Games with emotional stories can be some of the most influential and moving experiences in gaming. They can make us laugh, cry, or rage in frustration, but they always connect with us on an emotive level. It’s incredible to think that a video game might cultivate such attachment among players to the characters involved in its narrative. Still, it’s even more fantastic when you consider that gamers can’t help but shed a tear while watching a story so overwhelmingly sad and meaningful that they punch themselves in the chest. You can get lost in the gameplay and the mechanics of some, but the stories make them truly memorable. There are plenty of great games with emotional stories, but these are among the best ones.
1. Final Fantasy XV
One of the most popular and well-loved RPGs for PC of all time, Final Fantasy XV is also one of the most heartbreaking. The story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins up with a group of rebels to take down the evil Shinra Corporation. The game features some truly unique characters and an unforgettable story, but it’s the ending that will stay with you. Without spoiling anything, the final moments of FFXV are nothing short of emotionally devastating. It’s a testament to the game’s writing that they still resonate so powerfully today.
2. The Last of Us
Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic masterpiece is one of the best examples of video games as art. The Last of Us tells the story of Joel and Ellie, two survivors of a fungal outbreak that has decimated the world’s population. The game is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, with some of the most gut-wrenching scenes in all gaming. If you’re looking for a game that will make you experience all the “feels”, The Last of Us is essential.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
The Red Dead Redemption 2 game is an open-world, third-person shooter where you play the outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they rob, fight, and steal their way across America. It’s a prequel to the 2010 Red Dead Redemption set in 1899 America. The game tells how government agents forced John Marston (a former outlaw) to hunt his old gang down.
However, after being double-crossed he tried to escape with his wife Abigail Ames, who was also kidnapped and died during their escape attempt. They later found out that her death was planned by Bill Williamson, who betrayed them both. This is why John went back to tracking his old gang. The game is played from a third-person perspective, and you can use a variety of weapons such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, and knives.
4. BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea
BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter PC video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. The third installment in the BioShock series is set in the city of Rapture in 1960, with protagonist Booker DeWitt investigating the disappearance of Elizabeth to find that she has been imprisoned inside a tower within an underwater city named Rapture. The player assumes control of Booker DeWitt.
He travels through this dystopian environment, solving puzzles and interacting with new characters and those from previous installments to complete his mission. Burial at Sea is a DLC that received mixed reviews upon release. While praised for its atmosphere, level design, and emotional impact, it was criticized for its short length and inadequate combat.
This game is an action RPG developed by FromSoftware, a studio that made games such as Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. In this game, you play as the Hunter (male or female), a character that has been afflicted with an unknown disease called “The Beast Plague” which will turn them into beasts if not cured. With the help of others along the way, players must find a cure to these diseases before it’s too late.
Players will explore various environments around England to find clues about how to cure themselves of the plague while fighting off those who are also infected but still human. This game has an emotional and deeply personal story, making it one of FromSoftware’s most narrative-driven titles to date.
6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
This is a game that, unsurprisingly, tells the story of two brothers who are on a journey to find and bring their father back. The player controls both brothers simultaneously, one with each analog stick. This can be difficult at first but becomes second nature after some time. There are puzzles throughout the game that require you to use your environment and think creatively to solve them. It has been praised for its beauty, atmosphere, storytelling, and gameplay mechanics. You can’t get much more about the game itself for spoilers, but if you’re looking for an emotionally powerful and unique experience, this would be highly recommended.
In this game, you control a human-shaped character who falls into the underworld. There are no instructions or tutorials, and you can’t attack anything; all you can do is try not to die. The lack of direction makes UNDERTALE a unique experience that’s different for everyone who plays it. Some people might find themselves in an empty void with nothing but clothes on their backs. Others might be lost in the woods, piecing together clues to figure out where they are and how to get out. The game has many endings depending on choices players make along the way—some happy and some sad—making each replay distinct.
8. Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor is an action open-world PC game in which the player assumes the role of Talion, a Gondorian Ranger who was slain alongside his family by Sauron’s forces. After being revived, he takes revenge against those who killed him and his family. The emotional story, combined with the dynamic gameplay, makes for an incredibly immersive experience that will please fans of the genre. The game follows unofficial lore in-between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as Tolkien had not written about that period. Players can play Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC.
9. Shadow Of The Colossus
This title feels like a traditional open-world game but one that lacks NPCs, typical foes, and objectives. This game is not always a negative occurrence. In Shadow of the Colossus, a simple swordsman and his loyal steed face off against huge earth and stone creatures. The player must climb each colossus and pinpoint its weak spots to inflict massive damage.
This is a strangely personal and violent way to take down a monster: learning about their body before executing them, generally by impaling them on something sharp in the head, back, or chest. It is a part of an effort to retrieve the protagonist’s dead lover with black magic and make a bargain with an evil supernatural being.
10. This War of Mine: The Little Ones
This War of Mine: The Little Ones is a game about war, survival, and the human condition. It’s also a game about children. You play as a parent in the war-torn city where your family barely scrapes by each day, trying to find food and supplies for their kids amidst all the chaos. Yet this isn’t any ordinary war zone – there are no soldiers here, only civilians caught in an endless struggle for mere survival. Your children are hungry and scared, but you cannot afford to feed them because that would mean less food for yourself or medicine when you’re ill. Therefore, they go to bed on an empty stomach while you pray they don’t get sick or worse.