Tear Jerker / Ace Combat

Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies

  • Plus the constant "oh by the way you're a monster" that is Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. The game frequently informs you that you're killing an orphan's best friends (the hardest enemies in the game as well, which means they'll make you start getting more desperate, then you realize you're getting desperate for a chance to kill said orphan's friends). However, the biggest Player Punch is when you shoot down Yellow 13, who manages to chuck the late Yellow 4's handkerchief out his window before he dies. Then, the kid writes you a letter asking about him.
    • Also, earlier in the same game: "Yellow 13 here. Did anyone see 4 get out?"

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War

  • The death of Chopper, aka Captain Davenport in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War made quite a few players cry after they'd grown to like the character. The exact details in the mission that lead to it don't help any, but seeing the rest of the squadron collectively snap and cut a path of destruction through the invading enemies does make the player feel a bit better.
    • It probably helps that he gets a rather tear-jerking moment in the previous mission, where you're providing ground support for a unit that include the brother of Grimm (one of your squadron's pilots).
      Chopper: Hey, Grimm, do you know where your brother is down there?
      Grimm: Sir, you can't play favorites during war!
      Chopper: Fine! Then everyone down there is your brother!
    • And in a later mission (18, "Fortress"), you provide air support for ground troops (and bail them out from a bad situation):
      Friendly Soldier 1: They're called the "Four Wings of Sand Island", but I only see three of them.
      Friendly Soldier 2: Don't you know? Only good little kids get to see the fourth one.
    • The Kestrel's demise in the penultimate mission. Nowhere near the level of Chopper, especially since everyone escapes, but still, seeing everyone saluting it, the sad music and the fact it was sunk off for real by a random attack after lasting at least 15 years was quite a blow.
    • In the mission "Aces." You and your squadron head off to fight the Big Bad, and squadrons from both Osea and Yuktobania help you do it. Some of them directly against orders.

Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

  • The indiscriminate Allied bombing of Hoffnung. All of it. Plus Pixy's disgusted response at the end of the mission.
    Pixy: Damn them all.
  • In the beginning of "Stage of the Apocalypse", the mission directly after Hoffnung. After the events of this mission and the one previous, his defection to A World With No Boundaries might not be all that surprising.
    PJ: This is PJ from Crow Team. Galm 2, is there something wrong with your craft?
    Pixy: Nah.. I'm just sad.
    • Freaking smartcrack Pixy is sad. You know the war hit the low point then.
  • Fighting the Final Boss, depending on your point of view. Two of you could have been friends.
  • The final interview.
    Pixy: "Trust is vital in a peaceful world, but that will never happen."

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

  • Estovakia is a normal upstanding country like many others; it's just that in 1998 — i.e. three years after the disclosure of the Ulysses asteroid's impending collision with Strangereal Earth and only 1 year before its estimated date of said collision — newly acquired data revealed that rather than Usea being the only continent to suffer the brunt of the disaster, the asteroid will split in two and one half would strike the continent of Anea (where Estovakia is located). Since the continent has nothing like Stonehenge railgun network, Estovakia was forced to begin building Chandelier, but it failed to be completed in time due to constant revisions, necessitating one of the most pointless wars in Strangereal history. Cheesy? Maybe. But the game shows the end result of meteor fragments landing right on top of an Estovakian city, within the vicinity of Chandelier to further rub salt in the wand, the horror no one wanted to be on receiving end. Good thing Emmerians weren't hell bent on revenge.
  • Pasternak's sacrifice. Either Even Evil Has Standards, or he is sending his own country into (from a point of view) years-long uncertainty it may never recover from. Think of him whether you wish. But no one should've been forced into making that kind of decision.
  • The cutscenes for the game, rather than following the Player Character, follow a woman and her daughter. At first, the dialogue leads the player into thinking that the woman's husband was your co-pilot Shamrock. The truth is that she walked past the wreckage of her actual husband's plane while she was evacuating the city during the invasion of Gracemeria and didn't even realize it was him. Your wingman, Shamrock, also has his own tearjerker moment. After taking back Gracemeria, he was so thrilled to finally be reunited with his family, only to find that his wife and daughter had been killed during the operation. The happy reunion you thought would be happening is now ruined forever, and he blames himself for not being able to protect them. The game mostly downplays the significance of his family. He remains hopeful to being reunited with them, but the game doesn't shove it in your face and make the end result all that predictable to see coming, but rather keeps it subtle. It's hard to keep your composure after such a build up leading to that.