Obviously, video games are one of the best forms of entertainment out there, one of those things that will always be fun no matter how long we spend playing the, but that doesn't change the fact that some of them can end up being a bit of a let down if they're not careful! Yes, a game needs to be fun to play, nobody is denying that, but more and more emphasis continues to be placed on the narrative behind the gameplay and we definitely think that this is the right step forward.
We wanted to make a list that takes a look at one of the most important parts of a narrative, and that's the ending. This is the last thing that a player will see, the one thing that will remain with them once they walk away from the game, so it's incredibly important that the writers try and get this right, otherwise they risk alienating people who have chosen to stick it out throughout their entire game just to see how it ends.
What we've done is pull together what we think is probably the best endings in video games, the ones that really stuck with us for various reasons, the ones that we want everyone else to take a look. We've ranked them, meaning that everyone will be able to go through from the great through to the absolute best of the best. Well, if everyone is ready, we think it's about time that we got started!
30 Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time
When people think of Ratchet & Clank, they don't think of impressive narratives. These games are usually all about taking on enemies with a list of ridiculous weapons that wouldn't usually be found in other franchises. However, Insomniac decided that they wanted to change things up a little bit with their last games in the series, deciding to put in a huge narrative that bridged three of the games together into a trilogy. At the end, Ratchet is forced to take on the only other Lombax in the universe, taking out the only connection he has to his forgotten past...
29 Spec Ops: The Line
We're all so used to the violence and weapons that are handed to us in video games, used to what is expected of us, but this game wants us all to question that. It feels wrong to spoil it, but the game essentially shows how the main character's need to complete his mission no matter what the cost leaves him scarred for life and no better than his enemies. There are various endings, but every single one has the twist that the game is still remembered for to this day, that due to his horrible actions, the main character has actually been hallucinating the big baddie this whole time.
28 Bioshock Infinite
While it may have been signposted for some people, we genuinely found it surprising when it turned out that we had been playing as a younger Comstock the entire time we had been playing through Bioshock Infinite. The way that it was able to connect the game with the previous game in the series was a brilliant piece of writing as well, no matter what some people may say! Throw in the brilliant Burial At Sea DLC and what we have here is a man that loves having brilliant writing in his FPS games!
27 Far Cry 3
It's a shame to see that Ubisoft have taken the idea that was so fresh in Far Cry 3 and mercilessly milked it until it just doesn't have the same effect anymore, and retroactively ruining the effect the third installment has on us back in the day! As we went through the game, the main character was forced to change who they were in an attempt to save his friends, meaning that once the friends were ready to leave the island they were on by the end of the game, the main character was no longer the friend that he was at the beginning of the game...
26 Dead Space
We don't believe that anyone saw this ending coming, which makes it even funnier that the first letter of every chapter actually spells out the big twist anyway! Yes, we spend the entire game looking for a woman that no longer exists in Dead Space. Issac Clarke is searching for his wife who, we find out at the end of the game, has actually long since past. Even though he still manages to save the human race from the evil that is attempting take it over temporarily, it hits the player pretty hard to find out the impetus for the whole game was never even on the same ship!
We think that a lot of people were annoyed by this ending because to them, it felt like it came out of nowhere, that they had been lead down a hundred different paths that were all red herrings! While this is true, we don't think that a lot of people actually did understand the ending, that the way that it hit was supposed to make people feel lost and like there was a lack of conclusion. Being lifted away on a helicopter, having never met the women we had been talking to this whole time, watching the entire forest burn, was just how the game should've ended.
Bastion is a game that keeps its cards close to its chest throughout, so when we got to the end, we were hit over the head by the reality of the bleak situation we were in. The music helps the overall feel, pulling us in and making us want to get as invested in the world as possible, before the story actually hit us in the gut, the reality of the sad world that we had been playing through finally hitting us. We find out that, despite all of our hard work, the Bastion will not be able to bring back the world that we once lived in, no matter how hard we try...
23 Final Fantasy VII
A lot of people didn't like the fact that Final Fantasy VII ended without really giving us much closure on what happened to some of the characters that we had been following for hours at that point, which we can totally understand, but this is usually down to some people not waiting till after the credits! The patient players who did were given an extra cutscene, one that skipped ahead 500 years and showed us Red XIII running in what seems to be a wasteland, until they reach the peak of a summit and the camera pans out to show lush greenery...
