Favorite Downer or Bittersweet Endings in Video Games (obvious spoilers)

BrawlMan

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You heard right. We know most games have happy endings, but there are many with bad, sad, or just straight up depressing ends. What's your favorite? Does not matter if the game is old or new.

Here are some of mine.

Radiant Silvergun & Ikaruga. You'd never expect a SHMUP to have a good story of all places. What's even better is that Ikaruga is a sequel to Silvergun. I did not know when first playing Ikaruga. Luckily, I found out thanks to the internet back in 2002. In Radiant Silvergun, the Earth is more or less fucked, even animal life is destroyed. In a fit of rage quit, the final boss, called the Stonelike being, sends you back to 100,000 BC and blows itself up trying take you with him. The two main characters survive thanks to their robot buddy cloning them (but with no memories of being from the future) and the robot goes dead before any of them wake up. They become the Adam & Eve, and the story implies that they're stuck in a Stable Time Loop and this happened many times before. Ikaruga's ending is in a timeline where both player characters (different people this time) are able to stop the Stonelike being by both sacrificing themselves. Treasure may use little dialogue in most of their games, but it's very effective and makes you think when you're having your ass kicked.



Killer7 - "Harman, the world won't change. All it does is turn." - Kun Lan.

Still Suda51's best work in terms of story and twists. Teenage me could not comprehend this at the time, and still blows my mind.


Ninja Warriors Arcade & SNES/SWITCH/PS4 - Who knew that after killing a dictator by self-destructing your robot ninjas that it would lead to a worse dictatorial government than the last guy. Taito tried to make us kids think, but majority of us took some of these lessons for granted. You would not expect an ending like that from an arcade beat-em up from 1987, nor an SNES game from 1994. He who fights monsters indeed. The revolution will not be civilized.

 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Probably Far Cry 5, 'cause shit's fucked. The canon 'Good' ending is the world is engulfed in Nuclear fire, half your friends died, and you live as a slave or sex slave to Joseph Seed, depending on gender. Bad endings are all manner of you dying, everyone dying, all your friends dying, or you killing all your friends, then becoming a willing servant/sex servant.

So...yeah.

Also 'Oh by the way we infiltrated the Nuclear facilities off screen without your knowledge' is a hell of an ass-pull in the 3rd act. Great game, great story and character, fucked the landing so hard it got pregnant and gave birth to New Dawn.
 

meiam

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Drakengard. Giant baby fall from the sky and eat everything, then a giant pregnant women appear, so you and your dragon teleport to modern day japan to do a DDR fight against it. After killing her, jet plane shoot you down and you die. (There's a bunch of other ending, but that's the canon ending in the world of nier).

The canon drakengard ending is that you dragon sacrifice her live to become a seal that prevent the world from ending (the aforementioned giant man eating baby). But it turn out in the sequel that this causes her unspeakable pain, so the main character has to free to do then kill her (and then die along with her). This still start the whole "end of the world" things.
 

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Mega Man 11:
Throughout the game, you see flashbacks to when Doctors Light and Wily were colleagues in university. Though Wily wanted to make the world a better place with his invention, especially for robots, Light protested Wily's avenue of research and he was forced to stop, which was what caused his initial fall into evil. With Wily bringing that invention back, Light has no choice but to use it on Mega Man as well, giving him a chance to fight back. When Wily is defeated, Light says that Mega Man is proof that Wily's invention can be used for good, and that Wily doesn't have to be evil... but Wily rejects Light's offer of friendship and leaves, swearing revenge. It's an unusually downbeat note for the series, and complements the more morally grey story.

--

Devil May Cry 3:
To defeat Arkham and prevent him from using Sparda's sword to take over the human realm, Dante and Vergil team up, only to immediately begin fighting each other over the aforementioned sword. After a vicious battle, Vergil is defeated. He tells Dante to escape from the Demon World while he still can, refusing to join him and throwing himself off a cliff. Though Dante attempts to rescue his brother, Vergil prevents him from doing so and falls into the abyss. Dante has shown moments of melancholy throughout this game's story, but his facade of bravado cracks completely in front of Lady as he claims that his tears are the rain, because "devils never cry". In the previous games, this line is spoken to Trish and Lucia to cheer them up, but this time, he uses it to describe himself, and in a much less uplifting way. However, Lady, who had previously wanted to kill Dante because he was a demon, offers her sympathy: "even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one".
 

