- The death of Hope's mother, Nora Estheim. Made even worse by the fact that he actually watches it happen and can do nothing to stop it. Furthermore, Hope knows that Snow isn't truly to blame for Nora's death but he needs to blame someone to literally not keep sobbing in a corner waiting to die.
- Hope reuniting with his father.
- Lightning throughout the first half of chapter 7, especially when she realizes why she's been so angry and you see that underneath her stoic exterior, she's Not So Stoic. Her speech about her changing her name to Lightning comes to mind, especially after the flashback to Day 12. At her core, she's a scared young girl who fears being hurt again and wants to protect her only family after her parents died.Lightning: Lightning. It flashes bright... then fades away. It can't protect, it only destroys.
- Sazh's whole situation is a non-stop Trauma Conga Line that puts him in a suicidal state throughout the entire story. After the death of his wife, Sazh had to be the single father and caretaker of his young son, Dajh, who accidentally becomes L'Cie after Sazh took him to see a Fal'Cie and the Fal'Cie branded Dajh when it tried to protect itself from Pulse L'Cie that wanted to destroy it. After which, Dajh was taken into custody from Sazh by Sanctum, leaving Sazh alone and attempting to find out Dajh's focus. Sazh, thinking Dajh's Focus was to destroy the Pulse Fal'Cie and L'Cie after finding out he could sense both, tried to join a Purge Train to kill a Fal'Cie in Dajh's stead since he can't fight but after becoming a Pulse L'Cie he has to struggle with the revelation that unless he dies Dajh may turn into a Cei'th and contemplates suicide from that point on. Then the final kicker shows up which reveals Vanille, the sweet girl who has helped him all along, is one of the Pulse L'Cie that kickstarted Dajh becoming a L'Cie in the first place which ends in her begging Dajh to kill her to help his son. Is there any wonder Sazh puts a gun to his temple because of all this?
- Vanille's kooky Stepford Smiler Status becomes heartbreaking when you realize she maintains a chipper demeanor to hide the endless pain of being a Pulse L'Cie in a society that hates and fears them, even her own new friends. When Sazh voices distaste for all things Pulse she runs into a rain shower to hide her tears and in the end practically begs to be killed to make up for her actions.
- The climax of chapter 8. After Dajh has turned to crystal and Jihl has revealed that Vanille is the reason he became a L'Cie in the first place, Sazh confronts Vanille who begs him to shoot her because she deserves it after what she's done. Sazh is torn between wanting to take revenge for his son and killing the cheerful girl that he's grown fond of... then he attempts to commit suicide right in front of her. "Enough is enough," indeed.
- Right before this as well, when Sazh decides he's going to turn himself into the government, knowing full well he'll be executed. The whole reason he wants to do this is so he can see his son one last time, to tell him about the Chocobos before he's killed.
- Many of the Cie'th stones have a tragic story to them, ranging from how they know that they're doomed to failure, how much they're looking forward to succeeding and going home to their loved ones, how they're charged with killing loved ones who turned into Cie'th, or even how the Fal'Cie have given multiple l'Cie the same focus and are forcing them to compete against each other.
- Not to mention Cie'th Stone 33: A Parent's Pledge. You're charged with killing a lost, lonely Adamanchelid desperately searching for its parents. Even the mission description has the l'Cie originally tasked with killing it refusing to do it, preferring to turn to a Cie'th than kill a lost child for the fal'Cie as it was implied they too lost a child.
- Not to mention Cie'th Stones 14 and 16 who were sisters that failed to fulfill their focus to protect the chocobos from the monsters. The second sister only came along after finding no sign of her sister crystal's or corpse and decided to take up her sister's mantle to continue on protecting the chocobos in her stead, erroneously believing that her sister is alright or in denial about what happened to her sister. Imagine the devastation of their parents to realize that they lost both of their daughters to such a horrible fate.
- During the Sulyya Springs cutscene, Snow wonders if he and Lightning will ever be able to see Serah again. Whilst Lightning reassures him that they will see her again, a silent tear can be seen rolling down her cheek as she closes her eyes.
- Getting to Oerba. Granted, you kind of knew what to expect, but actually finding it that way is quite an emotional punch. Especially with this One-Woman Wail. The song doesn't stop even when you enter combat, similar to the Zanarkand soundtrack in Final Fantasy X, adding even more to its emotional significance.
- Seeing Fang lose it for the first time when she looks at the ruins of her home whilst running through the beautiful snow covered mountains of Oerba is rather solemn, since everything she's ever known besides Vanille is long gone.
- Lightning's reaction when Serah is turned to crystal - she sounds like she's on the verge of completely breaking down and just gives up, even sucker punching Snow for his stubborn refusal to accept that Serah is gone. If it weren't for the events that followed, who knows how far over the Despair Event Horizon she'd have gone.
- The birthday party on Day 12. Lightning dismisses Serah's statement about her becoming a l'Cie and Snow's marriage proposal to Serah after the fact, practically ends up forcing the latter out of the house after hypothetically threatening the former with death. No wonder Lightning hates herself after realizing that Serah's statements turn out to be true and what she said to her sister.
- "My dream is but a fal'Cie's fancy. End it."
- The knowledge that once someone is made a l'cie, they're essentially eternal slaves. When an l'cie completes their focus and enters crystal stasis, it's only so the Fal'cie ensures they don't age until they're needed again. And again. And again... This was the reason Sazh told Lightning to give Serah a Mercy Killing upon finding her, because that's still seen as better compared to the suffering that is being a L'Cie. And if they fail their focus, they turn into Cie'th, basically mindless beasts, and eventually turn to stone.
- Less than four months before XIII was released, storyboard director Yoshinori Kanada died. It's sad playing this game knowing that it was one of his last works.