Here are the rest of our picks for the best emotional games.
Yes, we’re serious – Halo: Reach, Bungie’s final entry in the legendary Halo series, packs an emotional melee punch to the gut. A prequel to the events of the first game, Halo: Reach follows the Noble Team unit as they repel attacks from the alien Covenant forces on Reach, developing combat bonds that are all too soon ripped apart as your team sacrifice themselves to save this bastion of humanity. For a game about blasting aliens to smithereens with your superpowered Spartan, Halo: Reach hits some serious sombre notes. Current Objective: Survive.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Inspired by Celtic culture and Norse mythology, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a dark game retreading the classic tale of rescuing a lover from the afterlife, while also examining the effect of guilt, psychosis and trauma on the perception of reality. Winner of the Games Beyond Entertainment award at the BAFTAs, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice paints an experience of mental health that’s probably the most realistic in gaming to this day, allowing players to find a new perspective as they live through Senua’s struggles against the “Darkness”. A highly anticipated sequel is currently in development.
Shadow of the Colossus
Some emotions are hard to explain, and this indescribable feeling has never been explored better than in Shadow of the Colossus, originally released by Team ICO for the PS2. An essential for fans of emotional games, this minimalist adventure follows Wander as he traverses a beautiful, bleak landscape, learning about and ultimately defeating the colossi in hopes of resurrecting the dead maiden Mono. An intimate exploration where you must find the enemy’s weaknesses before you prevail, Shadow of the Colossus is a perfect David & Goliath metaphor, but it’s so much more. Play the PS4 remaster for an unforgettable journey.
Night in the Woods
Few games capture the emotional damage of your early 20s as well as Night in the Woods. Set in Possum Springs – small town Americana perfectly realised – the game follows college dropout Mae Borowski as she returns to her childhood home to find life not quite as she left it. Players make their own decisions about which of the zoomorphic characters to connect with, coming together to solve a mystery while also coming to terms with early adult life. An emotive experience for anyone still shocked to find themselves a “grown up”.
Soulful, character-driven and charming: Undertale is the story of a child trapped in a world of monsters, subverting your RPG veteran expectations and surprising players at every turn. An undisputed hit with its unique battle system and endlessly catchy music, Undertale is an emotional game that understands its audience very well. Impossible to play without shedding at least a single tear, this is a game that uses silly puzzles, daft wordplay and the ugly-but-cute artwork to weave an evocative tale of relatable struggles in a fantastical world.
That’s all for our list of the very best emotional games! Miss something you can’t play without tearing up at, or think there’s a more emotive choice that’s flown under the radar? Let us know on Twitter.
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