Rather than being a brilliant or brutal story moment like so many others on this list, what caps off this game is a brutal and emotional fight, one that scared a lot of youngsters back when they first played it! The children that the player controls in the game are forced to take on a HR Giger style monster, which is unsurprisingly named Giygas, a monster that is surrounded by seriously creepy visuals and off putting music. All in all, it was far too surreal for a lot of us to take in at a young age, but continues to be effective even now!
21 Max Payne 3
Max Payne is one of the most tortured video game characters of all time, someone that has been through a lot and struggled to come out of the other side, but the end of Max Payne 3 shows that he is a man that can find redemption, and not necessarily through brutal means either. When he is finally face to face with the man he has been searching for, Max is convinced to let him live so that he can answer for his crimes. Rather than taking revenge like he would've done in the past, he walks away and leaves him to rot in prison.
20 Assassin's Creed II
Video games have a bit of a reputation for being over the top and generally ridiculous, and while we accept that this can be true sometimes, it certainly isn't always true. We've included this game in the list because the ending is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous endings of all time, and we mean in a really good way! Before the player talks to a woman that claims to be part of a group of all powerful beings that created humanity, they have to beat the new pope in a fistfight. We really could not make that sort of thing up if we tried!
19 Batman: Arkham City
Anybody that has any idea about the lore and history of the Batman character will know just how much connects him and Joker, that the two of them have an emotional need for the other despite being on either side of good and evil. When Joker is about to perish and Batman has the antidote in his hand, he considers what to do, before Joker jumps at him and makes him drop the vial, where it smashes. He tells Joker that he was going to cure him, and he just lies there laughing, before slowly passing on. Batman takes him outside, places him on a police car, and silently walks away...
18 South Park: The Stick Of Truth
The game may have a "proper" ending in which the characters throw the stick in a pond after discovering the player character's ability to rack up friends on social media, but we prefer what happens just after. In a way, South Park: The Stick Of Truth ends the only that it could've done, with the kids all looking at each other and arguing about what it is that they'll play next. We know, due to the sequel that came after it, that the kids of South Park all decided that they were done with fantasy and instead wanted to play superheroes!
17 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid is a franchise that is known for having a fairly convoluted story, one that even the biggest fans have trouble reciting from memory, but that doesn't change the fact that the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 is hugely respected within the world of video games. It shows a man walking away from everything he knows after being rewarded for his service, unable to accept the fact that his mentor, the woman who taught him everything, who had been on a deep cover mission from the start, would never be respected for the woman she really was...
16 The Walking Dead: Season One
While it may include zombies and people fighting for their life, this is a video game that is actually about the characters. We are invested in their lives and we want them to succeed, and this is all down to the fact that the characters are so well written! The two characters at the center of it all are Clementine and Lee, a man and a little girl who bond throughout their journey together. As the game ends, we see Lee overcome by the zombie virus that courses through his body, and he begs the young girl that he has become so close to to get away from him before he turns. She walks away, off into the world...
15 Super Metroid
It's generally argued that as technology has moved forward, video games have been able to tell more of a story, as cutscenes, dialogue and motion capture are far better. However, it's games like this that prove this isn't necessarily true! When it looks like Samus is about to beaten by Mother Brain, a Metroid that remembers Samus takes all of the energy from Mother Brain and places it within Samus, who is then able to take out the big boss and run all the way back to her ship before the place explodes.
14 The Last Of Us
It's definitely true to say that the people of this world seem to have a pretty big obsession with the apocalypse and how the world will look after it has happened, what with the huge number of video games that are about it! However, we let it slide with The Last Of Us, as it has such a brilliant story. At the end of the game, we find out that Ellie is likely to be the answer to a cure, but this will come at the expense of her life, a sacrifice that Joel is not willing to make. He takes her and then lies to her when she wakes up, before the screen cuts to black...
13 Red Dead Redemption
As people have most recently played through the second game in the series, we can only hope that they've been giving some thought to the ending of the first game, as it was a truly surprising and brilliant way to end a game. While players could continue the game as John's son if they wanted to, his betrayal at the hands of the government men who had been using the character throughout the game for their ends was an amazing end to an epic game. We will never forget going down in a blaze of glory, never giving up, even when it was clear that all was lost...
12 Shadow Of The Colossus
Anybody that has played this game knows that it keeps its cards close to its chest, never really letting the player know the exact narrative that is going on in the background. We know that we're trying to save the life of a young woman, but it becomes clear as the game continues that there is something going on that we're not being told about. By the end of the game, it becomes clear that the mysterious voice that seems to be helping us on our quest is actually using us, and we're taken over by him at the end.
