to the brim with lengthy explanations of fictionalized politics and plenty of classic subterfuge, players are forced to commit a truly horrible act at the game’s climax. Yes, commit–this doesn’t just involve watching a sad cutscene.
Still considered one of the best games ever made, Metal Gear Solid 3 is set in 1964, 31 years prior to the events of the original Metal Gear. The story follows the FOX operative Naked Snake as he attempts to rescue a Russian rocket scientist, sabotage an experimental superweapon, and assassinate his defected former boss. It’s action-packed, but that action is dotted with evocative human moments that stay with players decades later.
#17 Final Fantasy XV
Four handsome guys on a crazy road trip to defeat a bad guy will make you cry? It’s more likely than you’d think. Final Fantasy games are known for their incredible narratives, and XV is no exception. While the title is filled with plenty of corny jokes and down-to-Earth dude dynamics, one particular scene at the game’s mid-point serves a serious gut punch to players. (The ending is no cakewalk either).
The world of Eos is almost entirely dominated by the empire of Niflheim, who seek control of the magical Crystal protected by the Lucian royal family. Insomnia, the capital of Lucis, is the only place free from the empire, and on the eve of peace negotiations, Niflheim decides to attack this last stronghold and steal the Crystal they so desperately seek. Noctis, the heir to the Lucian throne, goes on a quest with his buddies to get the Crystal back and kick some Niflheim butt.
The game’s emotional weight has been mentioned by critics as one of the most impressive aspects of XV. Too bad it involves so much Kleenex to handle.
#16 Final Fantasy X
While Final Fantasy X has occasionally gone down in history for the wrong reasons (we’re looking at you, Tidus), one glance at the game’s synopsis and you know you’re in for some pain. All the hilarious voice acting in the world can’t prevent the emotional turmoil Yuna’s journey throws at you as you explore the world of Spira.
Playing Tidus, a star athlete thrown into another world with no warning, you take part in a quest to defeat a rampaging beast known cryptically as ‘Sin.’ This enemy wields plenty of painful secrets of its own, but it’s the relationship between Tidus and Yuna that takes center stage. A delightful himbo in every way, Tidus doesn’t quite realize what is expected of the blossoming summoner until it’s nearly too late.
A painful love story combined with some of the best gameplay and characters in the series makes FFX one of the best entries in the franchise, period.
#15 Red Dead Redemption 2
The Red Dead Redemption franchise has a strong following for good reason. Players enjoy taking on the role of an outlaw, making a name for themselves, and deciding on whether they want to become a good man or one that townsfolk fear. Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place before the events of Red Dead Redemption where players follow the infamous Dutch Van Der Linde gang. With former protagonist John Marston involved along with the new hero Arthur Morgan, this game is filled with all sorts of unique characters, quests, and locations. It’s a story filled to the brim with romance, redemption, revenge, and countless decisions to be made.
While the Dutch Van Der Linde Gang is chased across the country, the gang continues to fight in the hope that perhaps they’d finally break away and live a peaceful life. Of course, the story has you rooting for Arthur Morgan to find that life of bliss that he’s after. Knowing the Red Dead Redemption storyline with John Marston makes the initial installment all the more depressing.
#14 Life is Strange 2
Life is Strange has one of the most compelling narrative journeys in gaming. The latest installment, Life is Strange 2, follows the same gameplay mechanics and setup as the previous installment. Focused on player choices and consequences, it’s possible to unlock several different endings.
In this installment to the franchise, players take on the role of Sean Diaz, a sixteen-year-old teen that is focusing on what life will hold after high school. However, much like any family dynamic, Sean isn’t always fond of his little brother, Daniel. After a tragic accident results in their father being shot by a panicked police officer, Daniel unknowingly triggers his secret power, leaving the cop dead.
Fearing the law and what could come from this situation, the brothers flee across the country to Mexico. It’s a long and tough road, filled with highs and lows. This difficult journey can also bring the brothers closer together or drive them further apart depending on your actions.
As mentioned, there are a few endings that players can discover, and they’re all pretty depressing. We’re not going to spoil the possible endings, but we will wish you luck.
#13 Detroit Become Human
In Detroit Become Human, you play as a set of androids in the year 2038. Each one has a different role in society, but their actual function is to serve humans, and they’re treated as such. Through their eyes, you’ll see a narrative of the world, how it’s changing, and whether they need to change. With each story you delve into, you’ll face new challenges and must make choices that’ll affect the outcome of the game in significant ways. That includes changing the ending based on what you do. So try out the game, and see what happens. Then, try again, and see if you can change the fate of everything!
