Most Heroic Sacrifices In Games

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There are many characters in games with headstrong, likable personalities, which players can engage and form emotional connections with. These emotional connections allow players to root for their characters, as though they are on a journey together.

Some characters are willing to give everything they have to defeat evil and save what good they can cling to. For many characters, their heroism cannot be measured, and they will do whatever is necessary to protect the ones they love, no matter the cost.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

7 Angel – Borderlands 2

borderlands every character death

The story of Angel is a sad one, and her sacrifice is even more so. After her siren powers manifested, her mother was killed accidentally, struck by one of the turrets Angel had taken control over. Her father, Handsome Jack, could never forgive her, forcing Angel to use her siren powers as a means to benefit his company, Hyperion. As players near the end of the game, Angel encourages the players to kill her, ending her slave-like servitude to her father.

Angel has helped the player character since the early beginnings of the story, and many players are rooting for her to find her freedom, but realize this is not possible. When the player manages to kill her upon her wishes, Handsome Jack is finally weakened. Angel’s life as a means of surveillance for her father is tragic, and her efforts to die to weaken him and free herself are nothing short of heroic.

6 The Knight – Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight and The Knight

Players in Hollow Knight take on the role of The Knight, a vessel intent on stopping the infection plaguing Hallownest. After making their way to the Temple Of The Black Egg at the end of the game, players encounter the game’s final boss, The Hollow Knight. Chained and infected, players must defeat The Hollow Knight to contain the infection consuming the land, and the battle itself is particularly poignant. The Hollow Knight passes through different stages as his health decreases, and as he is further consumed by the infection, his mind is tainted with a desire that wants to see The Knight dead, and the infection triumphant.

Periodically throughout the battle, however, The Hollow Knight’s mind becomes momentarily free from the infection, where it attempts to stab itself in order to aid the player. These self-inflicted wounds are made in an attempt to assist The Knight in taking its place in order to contain the infection. The use of violins in the soundtrack makes this moment even more emotional, as players feel sorrowful because the final boss wants to help players defeat it. When The Hollow Knight is eventually bested, players witness The Knight befalling the same fate, as the infection is absorbed into them. Chains rain down from above, constricting The Knight in place just as The Hollow Knight was. It is now The Knight’s turn to contain the infection, locked inside The Temple Of The Black Egg.

5 Kuro – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Kuro, The Divine Heir

As if beating Sekiro’s grueling boss-filled story isn’t enough, players are forced to commit an unthinkable task in the Immortal Severance ending of the game. After defeating the Sword Saint, Isshin, one of the most notoriously difficult bosses in gaming history, Sekiro is urged by Kuro to kill him. Killing Kuro severs the ties of immortality, ending the carnage caused by the power of the Dragon’s Blood.

This ending is the easiest and most common out of the four of them, so the majority of players will be forced to kill Kuro. Not only is his death in this ending particularly tragic, but it is also a heroic sacrifice of an innocent child wanting to rid the world of war and disease, and he can only be admired for his bravery. Players should know that in the other endings, however, there are methods Sekiro can follow in order to keep Kuro alive.

4 James / Dad – Fallout 3

Dad/James

After the Lone Wanderer’s father, James, manages to escape Vault 101 in the events of Fallout 3, the player’s sole task is to find him and discover James’ reasons for leaving the Vault in the first place. Players quickly discover the reasons why he left, and James explains his involvement in Project Purity, a plan to provide clean, purified water for all in the Capital Wasteland, a lifelong goal he never completed.

Unfortunately, before James can successfully complete his ambition, his plans are jeopardized by Colonel Autumn and the enclave, who seek to take over the operation themselves. Players watch helplessly as their father is forced to comply with Autumn’s instructions. James feigns compliance, then floods the chamber with radiation, before placing his hand on the impenetrable glass, heroically telling the player to run, keeping his dream alive at the cost of his own life.

3 BT-7274 – Titanfall 2

BT-7274 Titan

As pilot Jack Cooper prepares to die with his Titan BT-7274, the friendly killing machine decides it’s not Jack’s time to die yet. BT initiates his main protocols, and he finishes with the third protocol, “protect the pilot.”

The cockpit swings open, and BT grabs a frustrated Jack Cooper out of it. BT reassures Jack to trust him, before ejecting him to safety with a heavy throw. BT continues onward and without relent, sacrificing himself in order to completely destroy the Fold Weapon. Though BT-7274 was a titan who followed pilot orders, his sacrifice for Jack makes him more human than people may realize.

2 John Marston – Red Dead Redemption

John Marston

After fulfilling his end of the bargain as a hired gun for the government, John Marston finally believed his fighting days were over, but he still had one more battle to fight. In one of the last chapters in the game, John and his family are attacked by the government, under Edgar Ross’ leadership. Their attempt to tie up one last loose end, even after John did their dirty work for them, is tragic as he just wanted to be left in peace. Retreating to a barn with his family after a shootout, he urges his wife and son to escape, accepting the inevitable odds that await him outside.

John heroically swings open the barn doors, with dozens of rifles aiming straight at him. Not going out without a fight, John draws his weapon and tries to kill as many of the men as he can, but the battle is unwinnable. John heroically stands tall, his final act of defiance as he is riddled with bullets, while the men leave him to die. His family returns shortly after to find his body, and a satisfying revenge comes full circle in the last chapter of the game, where players take control of a grown-up Jack Marston. Jack hunts down Edgar Ross, putting him down in a classic duel. It’s a great resolution to an amazing story and a perfect revenge for his father in the game’s final moments.

1 Dominic Santiago – Gears Of War 3

infection

Consumed for years by the loss of his wife, Dominic Santiago was never the same after losing her. After being overrun and surrounded by hordes of Lambent and Locust forces in the town of Mercy, Marcus Fenix and his squadron appear to have no way out, fighting for the slightest opportunity to escape. Dom, having witnessed his wife, brother, son, and daughter die, wasn’t ready to lose anyone else. As Dom realizes the squadron has no clear way out, he has to act.

Fighting his way to a truck, Dom drives out of the tunnel and turns it around. As he knowingly prepares to do what is necessary, he puts his foot down, looking up as he speaks to his wife, Maria. As Dom’s vehicle collides with the fuel depot, Gary Jules’ “Mad World” begins to play as the enemies are obliterated by the explosion, buying a devastated Marcus and his squadron enough time to escape. His death remains one of the saddest moments ever in gaming, and it’s still as emotion-packed as it was 12 years ago. Players can rest knowing that Dom can finally be reunited with his family again.

MORE: The Most Brutal Deaths In Video Games

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