The ability to make difficult decisions in video games, tactical decisions that actually matter and affect your play-through in the long run, helps keep things interesting.

It adds a layer of player input that, would it have been left out otherwise would have made for a possibly stale experience. Which isn’t to say linear video games are bad or anything, but getting to make hard choices in video games makes players want to play the game all over again just to see what would happen had they chosen the other option. These difficult video game choices enhance the narrative and make video games all the more interactive, even if its is difficult to make a decision at times.

We’ve listed 5 of the hardest choices in video games that we’ve had to make and we are sure that many other gamers have questioned their morals after making these choices.

Needless to say, spoilers abound in this article so tread with caution!

  1. Fable II – Become the villain?


Near the end of the game, the player is faced with the games hardest choice and have to decide on 1 of 3 options, brought on by Theresa. You can only choose one: save the lives of thousands who have been slain from the Spire’s construction, save your family and your beloved dog, or unimaginable wealth. The pre-DLC version of the video game made this a very difficult choice, because picking any of the three had their own set of rewards (Good points, gold, or, well, the dog), disadvantages and ramifications.

For example, picking either saving civilians or wealth mean you’d lose your dog, which made getting particular achievements impossible. You could give in to greed and choose wealth, but that would make you the villain of the story. This area was really, really grey and it’s not a surprise that Fable 2 players had a tough time making a tactical decision here.

  1. Life is Strange – Saving the Bay or the Bae


Life is Strange is our personal favoriete and arguably the best decision-making game that makes your choices the central device. As you play it feels like every little decision will trigger the biggest, more unforeseen consequence later on. So even with Max’s power to rewind time (giving you the ability to go back not long after making a choice within the game) every choice felt like a critical decision. But every in-game decision is dwarfed in comparison to the last.

With Arcadia Bay threatened by a freak super tornado, Max had to choose between reversing the effects of her time-meddling by going back one last time and letting Chloe die in the girls’ bathroom, or letting the tornado rip the town and its civilians apart so she can run away with Chloe alive and well. It’s not an easy choice to make as each outcome has dire consequences.

  1. The Witcher 2 – Iorveth or Roche


This difficult decision affected a huge chunk of what you got to see in-game, and outside of it, players already had to make a lot of other heavy-hitting decisions. This decision-making game had a ton of grey areas, made possible with awesomely nuanced characters who were beyond black-and-white morality. Picking who to side with, Iorveth or Roche, affected which latter half of the game you ended up playing so this was a colossal decision to make as both characters in question were complex and about equal in terms of morality, making this choice more difficult than ever.

Do you pick Roche, friend to protagonist Geralt and who helped him escape jail? Or do you pick Iorveth, who had a cause which seemed just? We’ve got to hand it over to the developers at CD Project Red for this one because the content that comes with either decision is plentiful. Just be aware that your decisions in Witcher 2 have consequences.

  1. Mass Effect 3 – Geth or Quarian


The Mass Effect series has never lacked in terms of allowing the player to make their own choices, but Mass Effect 3 took the cake because you faced them left and right, with practically little room to breathe. One of the harder ones entailed the survival of two entire species. If you made the right string of choices beforehand, you could avoid having to make the difficult decision altogether, but not many Mass Effect 3 players were so lucky.

At the peak of the conflict between the synthetic Geth and their Quarian makers, Shepard had to choose between sacrificing one species or the other, a tactical game decision made all the more difficult because Tali and Legion, both representatives of each race, were loyal members of Shepard’s squad, and characters who the player grew attached to. Regardless of your choice, the surviving race will join the fight against the Reapers as a War Asset. But at what cost?

It is unwise to quote Legion’s “Does this unit have a soul?” around this writer.

  1. Spec Ops: The Line – Choosing Between the Soldier and the Civilian, and the White Phosphorous


Yager Development’s third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line broke a lot of expectations when it came out. The video game tackled themes you’d be hard-pressed to find in most games in the same genre, pointing a critical lens at the violence glorified in most war-centric games. One part made players face the decision of picking between two innocent people to kill: a soldier or a civilian. And that is exactly what makes this game decision so hard: do you take down a brother-in-arms or someone you are meant to protect?  If you choose either one, you get the ‘Damned if You Do’ achievement and Lieutenant Adams’ ire. And if you choose the third option of facing a small army with the reward of keeping both alive, you get the ‘Damned if You Don’t’ achievement and Konrad’s ire.

An even more heart-wrenching is that this game forces the player to confront the realities of war and the toll it took on innocents in the form of picking to either decimate a large portion of enemies with white phosphorous or make your way through the area by means of seemingly irksome stealth action. Most players, desensitized by war games and who would rather get through it quick, will, of course, pick the former. One character tries to talk you out of it because the effects of white phosphorous are horrible, but you think, so what? They’re enemy soldiers and offing them is what you’re supposed to do.

Little did they know that most of the targets were actually innocent civilians. The ensuing scene is essentially a punch to the gut, inspiring a feeling of self-loathing for weeks on end, something no scalding hot shower can wash off.

  • Kevin

    Mass Effect 3 was nothing but heart ache.

    Thane was pretty painful for me, but Mordin and Legion were borderline traumatizing.

    I think Telltale’s The Walking Dead series probably should’ve been included… virtually every decision is horrible.