We love games where your choices make a difference. Secretly, we think games where you’re forced to make a really, really horrible decision are even more interesting, especially when you can’t just reload and undo the choice you made. Though sometimes we could really do without the stress of having a time limit.
So here are seven of the hardest decisions that we had to make in some of our favourite games. Are there any particularly cruel ones that we’ve missed?
Beware of major spoilers ahead!
1. Choose who to save in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Any scenario that forces you to choose between saving two people is super tough. What makes it harder is when one of them in your in-game wife (who you believed was dead at least twice already) and the other is a super helpful character who’s saved your neck multiple times, reattached your severed hand, and also developed the life-saving serum that’s now in your hands. The answer is obvious, right? Right…?
Regardless of whether you choose to use the serum to save Mia or Zoe, it still feels like a major mistake either way. Fortunately, the DLC End of Zoe introduces a way to make one of these heartless options turn out a lot better. Better hope you picked right the first time…
2. Decide whether to kill or spare monsters in Undertale
In Undertale, you don’t have to kill anything. In fact, you’re actively encouraged to be nice to monsters by one of the very first characters you meet. But then she tries to trap you underground forever, and every other monster around wants to fight with you, and you could definitely be forgiven for swinging a punch or two in self-defence.
Since you get forced into boss battles either way, it can be really hard to keep to those pacifist principles. Especially when you get killed over and over and over again by a boss who has the same save and reload powers as you. Alternatively, you can kill everything you see and run the risk of breaking the universe, but at least the monsters will run away from you now…
3. Use, abuse or ignore the Neuromods in Prey
If we were stuck on our own in a locked-down spaceship, with a whole lot of angry aliens pretending to be everyday household objects all around us, we’d definitely want to use every weapon at our disposal. Especially when they’re Neuromods, which offer amazing perks like becoming an instant whiz at engineering, hacking pro, or medic extraordinaire. Those telekinetic powers would also come in pretty darn handy.
But then you realise that there’s actually a downside to sticking blobs of alien goo in your brain via your eyeballs. Yes, you get amazing powers and a much, much higher chance of survival… but is there any point in trying to be the last surviving human if you’re not really a human any more?
4. Save or abandon the residents of Vault 34 in Fallout New Vegas
Which is the better answer if you have to choose between preventing the deaths of a group of innocent people from radiation poisoning, or… preventing the deaths of a different group of innocent people from radiation poisoning? That’s the conundrum presented to you in Vault 34, and we still don’t know what the right answer is.
The choice is pretty stark: rescue the inhabitants of the vault and allow contaminated water to doom the local sharecropper farms, or seal them inside and leave them to die a slow and painful death. Pick one and make your peace with it… there’s no saving both.
5. Choose between one life and many in Life is Strange
Of all the excruciating decisions in the Life is Strange series, this one has to be the worst.
You’ve just been reunited with your former best friend, who you’ve been callously ghosting ever since she lost a family member and you moved away. Somehow, you got the chance to mend this fractured friendship, growing seriously attached to Chloe once again despite her best efforts to be a colossal pain in the neck. In the process, you also got to know the other residents of Arcadia Bay. They’re good people (mostly, with a couple of glaring exceptions), but they’re not as close to you as Chloe.
So does that mean it’s okay to sacrifice them all in exchange for Chloe’s life, or should you opt for the greater good even when it couldn’t possibly feel worse?
6. Decide how to deal with infection in Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season One Episode 5
Your worst possible nightmare has come true: you’ve been painfully bitten by a zombie, and now it’s just a matter of time before you turn into a drooling bitey monster yourself.
But you’ve got responsibilities. You’ve got a small orphan to rescue, and your chances of survival are a lot lower if you’re missing an arm. So do you cut it off in the hope that it’ll stop the spread of the infection, or do you continue to the best of your ability and try to take care of it later? Whichever option you choose, life is about to get a whole lot harder for you…
7. Choose your best friend for life in Pokémon
This is probably one of the most difficult questions we’ve ever had to answer at the start of a game. By making this decision, you’ve committed to your best Pokémon buddy for the rest of your character’s life, and that’s no small thing.
Should you choose this lifelong friend, who will stay by your side and battle for you through thick and thin, based on appearance alone? Should you instead think ahead to the very first Pokémon gym, where you’re probably outmatched and your new friend could be painfully knocked out in seconds? Or should you pick poor old Sobble just because it looks like it really needs a hug? These are deep questions, and they deserve careful answering.
Looking for even more excruciating video game decisions to ponder over? We’ve got something for that…