Tears, fears and Doggos: Best PlayStation games of the past decade (2010 - 2019)

Games that made us cry

This list will contain spoilers. You have been warned.

1. The Last of Us

evac notice in The Last of Us

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

The Last of Us might be a horror-survival style game, but it was the story and the characters that made it come alive for so many people. This game starts with a bang and doesn't slow down. I was less than an hour in when it broke my heart the first time, and it wasn't the last by a long shot. The emotional punches didn't stop coming, but it was the conclusion that hit hardest. You've spent the whole game trying to get Ellie to the Fireflies only to find out that they intend to lobotomize her. I cried while saving her, and I cried when I murdered Marlene to ensure the Fireflies never came back for her. I might still be crying today. -Jen Karner

2. Telltale's The Walking Dead

Lee and Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 1

Source: Skybound Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Skybound Entertainment)

The Walking Dead is a series that's meant to play with your emotions. It posits a world where nothing good happens and there's no hope, so you have to do the best you can. That was the case in the comics, the TV show, and, in the case of this entry, the Telltale game series. While there have been many entries into this franchise, the end of the first season takes the cake as one of the most depressing endings in the history of games. You play each of the five episodes as Lee, hoping to do that aforementioned best, but that's not enough. You get bitten by a zombie and do everything to try and stop the spread of the infection, but you can't. At the very end of the season, you succumb in front of Clementine, your surrogate daughter. The death weighs heavily on her for the rest of the series and still weighs on players to this day. -Carli Velocci

3. What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch is an absolutely devastating video game experience. I went in with little information or context and was left shaking. In a brief two-hour session, I was overcome with a wide range of powerful emotions. Masterful game design and haunting storytelling push you through the painful memories of a family with a tragic past. There has never been a game that has taken the same emotional toll on me as What Remains of Edith Finch. This is the perfect example of how video games as a medium can offer experiences that simply can't be matched by other forms of art or entertainment. File under 'B' for bawled my eyes out. -Miles Dompier

4. Night in the Woods

This story-based game, which came out in 2017, isn't tragic in the typical sense. None of the main characters die and the world isn't ending, but the stakes are still real. Here you play as Mae, a woman who drops out of college to return to her small mining hometown to find that things are going downhill. Many people are out of work, her friends are struggling to make ends meet, and there might be a supernatural cult killing townsfolk. Frankly, the latter is the least of your worries. Mae's mental health struggles, how she relates to her friends and family, and how she deals with the economic realities in her home make up the core of the game. If you've ever been in a similar situation, the cute animal people and the quirky humor can only do so much to cover up the depressing reality. Night in the Woods is one of the most grounded games of the decade, which lends itself to a lot of tears along the way. -Carli Velocci

5. Life is Strange

Life is Strange

Source: DONTNOD Entertainment (Image credit: Source: DONTNOD Entertainment)

Nothing is quite as heartbreaking as becoming attached to a character and then being told they need to be sacrificed for the greater good. That's exactly what happens in Life is Strange. After reconnecting with her childhood friend, Chloe Price, and saving her from death again and again, Max — or rather, you — have a decision to make. Allow Chloe to die and save your town from destruction, or let nature take its course and save her. Some of us grew so attached to Chloe and felt for her story that we simply couldn't let her go, even at the cost of an entire town. Standing there at the end, making that decision, is when the tears started flowing. -Jennifer Locke

6. Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3

Source: Electronic Arts (Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts)

The third game in the Mass Effect franchise wrapped up Commander Shepard's story and the story of their many companions. It meant dealing with not only Reapers but the fallout from various in-game choices that happened both during and prior to gameplay. It's been seven years since Mass Effect 3's release, and I'm still not okay after watching Mordin Solus straight up sacrifice himself to fix the Genophage that kept the Krogan race from reproducing. As he leaves for the top of the tower, he tells Shepard, "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong." I might never stop crying over this scene and how it all ended, and this is just one aspect that punched you in the feels during the third part of this epic story. -Jen Karner

7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has plenty of great emotional moments. Finding out what happened with the Bloody Baron and his wife, reuniting with Ciri after so long, the death of Vesemir at the battle of Kaer Morhen, and potentially even the ending, whereas Geralt and Ciri could set out as Witchers together, be forced apart as Ciri becomes an Empress, or even left to stew in Geralt's grief. Throughout this 100+ hour journey, CD Projekt Red wove in an emotional narrative — one that leaves few dry eyes. -Samuel Tolbert

8. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the story of a man who is out of time. He doesn't know it yet, of course, but Arthur Morgan's luck is about to run out. His gang will fall apart, his leader (who was also a father figure) will go insane, and he'll contract tuberculosis. Throughout it all, he strives. He beats lawmen to death and guns dozens more down. Yet amidst it all, near the end, he finally breaks down and says "I guess...I'm afraid." Those few words delivered by Roger Clark in a stunning performance are some of the most tear-jerking words of gaming in the last decade. When Arthur does finally die, he dies buying time for John and his family to escape, to be what he couldn't. That's worthy of a solid cry or two. -Samuel Tolbert

9. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

environment in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Source: 505 Games (Image credit: Source: 505 Games)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons takes grief to the next level. Though the story begins with the younger brother, Naiee, paying respects to his mother's grave, the heart-break comes in the latter part of the game. As the two brothers search for a cure to help their ill father, misfortunate preys upon the family in the form of a deadly spider disguised as a young girl. While battling this foe, Naia, the older brother, is mortally wounded, and Naiee attempts to save him with the Water of Life. However, he returns too late, and he must bury his brother. What's more, players can only do this with half their controller, the part used to control Naiee. While this game has many tearjerking scenes, this one is hard to top. -Sara Gitkos

10. Marvel's Spider-Man

Spider-Man for PS4

Source: Insomniac Games (Image credit: Source: Insomniac Games)

If you didn't cry at the end of Spider-Man are you even human? If you haven't played it yet, firstly, are you nuts? Secondly, stop reading. Spider-Man was an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish, but it wasn't just about epic battles. There's a softer side, too, and some emotional moments both for Peter Parker and Miles Morales. You might get a trophy for visiting Uncle Ben's grave, but it's still a touching moment that'll bring a tear to the eye. However, it's the not-so-happy ending that really turns on the waterworks. The final cutscene between Spider-Man and Aunt May is a real heartbreaker. -Richard Devine

AC Staff