11 Silent Hill 2
Of all the games on this list, this is the one that we feel the worst about spoiling, as people have written numerous pieces of work on the way the game slowly reveals the twist that is coming at the end. We find out that the character we've been playing as is actually trying to work through the guilt that he is overcome by, as he took the life of his own wife. If people pay close attention to the various themes, topics, and visual motifs placed throughout the game, they will find that the game has been subtly telling us the truth the whole time!
This game actually has three endings that are all brought about by acting differently throughout the game. The first shows the player the true reality of what their actions have caused, the second shows the player the power of friendship and mercy in an uncaring world, while the third is all about what happens when people try to wipe out any form of conflict from the world. It's impossible to sum it up properly here, so we think that everyone should give this one a look and see what happens as they play through it themselves!
There were some people who weren't too keen on this ending, as it suddenly got very surreal after a game that was mainly teaching the player about what it is like to live in a society that controls the population with an iron fist. However, becoming part of a huge blob that then runs around, taking out every human being in its way, was actually a brilliant way to end the game we think. It meant that a lot of people were able to try and figure out what the ending actually meant, with people coming up with various ideas on what it could mean!
8 Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Taking an old franchise and attempting to update it for a modern audience isn't always something that works too well in video games, and yet this retelling of the Prince Of Persia story is one of the most successful games that Ubisoft has ever created. As most of the game is centered around the concept of time travel, it's no surprise that the ending revolves around it as well, with the main character reversing time before any of the events of the game happened. The play then has to warn the princess who no longer remembers him...
7 Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The thing about the Legend Of Zelda series is that everyone has their own favorite installment in the series, and while some would argue that Majora's Mask has the best ending, we think that The Wind Waker just beats it! It's generally believed that every single one of the games in the Legend Of Zelda series are connected in some way, which is why we think it's fascinating that this game ends with the kingdom of Hyrule being washed away by water. Something so drastic is never done in any of the Hyrule based games!
6 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Uncharted is a beloved series in the world of gaming, so much so that people were upset to find out that the fourth game in the series would be the last, but we actually thought that it ended brilliantly. The player takes control of Nathan Drake's child as they walk around their home looking for their mother and father, before finding evidence of what her mother and father did in the past. It shows that he is now living a much happier and relaxed life, able to leave behind the things he's done.
5 Grand Theft Auto V
We're obviously talking about the ending where the three main characters work together to ensure that everyone of them is able to survive here, as it's the only one that feels like a proper ending to the story that the rest of the game tells! Michael, Franklin, and Trevor are able to take out every single character that wants them gone before deciding to never work with each other again, but remaining friends. Watching Michael and Trevor reconcile was a genuinely great thing that we thought really rounded off the game properly!
4 God Of War
Trying to reboot the God Of War franchise must have seemed like quite the challenge, as it was a franchise that so many people had played and therefore knew it as it already was! However, it turned out to be a huge success after they completely revamped the combat system and remade the universe in which the character lived! The slow reveal of the narrative was brilliant and the ending twist that their whole journey had been foretold by the woman who they had been trying to lay to rest the entire game is something that we never saw coming!
One of the greatest things about art is that different forms of media will constantly take a look at the way things are done in the hope of reinventing itself and get rid of some of the worst tropes. This game makes an effort to subvert the damsel in distress paradigm in which the player controls a hero that is on a mission to save the princess. In fact, by the end of Braid we realize that we may actually be the bad guy, that the princess is running away from us into the arms of someone who looks much more like a stereotypical hero than we ever did!
A lot of the time, a good ending can revolve around the concept of a twist or breaking the expectations of the player, but that is not true for one of the most beautiful and introspective games from the last few years. Not only did we get to enjoy the company of random players from all around the world while playing through the game, but when it ends we find ourselves finally making our way into the peak of the mountain before shooting out in the form of a shooting star. A beautiful end to such a powerfully beautiful game.
1 inFamous 2
Despite the fact that this game had two endings, we're only going to be talking about the good ending here, so forget about the bad one for now! Even though this game is known for being about some superhero fun, the sort of thing that lets the player pretend to be someone that they could never be for short bursts of fun, there's no denying that it can get fairly dark at times. When Cole chooses to sacrifice not only himself but every single conduit out around him for the sake of humanity, it is a genuinely touching and powerful moment.