8 of the Best Video Game Endings of All Time

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8 of the Best Video Game Endings of All Time

Which video game earns that special title of having the best ending of all time?

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Hawki

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Of this list, only played FFX and Episode 2. To which I say "yeah, I can buy that" and "...you high mate?" I mean, as a cliffhanger it works fine, but when I think of great endings, I think of...well, endings.

But fine, if I have to nominate the eight best endings (in no particular order):

1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
2) Metroid: Fusion
3) Final Fantasy X
4) Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
5) StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
6) Golden Sun: The Lost Age
7) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
8) Halo 3

Keeping this to one per franchise. And because it's such a close call in some areas, I'll give honourable mention to Xenoblade, Gears of War 2, Diablo III, and Warcraft III
 

RJ 17

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I'll give you Last of Us, Red Dead, ME2, and Portal...but FFX, and BS:I[footnote]I haven't player HL2 or Bastion so I can't weigh in on them[/footnote]

FFX's ending was terrible because its supposed protagonist was terrible. Honestly I was happy that the annoying little dick-nugget was going to fade away forever. Despite Tidus' repeated insistence that "This is my story!", as Spoony correctly points out: it's Yuna's story. Tidus is, if anything, a side-character whose story arc revolves around his unresolved daddy issues. His arc ends cleanly enough, but his story has little to nothing to do with the actual story: that being Spira is under the control of a cult of pedophile zombies that have the world worshiping a false god.

As for BS:I, that ending isn't nearly as good as it's hyped up to be...considering the fact that the end goal of the ending - a permanent erasure of Comstock from all possible timelines - isn't possible. I'll give them an A for effort in making a mind-bender of a story, but unfortunately the very fact that they're working with the multiverse theory means that you can literally just make up plot-holes and they become valid. But to focus on one specifically, let's look at the tail end of the ending. We're told that with every choice, a new universe branches off in which the opposite choice was made. That's what the story is based around: Booker going to the baptism and if he says "screw this" and walks away he keeps on being Booker while if he accepts it and gets baptized he goes on to become Comstock.

Well what about the choice to sacrifice himself at the end before the baptism even occurs? If Booker dies before the baptism, then indeed there'd be no chance for Comstock ever coming to be. However just as there was a choice to get baptized or not, so too was there a choice made to accept the sacrifice or not. The Booker we play as lets himself get drown...alright, what about the Booker who said "Screw that, I don't want to die"?
 

Xan Krieger

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Dawn of War 2 Retribution as the Blood Ravens, Gabrial Motherfucking Angelos as chapter master. Love that guy even if he did screw over the planet of Cyrene. Would follow him to the warp and back again.
 

Auron225

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I've played most of those on this list, and I agree with a lot of them.

But what about The Walking Dead Season 1? Or Life is Strange? Those endings haunted me for days after I finished them! The likes of The Last of Us felt lackluster in comparison to both.
 

American Tanker

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Ah yes, seeing the Collector Base go up in flames, seeing that I got everyone(except those colonists...) off from it alive, proceeding to give Harper the finger when he calls me out for screwing up his plans. Wait, didn't they say something about one of the human crewmembers in Mass Effect: Andromeda having Harper as a surname? If she's actually related to the Illusive Man by blood, that would actually be a kinda cool callback to the old ME trilogy.

But I still think ME:A's characters are fragging ugly.

Back on topic, um, the only one of these I've played is ME2. Damn. Guess I should hold off on saying anything.
 

bdeamon

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I really like the evil ending to Infamous 2. Not so much the absolute ending, but the part where Coal literally has to kill his last attachment to humanity. I was almost in tears.
 

Raggedstar

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I would vote for Shadow of the Colossus, even if only because it deserves credit for being one of the most brutally depressing endings ever in a game (along with Spec Ops: The Line or Walking Dead S1). The entire ending sequence (roughly the last hour of the game) I remember struck me so hard, and it never left me. I know you can't really expect a HAPPY ending from a game like that, but I held some kind of hope. Nope, have some more punches to the gut you piece of human garbage. But hell, I love that game so much.
 

Spider RedNight

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I'm also chiming into to throw S1 of Walking Dead into the fray; it's okay, I'll take out Infinite - I thought the ending was terrible compared to the rest of the game. Then again, I think trying to connect Bioshock to a story about time-space travel and shit and alternate universes is cheap and waters everything down.

Also Kingdom Hearts 2 had an awesome final boss fight and ending and if you disagree shut up you're wrong.

OH and Brothers. C'mon. That ending. C'mooon don't leave me hangin' with Brothers.
 

