Ah yes, feels
, I know the emotion well, there was a time when I craved the feeling of them like an addict craves their next fix. Games that break you can be interpreted two ways though, the emotional way and the way that involves the game strapping you to a wheel and systematically crushing your body bit by bit.
Several games off the top of my head stand out as "feels" inducing. Persona 3
is the standout, it ranks at the top of my top ten games of all time with good reason. At first glance it kind of beats the player over the head with its theme of death and acceptance of it, but beneath the edgy paint is a masterful story that knows exactly what to do and when to do it, and despite its grim nature it has a partially positive message in making the most of your life while you have it. Danganronpa 1 and 2
are another pair of games (the anime doesn't exist, pile of fanfiction-tier nonsense
) to really hit you emotionally. It's not really a spoiler to say characters die, the storyline involves the cast being trapped and forced to participate in a death game where to escape one person has to commit murder and get away with it, failure means their own death. No, it's not a spoiler to say people die in the games, but rather who survives and how the deaths occur.
Doesn't stop certain deaths really
hitting you in the gut though. Part of their brilliance is that despite the fact you know
characters are going to die and that it could be any of them, their deaths still
hit you in the gut. The game still manages to get the player emotionally invested in its cast despite its premise, no easy feat.
Finally Tales of Xillia 2
. The game's story had issues, but one aspect it excelled at was emotional impact when crunch time happened. One of the few games to ever actually get a couple of tears leaking out of my eyes near the end. The fact there isn't really a "good" ending despite the game having three of them should tell you the tone of the game.
- Ending spoilers for those who care.:
The best ending has the protagonist sacrifice himself to save a ten year old girl. The next best (a term used very loosely at this point and only used because the universe is saved) sees him not sacrifice himself to save the young girl (you're officially scum if you chose this ending on your first playthrough btw). The bad ending goes maximum edge and sees the protagonist not kill his brother and because of a ton of convoluted stuff basically dooms the entire world.
Oh, and the edge gets even sharper, this is at the end of a game that essentially has the main cast wiping out parallel worlds to prevent their world from dying (god I wish they'd explored the morality of that instead of just defaulting to the "our world is the core world so our survival is paramount" shtick
). Leads to a pretty depressing death in the second act, one of the best I've seen, it even sort of remedies my complaint about the lack of morality exploration.
The other kind of breaking, well, only one game comes to mind. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
. The toughest of the three Fates games and one of the toughest Fire Emblems in general.
Last year I decided I needed a test of my strategic prowess and brilliance. So I started a playthrough on the game's hardest difficulty, Lunatic mode. The mode upped the stats of all enemies, added more enemies to maps, gave every enemy at least one skill, and also slightly tinkered with a good chunk of them in such a way as to make them FAR
harder (in several cases strategies used on lower difficulties just flat out no longer worked, forcing the player to take riskier and tougher options
I actually managed to make it near the end of the game, conquering many maps that would have had others crying in frustration and likely quitting far earlier (hell I made it through the infamous chapter 10 without a single death after a few tries, and those who've played that on hard mode know full well how brutal that map is. It isn't the toughest map though, that title goes to the Ninja Cave of Death map which had me stuck for four days over twelve retries
Eventually I burned out though, like a spark in the middle of a blizzard. The pressure built up and I just couldn't take any more. I believe it's the only time a game has actually
broken me, beaten me over the head so many times I caved in and quit in actual defeat.
Well, there was also Shadows of Valentia which took several months to beat, but that's got nothing to do with difficulty and everything to do with it being the worst designed modern Fire Emblem. It's a game from the 80's and it shows.