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Tear Jerker: BioShock Infinite
Elizabeth's briefly successful attempt to heal a dying horse in an early gameplay trailer. Her reaction to her failure is heartbreaking.
When the Songbird first searches for Elizabeth, Elizabeth tearfully asks Booker to promise something for her. Booker promises he'll deal with the Songbird, but that's not what Elizabeth wants. In a heartbreaking moment, she puts Booker's hand around her throat and begs him to promise to kill her before the Songbird can have her. Booker flatly states that it'll never come to that. If you've played the game before and know Elizabeth's real relationship with Booker, it becomes even more horrifying.
The gameplay actually makes the scene even more freaky - Songbird looks MUCH BIGGER!
Booker doesn't immediately tell Elizabeth that she's actually a package he was sent to retrieve, and he even tells her that he'll take her to Paris when they escape Columbia. When Elizabeth finally realizes the truth after all of her excitement, she doesn't respond. She just breaks down in tears for the longest time, utterly crushed. And then it turns out she was faking it so she could whack Booker in the face a wrench.
The entire ending crosses with this and a Wham Episode. It turns out Booker is Comstock, and thanks to manipulation in The Multiverse, ended up convincing himself to give over his daughter, Anna, who grew up into Elizabeth. Booker would become Comstock after using his baptism to forget his past, which went horribly right, in one universe, while a different version of himself refused. And the only way to stop all of it is to drown Booker before the baptism so none of it ever happens.
Booker:GIVE ME BACK MY DAUGHTER!
The sound of Booker's voice when he realizes that Elizabeth is his daughter is especially heartbreaking.
And after that realization dawns, three words are enough. "I sold you... I. Sold you...".
The Songbird's death should count. Being drowned at the bottom of the sea, whilst Elizabeth looks on, sadly telling it to let go, while it screams in agony and tries to reach her. Sure, it was built to be an abusive partner, but it obviously loved her in its own twisted way, and she cared for it too.
The Songbird's eyes finally switch to green just before dying, indicating it's in a peaceful mood, having decided to Face Death with Dignity.
Oh, and did you notice the Little Sister crying over a dead Big Daddy in the background, just after Songbird's death? That's how Elizabeth could've been.
Elizabeth turns out to be right that she'll be killing Comstock. And it's a Heroic Sacrifice, since killing her father wipes herself from existence, as each version of her vanishes.
The entire sorry state of affairs, the building of Columbia and all its ills, Elizabeth's dimensional kidnapping, lifelong imprisonment, and later emotional and physical torture ALL of it traces back to the fact that Rosalind Lutece managed to contact her male alternate dimensional counterpart, fell in love with him, and made a deal with the devil (Comstock) to fund building a gate to reach him. Without her Comstock would just be another crazy small time cult leader.
Hindsight example. At the beginning of the game, you see a Handyman on display before a large crowd; far from being proud of his new body, he's hunched, cowering, trying to cover his face and jerking in alarm at every camera flash. Learning a little more about the Handymen makes this scene really depressing: before being made into a cyborg, this guy had a life of his own, likely a family; then, after suffering debilitating injuries or terminal illness, he was given a chance to survive and possibly even live forever... only to end up getting permanently grafted to a huge, awkward and decidedly ugly body. And then, as if losing any chance at a normal life wasn't bad enough, the Founders demanded services in return: he was put to work killing people (even worse if the Handyman was a civilian beforehand), making him even more feared by his fellow citizens. And on fair-day, this poor bastard was pushed out onto a stage and told to sit there while everyone in Colombia gawked at him. Let's face it, the Handymen have it just as bad as the Big Daddies, if not worse: Mr Bubbles and co were brainwashed and effectively mindless by the time of Jack's arrival, so they didn't have to cope with seeing their entire lives slip through their fingers; and at least the Big Daddies had friends and companions in the form of the Little Sisters. The Handymen have lost everything.
There's a part where you find an audio diary of a woman whose husband suffered injuries and was turned into a handy man. Later in the game, you find two Vox soldiers posing in front of a dead Handyman, getting their picture taken and giving thumbs up like hunters with a kill. The Handyman is holding an audio diary from the same woman, a recording of herself telling him to listen to her voice when his rages come, because she will always stand by him, and promises to meet him again where they'll both be whole - at the gates of Heaven. She ends by saying, "I love you. I love you. I love you."
Buried in the Handyman's various combat quotes is a phrase that makes their suffering all the more worse— "Comstock took my body away...wasn't even sick!" That's right, there may be Handymen who were simply abducted from their families, gutted like fish, and bolted into a walking iron lung just because Comstock and Fink wanted more workers.
She never got to see Paris after all.
Towards the end of the game, all Booker wants to do is to forget about the deal and take her to Paris. The strain in his voice makes everything sadder.
The song "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" becomes a massive Tear Jerker after you finish the game, by the virtue of both reflecting the intrinsically tragic plot of the game and in its standalone right, being a song about accepting the mortality of your loved ones and family members. And if that's not enough to make you bawl, listen to the OST version of the song — you don't need to listen very closely to hear that Courtnee Draper is basically fighting back tears herself by the end.
