Final Fantasy XI has its moments. What got me was how, in at least 3 missions/quests, beastmen that are shown to be nice and a connection between their race and the "good side" end up dying.
The defeat of the Shadow Lord does this to me every time. You see, Raogrimm's love Cornelia died protecting him, and as a result of the anquish he succumbed to despair and anger and was transformed into the Shadow Lord. When he is defeated, Cornelia's ghost appears to remind Raogrimm of who he once was. His final dying words? "Cornelia, finally may we meet again."
Final Fantasy Tactics, on the roof of Riovanes Castle. Rafa clutching Malak's body as the sun rises, knowing he's gone... and then watching the Zodiac Stone show her and Ramza that the stones aren't inherently evil - by performing an honest-to-god resurrection. In the middle of a bloody travesty of a war, imminent apocalypse, and Ramza's own sister being taken by demons, it's the one moment of the game that tells you that there is something worth fighting for.
Another notable moment with Rafa: She points out to Ramza that despite his heroic actions, He'll never receive any rewards or even be remembered as doing anything heroic and will go down in history as a heretic. Thankfully, The ending subverts this, Eventually Ramza's true actions and intentions are revealed hundreds of years later and he finally receives credit for all he did.
The Game Over theme for this game. Strikes me pretty hard when the music reminds you of your failed battle.
The Black Knight. Oh god, the Black Knight. So there's this guy named Leon Esla who decides to help this preacher, Hurdy, who's a guy that wishes to rid the world of all Miasma. His research gets them to take them to the abyss where they manage to get to Mount Vellenge, where the Big Bad wiped both of their memories. Hurdy's personality basically split into two egos, while Leon took the brunt of the wipe and lost all his memories. He then wanders the world, forever chasing after this strange light which he believes to have stolen his memories. Eventually there's a cutscene where he fights this light while near a caravan that has this little boy who believes the Black Knight killed his dad, and stabs him. Just before he dies, the Knight seems to regain his memories and die peacefully. Now, the boy who killed him? His name was Leon. Leon Esla, named for the father he never knew.
There's an option to talk and befriend a researcher named De Nam, who's basically finding a way to live with the Miasma. This involves slowly taking in miasma water in Conall Curach, a painful process, so that he may get used to it. His last letter to you is in broken english, requesting you to see him in Conall Curach Depending on who you ask, this had three outcomes. 1, He turned into a monster and requested you to come because he's insane now and wants to kill you/request for your help. 2, He was driven insane, requests you come so that you can help him, and is killed by a monster before you get to him. 3, He was driven insane by the miasma and the ever growing hopelessness of the whole thing, and like the Selkies in this area before him, he dies of miasma poisoning and was reincarnated as a monster. Either way, you find his bandanna on one of the monsters you beat there, and the pure subtlety of it usually kicks you in the gut one way or another.
One of the dungeons in the game is a town overtaken by miasma. The buildings are now decayed and covered with slimy fungus, the fields are swampy and covered by evil-looking plants instead of crops, and the entire place is overrun with monsters... because the town's crystal caravan went out one year and never returned. The first time you get a game over after going to Tida, it's entirely too easy to imagine the same thing happening to your own village (whose default name, by the way, is Tipa — entire too close to Tida for comfort).
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. When Cu Chaspel kills Latov. Latov dies heroically in an effort to save the twins, who can only stand there and watch him die while Chaspel gloats mercilessly. Then Chelinka saves herself and Yuri with the crystal power, but goes catatonic. Yuri is forced to basically grow up in ten minutes, and starts with using his bare hands to bury his father... I need a tissue.
In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, when you gather all the pieces of the Crystal Core and enter the ruins of your village. And then see the flashback of what happened to it. The fate of all the people you know and love... and the calm, peaceful way in which they speak of it. That is, the way their ghosts do.
One part of Tactics Advance. Mewt looks up, sees the person posing as his mother die and say "Momma..."
Mission#014:Golden Clock. Marche teams up with Ritz and Shara to take out some counterfeiters. At the beginning of the mission, Marche is worried that they'll turn him in to the palace, since he has a bounty on his head, but Ritz tells Marche that she wouldn't sell out a friend for extra gil. During the fight, Ritz basically tells Marche that she doesn't want to leave this place, and that she's surprised he does because nobody calls him 'new kid' here or teases him. Afterward, Ritz not only flat out refuses to give him any help at all, but also tells him that next time, she would turn him in to the palace, so he shouldn't consider her a friend, completely contradicting her previous statement. So now Marche has one friend who's placed a bounty on his head and adding new law restrictions, one who's willing to sell him out for, as we find out, incredibly selfish reasons, and at this point no one else from his world. All Marche can do is hang his head and walk off the stage like a kicked puppy.
Final Fantasy Tactics A 2
In Final Fantasy Tactics A2 there is a tragic series of quests relating of the invading clan of Dualhorn. Marquis, the invasion leader who is A Lighter Shade Of Grey, learning that the girl who cared for him once the invasion was foiled has been poisoned, gives up his memories to save her life. Throughout the quests he slowly becomes more and more detached and forgetful, even forgetting the very clan that defeated the invasion party. Finally Clan Gully learn that if he does not stop taking the potion that takes his memories, he will become an empty shell. They take him to the other members of Dualhorn (also A Lighter Shade Of Grey, and as they take him away from the girl he saved, he forgets her name, and everything about her, and is lead away to begin a new life.