Dalisclock

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I'd be more impressed by Tidus's "Sacrifice" in FFX if:

1. I hadn't spent most of the game wishing Tidus would STFU.
2. I found his incessant Daddy issues obnoxious.
3. The immediate scene after him fading was to end up in the farplane so he could high-five his abusive dad.
4. The After credits stinger on the remaster shows Tidus waking up underwater, seemingly back from the dead.

It's kind of like in FFIV where half your party "Died" at some point in the game, only for the game to reveal at some point later "He/She/Them got better".

Seriously, SE, have you never learned that the best way to kill a sense of pathos from self-sacrifice is to just bring them back from the dead later(good as new)?
 

JCAll

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The ending of the original God of War was so good. Too bad they had to make a bunch of terrible sequels to ruin it.
 

Tanis

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The end of 'Brood Wars' was pretty good.

Heroes fucked, some villains fucked.
Villain wins, but maybe not in the way she was hoping.
 

Casual Shinji

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Caramel Frappe said:
All the other endings on the list were pretty cool ... although the ending to Last of Us felt somewhat lack luster. Don't get me wrong, the game was amazing and the ending was neat, but didn't really resolve anything.

What I mean is we don't know what happens next, or how life will be for the two protagonists. Not a bad ending just one leaving me with more questions than answers. Luckily we're going to get a Last of Us 2 so there's that :)
Well, it wasn't really supposed to resolve anything, it was supposed to bring Joel's character arc to its natural conclusion, which it did. While at the same time being a very rough coming-of-age tale for Ellie. The whole plot of getting Ellie to where she needs to go was never the focal point of the game, just the catalyst to send them on their journey. And by the end, Joel has found optimism in a delusion, and Ellie's optimism has been squashed.
 

THM

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Bioshock 2 has at least one of the best endings to a game I've ever seen - though I admit it has entirely to do with my own personal circumstances. The 'indeterminate' ending, where Eleanor says 'I miss you father...I miss you.', after Delta dies, after everything they've both gone through...that had me damn near in tears the first time I saw it. Still hits me to this day.

Not to mention the ending to 'Minerva's Den'. Damn, that was depressing, not least because it felt like, getting on to that bathysphere at the end, this was the last time you were ever going to see Rapture.

Also, Spec Ops: The Line had a kickass ending - or endings, depending on how you look at it. :)
 

American Tanker

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Seen multiple people bring up Spec Ops: The Line, that whole game, it was just... You always knew that nothing good was going to come of Walker's mission to Dubai, but you marched on anyways.

Myself, I had Walker lay down his weapons and walk away. It's over. Walker, Dubai, everything. But after all he's done, can he really go home?
 

Bedinsis

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Johnny Novgorod said:
Good list, but why must every "good" ending be such a downer?
I don't play enough games to tell, but maybe because games as an empowerment fantasy is so common that the times the empowerment gets broken down by the narrative it's enough to make them stand out and stick with the player?

Or maybe because best scripted endings would probably need to tug at your heartstrings either way, and sadness is one way to subvert the joy usually delivered from playing video games?

Can you point to a good ending that wasn't a downer in some capacity?
 

Naldan

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Terranigma's ending is my top ending of any game I have ever played or watched.

I really disliked BS:I's ending. Why again was this Booker able to exterminate every other Booker even though they already happened? Why couldn't he "just kill" all the Comstocks? Why didn't he deserve a chance? Why was there no other Booker to kill? Why was there no evil Elizabeth or even multiple? Why was there no good Comstock? I mean Comstock, as in get baptised, rule a bit like Comstock but don't be a complete dick.

Why this, why that. Bioshock: Infinite got way too much hype I couldn't avoid (not the same as being on the bandwagon) in order to not be anticipating something great. And unfortunately, I spent many months/years of my life with this theory before. BS:I simply is inconsequential and felt, especially regarding the animation, like a Disney Movie. With blood instead of without.
 

Ritchian

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For my money, the best ending to a video game I've ever played is that of Planescape: Torment. The game makes all of your choices and how you've played the game matter and makes how the story can end a choice ultimately in your hands without needing an Ending-o-tron 3000 or stupid colored lights or any of the many shortcuts game developers like to take when they don't trust the gamer enough to let their choices stand on their own.

And without spoiling things... If you've explored the majority of the lore within the game and learned as much as possible about The Nameless One's past, you can quite literally argue the main antagonist to death in one of the strongest, most memorable speeches in all of video games. The ending, who lives and who dies and the ultimate fate of The Nameless One is all in the hands of your choices and what you've learned from your journey. Other games manage parts of this, but few have pulled off with PS:T did.