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MGS2 - the patriots were right

MGS3 - The Boss

What Remains of Edith Finch

TLOU

The Walking Dead (Season 1)

Shadow of the Colossus

The Last Guardian

Heavenly Sword
 

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Digital Devil Saga 1. After all the hardships and sacrifices the promised land was just another hell.
 

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I have to say One Shot, because even its best ending made me want to cry from how bittersweet it was.

The main protagonist, Niko, is just a child that got randomly brought into another world, and your original two ending options are to convince Niko to save this strange world but never be able to go home and see their parents again, or willingly let the world die but get Niko sent back home.

The final ending at least mixes both endings, where you get to save it and let Niko go back home, but then you also have to say goodbye to Niko. I knew the game was trying to get the player to build a relationship with Niko from the start, but man did it still succeed.

Also Spec Ops: The Line, but I think everyone here already knows that one.
 

Casual Shinji

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The Last of Us

I can't really think of another game where I had a bigger knot in my stomach by the end. Joel has become delusional and laid claim over Ellie like she's his comfy blanket, and Ellie's fear that everything has been for nothing has come to pass. And that final 'okay' signifies her accepting the sorry state of the world and of Joel. All thanks to Joel. And the game amplifies this by having you walk through a nice looking wooded area toward what will likely be a peaceful life in Tommy's town. All while Joel is optimistically comparing Ellie to Sarah, forcing his image of Sarah onto her by saying 'I think the two of you would've been good friends. I think you really would've liked her. I know she would've liked you.' And not forgetting the music which laces the whole scene with a sense of betrayal and distrust.
 

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Spec Ops
Walking Dead
Tranistor, Bastion and Pyre
Life is Strange
Dishonored esp Death of the Outsider
Bioshock Infinite
Into the Breach because even if you win, you just have to go back
Various endings of Sunless Sea
Arkham City. Just hearing the police officer questioning 'what happened in there' was a gut punch
Hollow Knight
The real ending of Return of the Obra Dinn
 

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Note that I'm only including games I've finished rather than watched. So no Mass Effect 3 or Walking Dead for instance.

-Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (sort of)

-Gears of War 2/3/5 (all manage it)

-Halo 3/Halo: Reach (as above)

-The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (this)

-Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (all bitter, no sweet)

-Resident Evil: Outbreak (sort of...scrapes in, just like Infinite Warfare)

-Sonic Adventure 2 (course it's bittersweetness that's rendered null later, but meh)

-Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (see above)
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Aw, these are the best endings. After having recently sat through the overly cheesy ending to Uncharted 2 where everybody speaking in movie cliche language just got too much at that point and closed my stone cold decaying heart off to it all with a particularly sudden intense bitterness towards the moment, can do with prying the organ back open again to something more real and relatable like spiralling despair.
trunkage said:
Spec Ops
Walking Dead
Tranistor, Bastion and Pyre
Life is Strange
Dishonored esp Death of the Outsider
Bioshock Infinite
Into the Breach because even if you win, you just have to go back
Various endings of Sunless Sea
Arkham City. Just hearing the police officer questioning 'what happened in there' was a gut punch
Hollow Knight
The real ending of Return of the Obra Dinn
Of the only ones have played to completion, very much agree there, but do think season 2 of walking dead had its own emotional merits too. Still need to finish Hollow Knight, but am dead set on getting the fullest ending first run which might be contributing to the delay somewhat.

