This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.
Tearjerker / Dynasty Warriors
The final ending to Dynasty Warriors 7 is symbolic in a number of ways. From the game's perspective, it's bittersweet (and of course follows the story); Shu is conquered by Wei, Wei headed by Sima Zhao wins he major conflict of the war, Sima Zhao dies the following year, Sima Yan overthrows Wei and established Jin, and (While the game doesn't delve into it) Wu is eventually felled years later. The establishment and scenes of this, which showcases the heroes of Shu, Wei and Wu (and Lu Bu) duking it out and glorifying their deeds on the battlefield, gives you a sense that their era is over, and the final shot of Cao Cao, Sun Quan and Liu Bei, engulfed in a fire and showing an empty throne with likenesses of Sima Yi, Sima Shi and Sima Zhao over it is symbolic that, in the end, the efforts of the Three Kingdoms all came to naught and were conquered by Jin. On the bright side, though, it means China is finally united, and a new era of peace can finally begin.
The fact that the throne is empty is a sad symbol too: by the time the land is finally united, all the player characters, with the possible exceptions of Liu Shan and Wang Yuanji, have passed away. Actually Historically, only Jia Chong and Wen Yang lived to 280 C.E. Most of those who fought to bring peace and unite the land never lived to see it.
The presence of this alone is also a really strong feeling; after 6 previous games, the true ending to the Three Kingdoms is shown.
Sadly, if you read the history around which Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Three Kingdoms are based on, you find that just 10 years after the land is united under Jin, Sima Yan dies, and a 16-year civil war begins between the various Princes of Jin...
With the above in mind, everyone in Dynasty Warriors - Wei, Wu, Shu, Jin - basically died for nothing. It's especially stinging because Sima Yi's legacy has been that of more than a dozen imbeciles fighting tooth and nail over the throne, which put China in an even more chaotic position, arguably, than the Three Kingdoms. China wound up in a dark age from 300-600 AD, when the Sui Dynasty managed to FINALLY unite a fraction of China and attain some semblance of order. True reunification will have to wait until 618 C.E, when the Tang Dynasty was established.
The struggles of the Three Kingdom heroes, while ultimately futile from their point of view, ensured their legacy continues on even after some 1800 years later: The main characters and stories of the Three Kingdoms period are far and away more well-known and remembered than entire later dynasties in mainstream Chinese culture.
Go play Da Qiao's stage in Dynasty Warriors 7 XL and witness how happy she is with Sun Ce and how he claims they will be together forever. Then play Xiao Qiao's stage and see how sad and brokenhearted she is since it's been years since Ce died. You'll feel terrible if you know your history and how he died and she was the last person to see him and knowing how she must feel that her husband is gone and she is left to live on.
Guan Suo's, Yue Ying's, Xing Cai's, and Ma Dai's death speeches in the final level of Jin the Capture of Chengdu, each one lamenting they didn't have the strength to fulfill the dreams of the ones before them that despite doing everything they could it was all for naught, especially if Shu's your favorite of The Three Kingdoms.
8's Guan Yu's death report. His surviving children are the ones that delivered the news, and it's pretty gut-wrenching to see Guan Suo collapsing to his knees due to being denied the chance to defend his father for his own safety, and Guan Yinping openly sobbing and weeping. Not to mention even if Guan Xing was delivering the news without emoting, his face is not seen (so we don't really see if he's got tears on his face)... but his speech is a little disjointed and shaking, signifying that he's also pretty crushed on his father's death. And even if Liu Bei didn't go for the 'roaring' route in his vengeance declaration, it's still a powerful scene to see him apologize to Sun Shangxiang for what he would do in face of all these.
The battle beforehand is also a complete tear jerker, things go from bad to worse as the battle rages on. Guan Ping's death to buy the rest of his family some time, complications continue to mount up as the Wu ambushes them, their own allies can't even come to their aid and Guan Yu's own men betraying him. It is especially heart wenching if you completed the hypothetical objectives as Xu Shu laments that he was powerless to prevent this tragedy.
