Death and video games most always go hand-in-hand, but it’s not always for the fun reasons like in Call Of Duty, Battlefield or any of those style of gun games where death is kind of meaningless. I’m talking about the immersive types of games, where you become obsessed about the worlds and characters you find yourself surrounded by. I want to share my Top 10 impactful deaths. I say impactful, because not all deaths made me sad, I'm also including the ones that set me into a fit of rage.
All of these are my personal opinion, if you think I missed someone, I probably didn’t play that game (having said that, there are moments that made this list from games I have not played, but have played others in the series - so i have a report with the characters). I also do my best to spread the love and not have any one game appear more than once. If there's a death you feel should be on this list, or you have your own personal account to share, feel free to share!
Obviously, there are SPOILERS.
10. Noble 6 - Halo Reach
While all of Noble Team, bar Jun, died sacrificing themselves to get Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn, Noble 6’s last stand was the cherry on the top of a game where you admired the characters’ sense of duty. 6 stayed behind to fend off a Covenant armada on his own, including Wraiths and air support. After what must have been hours of combat, Noble 6, exhausted, was eventually injured. He removes his helmet and we can see the spartan’s struggle through the visor laying on the ground. After taking out multiple Ultra and Zealot-class Sangheili in hand-to-hand combat, the Spartan was finally overwhelmed, disarmed and brought to the ground. Even then, Six subdued a few more attackers, before finally falling at the hands of an Energy Dagger wielded by a Zealot. This scene epitomises heroism, and I could not help but watch in awe as he continued to fight even after he accomplished his mission.
9. Xion - Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Day
I would place Xion higher on this list, as I’m a massive Kingdom Hearts nut and her tale for me is the saddest in the series… however it is a Kingdom Hearts game and I can’t explain it for the life of me so it’s coming in as number 9..
Xion’s life is one destined for misery and despair. She is a reflection of Roxas (Sora’s Nobody), her existence is based off his leaked memories of Sora. Her existence halts Sora’s memories in returning, thus keeping him asleep. She has no place in the world, and neither does her appearance - people’s image of her changes depending on who they have a connection with (Xigbar sees Ven, Saix sees a headless puppet and Xemnas sees Sora). Despite this, Roxas and Axel see her for who she is, and they develop an incredible bond. However, after meeting Riku, she begins to doubt her own existence, and why she can wield the keyblade - and begins to drift from her friends, who are being destroyed by their own destinies. Eventually, Xion and her best friend Roxas are forced to battle. By this time, Roxas sees her as Sora, with Sora’s memories confusing Roxas, and he defeats Xion. Holding her in her final moments, Roxas can’t even recall who she is - and she insists that he’s better off not knowing. However, he is overcome with emotion, and proceeds to raid the Organisation. He wants her back without even knowing who ‘she’ is.
8. Vin - Jak 2
Firstly - I don’t care what you think, Vin’s dead, alright? No fancy science stuff, piss off Jak 3, my boy is dead.
But Vin’s death in itself wasn’t a sad one for me, it really got me mad. When the Metal Heads breach the city walls you’re left scurrying about in a mad frenzy, mindless killing foe after foe. You’re not quite sure what to do until Vin calls you on your radio - but then it happens. Left in the situation where there’s literally nothing you could have done, you hear Metal Heads breaking in and during Vin’s cries of anguish you get cut off. It shocked me, and even though Vin wasn’t my favourite character in the world, I was really upset about it. I started going after whatever Metal Heads I could see to vent, and started to feel a little heated and angry. Then his final words came - “the construction site”... There was no messing about after that - I went straight for revenge.
7. Chloe - Life Is Strange
Life Is Strange has an incredibly rich and diverse pool of characters, and it does an excellent job in making you love (or hate) the main cast, most importantly - Chloe. Halfway through the game I figured out what was going on, that things were getting worse the more I saved her. I knew I'd eventually have to chose between her or the town. A little after that I thought 'I have gone through too much for this girl to not have her come out of this', but then she hits us by saying Joyce, her mom, deserves so much more than to be killed in a diner. So now I'm thinking, even if I save Chloe, she'll know I let her mom die. First play through I had no idea that she'll be cool with either option - so I chose to honour her wishes and save mer mom. The following scenes were heart wrenching as you watch a whole week of one of the most beautiful relationships in video games be removed from existence like a loose thread in your shirt.
6. Dom - Gears of War 3
Gears of War was possibly one of the most popular series going at the time of Gears 3, so most people know this moment, and I’d say they’re not surprised that this makes my list. Now I’ll be honest, I never played Gears 3, but it’s the reason I made sure to mention this above. I played one and two, and I loved Dom. Cut to the third one, I’m watching a let’s play and the team are stuck, and Dom does the thing… That god damn stupid thing where he looks at his struggling friends and I knew. I already knew, we all did. Then Epic Games decide to really go and mess us up. With Fenix, the veteran and solving impossible situations, looking on in disbelief as his best friend rams into an oil tank, and Dom saying his goodbyes to his deceased wife. Eventually, Fenix does jump, and curls into a ball to hide from the flames but we all know what Epic Games was doing with that one. Then after being stopped from jumping into the flames after his friend, we’re left to watch what’s left of the team look upon Dom’s final resting place.
