Good Video-Game Endings

Xprimentyl

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> I personally loved the ending of INSIDE

Excellent. I am planning to play this one very soon since it just was added to GamePass. I did play Limbo just never got around to this one.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did; just be prepared to walk away with more questions than you started with.
 
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Silvanus

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Little Nightmares 2 had pretty terrific ending too, and I'm not talking about the 'little boy is actually tall, TV man' ending, that one is just okay in my opinion. I'm talking about what happens before when Six deliberately drops you to your doom. It makes a lot of sense in hindsight, and is a nice subversion of the usual 'two characters bond throughout the game' trend. When you think back on it Six never asked you to help her out of that room at the start, and seemed content to spend what short time she had with her little music box as the only comfort in this horrible world. You're the one who disrupts this, and while the intent was freedom it only results in her getting exposed to more twisted danger. Near the end when you destroy the music box to free her from her warped form it painfully reminds her of the path you dragged her onto and how much she actually hates you for it.
That's one reading of it. Another would be that Six sees your face for the first time, and recognises you as the Tall Man. I don't think it's a coincidence that the final sequence is the first and only time the boy is without something covering his head/face.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Undertale - True Pacifist ending. I mean its so fucken good.

Hollow Knight - true ending, also really good.

World in Conflict - considering how silly the premise is, the ending is really good and fits things just right.

Shadow Run: Hong Kong/Dragon Fall - Yeah they are two different games but each one has a great ending, just in different ways. I think Dragon Fall has the stronger one, but Hong Kong is really close.

Spirit Farer- ... I'm not crying....
 

immortalfrieza

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Steambot Chronicles, Bioshock 1 & 2 though not Infinite, and Undertale, and all for the same reason. In most games with choice I often ended up doing good and evil playthroughs without much thought because the world wasn't immersive enough. These games though give you the option to be an utter evil bastard... and the characters and world are so endearing that after having played a good playthrough I personally couldn't bear to actually do the evil playthrough. It actually made me care about a bunch of pixels, and that's what makes a good ending to me.

For a game with 1 ending, Tales of Symphonia made me fall hopelessly in love with the franchise with it's entire story, but it's ending was gold. Not because I came to care about the characters and the story, but because the game has several points that seem like the ending, but aren't. The result was when the actual ending came around I was sitting there with the controller in my hand expected the game to switch back to gameplay any second. I think it's the only time I ever actually cried at an ending. Not because the ending was sad, but because the game itself was actually over. The rest of the Tales series has a similar caliber with it's gameplay, story, and endings if not better but Symphonia I think hit that sweet spot. Or maybe I'm just wise to their tricks now.
 
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BrawlMan

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I don't know.... I think I like the one where you eat a fish the most.
The True Ending where you are given the option to permanently delete your save file to help other players with the SHMUP credit sequence to get to their true ending. Masterfully done, and a call back to the first game.
 
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Casual Shinji

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That's one reading of it. Another would be that Six sees your face for the first time, and recognises you as the Tall Man. I don't think it's a coincidence that the final sequence is the first and only time the boy is without something covering his head/face.
I've heard about that, but considering how vastly different both characters are physically I find it hard to believe their faces recognizably carried over. Also, this doesn't particularly say anything interesting about the characters either - it starts and stops in that moment. We see hints throughout the game that Six is lacking a bit in empathy, and that shot of her right after being released from her warped form feels framed almost antagonistically. Like, maybe that form is who she really is and in an attempt to rescue her you again disrupted a certain peace she might've felt while she was like this with her music box.
 

Hawki

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Only going to choose one game per IP, and only games that I've beaten to completion), otherwise I'll be here forever. So on that note:

-Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
-Army Men: Sarge's Heroes
-BioShock Infinite (sort of, in that it has the mind screw factor)
-Diablo III
-Final Fantasy X
-Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
-Gears of War 2
-Golden Sun: The Lost Age
-Halo 3 (while Reach arguably has a better 'series ending,' I think H3 has the best ending in of itself)
-The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (I feel I should mention Wind Waker, as I'd put it here purely subjectively, but in terms of actual 'ending craft,' OoT easily takes the position)
-The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (console; entirely subjective, doesn't really belong among the greats, but on the subjective level, it ends up here)
-Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (though you could easily make a case for MGS1 or 2).
-Metroid Fusion
-Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (at least if you include the final boss fight as part of the ending)
-Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (there's countless contenders here - if you want the best 3D one, look at Sonic Unleashed)
-StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty OR Heart of the Swarm OR Legacy of the Void (one of these three, honestly, I can't decide)
-Star Fox 64
-Super Mario 64 (because the music is just that damn good)
-Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
-Xenoblade Chronicles
 