Another series of quests is the Frimelda Lotice saga. Clan Gully come upon what they take to be a zombie, who then speaks to them, asking for a potion. The potion of course hurts her, and she leaves without thanking them. Later she asks for a Hi-Potion, with similar results. All the while she speaks as disjointedly, and does not realise that she is dead. The Clan is called in again to remove a zombie from the city, only to find a man already in combat with her. This man tries to talk to her, but she does not remember him. Later it is learned that he was once her love, and both were great swordsmen. The paladin Luc Seldac, admits to poisoning her in spite and jealousy, but her will was so strong that she does not die, and is trapped between Life and Death. Miraculously Frimelda is healed by an anonymous patron, and is approached by the paravir Ghi, who challenges her role as the greatest swordfighter in the world. Defeated, he reveals that it was he who healed her, giving up his life in the progress in order to be able to challenge her. He requests that he be left alone to die in some place of his choosing, and simply walks off to die in the wilderness.
The quest "I Want to Forget", full-stop. It starts with the very description of the mission:
"I love someone whom I can never have. The very thought haunts me each moment I draw breath. It is more than I can bear. And so I wish to quit this mortal life. There is a substance known as zombie powder which may grant me the relief I so desperately seek. Please, find this and bring it to me. End my suffering. -Glefein"
And then it goes From Bad to Worse. The quest points you toward the Witch of the Fens, an expert in potions and the like. She tells you that the Zombie Powder will turn the man into a zombie and points you to the area where you'll find the zombies from which the powder is harvested. Upon arriving there, another secondary character (this one with a...tenuous relationship with the law) will tell you that the area is also populated by Dreamhares, from which a draught can be made that would effectively erase all of the man's memories. Then the mission starts, "Eternity" starts up, and the player is left to decide: will you follow the mission to the letter (as is the duty of a clan) and assist in the man's suicide? Or will you bend the rules and instead destroy every memory the man has ever known, in the hopes that he can find happiness in his new life? It sounds simple if you're the kind of person that holds life to be sacred, but think about it; erasing the man's memories seems unethical, prone to him blundering into an identical situation further down the line, and like it would be disobeying his "final" request.
Dissidia manages to give KEFKA a Tear Jerker. They re-do a speech of his way back from FFVI. Then he goes on a rant about destruction being the only reason worth living, and he blows up.
Kefka: "Why create when it will only be destroyed? Why cling to life, knowing you have to die? None of it will have meant anything once you do." Terra: "We fight to protect what we hold dear. As long as you have that, you can find the meaning on your own." Kefka: "Meaning, schmeaning. The whole world's going bye-bye, you included! Life, dreams, hope... Where do they come from, and where do they go? None of that JUNK is enough to fulfill your hearts! DESTRUCTION! DESTRUCTION IS WHAT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING! Destroy... destroy... destroy... LET'S DESTROY EVERYTHING!" *explosion, followed by a sobbing laugh*
And after he's gone, Terra says he only destroyed to "fill your broken heart."
Just reading the speech might make it look like a diabolical villain's demoralization speech, but when you actually HEAR it...he actually sounds sad. You know, until the whole "destruction" part. And even then, when he vanishes, it's followed by his final laugh; you can hear his voice breaking, it's as much a sob as a laugh.
Truth in Television. That's how nihilism, which was essentially Kefka's driving force, usually works.
Ultimecia, ironically when you don't beat her with Squall in Shade Impulse. They're just a few words on a white screen, but reading it makes you realize something about her...
"Can you still remember the days when you were a child? The sensations, the words, the feelings... Time...it will not wait. No matter how hard you hold on, it escapes you. And...I..."
She wasn't always a megalomaniacal tyrant. She wants Time Compression not simply out of revenge, but because she misses the time she can't go back to. The time before she got her sorceress powers. The last time she was really happy. It turns her from a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere into a very relatable Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. All in four, un-voiced sentences. Bravo, Square. (However, one must note this is the speech she gives when she is on the brink of defeat in her original game, so it was always there, Dissidia just clarified on it more.)
In episode 000 of Dissidia 012, once ghosts of the fallen warriors appear. Some characters, like Lighting, show disdain towards the Great Will, while others are simply caught in despair at their predicament. Their lines strike hard, especially as compared to the character's story arcs in Dissidia and their own games.
Terra: "I can't do this anymore... I wish I were still just a puppet. I wish I never found out anything..."
Yuna: "...It was just false hope, made up by us warriors... Our story had been written from the start."
Yuna singing "1000 Words" and the entire scene of Lenne and Shuyin's deaths being played out in front of them.
If you go to Zanarkand at the start of Chapter 5, you'll discover Maechen is an unsent and his farewell is quite touching.
The scenes in the Den of Woe are quite powerful especially when Rikku is possessed by all the spirits and Yuna must fight her own cousin. Lucky for gamers, that part is optional.
There's one ending in particular which is an extension to the normal ending. It's not the Good one where Yuna has Tidus brought back again. An apparition of him appears in the embrace from the previous game and Yuna says that she's not worried anymore and she's able to lay him to rest. For the gamers who don't like Happily Ever After endings this one should do.