5. Lee - TellTale’s Walking Dead Season 1
Now while I did play a large majority of this game, I never got to finish it - at least not before it was spoiled for me. I had already grown incredibly fond of Lee and Clem, and how their relationship grew and blossomed. You really got the sense that the two would do anything for each other… and TellTale just HAD to go and test that theory. Lee, chained to a pipe and infected, asks Clem to do the impossible before he turns into a zombie. This is the logical out that most likely any human would pick - but he had to ask the small girl he saved, and helped raise. Now this young girl can only save her saviour from an unimaginable fate by basically putting him down. Even if you have Clem decide to leave Lee to turn, refusing to kill him, knowing he’s going to stop being Lee makes it just as heart wrenching.
4. Tess - Last of Us
This might come as a surprise to a lot of people that this is the Last Of Us character I choose to highlight, but to me it’s *the* death of the game. I never really got time to think much of anything about Sarah. Yes, I can’t imagine there’s anything more sad and traumatic than a father having a child die in his arms while he couldn’t to do anything to save her - he was in a hopeless situation. However I got time to really enjoy Tess’ character - the fearless badass who doesn’t take no for an answer. Tess’ death was a bit different, he wasn’t there for her, he could have saved her… He let her down. In a situation like this, these would very much be the thoughts going through my mind, as well as this is Sarah all over again - he can’t save a single person he cares about. I was so bitter leaving Tess behind, and I hated Ellie for not shutting up about it, and then seeing the body later on was that icing on the cake that I didn’t need.
3. Emile - Valiant Hearts
For those of you who’ve been around long enough to have seen my article on this game, you’ll know how this death got me. The whole game you struggle, survive and continue on fighting to unite your friends and family. The game does a great job of putting you in the world of what war really is like, and you quickly put all your hope into the ending that they all come out on top. Most of your hopes fall on protagonist Emile. To have to watch him walk out, with the narrator reading his letter to one of the most beautifully written melodies does more than put a lump in your throat. Emile is undoubtably a good man, and the fact that he is branded a traitor for saving the life of his squad leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
2. Angeal - Crisis Core
You know that feeling when you look up to someone like they’re your father? That was Angeal for me, not because I’m in need of a father figure, but because I related to Zack so much that I possibly respected and loved Angeal’s character more than any other. So when we were forced to bring him down I saved the game immediately after the fight and put it down. I was in a car on holidays, driving from LA to San Francisco and I sat in the very back of the 7 seater doing my best not to cry. You can imagine then, for those who know the game, that it hurt a whole lot more to see Zack have the same reaction. The fact we had to kill the most important character in the game to us, even though we resisted until the very last minute, and even though we knew it was coming - this death tore me apart.
So before I name my number one, I'll go through the list of honourable mentions and most likely get myself into everyone's bad books.
John Marston - While his tale is undoubtably tragic, I never played Red Dead Redemption, so I never really got to relate to his character. Either way his death, just when he thought he could settle down, is tragic.
Mordin Solis - I played all the Mass Effect and really got to like Mordin, but in a passive sort of way. He always had a black and white approach to things that I sort of adopted it to his situation. What he did made sense, and his death never really effected me.
Zack Fair, Sarah, Henry and Sam and Axel - These were all deaths I wanted to include, but for the sake of diversity I had to omit them. Simply put, I just felt there were more impactful deaths in their respective series.
1. Malikov - Resistance 3
This will definitely come as a shock to people, but as I said above this is all my personal opinions. This f**ked me up - I was silent for the whole prison level that followed this. Not that I was commentating or anything, but I wasn’t even thinking. Resistance 3, even though it was a FPS, really felt more an apocalyptic RPG, similar to the Metro series, where you fought more to survive rather than enjoyed mindless violence, and you really appreciate the character’s in this game. I wasn’t a fan of Malikov in the second Resistance, but in this one I was really warming up to him.
Malikov’s final moments left me shocked, I couldn’t believe what was happening, and I’m really good at picking up on a character potentially dying, but not this one - even now I can’t summon the words to describe what I was thinking or feeling. Seeing him die in that brutal manner, I felt all of Capelli’s uselessness, and all of his hate. The next mission was such a vendetta, I didn’t even care about the flimsy weapons and break out plans the game was giving me, I just wanted to get to Mick… and I could not have been more satisfied with how it ended. It wasn’t until the dust settled where the whole thing sunk in and you realise the huge impact his death has on the game - you feel lost.