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Hawki

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Bioshock: Infinite

I don't really remember the details, I just remember there is a whole weird Matrix-y thing with the girl or whatever, and it was really cool.
It's also the only Bioshock game I completed so I can't compare with the other two. I just remember feeling really intrigued and satisfied with the ending and if you can remember how something made you feel that says something.
BioShock 1 is easily the better game IMO, but its ending is crap, no matter which one you get.
 
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Drathnoxis

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BioShock 1 is easily the better game IMO, but its ending is crap, no matter which one you get.
Honestly, I liked the good ending to 1. I thought it was pretty touching, dying as an old man after raising the rescued little sisters.
At which point you die... and go to hell. End of game.
Or you simply will yourself to stop existing. I need to replay that game some time.
 

Hawki

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Honestly, I liked the good ending to 1. I thought it was pretty touching, dying as an old man after raising the rescued little sisters.
I'd find it more touching if Jack was an actual character, and if the ending lasted more than a few minutes. :(
 
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Dalisclock

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I'd find it more touching if Jack was an actual character, and if the ending lasted more than a few minutes. :(
Yeah, one of my issues with BioShock in general and something BSI did better. For all the issues BSI has, Booker is a much better character then Jack, partially because Jack pretty much isn't a character, just a Manchurian test tube baby with a gun who more interesting characters talk at a lot.
 
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Drathnoxis

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A couple of really good ones have been mentioned already, Majora's Mask is probably the best of the Zelda series (Wind Waker was pretty good too, though), Undertale of course is a fantastic ending that leaves you happy and satisfied, FF7 was good and climactic, but honestly it was a little threadbare on what becomes of our characters to rank at the top of my list, Planescape Torment I already agreed with above but like FF7 it's a little short also.

Honestly, this is a pretty tough. Sometimes it hard to disentangle my emotions of playing the game in general with those of the ending in particular looking back years later. I'm disqualifying games I really liked if I can't immediately remember the specifics of the endings. I could easily argue myself into rearranging the list or adding some others, but from a quick scan through my completed games list this is what I've come up with. Here are what I would say are the best endings of the games I've played ranked roughly from less best to more good.


Rhythm Heaven Fever - The game ends with a massive remix of all the songs in the game, exactly what a rhythm game should end with. It's also really catchy.

Katamari Damacy - The final level is the perfect end point the game possibly could have had. You start by rolling up small objects and by the end you are rolling up all the continents in the world. Extremely satisfying. The song is really good too.

Portal - Just a really humorous final battle against a sarcastic robot, and also one of the best credit songs to ever appear in a game.

Earthbound - Earthbound isn't one of my favorite games but it has one of my favorite endings, simply because it lets you walk back through the entire world and every character has updated dialogue. This enhances the depth of the world and gives tremendous closure in a way you rarely see in games. Overall I liked the sequel Mother 3 better, but the ending to that is more vague so I'm giving the spot to Earthbound.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - The game raises the stakes fantastically throughout the ending, and while all the people he's helped giving their strength to Mario through their wishes may be a little cliched, it's hard to beat the emotional climax of a good Genki Dama. I also want to give honorable mentions to Paper Mario and Mario RPG, while having lesser endings having much better credit sequences.

Outer Wilds - Outer Wilds is amazing. If you haven't played this game you need to be ashamed of yourself. The resolution of the game has a dozen mysteries tying together perfectly, and the best part is that you need to piece it together yourself. There is no little sidekick summarizing every point in case you weren't paying attention. It's all there, it all fits, and it feels great to finally work out what you need to do. It's bittersweet, but the game does its best to make it feel as cheerful as possible. The ending sequence also led to one of the most amazing completely organically tense moments I've had from a game. I've posted the story before, but I'd do it again if anybody wants, I'd just have to find it.

Persona 4 - I would be lying if I didn't tear up a little watching these teenagers teaming up to defeat god using the power of friendship. I know it's cliche, but it works.

