Nowadays games like to give the player a much greater choice of the events that take place within the story, so to do that, developers often include choices that can be utterly devastating. These emotional sucker punches add to the immersion and work best when the rest of the game is impacted by that choice, so the player has to live with that and see the consequences pan out as the game progresses. So today I am counting down what I think are the five hardest and most emotional choices in story heavy games. Beware of MAJOR SPOILERS for the following games: Infamous, Life is Strange, Mass Effect and Telltale’s Walking Dead!
5: Are You Good or Bad? (Infamous)
One key feature in the 2013 PS3 exclusive game Infamous, was the karma feature. This meant that your actions would impact how the NPCs in the game reacted to you and how situations in the story would pan out. Often the situations were clear and obvious choices where you pick good or bad, but other times they were in a grey-area and subtle things would alter your karma and the powers you gained as a result of this. The ending of the game is also decided by your karma as you can either end it as a lone hero, or the evil ruler of a dark world.
4: Shepard’s Final Choice (Mass Effect 3)
In the Mass Effect series, almost everything you do will impact the story later on. So for what is essentially the final choice in the entire series, they had to make it a big one. So after spending the entire triology looking for the big boss of the Reapers, Shepard finally finds it in the form of an AI. He/She is faced with a choice, with massive impact. He/She must either wipe out all organic life, create all life in her/his image, do nothing and let the reapers wipe out all organic life or wipe out all synthetic life. However the best choice here is to take control of the Reapers and rebuild the galaxy, although this is debated by some fans. The ending was honestly one of the most controversial on this list because of how it felt like it disregarded your choices leading up to it.
3: Choosing a Starter Pokemon (Pokemon Series)
All through the Pokemon series, one mainstay feature is the fact that near the start of the game you need to pick a Pokemon to accompany you through most of the game. This Pokemon is usually either a grass, fire or water type and many players will rely heaviliy on this Pokemon. This choice is important as for many players it will decide your gameplay style and determine which gyms and battles are going to be harder or easier.
2: Killing Lee or Not (Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1)
Telltale are the kings of story based games, with titles like Game of Thrones, Borderlands and most recently Batman, all adapted into their unique style of game, it’s no wonder. One of the standout choices in the excellent Walking Dead Season 1, is when you (as Clem) have to decided to straight up shoot your co-protagonist and father figure Lee in the head, or let him die alone and become a zombie. This choice is so tough because Lee dies no matter what you pick, this is a chracter you have spent most of the game with and so that makes the decision even more brutal.
1: Chloe or Arcadia Bay (Life is Strange)
Maybe I am biased for picking Life is Strange for the top spot on this list, but it is one of the finest story based games ever and it has the awards to prove it. The BAFTA winning title ends with a simple choice, to save your friend/lover/disaster magnet Chloe Price, or to save the town of Arcadia Bay from a massive storm that may have been caused by you saving Chloe. This choice is heartbreaking either way as both options result in death, but the question is if you value the life of your friend/lover/disaster magnet over the life of a town full of often very unlikable characters. That’s what makes this my number one choice.
So those were my picks for the five hardest choices in story based games, tell me in the comments if you have any other ideas for choices you think were even harder than the ones I mentioned here or Tweet them to us @G33kP0p. For more content like this, keep it G33k!