If you were on a normal run or the first time, this might look a little normal, as they come really unprepared and lacking backup plans. But after you unlock the hypothetical route, this takes into a bigger Tear Jerker because Xu Shu was already there to offer his help that could save the day, yet you made Guan Yu ignore all those and lead to all those tragedies. In fact, this can apply to every second run of the historical route, which can make you lament "Why didn't I choose all those alternatives so this doesn't have to happen!?I was so stupid..."
7 has a more emotional response from Liu Bei regarding the deaths of his sworn brothers. When Zhao Yun tries to remind him that Wei is the real enemy, Liu Bei angrily brushed it off and wanted to go after Wu to avenge Guan Yu. Then, a messenger came and informed him that Zhang Fei was betrayed and beheaded by his own men who defected to Wu. Liu Beiís response of his other sworn brotherís death is so heartwrenching that not only he stood and staggered a bit, he smashed his chair with his sword while yelling The Big No, dropped to his knees and screamed in anguish. Itís even sadder than his wife dropped to her knees when she listened to the messengerís report on Zhang Fei.
The deaths of Guan Yu and Zhange Fei marked the beginning of Shuís collapse when Liu Bei decided to go on a revenge spree on Wu, neglecting all the virtues that he had been fighting for. But he failed, got sick and died. Shuís future didnít look bright when his son took over.
Zhang Bao's death in Chencang if you didn't fulfill the requirement to stop the ambush. Bao died in both Guan Xing and Xingcai's arms after succumbing to his wounds via ambush. Previously, he made a promise to swore an oath of brotherhood to Xing after the whole thing. His last words are immediately acknowledging Xing as his sworn brother even before the oath took place. What follows is the only time Xing openly breaks down with aBig "NO!".
In Dynasty Warriors 7, you spend a good bit of time with Dian Wei, and his last stand to protect Cao Cao, while maybe not acted or Choreographed well, still manages to be fairly sad, even to the player who again, spent time getting to know him and play as him.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, you spend a lot of time with Xiahou Yuan, since he's with you from the very start of Wei's Campaign, you're getting to know him, and he lasts almost until the end. You see how carefree, and nice he is, he gets along with his soldiers and fellow officers well. And then You/Xiahou Yuan beat Huang Zhong, he's ordered to be taken in to custody, only for him to escape, and let loose an arrow (after Xiahou Yuan's bow breaks on him when he needed it the most). He falls over, closes his eyes with a peaceful smile and just asks. "...Where's the luck?" They way the line is delivered, the excellent song used here, and how well the player knew him. It's gut wrenching.
Cao Cao's passing in 7. He's ill in bed with Xiahou Dun telling him not to worry himself over matters. Cao Cao breaks his cold facade and thanks him for everything he's done for him and that his conquest is at an end and he can finally apologize to Dian Wei and Xiahou Yuan for laying down their lives for him. When Dun turns around he sees that Cao Cao has died.
Becomes Harsher in Hindsight if you're a fan of Wei; the next scene as you know with Cao Cao dead and his son Cao Pi passing away six years later, there's nothing stopping Sima Yi and his plans now.
Guo Jia lamenting his lack of life whenever he's not being The Hedonist is rather sad to see.
Guo Jia: I don't have very long left. This is perhaps the first time I've ever regretted that fact.
It was pretty heartwrenching in some Legend Stages though, in particular Ding Feng's... He recalled the time when everyone he knew was alive and the scene was very cheery... but then cut to present and it's a snowy night in Dong Xing, and only Lianshi was around (it's gotten lonely), while Wu at the moment were filled with talentless hacks like Zhuge Ke. And despite knowing that they'd fall with those people, the only path for Ding Feng is just to move forward for the dead...
Even earlier than that, there is a very sad scene in DW5XL, when defeating Ma Chao at Jia Meng Gate. Even though the games certainly don't shy away from his history, it's then that it becomes very clear, after all the crap he's gone through (even if some of itwas his own fault), how badly it's hitting the poor guy.