Dragon Age: Origins - There are two endings, one where your protagonist sacrifices themselves and dies a hero, and one where you are alive to have a big party and final chat with all the significant characters. Both are really good for different reasons. And then there's an epilogue that gives summaries of all the less significant characters. You know how much I love closure by this point, and this game has it in spades.

AI: The Somnium Files
- AI has fun characters and complex mysteries both of which pay off magnificently. The game wraps everything up extremely well with an exciting shootout with a serial killer in an abandoned building, and then has a big ol' dance number out of nowhere with the entire cast during the ending credits. It's the perfect ending to a game with a delicious mix of serious and silly. I love it.

Undertale - I don't think it's necessary to spend more words on how great of an ending Undertale has. Everybody knows it by now. I'll just say that as a game inspired heavily by Earthbound, it's no surprise that it knows how to properly end an adventure, and definitely surpasses it.

Ghost Trick - Ghost Trick is marvelous. Another game with a masterful weaving together of mysteries. There are not many games that can tie plot threads together as well as Ghost Trick does (and most of them are on this list), and Ghost Trick does is with timing that is near perfection. The revelations and character shifts all happen at times that feel appropriate and are perfect dramatically. The final sequence elevates the gameplay in just the right ways, and wrap things up in a happy ending, that works great.

I don't really feel I've done any of these games justice in their descriptions. Probably I've written something more detailed on each of these games endings somewhere on the site, and if the search bar actually worked I'd be able to find them.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Ghost Trick - Ghost Trick is marvelous. Another game with a masterful weaving together of mysteries. There are not many games that can tie plot threads together as well as Ghost Trick does (and most of them are on this list), and Ghost Trick does is with timing that is near perfection. The revelations and character shifts all happen at times that feel appropriate and are perfect dramatically. The final sequence elevates the gameplay in just the right ways, and wrap things up in a happy ending, that works great.
I totally forgot Ghost Trick and how amazing its ending is.
 

immortalfrieza

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I liked Planescape: Torment.

Your character wakes up as amnesiac, and has to piece together his life. You find that someone is deliberately keeping him in an amnesiac state by killing him, and that he'd undergone a ritual of immortality to separate him from his mortality (sort of like a part of his soul). Except - slight hitch - he lost memories when he "died". Later, you'll find out why he did this to himself: he was an exceptionally evil person, who eventually developed a guilty conscience. However, to get enough time to atone for his sins he needed to live longer, thus seeking semi-immortality. Unfortuntely, of course, due to the memory loss upon dying, he forgot he needed to do good, and eventually ended up just trying to remember who he even was.

Turns out the evil mastermind is the other part of your soul, which doesn't want to die either and would do so if you ever merged back with it. So eventually you confront it and force it to merge back into you.

At which point you die... and go to hell. End of game.

This is one heck of a downer, obviously. But I sort of like the messages of justice ultimately being done, taking responsibility for oneself and one's actions, and that putting off the inevitable is not going to help you in the long run.
Upon which the uber badass physical god the protagonist would have become by now proceeded to kick tons of ass and take over hell. At least that's how I choose to think of what happens next.
 

immortalfrieza

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Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - The game raises the stakes fantastically throughout the ending, and while all the people he's helped giving their strength to Mario through their wishes may be a little cliched, it's hard to beat the emotional climax of a good Genki Dama. I also want to give honorable mentions to Paper Mario and Mario RPG, while having lesser endings having much better credit sequences.
Honestly I kinda didn't like it because Paper Mario 64 ended pretty much the same way. People around the Mushroom Kingdom making wishes to power up the attack that make it possible to beat Bowser, then you beat him. I liked Super Paper Mario better because it's final fight had a different resolution (as well as being a great game in general.)
 

Drathnoxis

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Honestly I kinda didn't like it because Paper Mario 64 ended pretty much the same way. People around the Mushroom Kingdom making wishes to power up the attack that make it possible to beat Bowser, then you beat him. I liked Super Paper Mario better because it's final fight had a different resolution (as well as being a great game in general.)
It was similar but TTYD was better. In PM64 it was just Peach's wishes, not the wishes of all Mushroom Kingdom, which isn't nearly as epic or touching.

Gonna have to heavily disagree on SPM being a great game, though. It looks better now when you compare it to the latter dregs of the series, but that doesn't stop it from being vastly inferior to the previous 3 Mario RPGs.