Have recently obtained Frostpunk, which have heard provides many a deflating ending, if that counts.
SOMA. The whole game is a downer ending trying to claw something bittersweet out of the void.
Last Guardian
Wolf Among Us
Unravel
Red dead 2, not quite the game's ending, but you know
Shenm...ahaha, half-assed joke, it's early
 

BrawlMan

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leet_x1337 said:
Mega Man 11:
Throughout the game, you see flashbacks to when Doctors Light and Wily were colleagues in university. Though Wily wanted to make the world a better place with his invention, especially for robots, Light protested Wily's avenue of research and he was forced to stop, which was what caused his initial fall into evil. With Wily bringing that invention back, Light has no choice but to use it on Mega Man as well, giving him a chance to fight back. When Wily is defeated, Light says that Mega Man is proof that Wily's invention can be used for good, and that Wily doesn't have to be evil... but Wily rejects Light's offer of friendship and leaves, swearing revenge. It's an unusually downbeat note for the series, and complements the more morally grey story.

--

Devil May Cry 3:
To defeat Arkham and prevent him from using Sparda's sword to take over the human realm, Dante and Vergil team up, only to immediately begin fighting each other over the aforementioned sword. After a vicious battle, Vergil is defeated. He tells Dante to escape from the Demon World while he still can, refusing to join him and throwing himself off a cliff. Though Dante attempts to rescue his brother, Vergil prevents him from doing so and falls into the abyss. Dante has shown moments of melancholy throughout this game's story, but his facade of bravado cracks completely in front of Lady as he claims that his tears are the rain, because "devils never cry". In the previous games, this line is spoken to Trish and Lucia to cheer them up, but this time, he uses it to describe himself, and in a much less uplifting way. However, Lady, who had previously wanted to kill Dante because he was a demon, offers her sympathy: "even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one".
Yes, an excellent ending for Devil May cry 3. I've talked about DMC enough times, so I figured somebody else will pick up on it. Still one of my favorite games, along with DMC5 now. Glad to see another fan.

Hawki said:
Note that I'm only including games I've finished rather than watched. So no Mass Effect 3 or Walking Dead for instance.

-Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (sort of)

-Gears of War 2/3/5 (all manage it)

-Halo 3/Halo: Reach (as above)

-The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (this)

-Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (all bitter, no sweet)

-Resident Evil: Outbreak (sort of...scrapes in, just like Infinite Warfare)

-Sonic Adventure 2 (course it's bittersweetness that's rendered null later, but meh)

-Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (see above)
Sonic adventure 2 still counts and works in my book. Especially when it was meant to be the swan song of the Sega Dreamcast. That ending piano song and the "Rest easy heroes", makes me tear up a little.
 

Casual Shinji

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Tenchu

Rikimaru just fucking dies, just like that, he gets crushed to death in a collapsing cave. The first time I think I played a game where the main character just bites it.

Also, Resident Evil 4, but that's all because of the end credits.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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The Ico games pull off bittersweet the best. Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian.
Silent Hill 2's Leave and In Water endings go from bittersweet to depressing.
Spec Ops is more downer than "sweet".
BioShock: Infinite and The Last of Us have good downer endings. I think BioShock weighs some more because it toys with the hopefulness of a light adventure story at first. TLoU was depressing from the start. There was little to crush by the end.
 

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The Witcher 3 - Ciri is Empress ending. It's a perfect bittersweet ending. Of the three big endings, it feels right more than even the Ciri witcheress ending. And it probably is, since you get it only if you do everything right + go to Vizima with Ciri after Kaer Morhen battle.

 

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Silentpony said:
Probably Far Cry 5, 'cause shit's fucked. The canon 'Good' ending is the world is engulfed in Nuclear fire, half your friends died, and you live as a slave or sex slave to Joseph Seed, depending on gender. Bad endings are all manner of you dying, everyone dying, all your friends dying, or you killing all your friends, then becoming a willing servant/sex servant.

So...yeah.
That sounds more like a downer ending than a bittersweet ending. 0_0

Casual Shinji said:
Also, Resident Evil 4, but that's all because of the end credits.
You know, going through franchises, I'd expected Resident Evil to be on the list, but I had to struggle to come up with an entry. When you think about it, despite being a horror franchise, Resident Evil tends to have upbeat endings. RE3 arguably comes the closest out of the main installments (of the ones I've played at least) but even then while the news report on Raccoon City is sombre, Jill notably isn't.

