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Are there any games that have a sense of despair?


I enjoy the Dark Souls games and Halo Reach, it's the atmosphere is telling of a despairing world, where things are grim. Any upgrades that you get are merely a tool to provide you with a sense of survival rather than a power fantasy.

Halo Reach is one of my favourite games because you see bystanders caught in the crossfire of a covenant invasion and really feel the impact of the damage and devastation. I prefer this over traditional Halo as it mostly takes place on a battlefield or covenant ship.
having the setting take place in a civilian city and protecting it and feeling powerless to defend it against overwhelming odds is satisfying and provides a sense of grand scale and epicness. Halo Infinite will not give me that feeling and is targeting nostalgia of Halo 1 which is okay but to me never really sold it.

Dark Souls is fantastic as there is a sense of age and erosion, great battles took place, areas are booby-trapped and the undead parade the ruins. There is something about once-great cities brought upon destruction that feels satisfying as they were once lived in and have a sense of history.
The open space of land feel empty and devoid of history, just some open space, there isn't a building or structure that give meaning or history and it feels bland. Dark Souls have mazes that twist and turn and provide unexpected shortcuts.

Anyway, are there any games that can give you that sense of despair? It seems like overcoming odds or going through when the world has got it the worse gives one a sense of survival.


Gold Member
Escape from Tarkov.

The game is constant despair especially if you start mid-refresh when everybody else is armed to the teeth, and you're running around with half a pistol and a prayer.

The environment is war torn, anarchy, survivalistic and never ending. Feels good when you can finally be a Chad though.
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For the despair feeling, i would cite Outlast where your situation is getting worse and worse as you go on. When i finished the game, i felt relieved.
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There is no happy ending, beginning or middle.

OST is depressing as fuck. Gameplay is depressing as fuck. It’s a game for masochists.

It was an amazing concept with interesting story. For something so dark to already be censored when it was localized for the English language just shows you how worse the tone was in its original language.


Half Life 2 has you constantly being chased with only a few help areas after decently long stretches. Ammo is also sparse for the most part, and the horror areas are excellent. It's just you, the dark, a bunch of zombies and whatever environment you can use.

The original Half Life also keeps you on your toes at all times, and the mini-bosses are alarming in that there's a strong sense of panic but move too fast and you might get insta-killed.
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Gold Member
Resident Evil 3.

Two of the best tracks in the game are called:

"The City of Ruin"

"The City Without Hope"

"Despair" is the right way to describe the overall situation. While it has been deep in the Resident Evil lore up to that point, RE3 is the time you truly get a sense of just how pervasive the virus is, and how wrecked the city is. You're observing the tragic fate of the city all while getting chased by a seemingly indestructible bioweapon.
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Shin Megami Tensei series.
Definitely, I found strange journey particularly bleak
The first gears of war had a great desperate atmosphere. Shame the series lost it
Earth defense force,, pay attention to the chatter, the edf starts strong but through the game slowly loses assets until just a few isolated forces remain
Resistance 3, the game sure is gloomy
Baroque ... this one is something else


Gold Member
The Last of Us
Breath of the Wild
In To the Breach
Final Fantasy IX
Breath of Fire 4
Majora's Mask
Chrono Cross
Chrono Trigger
and a bunch more I can't remember

Oh yeah because it was listed below
Holy fuck Hollow Knight. Like goddamn.
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I personally feel Bloodborne has this way more oppressive feeling compared to any of the souls game. The Shin Megami Tensei games also have this very end of the world depressive vibe going on, its very different than western end of the world vibe say The Last of Us. I think generally Yoko Taro games as well, like Drakengard and the original Nier, added with haunting music.
Frostpunk and the Long Dark. Both fantastic games but they're basically hypothermia simulators where you're always on the edge of survival.

Fare thee well

Theif, Deadly Shadows, if you can tolerate very old games. It had such a great atmosphere for its time. But don't hold me to the flame. Nostalgia memory is often misleading, haha.

If for no other reason, I feel like Stephen Russell and a good old dark game blend so well. If you do try it, be sure to let me know how The Cradle was; very psychologically horrifying for its time.
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Impossible Mission on C64
Stay a while, stay FOREVER. Been a long time since I played that, did you choose this because of something specific to the C64? Does it never end or something? I remember playing gauntlet on the C64 and it asked to flip the tape at some point, then it asked to turn it over again and once me and my friend realised it was the same levels again we concluded it probably never ended curious if impossible mission did that aswell or something.
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