I recently suffered the loss of a dear friend that had a lasting emotional effect on me.
Her name was Jack. I first met Jack on the Blue Suns operated prison ship, Purgatory, where she had been imprisoned for a number of crimes ranging from piracy and kidnapping to vandalism and murder. But there was something else to Jack, as we travelled the galaxy together I got to know Jack better. Underneath the cold as ice, aggressive exterior was a young girl who had endured the horrors of a Ceberus facility by the name of Teltin on the planet Pragia.
Abducted as a child she was chosen to become “Subject Zero” in an attempt to experiment with her innate biotic abilities and was tortured both psychologically and physically before escaping many years later. Her adult life proved to be as difficult as she found herself becoming involved with gangs and shady associates increasing distrust in every living being.
But I saw something more in Jack. I frequently chose her above other crew members to accompany me on missions. I took the time to head below deck and speak with her in my down time. More and more she opened up to me and shared her history. I felt that there might even be a chance that Jack might slowly be winning my affection from estranged lover Ashley Williams, whose bitterness during our brief reunion on Horizon had left me feeling hurt and a little alone. But it wasn’t to be.
We undertook a direct assault on the Collector Base located on the other side of the Omega 4 Relay. The first to fall in the assault was Grunt, shot in the stomach as we made our way through collector swarms, followed soon after by Jacob who sacrificed himself leading survivors back to the Normandy. We successfully destroyed the Human-Reaper and set charges to destroy the base, much to the anger of the Illusive Man.
With Samara providing a biotic shield to protect us from the Seeker Swarms, we made out own way back to the Normandy, as Jack and Miranda provided fire support against wave after wave of Collector’s. Exhausted from her efforts, Samara fell to the ground as we neared the entrance to the ship. I helped her up and gave the order for everyone to fall back.
. . but it was too late. A single Seeker sting to Jacks neck before an entire swam engulfed her. There was literally nothing I could do to save her from her fate. The look of fear on her face as the swarm dragged her away from me still haunts me.
And that was it. That was my journey in Mass Effect 2, a journey that was different for each person that played the game. I was truly left with a feeling of regret as Jack was killed. This is some great story telling by the guys at BioWare. These days it’s hard enough for a movie to have an emotional impact on me, let alone a game. I know that the choices that I made during my play though had a direct impact on the ending of the game – impacts that I will feel as I import my Shepard into Mass Effect 3.
It isn’t the only game to have an effect on me though. John Marston’s tale from Red Dead Redemption was particularly touching and I’m not even going to talk about my beloved Agro from Shadow of the Colossus in case I tear up. (Yes, I’m quite aware that it all turns out for the best) This is what I love about video games – an interactive journey where I am actively involved in a story that is unfolding in front of me. A recent play through the PSN title “Journey” had a similar effect on me. Journey had such an amazing and rich narrative for a game that had no dialogue at all, yet managed to perfectly convey a story (and quite a touching one at that).
What video-game left you with a feeling of loss or sadness? Did you cry as Aerith met her fate at the hands of Sepiroth? Were you moved as Ethan searched for Shaun after his abduction by the Origami Killer? Leave your comments and tell us which games had an emotional impact on you.