As for RE4, I wouldn't call the credits bittersweet. I mean, there is bittersweetness in them, but the credits become more disturbing over time. While we can appreciate the context, the credits, to me, are more of a horror factor than a tragic one given how they're presented. Yet of the main installments I've played, it arguably IS the most bittersweet ending of the lot except for maybe RE3. This, despite being more action-heavy than its predecessors. 0_0

trunkage said:
Bioshock Infinite
Johnny Novgorod said:
BioShock: Infinite
Um, okay...

Infinite for me doesn't generate feelings of bittersweetness. Partly because by this time the game's disappeared up its own arse, but even within the arse, the ending pretty much stops everything bad in the story from happening. At least one Booker is left in existence, and potentially his daughter as well.
 

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Hawki said:
That sounds more like a downer ending than a bittersweet ending. 0_0
To be fair downer endings was a request.
Hawki said:
Casual Shinji said:
trunkage said:
Bioshock Infinite
Johnny Novgorod said:
BioShock: Infinite
Um, okay...

Infinite for me doesn't generate feelings of bittersweetness. Partly because by this time the game's disappeared up its own arse, but even within the arse, the ending pretty much stops everything bad in the story from happening. At least one Booker is left in existence, and potentially his daughter as well.
To be fair I think they mean in the DLC ending Elizabeth, the one from the main story, is tortured to death by Fontaine in Rapture
 

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Hawki said:
You know, going through franchises, I'd expected Resident Evil to be on the list, but I had to struggle to come up with an entry. When you think about it, despite being a horror franchise, Resident Evil tends to have upbeat endings. RE3 arguably comes the closest out of the main installments (of the ones I've played at least) but even then while the news report on Raccoon City is sombre, Jill notably isn't.

As for RE4, I wouldn't call the credits bittersweet. I mean, there is bittersweetness in them, but the credits become more disturbing over time. While we can appreciate the context, the credits, to me, are more of a horror factor than a tragic one given how they're presented. Yet of the main installments I've played, it arguably IS the most bittersweet ending of the lot except for maybe RE3. This, despite being more action-heavy than its predecessors. 0_0

trunkage said:
Bioshock Infinite
Johnny Novgorod said:
BioShock: Infinite
Um, okay...

Infinite for me doesn't generate feelings of bittersweetness. Partly because by this time the game's disappeared up its own arse, but even within the arse, the ending pretty much stops everything bad in the story from happening. At least one Booker is left in existence, and potentially his daughter as well.
Jill isn't exactly happy either. Granted, it depends on the ending, but she's happy to see Barry pick her and Carlos up in the best ending. She and Barry more or less acknowledge what happened to Raccoon City sucked. Barry's "it's time." sums it up. She's a bit more sombre in the standard ending, but I would be a little happy if an old friend save me and another person by chopper.

Resident Evil's bittersweet endings are either from the first RE where only Chris/Jill survive, but those count as bad endings. Steve dying in CV, but most fans won't see that as a bad thing, and the endings for both Revelations games. Rev2 does have good end and bad end, but even the good ending implies some form of Alex Wesker survived in Natalia. But the Revelation games are so convoluted in story and endings, that they might as well be non-canon, as all of the left hanging plot threads are never going to be mentioned in future RE titles. RE7 ditches the plot points and cliffhangers left from those games. RE6 implies that the conspiracy for Neo Umbrella still exists even with Simmons dead.Though once again, 7 seems to drop this in favor of Blue Umbrella. There is RE Gaiden where it's implied that Leon died and the one you've been playing as the entire time is the BOW, but that ending was received so terribly by everyone else, that Capcom declared it non-canon.
 

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
R-Type Command.

Both the endings in it are pretty bitter sweet. For the human one you end up beating the bydo fleet but it ends up grappling your flag ship and pulling it into the wiggling mass. Then with the byod campaign you play the same fleet, just as part of the bydo mass and are trying to get home, only to arrive to fierce opposition from the Space Corp's fleet and discovering that it is no longer your home. So the surviving forces retreat from earth while being harassed the full way out and losing many ships as they head for an uncertain future.