Ma Chao: My family...my friends...my homeland...all has been stolen from me. And now I lose again. Am I so weak?...Is there nothing I can protect?!
Made a bit better by the fact that Liu Bei took him into his ranks after the battle. Zhang Fei, Wei Yan and Zhuge Liang all have their own touching speeches (especially Zhuge Liang's) to give him just after Ma Chao's quote.
Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires allows you to become sworn siblings with, or marry, other characters. If your sworn sibling or spouse dies in the same battle you are participating in, you are made to see an event where you rush to your ally's side, only for them to die in your arms...
All of Pang Tong's death scenes in every game he's featured in. 5 was probably the best, where he has a message to Zhuge Liang:
"Zhuge Liang, tell me... if I... were a... dragon too... would I have... flown... higher?"
While most, if not all of the bonus stages in 8:XL are hilarious, Shu's "Find Red Hare" stage takes a surprisingly somber turn when the identity of the horse thief is discovered. It's Lu Lingqi, and she "stole" Red Hare because she was desperate to have something to remember her father, Lu Bu, by. With Xiapi fallen and all of his soldiers either dead or defected, Red Hare is all that remains of her father's once proud legacy. She practically begs the Shu officers to let her go, but they have none of it.
A tear jerker that could overlap with Fridge Brilliance is suggested by one joshscorcher in his 'Top Ten Dynasty Warriors' video in regards to Liu Shan. The smile he almost constantly has? It seems forced. Joshscorcher's idea is that Liu Shan is unhappy with being a ruler and hates the chaos and the fighting, but because his father was Liu Bei, he's weighed down with chains of duty and expectation. Not to mention his father is a tough act to follow.
Wen Yang's victory line when defeating an officer is 'Are there no heroes left in this land?' When you think about the time he was an active officer, no there really wasn't any left. The great heroes that were under the Sun family, Liu Bei and Cao Cao are by this time long dead, Wu a mere shadow of its former self and the talented officers they have left, like Lu Kang, were too few in numbers. Shu meanwhile cannot even be considered a danger anymore and their repeated attempts and failure to defeat Wei by this point almost seems more of an annoyance to Wei more than anything.
Jin ending in 7, at a banquet held after Wei has conquered Shu, as the Wei officers are celebrating and boasting while they feast whilst those who represent Shu are in a somber mood when music is played and The men of Shu there hear it and smile as they recognize it as a song of their home and country and cannot help but weep over what has happened. They maybe the same generic Non Player Characters that you see all the time but they feel pain and despair at what has happened
Zhuge Liang's second to last cutscene in his story mode in 6. The battle for control of the land between Shu and Wei is set to be at Wu Zhang Plains. On the surface it appears that Zhuge Liang is fine and has made a master plan but once he is alone he stumbles and coughs bringing a hand to his chest in pain and his voice changes as he pleads with his body, begging it to keep going, for just one more battle so that he can end the wars at last.
Worse? This is nearly exactly how he died in the novel-all the work and stress from planning that was all heaped onto him ended up killing him, and he died watching over the battlefield one last time while his troops burst into tears.
Sima Shiís death in 8. He dropped into his younger brotherís arms and tearfully told him that heíll be in charge now. Sima Zhao didnít take it very well because he knew that he might not be the right person up to the task and tried to tell him not to leave him. Thereís also Zhuge Danís response where heís on his knees, crying which is sadder later on when he rebelled against Zhao in the historical route.
The last part of the credits in the historical routes in 8 showed the characters who have died in the game: Dian Wei and Guo Jia of Wei; Sun Jian, Sun Ce, Zhou Yu and Lu Su of Wu, Pang Tong of Shunote Oddly enough, Guan Yu, Guan Ping and Zhang Fei would have been included and Guo Huai, Sima Shi, Zhuge Dan and Xiahou Ba of Jin. Of course, you can prevent all these deaths which would led to the hypothetical routes.