And in that same vein, the first song that plays over the end credits, after witnessing the end and knowing what you know now - the already-sombre barbershop quartet version of "God Only Knows."
Right before Booker and Elizabeth enter the universe where Booker becomes Comstock after his baptism, she asks him if this is really what he wants, but you can tell how heartbroken she is in her voice. Even though she knows that this is the only way to stop Comstock, she's still heartbroken by what she has to do.
All the songs become tearjerkers themselves after one playthrough.
"Goodnight, Irene", the song that the crowd sings as the player approaches the raffle, seems to be from Booker's perspective and implies that he really misses his departed wife and looks forward to his dreams at night just so that he can spend time with her again.
It's a bit of a small one, but there's a hidden area in Comstock House after the Vox take Columbia, in which the music stops and you hear the radio announcer ask for help. The tone of fear in his voice is just unnerving. Also, doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in that he's still broadcasting music even in the midst of all-out warfare.
Hearing Elizabeth be tortured through the tears in the Asylum, begging for mercy and desperately saying she'll be "Comstock's Daughter" is just gutwrenching. Worse is the obvious panic in Booker's voice every time he says anything during that portion of the game.
When you get to Emporia for the first time, the residents are attempting to flee the area in fear of the Vox Populi. You pass a barge attempting to escort people away and a hear a husband trying to convince his wife to jump so she doesn't get left behind. The wife is crying hysterically that she's too terrified to jump and the barge has to leave her behind. The voice acting of the distraught woman will rip your heart out.
There is a brief segment between Port Prosperity and Emporia, where during a lull in the action, Elizabeth somberly regards the dozens of dead civilians left lying around in the wake of the Vox uprising, kneeling near a dead man and saying, "Look at this one...do you think he wanted any of this?". She then folds his arms in a dignified pose and places a rose in his hands before hurrying along with Booker to their next destination.
Even Booker's office is a bit sad when you look around it enough. There's bottles and decks of cards strewn about, showing his addiction to gambling and drink. But there's a bed in the corner, and the other only room is Anna's room. This makes you stop and think: That possibly Booker had enough debt to the point that he had to sell his house!
If he even had a house in the first place... That apartment may have been all he ever had, even before the debts.
The Stinger is a happy Tear Jerker because it implies Anna is in the crib and Booker will finally get to live a normal life with his daughter.
Something that overlaps with Fridge Horror can be found in this post: which suggests that your Elizabeth is never saved from indoctrination.
Lady Comstock's audio recordings are increasingly difficult to listen to, as the woman becomes more and more disillusioned by her husband's actions, but feels she can't call him out on them because she once considered herself beyond redemption too, but Comstock offered it anyway. And when she does finally break and decides to confront her husband... he kills her in cold blood, using her as a martyr to further his own goals. And that's not even talking about that time when he forcibly resurrects her and treats her to a Fate Worse Than Death, so he could use her to kill Booker, and get Elizabeth.
Out of all the tragedies in this list, absolutely none compare to the flying city itself. Columbia, the ultimate embodiment of mankind's hopes and dreams, the epitome of ingenuity, the bastion of progress and the potential epoch of a glorious future, is utterly twisted and deformed into an absolute nightmare filled with racism, unethical experimentation, false salvation, slavery, unstable timelines, mechanical monstrosities and broken dreams. Seeing something so beautiful become twisted by the same forces that helped build is absolutely depressing for any player. When Booker and Elizabeth change the timeline so that the city never existed, it's like Travis forcing himself to shoot his beloved Old Yeller who has become rabid to put it out of it's misery.
After the ending of the first Burial at Sea, you might actually feel sorry for this version of Comstock.
For extra tearjerker points, compare the scene to how it played out in the main game, and how that Booker reacted when he remembered. Constants and variables, indeed...
This version of Comstock seemed regretful and it seems strange that Elizabeth and the Luteces were holding him in such contempt when it seemed like he'd at least partially redeemed himself, until you remember that instead of living with his guilt like Booker did, Comstock ran away from it and became someone else. Again.
This troper felt quite sad during the scene when Elizabeth and the Luteces are desperately persuading Comstock to not take Booker's beloved daughter, who is the only thing that makes him happy, away. It makes it even worse when you realize that Booker might have gone mad with grief.
Think about that scene even longer, if you can stomach it. The portal closes on Anna with her head on Comstock's side. Which means Booker was left holding the headless corpse of his child, who wouldn't have been in that situation if not for his own lapse of judgement.
A headless baby corpse, as I can imagine, is horrible to look at. It is absolutely certain that Booker would relapse into the drunken mess he was before Infinite happened.
Also from Burial At Sea, the sad fate of Moses Lydecker. After going through all the hard work of converting Fontaine's department store into a prison in just ten days, he's shot by sentry turrets, crippled in both legs, and left trapped inside the store just as Ryan sinks it to the bottom of the ocean. In desperation, he starts sending out audio logs begging for help through the pneumatic tubes, and every single one of them comes back unread. And just to make matters worse, the player comes across his beaten and bloody corpse right after seeing a Splicer step out of his hiding spot, implying that if Booker and Elizabeth had arrived just a little earlier, they could have saved him.