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Tear Jerker / XCOM: Enemy Unknown

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"If only there was something we could have done... Some aspect of our research that we perhaps overlooked... I thought we had done all we could... now I'm not so sure."
Dr. Vahlen following a teamwipe.

  • By the time a soldier reaches the rank of sergeant and earn their own nickname, you will mostly have developed some level of attachment towards him/her after watching the raw recruit developed into a true badass hero. Therefore it makes it absolutely heartbreaking to watch them killed in battle, especially if it is the result of poor decision, since you are fully aware of the fact that YOU are partly responsible for the death.
    • It is worst if you are the type of role-player that imagine backstories and personalities for your soldiers.
      • For extra points, have your operatives named and modeled after your friends and family. Could you keep a stoic face as your sibling gets beaten to death by a Berserker? Could you stomach sending your significant other into Site Recon?
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    • And if you take into consideration the fact that XCOM is a small organization with only a hundred or so troops, even if you include non-combatants such as scientists and engineers, they are at most the size of a small battalion. Therefore it is likely that everyone within it knows each other on a personal level, not just as colleagues and squad-mates, but as friends and comrades in arms (and considering that the organization is mixed-gender, it is likely that there are a few active couples as well). Meaning that every causality can be a massive hit on everyone's morale and affect them deeply.
    • For even more fun, watch them joke, exercise, and visit their injured comrades in between missions. It's a small addition to the anthill interface, granted, but you grow really attached to them after seeing the soldiers get along.
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    • Adding to this, Losing Delta 2 in your gameplay. Most likely he's the highest ranked soldier you have, so losing him is basically losing the old guy who's probably mentored like half if not all the operatives.
  • When a Council Member leaves the Project. From their point of view anyway; They sank all their hope, all their trust, everything they had into this project, actively working with hated enemies and political adversaries to keep it funded, all to save Humanity from the brink of extinction. Yet it wasn't enough, the guns fall silent, the populace they're responsible for are killed in the unreported terror attacks or taken by the Abductors. Everything they put into the project failed to save them. Their trust waivers as their first, and last, line of defense has abandoned them. Soon they must abandon their post to see to their own defense, throwing in all the strength they have left. Perhaps they regret their choice to support XCOM and lament that under these bleakest days, humanity cannot avoid it's fate.
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  • Some players take to renaming medals after fallen troopers they had gained an attachment to. One such medal is earned when a soldier dies (and a second time after losing five soldiers!) and is often renamed in this manner.
  • Some missions, Terror Missions in particular, can place you and your soldiers before some very Sadistic Choices. Do you move in to save a set of vulnerable civilians and put your troops at serious risk, or play it safe and watch the victims get slaughtered?
    • An even worse version can come up with explosive weapons. A heavy soldier might have a cluster of chryssalids right in rocket range - but with no way to hit them without also killing the civilian they have surrounded. One can only imagine how traumatic an experience like that might be for the heavy.
  • The Volunteer's Heroic Sacrifice.


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