#12 This War of Mine
Most war games on the market are all about the action and rarely about the consequences of those actions. But in This War of Mine, you see what happens to the people not directly in the conflict and how they have to survive it. The game puts you in a city besieged by war. You’ll play as randomly generated characters who try and make it day by day. You’ll guide their every move as they patch up the home they reside in, then go out into the world to find supplies to help your cause. This title is brutal and will throw you curveball after curveball as you find your actions aren’t enough to keep yourself alive at points. So dive in, and see how long you last.
#11 Beyond Two Souls
Headlined by two A-list talents in Elliot Page and William Dafoe, Beyond Two Souls puts you in the role of Jodie Holmes, a girl who was born different. Different how? She’s somehow connected to a mysterious entity known as Aiden, a supernatural figure that affects her life in various ways. As Jodie, you’ll travel across the world in search of the answers you seek. Ones about who you are, what Aiden is, and why you two are bound together. The answers will not come easy, and you’ll make difficult choices that will affect the story’s outcome. What will Jodie’s fate be in your hands? How will Aiden affect it all? You’ll have to play to find out.
#10 Heavy Rain
In Heavy Rain, a person known as the Origami Killer is on the loose, and they continue to strike in a city. You’ll play as four characters with four unique reasons for wanting to take this killer down. Through their stories, you’ll learn more about what is going on and why they are driven to stop this killer before becoming his next victim. The title is hardcore in many ways, and we’ll say right now it’s not for everyone. Choices you make in the game will lead to dire consequences sometimes, so if you’re not prepared for that, don’t play. But, if you can handle it, dive deeper into this narrative and see all its scary glory.
Firewatch was the first game to be developed by the studio Campo Santo. This walking simulator game is, as you’d expect, heavy on the narrative, and the gameplay is exploration-focused. Set in the year 1989, players take the role of Henry, a man starting a new job as a fire lookout. It’s an isolated job, as players are tasked with keeping an eye on the National Forest to ensure that no fires start. You do have the ability to talk with a nearby fire lookout, a woman named Delilah, through the use of a walkie-talkie. It’s through these conversations that we learn more about Henry and his decision to take on a job that essentially takes him away from all contact with other people.
The game is all about the story, and as you progress, you’ll start to uncover some saddening reasons behind Henry’s decision. Players will also learn about what happened to the last person that took the position before Henry. The alternate ending can also cause plenty of pain too.
#8 Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
If you have siblings, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons will be extra tough. This tear-jerking game that puts players into a compelling and horrific narrative right from the start, and while it only takes a few hours to play through, it’s sure to stick with you long after the credits roll.
Within the game, players follow two brothers who must embark on a grand adventure in order to bring back special water. The water is believed to have the power to heal their dying father, though the journey itself will prove to be difficult to overcome for these two brothers.
Again, because of its length, it’s hard to say too much without spoiling the narrative. With that said, this is a beautiful title with puzzle-filled gameplay and epic boss fights. It’s also on the cheaper side, so if you want to cry on a budget, this is a great choice.
#7 Life is Strange
Life is Strange is a game that may not look too deep at first glance, but when you give it a try, you’ll have a tough time setting the controller down. There are so many unique elements to the narrative journey that Dontnod Entertainment created. It’s impossible not to recommend this title to both seasoned gamers and newcomers alike.
Within the game, players take on the role of a young adult named Max who is in her senior year of high school. Accepted into a prestigious academy with a desirable photography course, Max returns to her hometown of Arcadia Bay, Oregon and stumbles upon her best friend from childhood, Chloe.
Years have passed since Max left with her parents and their friendship slowly eroded. However, one day, Max discovers she has a supernatural ability to reverse time and through it, she is able to rekindle her friendship with Chloe. With all that said, there’s something deeper that resides in Arcadia Bay and this game definitely doesn’t hold back on the drama.
Players will learn of deep dark secrets the town has kept hidden along with morally tough and emotional choices that can alter the game’s narrative. The simple gameplay makes this entry easy for anyone to pick up and play.
We won’t spoil the ending, but it’s certainly a hot topic to this day.
#6 Life is Strange: Before The Storm
Believe it or not, Life is Strange: Before The Storm was actually made by a different developer. Instead of Dontnod Entertainment taking the reigns during production, Deck Nine stepped up to the plate and gave fans this deep new installment. Players take on the role of Chloe Price, Max’s best friend from Life is Strange.
To avoid spoiling too much of either game–especially since Life is Strange is also included in this list–this game takes place shortly after Max moves away from Arcadia Bay, three years prior to the events of Life is Strange.
With this installment, we get a real glimpse into what kind of trouble Chloe Price has gotten herself into. Nothing seems to have gone Chloe’s way until she bumps into a new friend that could take over Max’s place. This is a story that revolves around Chloe Price and Rachel Amber, the girl that was announced missing at the very beginning of Life is Strange.
As it stands, this is another emotional rollercoaster. If you pick the game up after playing through Life is Strange, it will definitely give new meaning to Chloe’s relationships.
#5 The Last of Us Remastered
When Naughty Dog released The Last of Us, was renowned for its gameplay and narrative. The studio had already become known for its excellent work with Sony, but this title was on another level.
At its core, The Last of Us follows how the world was changed after a zombie-like plague. Most of humanity was struggling to survive as fungus-type hosts attached themselves to human bodies, essentially reanimating them. (While technically they aren’t the undead, it’s tough to classify them as anything else.)
The game follows Joel, who has his world completely shattered early in the game. However, after a small time jump, it seems that Joel is making his way in a world filled with nothing but chaos, corruption, and uncertainty. His temporary peace is broken when he winds up having to protect a little girl named Ellie as they make their way across the country on foot.
As you can imagine, this is a slower journey that takes Joel and Ellie a long time to complete. But it’s during their travels that the two begin to bond despite how bleak the world has become.
Players will be gripping their controller and sitting on the edge of their seats all the way through this title. After the amount of time you’ll spend playing, it’s hard not to get attached to the characters and floored by the twist that comes towards the end of this narrative.
#4 What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is another great adventure title that’s perfect for gamers who may not be the most skilled. Instead of worrying about gunning down enemies or maneuvering through complex levels, this is a slow-moving, story-heavy title that values exploration above all else.
For generations, a curse has plagued the Finch family from having all but one child survive to keep the family name alive. All other children die untimely deaths. Likewise, they all seem to be attached in some way, shape, or form to the Finch family home.
Within this game, players take on an unnamed role and embark on a journey to uncover the mystery behind the Finch family home where you’ll be able to roam around the house and slowly unlock rooms. These rooms will take you into the past where you’ll take control of a past Finch child.
The gameplay often changes and adapts to the character and the storyline being told. You’ll find it tough not to get pulled into the moving family history. A shorter title, the game’s main story can be completed in about two to three hours. If you want to unlock everything, it will take a few hours more.
#3 The Walking Dead
It’s clear that Telltale Games cares deeply about each of its releases. Oftentimes, the company will handle other IPs such as Batman and Game of Thrones, adding their own unique twist to each. This usually results in a more powerful narrative that relies heavily on player choices in order to alter the story and the characters within it.
The Walking Dead takes place in the popular comic and AMC TV series universe where fans can expect to see a familiar face. The game is, however, centered around unique characters within The Walking Dead universe.
The first season follows Lee Everett, a man on his way to prison until the zombie apocalypse ends up freeing him from law enforcement. Now free in a chaotic world, Lee stumbles upon a young child by the name of Clementine who is all alone. Lee quickly takes on the role of Clementine’s guardian and protects her from the harsh new realities of the world.
This is a deep interactive drama that spans across a few episodic seasons. We highly suggest playing the first season and making your way through the heart-wrenching story.
#2 Blackwood Crossing
Blackwood Crossing is the debut title for PaperSeven. Players are put into the shoes of a young woman named Scarlett who is taking care of Finn, her younger brother. As the game progresses, more strange things begin to take place, and ultimately, this leads players to solve a variety of puzzles as they explore moments of Scarlett’s past.
Much like What Remains of Edith Finch, this is another shorter adventure title that’s perfect for gamers who like to sit back and enjoy the story. As you progress, more about Scarlett and Finn comes to light–and it may not be what you’d expect.
#1 The Walking Dead: The Final Season
You want something sad? Here’s something sad. Despite having inspired a few less than desirable video game titles in the past, Telltale Games made The Walking Dead fans happy (or not) with The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The development team was already well known for delivering powerful narrative-focused adventure titles, and they outdid themselves with this painful release.
Telltale Games announced that this final installment would be the closing story for Clementine, but as the game got closer to launch, there were a few bumps for the development studio. The studio ran into trouble and was forced to close down, leaving the game in limbo. This four-part game only managed to release two of its four parts, leaving gamers wondering if the title would actually have an ending.
Thankfully Skybound, the company owned by Robert Kirkman who created The Walking Dead, stepped in and secured the developers who decided to stay on the project, despite dealing with pressures from their previous employer. Let’s just say–they didn’t skimp on the emotion this time around.